Paul McHugh is at least partially responsible for this odious missive titled “Executive Summary on Sexuality and Gender.” The summary in question was picked up by a number of reactionary lobby groups in short order, adding to McHugh’s long history of being one of the selective citations used when attempting to justify homophobia/transphobia as scientific.
What will no doubt be denied by those same reactionary groups is that the faculty at John Hopkins are aware of the report, and in fact they have published what might be missed as a withering condemnation of it:
Science, and particularly the fields of psychiatry and psychology, has made major advances in our understanding of the complex issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. For instance, accumulating data support the concept that gender identity is not strictly a binary phenomenon. And scientific evidence clearly documents that sexual and romantic attractions to people of the same and/or different sexes are normal variations of the diversity of human sexuality.
That is why the recent report, released by one current and one former member of our faculty on the topic of LGBTQ health, is so troubling. The report, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological and Psychological and Social Sciences,” was not published in the scientific literature, where it would have been subject to rigorous peer review prior to publication. It purports to detail the science of this area, but it falls short of being a comprehensive review.
We wish to make clear that there are many people at Hopkins who hold a profound and long-standing commitment to the health, wellness, well-being, and fair and non-stigmatizing treatment of LGBTQ people and communities. We do not believe that the “Sexuality and Gender” report cited above is a comprehensive portrayal of the current science, and we respectfully disassociate ourselves from its findings.
“We respectfully disassociate ourselves from its findings” is academic-speak, a sort of scathing disagreement, the equivalent of coming upon one’s car and finding the tires have been slashed by your nemesis.
Because reactionary lobbies are well known for their creative work (/extreme sarcasm), we ought to be surprised to see this exact scenario has already played out. Parents for Choice in Education, a reactionary lobby group advocating for the continued special snowflake status of Catholic schooling in Alberta, propped up two doctors from the University of Alberta to grant some kind of scientific credence for their prejudice. The U of A, having caught wind of this, immediately disavowed the two doctors in question. Yet, much like the reactionary groups propping up McHugh, PCE is suspiciously silent on how it continues to justify supporting doctors who have been told by their employer that their opinions are “inadequate,” which–again–is academic-speak for “fucking ridiculous.”
Perhaps that might suggest that scientific accuracy is not, in fact, their main priority?