Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

Not infrequently, science butts heads with culture as the data scientists collect about issues of the day may conflict with cultural perceptions and deeply-held beliefs. Attitudes and perceptions about homosexuality are, not surprisingly, a source of denialism as certain overvalued ideas about sexuality are being challenged with our deeper understanding of human sexual desire. For one, homosexuality is not a choice, despite all attempts to reprogram or suppress homosexual desires, the desires do not go away. One might even hypothesize the attempts to repress or disparage such a fundamental aspect of someone’s identity might cause harm long term and result in negative health outcomes. Sure enough, this article published in the journal Pediatrics last week suggests this is in fact the case, and I believe we must begin to view the rejection of homosexuality by parents as not just as small-minded, but actively harmful, constituting child abuse that has long term implications on their childrens’ health.

The authors identified 224 gay and lesbian youths between 21 and 25 years of age and using surveys to evaluate for high risk behaviors, mental health and levels of rejection by family, they found some startling patterns…


Starting with the methods, they developed a survey of 51 questions to evaluate a number of “rejecting behaviors” – various ways in which parents demonstrated disapproval or rejection of their child’s sexuality – such as blaming the child for any anti-gay experiences they may have been subjected to by others. They then scored the respondents by their answers to these questions and compared the level of rejection to several measures of health outcomes. These included self-reported depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, current depression by depression inventory score, substance abuse behaviors, and sexual risk behaviors. All of these negative outcomes with the exception of drinking and std diagnosis were increased in homosexual youths experiencing high levels of rejection.

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As you can see, the results are pretty striking. The odds ratios reported indicate that a homosexual youth experiencing high levels of rejection by family have a risk of attempting suicide as much as 8 times more than those experiencing little or no rejection by family. Looking at the raw numbers, this means as many as 67 percent of study subjects in the high rejection group had attempted suicide by age 25! Illicit drug use, substance abuse disorders, and risky sexual behaviors are also similarly increased in this group. The apparent effect of family rejection is devastating.

Now, as always, we must point out that these are correlative findings. I am inclined to believe there is a very real effect of family rejection behavior for a few reasons. For one, it’s simply very plausible that strained family relations will have negative effects on individuals’ self esteem and mental health. For another, there isn’t a good alternate explanation for the observed patterns. I find it implausible, for instance, that the drug behavior or sexual behaviors in adolescence were what caused the parents to be critical of their child’s sexual orientation – that is the rejection effect was due to the presence of these behaviors rather than the homosexuality itself and if they weren’t doing drugs or attempting suicide they would not have rejected them for their homosexual behaviors. I therefore believe it is quite likely that it is specifically these rejection behaviors which preceded and caused the negative outcomes.

As far as what we learn about how we treat homosexuals from this paper, I think it’s clear that one of the worst things a parent can do is reject their children because they are homosexual. I’m sure these parents think they’re doing the best thing for their children because they see themselves as rejecting the sin and not the sinner and the homosexuality is the problem. But it is clear that rejecting these children, and no doubt considering them sinners for the sexual orientation that they have no control over, results in terrible mental health outcomes and extremely high risks of suicide. Expressing disapproval of homosexuality to children who are homosexual is likely causing a great deal of harm to children that have done nothing wrong other than be born homosexual. In light of what the science tells us, it’s clear we don’t just have a societal problem with bigotry (especially in light of the societal regulation of homosexuality as evinced by prop 8) but a serious public health problem as well.

So to the parents of homosexual parents an appeal. No more of this hate the sin love the sinner nonsense, just love and accept the child for who they are.

Ryan, Caitlin, Huebner, David, Diaz, Rafael M., Sanchez, Jorge. Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults Pediatrics 2009 123: 346-352 doi:10.1542/peds.2007-352

Comments

  1. #1 Danimal
    January 7, 2009

    Sure enough, this article published in the journal Pediatrics last week suggests this is in fact the case, and I believe we must begin to view the rejection of homosexuality by parents as not just as small-minded, but actively harmful, constituting child abuse that has long term implications on their childrens’ health.

    This is got to be one of the dumbest things I heard you say. Unless you are willing to redefine child abuse, which I take to mean, physicaly harming or sexually abusing a child, you are opening pandora’s box for a whole list of parental behaviors that could also be called child abuse by your definition. It is also possibly an insult to those that have experience ‘true’ abuse as a child. Currently I do not have time to address your statement further, but will try to do so later in the day.

  2. #2 Boris
    January 7, 2009

    which I take to mean, physicaly harming or sexually abusing a child

    You’ve never heard of emotional abuse?

  3. #3 CommiusRex
    January 7, 2009

    Danimal – you have heard of emotional and psychological abuse, yes? Are you claiming that these are not real abuses of children?

  4. #4 The Perky Skeptic
    January 7, 2009

    Emotional and psychological abuse is real, lasting, damaging, harmful abuse. I grew up in a family that was rife with it, and so did a few of my friends. Would you like to hear some horror stories? I agree 100 percent with Mark here. Rejecting a part of a child’s identity over which he has no control, which demonstrably leads to kids having greater incidence of suicide attempts, well, that’s abuse in my book.

  5. #5 spurge
    January 7, 2009

    He has not redefined child abuse Danimal, you have.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abuse

    Child abuse is the physical, PSYCHOLOGICAL or sexual maltreatment of children.

    I think you need to do a little research and apologize for your insulting and ignorant post.

  6. #6 Bob O'H
    January 7, 2009

    For another, there isn’t a good alternate explanation for the observed patterns.

    Recall bias?

    I agree with you that the results make sense, and are probably the main explanation (and those are stonkingly huge ORs). I’ve no idea how large recall bias tends to be, though.

  7. #7 chat
    January 7, 2009

    thanks you very god mcx

  8. #8 tokyonambu
    January 7, 2009

    You’re assuming, of course, that parents who reject their homosexual child regard suicide as a bad outcome.

  9. #9 SLC
    January 7, 2009

    One has to realize here that most born agains steadfastly reject the hypothesis that homosexuality has a genetic component and no evidence showing otherwise will ever convince them. This is much like their rejection of the Theory of Evolution. This is the old story, their minds are made up, the facts are irrelevant.

  10. #10 Interrobang
    January 7, 2009

    That paper is certainly consistent with my experience, speaking as someone who sat up many long nights with a terrified 17 year old boy who’d been turned out of his home (and had never even been away overnight previously) for having come out to his fundamentalist Christian parents…

  11. #11 Dr. Matthew
    January 7, 2009

    These are the exact reasons I have gotten into the area of internalized homophobia and minority stress research. Just as a quick response to Bob O’H, there are actually numerous studies on memory deterioration and bias specific to abuse, harmful childhood experiences, etc. Just as a few points from that research, 1) the younger the participant, the less the skewing (I’ve yet to read the full article, but mean age is important), 2) no one LIKES to be abused – if anything, people are more likely to minimize or become less aware of negative events over time, though there are exceptions, and 3) the odds ratios of the high rejection groups here dwarf the minor skews you see in psychological research re: memory distortion. If you’ve never worked with the gay and lesbian community, distortion might seem a more likely factor, but it really only takes meeting a few young gay men that have been shot at by parents chasing them from the home, or men raised in strict Mormon homes whose parents made the decision to ostracize them. In fact, clinically, the worse off gay men I’ve met are the adults of all ages whose entire families (mother, father, siblings) were complicit in decisions to cut off all contact suddenly and cruelly.

    Thanks for covering this, Mark, I think I’ve commented before that it’d be great if you weigh in from time to time on the ridiculous denialism regarding homosexuality common among fundamentalists.

  12. #12 Evinfuilt
    January 7, 2009

    I still try and understand my parents reasoning for rejecting me. My father is not particularly religious and my mom is most likely a closet atheist. Yet they decided to reject me from the family so they wouldn’t have to explain me to their friends.

    I don’t even need to explain to them that its not a choice, they understand that, they don’t think its evil or a sin, just wrong, broken. Its what made the rejection even harder, I was rejected so that they wouldn’t have to explain me to their bigoted friends/family. I love the final farewell, “Its not like we’re writing you out of the will, we just don’t want to deal with you ever again.”

  13. #13 Danimal
    January 7, 2009

    As others have pointed out wikipedia” defines child abuse as:

    Child abuse is the physical, psychological or sexual maltreatment of children.

    I actually realized my mistake before other commenters already pointed out. However I still have problems with MarkH’s comment:

    Sure enough, this article published in the journal Pediatrics last week suggests this is in fact the case, and I believe we must begin to view the rejection of homosexuality by parents as not just as small-minded, but actively harmful, constituting child abuse that has long term implications on their childrens’ health.

    I have problems with the study itself as it is a self reporting survey with all the problems associated with them. For example, in the news today is another article for the same journal published this piece of trash.. I will refer to Dr. Isis’s Figure 2 about that studies worth. Without going into it myself I will refer to Dr. Michael Seigel’s comments here and Reason’s comments here. The only reason I bring it up is that smokers are often accused of being child abusers. Search google for ‘smokers child abuse’ for details or watch the controversial video put out and paid for by the American Lung Association (ALA) here. The video was quickly pulled from the air due to outrage.
    While like most here I can agree that there are forms of psychological and mental abuse, I do not see this as one of them, mainly because it highly subjective. What is meant by rejection? Are people kicking underage kids out of the house and out on the street? Yes that would be abuse if they are under 18. But if not, would these behaviors also be abuse: (a) parents reject their daughter for becoming pregnant (this actually happened to an Aunt, her parents (my grandparents) sent her to a convent to have the baby so she would not embarrass the family), (b) parents do not like teenager’s friends and force teenager to give them up, (c) yell at kids for bad grades drugs, etc., (d) being poor at whatever they had high expectation for (examples sports), (e) finding out heterosexual teenager is having sex and rejecting them, etc.
    My point is how do you quantify psychological or emotional abuse? I encourage you to watch the video put out by the ALA. From a teenager points of view being yelled at constitutes abuse. The obesity crowd is getting into the act also. Does letting children get fat constitute abuse? Letting a child play sports, ride in a vehicle, ride a bike, etc., all put a child at greater risk then second hand smoke. Is that abuse? My point is that parents that reject children based on certain behaviors may make them lousy parents but without more information and only based on a self reporting survey makes MarkH’s comment dumb. My sister rejected one of her son’s because he started hitting her and forced him to move in with his father who is unhappy about having to take him, is that abuse? I have not found a good definition of psychological/mental abuse and how to identity it. That does not mean it does not exist, but probably falls in the category “I know it when I see it.”

  14. #14 Danimal
    January 7, 2009

    As promised I let a more lengthy reply that need to be approved because of all the links.

  15. #15 Sanguinity
    January 7, 2009

    Any sense in the paper of what “high rejection” and “moderate rejection” mean in concrete terms? I’m kinda wondering if that “high rejection” OR column is simply a documentation of what happens when you throw your kid out of the house and s/he ends up living on the street.

  16. #16 Oldfart
    January 8, 2009

    I agree with Danimal. Too many things are called “child abuse”. I’m sure that some people would consider that I’m guilty of child abuse because I raised my kids without benefit of a religious education. In some circles, that would be considered emotional abuse. None of us are born parents and none of us are taught parenting. We make decisions on child-rearing issues based on our own historical, emotional, physical, political, religious perspectives. Sometimes we are wrong. Sometimes, being wrong also means being criminal or psychotic. But calling everything you don’t agree with “child abuse” waters down the essence of the term to the point where it is meaningless.

    If you define anything that causes harm to a child as “child abuse”, then we are all guilty of it. There is no way not to cause harm of some kind to a child. And, likely, you will never know it until he/she becomes an adult and tells you all about how you terrified him/her when she/he was a kid. Or did some other terrible thing you weren’t even aware of.

  17. #17 The Perky Skeptic
    January 8, 2009

    Dude, this is causing significant suicide risk! If that ain’t abusive, I don’t know what is!

  18. #18 minimalist
    January 8, 2009

    Pfft, Perky Skeptic. Do they have bruises? Scars? Then they should just suck it up, the little crybabies.

    Why, in my day, my Dad would kill us every night, then dance on our graves singin’ Alleluia.

    You tell that to kids these days, though, and they won’t believe you. Aye.

  19. #19 rpsms
    January 8, 2009

    re: perky: Which “this” are you referring to specifically?

    Danimal certainly has a strong point, and obviously acknowledges the “shades of grey” nature of the issue.

    However, self-reporting as a primary tool is not going to go away any time soon.

  20. #20 Oldfart
    January 8, 2009

    From Pharyngula’s blog:

    Glastonbury is the legendary burial place of King Arthur, so as you might imagine, if you’re a fey English wackaloon with a fondness for magic crystals and pagan rituals, it’s a magnetic attraction. How bad can it be? Well, the wicked government of Great Britain, always trying to suppress the Old Ways and encourage this horrible practice of “modernization”, has flipped the switch and turned on free wireless networking for the whole town. Evil!
    “I don’t want my son exposed to risk 24 hours a day, including at his primary school, which is within the Wi-Fi zone,” yoga teacher Natalie Fee tells London’s Telegraph. “I would be failing in my duty as a parent if I did.”

    This woman obviously thinks that radiation from WiFi servers will do serious harm to her child. Should she be able to determine just what child abuse is? There are many voters just like her and American schools are rife with administrators who practice zero tolerance to the point of imbecility.

    How about it Perky? Why don’t we define “child abuse” as every thing a parent does that makes his/her child uncomfortable or risks them in any way (like driving to the store)? I bet there is more significant risk to taking a child on a Sunday afternoon’s drive than there is to rejecting certain behaviors over others.

  21. #21 minimalist
    January 8, 2009

    certain behaviors

    Yes, because homosexuality is a choice and obviously all those queer kids were totally asking to get bashed, just like mommy and daddy said.

    Fuck you.

    That’s all you deserve,

    Fuck you.

  22. #22 mandrake
    January 8, 2009

    It would seem difficult here to control for parent rejection vs. community rejection, wouldn’t it? Conservative parents would be more likely in a conservative area, & wouldn’t that be a factor in suicide risk?

  23. #23 minimalist
    January 8, 2009

    They also don’t state whether physical abuse was ever a factor; seems obvious to me that they should have controlled by excluding respondents who had ever been physically or sexually abused. But they never explicitly state whether that was the case.

    I’d also like to have seen the actual list of accepting/rejecting behaviors that the authors used. Should at least have included it among supplementary material.

    There’s a troubling lack of transparency in this study, unless I’m missing something.

  24. #24 The Perky Skeptic
    January 8, 2009

    I agree that Danimal raises a good point– I too would like to see the criteria the authors used.

    However, the slippery-slope argument I seem to be hearing out of Oldfart is just a logical fallacy. No one is equating mere discomfort with abuse.

  25. #25 minimalist
    January 8, 2009

    There also seems to be a complete lack of understanding on Danimal’s and Oldfart’s part that there is a clear dividing line here, and it is the difference between a reaction to behaviors, and a continuous, systematic rejection based on a factor that is totally beyond the victim’s control.

    Yell at a dog for pooping on the floor, the dog will learn to go outside. Yell at a dog for being a dog, and the dog will learn to be afraid of people.

    I do also happen to think that severing ties with a pregnant daughter constitutes abuse as well. I think it is a clear, total abdication of parental responsibility. It’s hard to see how that could not meet any definition of abuse, or how one could consider it “stupid” that a child could possibly be subjected to lasting psychological harm as a result.

    “Hey, the parents only just cut the child off from all emotional guidance and support during a crisis point in their life, which occurred during years that are, demonstrably beyond any shadow of a doubt, the most emotionally fragile period in a human being’s life! It’s totally just like that time Daddy spanked me for smoking behind the garage!”

  26. #26 Bluegrass Geek
    January 8, 2009

    From a teenager points of view being yelled at constitutes abuse.

    This is why we don’t let teenagers define psychological terms. Really, your issue seems to be more with the people who shout “Abuse!” at any opportunity, while this blogpost is about the actual psychological phenomenon of abuse.

  27. #27 Teresa
    January 9, 2009

    Danimal,

    Getting pregnant, doing drugs, getting bad grades are the results of choices the child made (assuming that they are a typically-abled child. Punishing a mentally challenged child for getting bad grades could be seen as abusive.)

    While some people might see some punishments for these transgressions of a child to be excessive, or not agree with the parent’s choices, it would be difficult to get a lot of traction for calling it abuse.

    But punishing a child, rejecting them, sending them messages of inadequacy and doing psychological harm that could result in suicide or self-destructive behavior for something over which they have no control is both unjust and abusive.

    Your argument does not address the fundimental points of the post, which is that the parents are punishing kids for something over which they have no control, and it has horrifying consequences.

  28. #28 Danimal
    January 9, 2009

    This is why we don’t let teenagers define psychological terms. Really, your issue seems to be more with the people who shout “Abuse!” at any opportunity, while this blogpost is about the actual psychological phenomenon of abuse.

    You are partially correct; I think certain people or groups are to broadly defining what abuse is. I do not have access to the full article, so it is hard to make clear statements. My issue is what exactly is meant by parental rejection? Were the teenagers, if in fact they were teenagers under 18, thrown out of the house? If so that is not only illegal, at least in the US, and would constitute abuse. Were they sent away to a boarding school or other such school? That would make them lousy parents, but in my view not constitute abuse. As already stated, from a teenager�s point of view being yelled at, spanked, cell phone privileges taken away, computer taken away, or any form of punishment, will be seen as abuse by most teenagers. This after all is just a self reporting survey who knows how long after the event(s). The other question that comes to mind is why did the teenagers (again I am presuming that they are) tell their parents that they were gay or how did the parents find out? Even heterosexual teenagers will not necessary tell their parents that they are sexually active for fear of punishment. The other issue is the journal itself publishing garbage like the third hand smoke article; it shows that the journal is not above publishing plain pure junk. Given a teenager that is openly gay, there easily can be other factors at play that lead to increased rates of suicide. For teenagers, their peers have much more influence then do parents. How were they treated by their peers? If poorly did this lead to low self esteem, Drug use, Suicide? Do we know? If not I consider it irresponsible to call this child abuse at least not without having farther information.

  29. #29 Brian Carnell
    January 9, 2009

    Oldfart wrote:

    “I agree with Danimal. Too many things are called “child abuse”. I’m sure that some people would consider that I’m guilty of child abuse because I raised my kids without benefit of a religious education. In some circles, that would be considered emotional abuse. None of us are born parents and none of us are taught parenting.”

    Heh…some of my family are convinced I’m risking relegating my children to hellfire and eternal damnation just because I’ve never had them baptized. And of course, how are they ever going to be fully functioning moral beings if they don’t go to church every Sunday?

  30. #30 minimalist
    January 9, 2009

    As already stated, from a teenager�s point of view being yelled at, spanked, cell phone privileges taken away, computer taken away, or any form of punishment, will be seen as abuse by most teenagers.

    Did you already forget the quote you cut-and-pasted?

    Also, the survey was not just “Did your parents reject/abuse you Y/N”, it was a list of over 100 behaviors that were roughly divided 50/50 into “accepting” and “rejecting” behaviors. The paper lists a few examples, such as “Were there times when you were denied from attending family functions for no reason other than your homosexuality”. That’s maybe not as exactingly specific as I’d like, but your perception seems to be that the teenagers were being asked very generic, subjective questions — they weren’t.

    Furthermore, the methodology does explicitly state that these questionnaires were not the only source of information: prior to the questionnaires, the subjects were also participants in extended counseling and conversations about their experiments to assess the specifics of their experiences.

    Of course there’s still going to be recall bias, but no more so than in any other study of this nature, and it’s not just teenagers going OMG MY PARENTS WERE SO MEEEEN FULL STOP. Also, if you have a better way of collecting this data I’d like to hear it.

    Given a teenager that is openly gay, there easily can be other factors at play that lead to increased rates of suicide. For teenagers, their peers have much more influence then do parents. How were they treated by their peers?

    Hahahahaha oh I get it now, you’re stupid. Sorry I wasted any time on you.

    The thing I like best about you is you are going to great lengths to question the evidence for something, the premise of which should be self-evident to anyone with the shakiest grasp of human relations (that the primary source of emotional support might cut off a child from that support and guidance during a crisis point in an emotionally-fragile time), but you’re willing to declare, without evidence, that “peers have much more influence than parents.”

    Here’s a few li’l hints, spanky: even leaving aside that you can’t even begin to quantify or even define “influence” in a rigorous manner (there being a ridiculously wide variety of behaviors, attitudes, and mental states, many of which are established well before adolescence), this is something even professionals argue over constantly. But, for example, studies show that parental influence is much stronger in the development of eating disorders than peer pressure and even media pressure. Across a wide range of behaviors, parental support and guidance is an effective buffer against negative influence from media and peers.

    Another hint: Journals publish bad articles all the time. Should we mistrust everything out of Science magazine because of Hwang Woo-Suk’s stem-cell fraud? Secondly, neither Reason nor Dr. Seigel deal with the actual point and methodology of the study. Their sole problem is with a reference in the discussion. Some reviewers probably should have taken them to task for overstating the confidence in the evidence of risk in “thirdhand smoke” in the discussion, but it was not the major point of the paper (which was about relating levels of knowledge about smoke risk in a home to the strictness of that home’s no-smoking policy, i.e. “absolutely no smoking indoors” versus “smoking indoors when kids aren’t around”, etc.). It may have set off some people’s Crazy Libertarian brain-wire, but nobody has shown that the data is not sound, which is the primary reason not to publish a paper, much less declare it “trash” and the journal untrustworthy.

    If not I consider it irresponsible to call this child abuse at least not without having farther information.

    It’s also irresponsible to blabber that someone is saying “the dumbest thing I heard you say” when you don’t know what you’re talking about (i.e. the details of the work in question), hope this helps

  31. #31 Katherine McCartney,Ph.D.
    January 9, 2009

    I knew at an early age that my youngest daughter was differnt than the rest of my childern. I let her be who she was and realized by the time she was four that she was gay. As an adult her biggest difficulty is finding a relationship with someone who is not emotionally damaged becaude of who they are.

  32. #32 DuWayne
    January 9, 2009

    Danimal -

    As others have rather nicely debunked your bs, I will stick to small fries.

    Were the teenagers, if in fact they were teenagers under 18, thrown out of the house? If so that is not only illegal, at least in the US, and would constitute abuse.

    This is flat wrong. It depends on the state, but in most states it’s not illegal if the kid is sixteen or seventeen.

  33. #33 Nemo
    January 11, 2009

    I think we should also be making the point that, even if homosexuality were a matter of choice, it would not be wrong. It harms no one (intrinsically). Of course that means challenging the christians more directly on ground that they claim as their own: morality. But I’m all for that.

  34. #34 Nemo
    January 11, 2009

    I think we should also be making the point that, even if homosexuality were a matter of choice, it would not be wrong. It harms no one (intrinsically). Of course that means challenging the christians more directly on ground that they claim as their own: morality. But I’m all for that.

  35. #35 ekcol
    January 11, 2009

    I think we should also be making the point that, even if homosexuality were a matter of choice, it would not be wrong. It harms no one (intrinsically).

    Nemo, you silly billy. What does morality have to do with harm or consequences of actions? Morality is just a big list of things you can and can’t do.

    Didn’t you go to Sunday school?

  36. #36 Danimal
    January 11, 2009

    DuWayne

    This is flat wrong. It depends on the state, but in most states it’s not illegal if the kid is sixteen or seventeen.

    Then my question/statement still holds, except change 18 to 16 or 17 depending on the state.

  37. #37 Danimal
    January 11, 2009

    minimalist

    Hahahahaha oh I get it now, you’re stupid. Sorry I wasted any time on you.

    Ok, at I no time, that I recall, did I ever call anyone any names, or call them dumb, stupid, etc. I did however say, the Mark’s statement was the dumbest thing he have ever said. I did NOT call Mark dumb and it would not occur to me to do so as I have nothing but the highest respect for the owners of this blog. That said, I consider your statement both psychologically and emotionally abusive. Luckily I am an adult so this could not be considered child abuse.

    I agree with you completely discounting the journal based on the third hand smoke article was improper. Note, that that study was funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute which only funds studies that will show harm from second hand smoke. The authors themselves quote the Surgeon General’s statement that there is “no save level of tobacco smoke.” even though that is not what the actual report said. This study is being used paint smokers (yes I smoke) as child abusers, even if the parents smoke outside. Yes I know the report does not say that, but anti-smoking groups are using the report to say exactly that.

    I come from a strict military and religious family. I became an Atheist in the 6th grade. I in fact got thrown out of the house simply for daring to raise my voice against my father. While even today my father and I do not get along, I do not view myself as have been abused. Corporal punishment was also normal, but reserved for when I really fucked up. Today he see my father as a really lousy Dad whom I do not really have anything more to do with.

    I was a teenager in the late seventies. While in high school we had to take anonymous surveys regarding drug use or sexually activity every year. While anecdotal, I never answered any of the questions truthfully. I you had read the results of my surveys, you would believe I was the biggest stud/slut in the world, not. You would have believed that I was using every illegal and legal drug there was, when in fact I did not use drugs. From what I recall most of my friend had similar fun with those said surveys.

    Without paying for the article under discussion and therefore having read nothing more then the abstract, I am willing to change my position if shown the error of my ways. The post that you called me stupid on, was one asking questions to which I did not have to answers. The answers to those questions would help.

    To Katherine McCartney,Ph.D.

    I let her be who she was and realized by the time she was four that she was gay.

    As the father of a 10 year old, I can tell you 4 year olds do not know anything about sex or even think about it. Puberty is where things start.

  38. #38 minimalist
    January 11, 2009

    Okay, let me clarify/expand on a point I neglected to earlier, and that is that I think you are also confusing levels of ‘abuse’ here. You seem to be defining abuse as something for which one can be prosecuted legally, but many people have a looser definition: that behaviors and parental attitudes can be considered ‘abusive’, without necessarily entailing seizing custody of the kids and throwing them in jail. That’s because parents can be educated to do better in those cases.

    MarkH’s post was quite clearly using the latter sense, in that he says at the end:

    So to the parents of homosexual parents an appeal. No more of this hate the sin love the sinner nonsense, just love and accept the child for who they are.

    To compare it to an earlier example you raised, a mother who overfeeds her child — proudly going on Maury Povich or some other freakshow to beam that her 400 pound toddler gets pizza any time of the day or night he wants — is engaging in behavior that is clearly harmful to the child. Her intentions may be more benign than some rage-o-holic with a belt, but in a way they’re both slaves to their own mental peculiarities — but ultimately that doesn’t excuse either of them.

    Still, intention counts a lot in some people’s minds, and people are far more likely to go the “what the fuck, are you crazy? stop overfeeding your child, it’s unhealthy” route, rather than the “lock ‘er up and throw away the key” route. And the same applies here. Again, quoting from Mark:

    I’m sure these parents think they’re doing the best thing for their children because they see themselves as rejecting the sin and not the sinner and the homosexuality is the problem.

    And certainly this would be the case for parents who loved their child right up until the point he/she came out, just because they personally couldn’t deal with it. They don’t mean to be cruel, yet they do need to be educated that their behavior toward their kids — for factors beyond the kid’s control — can have serious consequences.

    (Although another weakness of the study, as far as I could tell, is that I’m not sure if they assessed the parent/child relationship prior to coming out; that is, were there aspects of the relationship that were more subtly screwed up, as fundamentalist households tend to be. I don’t have journal access here at home so I can’t look it up to confirm until tomorrow.)

  39. #39 JYB
    January 11, 2009

    danimal

    As the father of a 10 year old, I can tell you 4 year olds do not know anything about sex or even think about it. Puberty is where things start.

    The parent post didn’t have anything to do with sex. It was about realizing her daughter was different and accepting that and still loving her.

    Just personally, my best friend growing up was always different. He was into drama. He took jazz dance classes. Even from the age of 8 I knew he was different somehow. When he came out in high school everyone was like…ummm..yeah..we know. I know “you could always tell” stories are uncool, but you could always tell in this case.

  40. #40 passionlessDrone
    January 12, 2009

    As the father of a 10 year old, I can tell you 4 year olds do not know anything about sex or even think about it. Puberty is where things start.

    Hehe. And as we all know, the only thing different about homosexuals and heterosexuals is sex. They never played with different toys as kids, all men love sports, all girls love shopping, the prefer the same style of dress, they certainly don’t talk any differently. Also, their brain structures aren’t any different. Yep, sex is the absolute only manifestation of homosexuality.

    You could have saved everyone a lot of time bothering responding to you had you just up and ‘come out’ with being an idiot earlier.

    - pD

  41. #41 windy
    January 12, 2009

    As the father of a 10 year old, I can tell you 4 year olds do not know anything about sex or even think about it.

    Up to a third of preschoolers masturbate, even without knowing about “sex”. Developing an attraction to the opposite or the same sex is another matter that does not require “knowing about sex”.

  42. #42 Peter
    January 28, 2009

    Mark, you completely overlook the fact that young people know that homosexuality is unnatural – even if they have the feelings.
    Realising that there is no scientific evidence to suggest anyone is born homosexual is the key to understanding this issue. Society has been sold a lie – refer to http://www.mygenes.co.nz/summary.htm for the truth.

    If those wrong feelings are affirmed, especially by parents, then they start to change their attitudes towards acceptance – reprogramming their minds to accept the unnatural.
    This same result would occur if a young person developed a liking for stealing – if it was condoned by parents they would be happy, if parents said it was wrong they would be unhappy – do you suggest that parents should affirm the desire to steal?

    What you are saying is that acceptance is better than reality. Sadly that locks them into the homosexual lifestyle which is inherently unhealthy. It also denies them the help to change from what is unnatural to what is clearly biologically natural, heterosexuality.
    depp=true

  43. #43 catherine
    January 29, 2009

    Some people here are getting all hung up on whether rejection of homosexual children is called child abuse or not. Who cares what it is called? The study shows that a lot of gay and lesbian youth who are rejected by their parents have very bad outcomes – suicide, in the extreme. That’s what you should be paying attention to, the results, not the label for it.

  44. #44 Pareidolius
    January 30, 2009

    Peter . . .
    [no homophobic rants here sorry] Is that an order? A regret? You really need to learn where to put your commas in order to convey your intentions clearly.

    I am always surprised how angry I get when people who are not homosexual, who know nothing about what it’s like to be gay, grow up gay and spend their life being gay, make idiotic pronoucements about me “choosing” to be gay. I should be used to it by now, but I’m shocked to see it here. I’ve lived this “inherently unhealty lifestyle” for nearly 50 years. I knew I was gay as early as 5. My worst health crisis so far has been a bad gall bladder. I’ve never had any STDs even though I’ve enjoyed a great sex life since I was 17. I’ve had two long-term relationships spanning more than 20 years (13 for the first and 7 for the second so far). Why such a charmed and satisfying existence? Mostly because my parents loved me unconditionally and never gave me any crap about my sexuality. Ever. I swing wide and assume your homophobia is fueled by religion or poor thinking/reasoning skills (d’oh! That’s redundant), especially when you spout conspiratorial sounding nonsense like “society has been sold a lie” and linking to what I can only assume is your own website. A website who’s main purpose seems to be to *SURPIRSE* . . . sell books. Good luck with that homophobia problem.

  45. #45 Pareidolius
    January 30, 2009

    Peter
    Religious bias confirmed. I just burrowed further into the website you linked to. Your “truth” about homosexuality is based on crackpot “research” that ultimately suggests help can be obtained from a certain bronze-age sky-god. Hardly peer reviewed science. You’ve been pwned godbot.

  46. #46 John
    January 31, 2009

    Peter:

    That’s one of the most ridiculous anti-gay links I’ve ever seen. First off, I should state the obvious- homosexual orientation IS NOT the same as homosexual sex. The fact that your link conflates the two makes it completely lose credibility- they don’t even know what homosexuality is in the first place. And the fact that more people experiment with homosexuality now than they did fifty years ago indicates society has influence on homosexual behavior? No shit. That doesn’t mean that society has influence on homosexual orientation. And they make the argument that because people have less gay sex at older ages, that means that gay people change orientation. Ever thought that old people just have less sex in general?

    The genetic arguments on that page have been refuted time and time again. Of course there is no single “gay gene”, no scientist suggests this. Furthermore, your link’s presentation of twin studies as proving that homosexuality is not genetic shows complete ignorance of how genes work.

    You clearly haven’t researched both sides of the argument if you believe anything your link says. I’ve read through half of the bullet points so far and haven’t seen a single one I can’t refute off the top of my head. But frankly, I don’t have the time or willpower to go through them all.

  47. #47 MarkH
    February 3, 2009

    Pareidolius, the no homophobic rants thing was my editing. I tried to disemvowel the fool but the changeover seems to have killed my disemvowel script. I’ll work on it.

  48. #48 Peridolius
    February 4, 2009

    Thanks Mark, that clears up the ending of that post at least. Peter, I apologize for besmirching your grammatical prowess, I stand by the rest of my rant however.

  49. #49 turnback-jimmy
    February 6, 2009

    Curious the general reaction to your results

    It seems you started from a conclusion and worked back until you got to the parents

    parents also reject their offspring’s partners based on other criteria ie. race, religion, colour, economic status,drug use, perceived ability to provide,level of education….. it’s endless

    I guess the ability to provide grandchildren and maintain the family lineage has been burnt into the human ethos pretty well

    Homosexuality closes this loop, that may be a contributing factor in this general equation

  50. #50 Jake
    February 7, 2009

    I take issue with some of the premises, but the conclusion remains valid.
    I have no doubt that anti-gay unborn child therapies will appear, but it should be pointed out that according to DNA studies several years ago it appears sexual orientation is at least in large part not genetic, hence children cannot be born gay. This strengthens the article, because it increases chance of failed anti-gay treatment and subsequent rejection.
    Another oversight is that parents may choose anti-gay therapies for unborn children out of compassion rather than hate because they don’t want their children to suffer a cruel world even though personally they have no issues whatsoever with it.

  51. #51 mieoux
    February 16, 2009

    This should be grounds for taking the child away from such a parent.

  52. #52 Julain Mentat
    February 17, 2009

    >> “if (stealing) was condoned by parents they would be
    >> happy, if parents said it was wrong they would be unhappy”

    Peter, FYI: stealing causes material harm to others, homosexuality does not.
    And you say the children would be equally ‘happy’; but when they grow up and develop a conscience, the thief could become very unhappy about the misery he’s brought to others.

  53. #53 jimbear
    March 4, 2009

    I agree with minimalist, as a gay man, who while did not get rejected by his immediate family for being gay, I still have aunts and uncles who pray for me. Being rejected for being gay is not like getting grounded for scratching the car or skipping school. It’s usually permanent estrangement and goes on for life. I have friends in that situation that for all intents and purposes are orphans with living relatives. For me, it does count as abuse.

  54. #54 jimbear
    March 4, 2009

    As a comment to Peter, well when your 12 years old and getting more out of professional wrestling than Marsha Brady on TV there is something inborn and biological about it. The only lifestyle CHOICE in this discussion is YOUR CHOICE OF RELIGION. Now piss off and go not vaccinate your 87 children or something.

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