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Schools warned against affirming same sex attractions

April 08, 2010 By: Tom Coy Category: Clinical Science

By Thomas Coy

The American College of Pediatricians has sent a letter to all 14,800 school districts in the United States warning them that premature labeling of students with same-sex attractions may “lead some adolescents into harmful homosexual behaviors that they otherwise would not pursue.”

The ACOP warning is based on studies that demonstrate “most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual.”

“Even children with Gender Identity Disorder (when a child desires to be the opposite sex) will typically lose this desire by puberty, if the behavior is not reinforced. Researchers, Zucker and Bradley, also maintain that when parents or others allow or encourage a child to behave and be treated as the opposite sex, the confusion is reinforced and the child is conditioned for a life of unnecessary pain and suffering.”

Well-intentioned but misinformed school personnel who encourage students to “come out as gay” and be “affirmed” may push sexually confused youth into harmful behavior. “Among adolescents who claim a “gay” identity, the health risks include higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide.” It does not get better in adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control men who have sex with other men are diagnosed with HIV 44 times as much as other men.

“Encouragingly, the longer students delay self-labeling as “gay,” the less likely they are to experience these health risks. In fact, for each year an adolescent delays, the risk of suicide alone decreases by 20%.”

“In dealing with adolescents experiencing same-sex attraction, it is essential to understand there is no scientific evidence that an individual is born “gay” or “transgender.” Instead, the best available research points to multiple factors – primarily social and familial – that predispose children and adolescents to homosexual attraction and/or gender confusion. It is also critical to understand that these conditions can respond well to therapy.”

The ACOP sent the mass mailing out to counter the misinformation in the American Psychological Association’s Just the Facts pamphlet. ACOP medical professionals claim the APA pamphlet is “biased and grossly misleading,” omitting critical facts and placing “young people at increased risk of grave psychological, emotional, and physical harm.”

The ACOP maintains “[it] is not the school’s role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not a school’s role to “affirm” a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.” The ACOP is encouraging parents to read the letter and visit their website Parents are also encouraged by the ACOP to make sure that their school boards and administrators are aware of these facts.

(Quotations are from the ACOP letter. The CDC statistic is from an ACOP Fact Sheet.”

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