WorldNetDaily. Golden Rule Pledge. Day of Silence.

I couldn’t think of a good title for this one so I just assembled the players, so to speak.
Check out this Worldnetdaily article banging away at the Day of Silence and then scroll about half way down the page and check out the “popular poster used to promote the Day of Silence.”
I was saddened to see that Linda Harvey believes her efforts were successful. But I had to smile a bit to think that the Golden Rule Pledge card was considered a promotion for the DOS.
Maybe next year we’ll have t-shirts…

The Man Who Would Be Queen – Chapters 1 & 2

Several commenters have mentioned and quoted from Michael Bailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen.
Click this link to read the first two chapters of the book.
The Man Who Would Be Queen is published by Joseph Henry Press.
Would be Queen
PS – Much has gotten in the way of the second part of Danielle’s remarks on gender identity issues, but they are coming soon…

Golden Rule Pledge on the Bilerico Project

Bil Browning, majordomo at the Bilerico Project, asked me to provide a post regarding the background of the Golden Rule Pledge. The article was posted May 16 and includes a statement from Eliza Byard at GLSEN regarding the project.
You can also subscribe to a Yahoo email group about the Golden Rule Pledge that will become more active toward the beginning of the next school year.

This is your brain. This is your brain on sex.

Something like that.
Scientific American’s Mind has an article this month giving a neural tour of the brain’s sexual response. The article supports Michael Bailey’s contention that women are more flexible in their erotic responding than men, who are more channeled into either same or opposite sex responding.
Here are the bullet points for the Mind article:

-Sexual desire and orgasm are subject to various influences on the brain and nervous system, which controls the sex glands and genitals.
-The ingredients of desire may differ for men and women, but researchers have revealed some surprising similarities. For example, visual stimuli spur sexual stirrings in women, as they do in men.
-Achieving orgasm, brain imaging studies show, involves more than heightened arousal. It requires a release of inhibitions engineered by shutdown of the brain’s center of vigilance in both sexes and a widespread neural power failure in females.

Makes for interesting weekend reading…

California Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage right

If you get Google alerts or some similar service, you already know that the California Supreme Court has issued a ruling recognizing a right to marriage for same-sex couples. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The state Supreme Court struck down California’s marriage law banning same sex couples from getting married in a historic decision Thursday that declared the law unconstitutional discrimination.
The decision will surely touch off an impassioned political fight.
The 4-3 opinion is the high court’s most important civil rights decision in more than a decade, and it is an epic legal victory for same-sex marriage advocates. California is now the second state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to be legally married.
According to the opinion, “we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union ‘between a man and a woman’ is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.”

Email alerts reactions from various groups range from “a full win” by gay groups to “a disregard of California voters” from conservative groups. The November ballot initiative will now be considered an effort to overturn this ruling.
Fallout and reactions:
Presidential candidates reactions
New York Times
Schwarzennegger
Associated Press

Rev. Hutcherson plans (another) Day of Silence protest

The SnoValley Star reports that Rev. Ken Hutcherson plans to protest his daughter’s high school again next year on the Day of Silence.

At a May 8 school board meeting, the Rev. Ken Hutcherson vowed to continue to protest the Day of Silence in coming years if the Mount Si High School Gay Straight Alliance holds it during school hours.
In fact, Hutcherson, who led about 100 protestors during the annual event late last month, vowed an even larger presence in the future.
“As parents, next year, if you let this happen when school is happening, I’m going to have to organize well enough there will be no kids coming to school,” he said at the meeting.

Some opposed to the Day of Silence say it is disrupting to school for students to be silent during classroom breaks. How is a protest where no kids go to school an improvement?
I am aware that there are some people in this area that are already planning to be involved in the Golden Rule Pledge next year. Some may even remain silent. So I am pretty sure some kids will be in school. My hope is that some evangelical parents will be passing out Golden Rule Pledge cards where they are most needed – at the protest.

60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An update from the mother of twins


Recently, I posted a link to a NPR broadcast outlining two approaches to treating children who are gender non-conforming in their play and activity preferences. In light of that broadcast and the controversies surrounding these different approaches, I provide an update from Danielle, the mother of twin boys first featured in a 60 Minutes broadcast originally aired on March 12, 2006. The segment, titled Science and Sexual Orientation, was by any measure a provocative program. The producer answered numerous questions about the show on the CBS website and many blogs, including this one, provided commentary. I still use the clip in some of my classes to illustrate a variety of issues regarding how the media interprets sexual orientation research.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show was Leslie Stahl’s interview with twin 9-year-old boys, Adam and Jared. Recently, the mother of the twins, Danielle, wrote researcher Michael Bailey with an update regarding her son, Adam. Dr. Bailey and Danielle allowed me to share the note on the blog. She does not preach or lecture but rather reports on her experience. First, to set the stage, I want to reproduce an excerpt of the 60 Minutes segment introducing Adam and Jared:

The bedrooms of 9-year-old twins Adam and Jared couldn’t be more different. Jared’s room is decked out with camouflage, airplanes, and military toys, while Adam’s room sports a pastel canopy, stuffed animals, and white horses.

When Stahl came for a visit, Jared was eager to show her his G.I. Joe collection. “I have ones that say like Marine and SWAT. And then that’s where I keep all the guns for ’em,” he explained.
Adam was also proud to show off his toys. “This is one of my dolls. Bratz baby,” he said.

Adam wears pinkish-purple nail polish, adorned with stars and diamonds.

Asked if he went to school like that, Adam says, “Uh-huh. I just showed them my nails, and they were like, ‘Why did you do that?'”

Adam’s behavior is called childhood gender nonconformity, meaning a child whose interests and behaviors are more typical of the opposite sex. Research shows that kids with extreme gender nonconformity usually grow up to be gay.

Danielle, Adam and Jared’s mom, says she began to notice this difference in Adam when he was about 18 months old and began asking for a Barbie doll. Jared, meanwhile, was asking for fire trucks.

Not that much has changed. Jared’s favorite game now is Battlefield 2, Special Forces. As for Adam, he says, “It’s called Neopets: The Darkest Faerie.”

Asked how he would describe himself to a stranger, Jared says, “I’m a kid who likes G.I. Joes and games and TV.”

“I would say like a girl,” Adam replied to the same question. When asked why he thinks that is, Adam shrugged.

In this email, Danielle reveals that at one time Adam thought he would like to be a girl. In fact, she considered puberty delaying drugs to allow Adam more time to reflect about his gender identity. At one point, he wanted to be a girl and bear a child via his own body.

With this update, Danielle discloses that Adam is not as definite about wanting to transition as he once was. She reports that he has adopted a male identification, albeit a somewhat unconventional one. Here is her update:

Adam has changed since we did the 60 Minutes show. He is the same yet different. From the research done a gazillon years ago about children like him- he’s basically following the guidelines as they were told to me. One day I would love to get my hands on the actual research papers! Anyway, he turns 12 on [recently]. He still shows a preference for society labeled “girl” items, yet he no longer states he wants to change his body into a girl. He no longer talks about having a baby from his actual body or wanting to know when he will start to grow his breasts.

I think most of these changes are due to society (school peers) and his awareness of the actual facts of life. His favorite color is now purple instead of pink and he still prefers to buy “girl” tennis shoes. He dreams of becoming an actor/model and being a professional chef. As I stated, from what I know of this past research, he’s reaching the age where he’s blending in with his peers. I expect the next two years of Middle School to be difficult ones. Then he goes into High School where differences are just a way of life. I’m thinking he may actually find out who he is some time towards the end of High School. Again it follows what I know of this mysterious research paper.

I belong to several email groups with other families that have children like Adam. I don’t participate much because I’m not sure if most of them are following the right path with their children. I often wonder “if” I had told Adam that “yes” he could be a girl when he became old enough would he have stayed on that track of thought? However, at the urging of his therapist, I told him I understood he felt he was a girl yet he was really a boy and couldn’t be a girl. A lot of the parents are allowing their children to grow long hair, dress 100 % as a girl, and go to school with a girl name and girl clothing. Therefore they are totally embracing their child in the opposite sex role. The children are living that role and that life style. So have I done my son an injustice by telling him that he has a boy’s body and even if he wants to be a girl during school hours he had to be the boy as his body was made? Then again, I have allowed him to wear just about anything he was comfortable wearing.

It’s a dilemma that I don’t think we will know the end of until this generation of children grows up. What happens if some of these children that have male bodies but are living life as a girl all through grade school finally reach an age where they decide they really don’t want to have a sex change and be a physical girl? Then what will the ramifications be on that child because of the parents’ actions?

It’s not like my child has Down syndrome and I can go to the library and check out 100s of books to get guidance on how to raise him. There just isn’t much out there for parents who face raising a child like my Adam. I have so many questions about parenting him and very little answers. So I go with my gut and wonder daily if I have made the wrong decision or if these other parents are making the wrong decision. Then again, what may be the wrong decision for one child in this situation may be the right decision for the other. Ah, what a world we live in! Fifty years ago we wouldn’t even be having these types of conversations or email groups.

I have to share something about Adam. I have often wondered how these other kids are developing compared to Adam. Many in the groups have started hormone therapy to stop puberty in the kids. That way the kids have more time to mature and make the final decision about the course of their lives. For the boys they won’t develop the deeper voice and the Adam’s apple and male characteristics. If they decide to transition the theory is that it will be easier without these developments. I made an appointment for Adam to have some baseline tests done. I was seriously thinking about doing the hormone therapy for him to give him more time too. However, much to my surprise he was ready deep into puberty. The doctor said we could still proceed with it but I really couldn’t expect to have undone what was already there. He was developing much earlier than expected. Now his twin, Jared, still hasn’t started into puberty. So, my question is – with boys that follow gender non-conformity – do they start developing earlier than their peers? I realize we won’t have the answer for many, many more years to come.

First of all, I am grateful to Danielle and Dr. Bailey for permission to reproduce this communication. Second, I think it is important for clinicians and advocates alike to reflect on what we can learn from this experience. As far as I can determine from available research, most boys who want to be girls later become men who don’t want to become women. Using the new paradigm with Adam may have altered his future in ways that could have added significant complication to his life.

Given that this email was sent to Dr. Bailey, I asked him for commentary.

Danielle is an admirable and unusual mother. She went to great lengths to protect Adam and to show him that she loved him regardless of his gender-related behavior and self-concept. She let Adam express his femininity (e.g., fill his room with “girls'” toys), while providing him with honest feedback about the likely results of his choices, outside their home. She also hesitated–in my view sensibly so–from encouraging Adam to begin a gender transition during childhood. I have met Adam, and I have read Danielle’s updates. I would be surprised at this point if Adam decides to change his sex. He seems a happy boy, and I expect he will become a happy young gay man.

I wonder, with Danielle, about the implications for gender-atypical children whose parents take the other, emerging, approach: allowing children to change their genders preliminary to biological sex changes in adolescence. Children like Adam start showing their behavior early (Adam at 18 months). All evidence we have suggests that only a minority (20% or fewer) of boys like Adam become women eventually. But if parents let boys become girls at childhood, will this drive up the probability? It seems highly plausible that it would. Sex reassignment is not minor medical intervention. It involves major surgery and lifelong hormonal treatments. All other things being equal, sex reassignment is something to be avoided. Of course, not all other things are equal. If a 6 year old boy wants to be a girl, it will cause him more short-term pain to refuse than to acquiesce. The costs and benefits are hard to estimate, and Danielle has been frustrated in her search for data-supported answers. It would be a fitting reward to her admirable example if people could set aside their differences (and the government could uncharacteristically support research on a controversial topic relate to sex), and begin to collect and share requisite data.

Danielle and Adam should remind us that even if treated liberally, gender-atypical children will not necessarily choose sex reassignment. Indeed, perhaps the most liberal goal of all is to allow gender-atypical children to be comfortable in their own (non surgically altered) skin. By all appearances, that is what Danielle has accomplished.

Since this email, I have corresponded more with Danielle. She has added some additional detail which I will report tomorrow. Specifically, she describes how she has responded to Adam when he has expressed questions about transitioning.

David Scasta talks on NPR about the APA symposium

On NPR’s Bryant Park Project, David Scasta talked about the cancelled symposium. You will need to listen to the audio to get the discussion since the article is not a transcript.
I will have some comments about this as the day goes on…

Misconceptions about the Sexual Identity Therapy framework

In the “reporting” by Gay City News regarding the now-cancelled APA symposium, a claim was made about the Sexual Identity Therapy framework. The symposium, approved by the APA program committee 7 months ago, was to include a presentation of this framework and related issues which would have allowed for questions and discussion.
The GCN said I am an advocate for sexual identity therapy and described it this way:
“Sexual Identity Therapy,” which he [Throckmorton] says he has successfully applied to help patients “alter homosexual feelings or behaviors” and live their lives “heterosexually” with “only very few weak instances of homosexual attraction.”
This is false. The article attributes to me claims about SIT I have never made. In fact, the SIT framework says this:

Prior to outlining the recommendations, let us define what they are not. They are not sexual reorientation therapy protocols in disguise.

The SIT framework, first contemplated formally in 2005, does not advance any means to do what the GCN article references (“alter homosexual feelings or behavior”), nor do they provide any reference for their assertion. Putting these phrases in quotes makes it appear that I have been quoted in reference to SIT when in fact that is not true. The SIT framework provides an ethical set of guidelines for therapists and clients pursuing a variety of goals but does not prescribe any specific goals. Some clients may wish to alter their sexual behavior but SIT does not prescribe this end unless it is the objective of an individual client.
The article said that there is no research support for the SIT framework and while it is true that we have no outcome studies as yet. It is misleading to portray it as being without research foundation. A review of the SIT framework will demonstrate that we have taken into account current research regarding sexual orientation, sexual identity and specify that clients should be informed about the positions of professional associations regarding homosexuality.
Those wishing to characterize the framework should read it first. Those with specific questions or criticisms, please alert either Mark Yarhouse or me.