Gay Curricula Should Conform To Science

DR. RICHARD FITZGIBBONS

Richard Fitzgibbons, a Philadelphia psychiatrist, told The Bulletin that many of the conceptions that drive the push for curricula that endorse a homosexual lifestyle have no basis in scientific findings.

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The press for tolerance education for homosexuality in classrooms is driven by the desire to provide safe, learning-friendly environments for all students. The program of education is based on the testimony of teachers that intimidation of children with same-sex attractions is rampant in schools, and prejudice against gay people is strong enough to keep teachers from "coming out."

However, a Philadelphia psychiatrist told The Bulletin that many of the conceptions that drive the push for curricula that endorse a homosexual lifestyle have no basis in scientific findings.

Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons is the director of the Institute for Marital Healing in West Conshohocken and has worked with thousands of patients over the past 30 years. He has lectured at the International Institute for Culture on identifying and resolving emotional conflicts in children. Dr. Fitzgibbons said that there is ample evidence to show that homosexual relationships are not on par with heterosexual ones.

"People are being taught through media and government that there is no difference between the homosexual lifestyle and the heterosexual lifestyle," said Dr. Fitzgibbons. But he said there is no scientific evidence to support that message.

Dr. Fitzgibbons and other psychiatric researchers from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) compiled information from various scientific studies on homosexuality to debunk unscientific claims about homosexual relationships.

"Homosexual relationships are abusive between 35 and 55 percent of the time," said Dr. Fitzgibbons. "Heterosexual relationships have about 7 percent abuse."

Joanne Glussman, the leader of a group called the Mainline Youth Alliance (MYA), which is designed to provide a place for social interaction of students who identify as homosexual, favors educational initiatives that endorse homosexuality. She pointed to a 2008 poll by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of over 6,000 middle and high school students that found nearly nine out of 10 gay students felt harassed at school in the past year. About a third of those students said they had skipped a day of school in the past month because they did not feel safe.

"That's really what it's about," said Ms. Glusman. "Because as you know if you've done your research, these kids are at exorbitantly high risk of harassment, physical harm and even death."

 

Still, Dr. Fitzgibbons brings a host of scientific research to endorse his position. Scientists have found that persons with same-sex attractions are at a much greater risk of suffering from other psychological disorders, such as depression, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide. These studies were published by the American Journal of Public Health, the International Journal of Epidemiology and the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Fitzgibbons said these studies indicate homosexual relationships have problems with commitment and don't come anywhere close to the levels of commitment reflected in heterosexual unions. Such a relationship scene, he says, goes against what people expect from relationships.

Dr. Fitzgibbons said these studies indicate homosexual relationships have problems with commitment and don't come anywhere close to the levels of commitment reflected in heterosexual unions. Such a relationship scene, he says, goes against what people expect from relationships.

"We're geared for commitment," said Dr. Fitzgibbons. "If you look at homosexual relationships, there's a lack of exclusivity; there's a lack of commitment. Promiscuity is highly rampant."

Insights into the issue of same-sex attraction can be gained by looking at the developmental and environmental causes for it. While there is no scientific evidence that people are born with same-sex attractions, studies have shown that many same-sex attractions are products of Gender Identity Disorder (GID), where a child becomes associated with acting like the opposite sex. Many cases of GID begin with parental issues or with rejection by peers.

"Same-sex attractions are very fluid, especially when you're young," he said. "You can have them for a certain amount of time, and then they leave when you mature. One of the problems, especially with boys, is lack of hand-eye coordination. We live in a culture that is obsessed with sports. If you can't play sports it's hard to feel yourself accepted into the male world. Boys who are rejected because of that may begin to identify with the female instead of the male."

Dr. Fitzgibbons said that children should be taught the risks of homosexual relationships, not that those relationships are just as stable or healthy as heterosexual ones.

"I think children have the right to know that if people choose that lifestyle, your chance of being abused in that lifestyle are five times more than in a heterosexual lifestyle," said Dr. Fitzgibbons. "And they are not being taught the truth. They're being educated into what is untrue. They are being put at risk, because the relationships are profoundly unstable, [and] children deserve better than that. The gold standard for raising children is a home where there is a father and mother and they are stable. A father and a mother bring a special gift to a child that two fathers or two mothers cannot give."

 

Ms. Glusman told The Bulletin that the dangers of bullying are of paramount importance to programs endorsing inclusive views of homosexual relationships.

"There's so much pressure on kids today to be a certain way and when they're not, they're harassed," she said.

Dr. Fitzgibbons admitted that bullying is a problem in schools, but said children tend more often to bully others for their appearance.

"We want to protect kids from bullying, but we don't want to do so by endorsing a lifestyle that is dangerous for their emotional and physical health," he said. "We have a serious problem with excessive anger in children. There are many reasons for that, stemming from problems in the family."

Dr. Fitzgibbons endorses a return to a more positive approach to psychology, emphasizing strengths and virtues to build character among children.

"The major virtues that overcome anger are kindness, forgiveness," he said. "That needs to be emphasized."

 

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

John P. Connolly. "Psychiatrist: Gay Curricula Should Conform To Science." The Bulletin (February 12, 2009).

The Bulletin is Philadelphia's family paper.

THE AUTHOR

John P. Connolly writes for The Bulletin.

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons is a psychiatrist and Director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in W. Conshohocken, PA and the co-author with Robert Enright, of Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, 2000, American Psychological Association Books.

Copyright © 2009 The Bulletin




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