VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A member of the Pontifical Council for the Family is welcoming a statement from the American College of Pediatricians regarding the harmful effects of reinforcing gender identity confusion in children.
Christine Vollmer, also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, president of Alliance for the Family and leader of the Alive to the World initiative, lauded the March 31 letter sent to 14,800 school superintendents across the United States.
Citing various research studies, the college affirmed that many adolescents go through a stage of experiencing sexual confusion, but that they generally pass through this if it is not reinforced.
The letter, signed by Doctor Tom Benton, president of the pediatric college, affirmed, “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.”
They warned that “even when motivated by noble intentions, schools can ironically play a detrimental role if they reinforce this disorder.”
The letter informed the educational professionals that “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,” it added, “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 college noted, underlining a study which shows that “individuals with unwanted same sex attraction often can be successfully treated; there is no undue risk to patients from embarking on such therapy and; as a group, homosexuals experience significantly higher levels of mental and physical health problems compared to heterosexuals.”
It noted that these health risks seen “among adolescents who claim a ‘gay’ identity” are: “higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide.”
“It is the school’s legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students,” the statement affirmed. “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.”
“It is critical to the health of your students that you and your staff rely on accurate information regarding sexual orientation and gender confusion issues,” it added.
To this end, the college launched a Facts About Youth Web site with data and facts from the Centers for Disease Control and research institutions for school staff and parents.
In a statement to ZENIT, Vollmer affirmed, “It is wonderful to have this made absolutely clear, and so much well-meaning but ill-placed ‘acceptance’ put into proper perspective.”
She noted that Alive to the World, which has a 12-year curriculum, “has clear guidelines for understanding and accompanying children and adolescents through the various psychological stages to maturity,” including the desire by prepubescent children to be of the opposite sex.
Vollmer affirmed: “In the words of Doctor Benton, ‘Adolescence is a time of upheaval and impermanence. Adolescents experience confusion about many things, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and they are particularly vulnerable to environmental influences.'”
“What is needed,” she said, “is a solid curriculum which can encourage character growth through self-knowledge in the light of universal values.”
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On the Net:
Alliance for the Family: http://www.allianceforfamily.org/
Facts About Youth: www.FactsAboutYouth.com