First it was pink toenails. Then it was Chaz Bono (until Fox News pulled the article). Now, Fox News Medical A-Team contributor Dr. Keith Ablow is back to confuse readers about sexual orientation, sexual disorders, and gender identity in a post devoid of any valid conclusions. The premise of his article is to defend his previous claim that Vogue’s sexual images of minors “can actually ‘create’ pedophiles.” Here are some of the fanciful ideas Ablow squeezes into his pieceunder that pretense:
– Pedophilia is a “sexual orientation.” (It’s not, it’s a psychiatric disorder.)
– Sexual orientation can be shaped by one’s environment. (He is correct that “desires” and “behavior” can be influenced by environment, but neglects to draw any distinction between contextual responses and an enduring orientation.)
– Prison normalizes homosexuality. (Besides reinforcing a stereotype, Ablow again conflates behavior with orientation. Men who have sex with men in prison don’t become gay.)
– People who are transgender “are on tortuous, tragic paths through confused identity issues.” (Any psychologist with an ounce of merit would appreciate that transitioning gender is all about affirming the individual’s identity, and while the journey may be challenging, there is nothing “tortuous,” “tragic,” or “confusing” about it.)
– Gender dysphoria can be “kindled” and shaped by one’s environment. (What Ablow is insinuating is that, like sexual orientation, gender identity is also a choice — or at least something that can be controlled. On both counts, he is wrong.)
It’s astonishing that Fox News would boast having someone like Ablow on its “Medical A-Team” when everything that he writes is fiction. Then again, perhaps Fox News has little interest in providing factual data to its audience when propagating myths about the LGBT community caters so much more to social conservatives’ interests.