January 25, 2005 - Dr. Sander Breiner, a member of NARTH's Scientific Advisory Committee, recently expanded upon a paper on "Adolescent Homosexuality" he presented at the November, 2004 NARTH conference in Washington, DC. (Dr. Breiner's paper is currently posted on the NARTH web site.)
Sexually questioning youth are vulnerable to the derailment of their normal heterosexuality, Dr. Breiner asserted, when they are urged to consider the possibility of being same-sex attracted.
Dr. Breiner's paper dealt with the current scientific knowledge on the development of the brain during pre-teen and teen years as it relates to hormones and emotional maturity. One of the sources for this paper was a book edited by Dr. Ronald Dahl for the New York Academy of Sciences on Adolescent Neuroscience. Dr. Dahl is at the University of Pittsburgh and has written extensively on adolescent brain development.
Breiner noted that neuroscientists are convinced that the developing brain during the teen years is significantly influenced by external emotional and social factors. Stress factors, nutrition, and exercise can have an effect on the reproductive function that can lead to a suppression of ovarian and testicular functions. According to Breiner, "If the stress is chronic there can be a significant suppression of this reproductive axis."
Gay-Affirming Teachings Can Impact Brain Development --
In an interview with NARTH's Editorial Director, Dr. Breiner notes that teens typically face stresses and confusion about their sexuality. Teaching gay-affirming ideas to teens can add to the problems they already face. The child who is taught that he or she may be homosexual can be stressful and may react in the following negative ways: hurt self esteem; poor body image; likelihood of depression; anxiety about how they will function socially; and a delayed response in functioning as a heterosexual, which makes their social skills even more limited. Gay-affirming materials "won't make someone homosexual, but certainly will contribute to problems in their development," said Breiner. "Adolescents have enough problems in establishing gender roles and this will increase these problems."
According to Breiner, this isn't simply a social or psychological threat to children but is a neurological problem as well. Actual brain changes take place. He notes that there is a strong connection between hormonal development and neurotransmitters that send messages for hormonal development. "If the wrong message gets sent, as is likely to occur when external messages are coming from teachers, then the child may experience a delay in proper sexual development."
Dr. Breiner observes that neuroscience studies are clear on this subject yet nothing has appeared yet in the psychiatric or psychological literature to deal with the connection between external gay-affirming messages and brain development.
"I am convinced that gay affirming materials are injurious to children and will add to the psychological problems they already have as a normal part of development," said Breiner. "It is wrong to say that homosexuality is a viable alternative to heterosexuality. If teens are to be protected, they must be given the facts about homosexual behavior, not fantasies from the gay community."
In discussing the development of homosexuality in general, Dr. Breiner observed: "Human homosexuality is a symptom of some unresolved conflicts in a child's development psychologically. It is determined before the age of five, and usually between 1 1/2 to 3 years of age. If the individual has a neurosis, it was organized between ages 3 to 6. If they are of a borderline psychological organization, it was between ages 2 to 3. If they are psychotic, the psychological organization is under 2."
In the conclusion to his paper on "Adolescent Homosexuality," Dr. Breiner observes:
The brain that is developing (pre-puberty to adulthood), particularly in the area that deals with emotional and sexual development, is affected organically by social and physical stress. Homosexual indoctrination (direct or subtle), coercive or seductive can organically affect brain and sexual physiologic development to a modest or minimal degree. It cannot permanently produce homosexuality. However, it can certainly lead to a variety of difficulties commonly including hurt self-esteem, distortions in living, depression, selection of life goals, and other problems. Though the individual may eventually select a heterosexual life position, the preceding years of difficulties in developing and organizing one's life are likely to have more permanent deleterious effects. Therefore, any attitude by society and particularly educators that homosexuality is a reasonable or alternative lifestyle can significantly contribute to psychopathology in this vulnerable age.
Updated: 26 January 2005
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