Pillar: Sexuality & Family

Sexuality & Family

The second pillar of a decent society is the institution of the family, which is built upon the comprehensive sexual union of man and woman. No other institution can top the family’s ability to transmit what is pivotal—character formation, values, virtues, and enduring love—to each new generation.

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The Pediatric Endocrine Society’s Statement on Puberty Blockers Isn’t Just Deceptive. It’s Dangerous.

The Pediatric Endocrine Society recently issued a statement claiming that the effects of puberty-blocking medications on normal puberty are reversible. Has the FDA determined that there is scientific evidence to validate this claim? Have there been any rigorous long-term studies addressing this question? Is social transition truly harmless? Is it ethical to continue this experiment on children? The answer to all of those questions is no.

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A Decade of Debates

The team at Public Discourse doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but we do think we’re asking the right questions, and getting the right thinkers to propose some of the answers. That’s one thing that we hope will always be our hallmark: thoughtful, reasoned discourse, which is rigorous yet still accessible to the educated layman.

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Physical Interventions on the Bodies of Children to “Affirm” their “Gender Identity” Violate Sound Medical Ethics and Should be Prohibited

Rather than teaching children to identify based on how well they fit prevailing cultural expectations on sex, we should be teaching them that the truth of their sexual identity is based on their bodies, and that sometimes cultural associations attached to the sexes are misguided or simply too narrow. There is a wonderfully rich array of ways of expressing one’s embodiment as male or female.

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Compelled Sexual Affirmation in the School Bathroom

The case against compelled affirmation policies needs to be more explicitly and vividly sexualized. The argument against these policies must be rooted in the civil liberties of objecting students and the right not be forced to be the object of another’s sexual gaze. Opening intimate facilities to anyone of the opposite sex imposes psycho-sexual trauma on countless non-consenting youths, and constitutes a form of sexual exploitation.

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The Deadly Dance of Perfectionism: How the Rhetoric of Family Planning Hurts Children

Growing up in the culture of sociology taught me—and others of my generation—to engage in a set of behaviors to ensure that we would “always be wanted.” Although the term “wantedness” was a quality originally assigned to births, the concept began to touch all aspects of children’s lives, teaching us to engage in a dangerous—sometimes deadly—dance of perfectionism.

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Reproductive Technologies and Human Dignity

Given the risks of assisted reproductive technologies and gene-editing technologies for both individuals and society as a whole, a hands-off, libertarian approach to these issues is ethically irresponsible. Because these technologies imply a radical transformation in our understanding of the meaning of parenthood and our approach to the next generation, we must ask ourselves what sort of world these technologies are creating, and whether it is the sort of world that we want for our children and grandchildren.

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New Data Show “Gender-Affirming” Surgery Doesn’t Really Improve Mental Health. So Why Are the Study’s Authors Saying It Does?

Data from a new study show that the beneficial effect of surgery for transgender people is so small that a clinic may have to perform as many as 49 gender-affirming surgeries before they could expect to prevent one additional person from seeking subsequent mental health treatment. Yet that’s not what the authors say. That the authors corrupted otherwise-excellent data and analyses with a skewed interpretation signals an abandonment of scientific rigor and reason in favor of complicity with activist groups seeking to normalize infertility-inducing and permanently disfiguring surgeries.

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American Muslims Challenge Transgenderism—and Each Other

In amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in cases about sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, some American Muslims argue from their beliefs while others push LGBT causes. This contrast provides non-Muslims a window into the teachings of Islam, and a ringside seat for intra-Muslim conflicts. At stake is whether truth claims or identity politics will prevail.

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Against the “Feminine Essence”

Why do transgender activists so strongly reject the concept of autogynephilia, in which a man wants to be a woman because of an erotic attachment to the idea of himself as a woman? Shutting down scientific inquiry via political pressure impedes the objective advancement of science. Further, denying the validity of the autogynephilia theory can harm gender-dysphoric patients by denying them access to therapies that could help them overcome their specific problems.

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Norway’s Barnevernet and The Future of Parental Rights

Those who undermine the family attack the foundation of our societies and the source of great richness and diversity. The most generous interpretation of these attacks is that some of the policies, ostensibly aimed at protecting children, are well-intentioned, but misguided. Yet we must also be on guard for those for whom the temptation of power affords the opportunity to force their utopian vision on a future generation by sidelining parents and, ultimately, deconstructing the family.

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Sex at the High Court: On the Redefinition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law and Faulty Accounts of “Discrimination”

Activists are asking the Court to rewrite our nation’s civil rights laws in a way that would directly undermine one of their main purposes: protecting the equal rights of girls and women. Congress did not legislate such an outcome, and the Court should not usurp Congress’s authority by imposing such an extreme policy on the nation. Biology is not bigotry, and the Court should not conclude otherwise.

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“Born That Way” No More: The New Science of Sexual Orientation

A new study adds to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that the dominant narrative about sexual orientation—that it is genetically determined—simply cannot be true. Instead, the science shows that a person’s sexual orientation and choice of partners depends heavily on the development and expression of personal autonomy regarding one’s own sexual possibilities. People with same-sex attractions should be legally and culturally free not to identify with or act on them.

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Old Natural Law Theory, Marriage, and Sexual Ethics

“Old natural law theory” begins with the natural end of our sexual faculties and derives ethical principles from there. But this approach has to rely implicitly on prior value judgments in order to distinguish between biological facts that are axiologically or morally relevant and those that are not. The second in a two-part series.

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On the Waves of Feminism with Mona Charen

One of the unfortunate poisons that feminism leached into the culture is hostility between the sexes. We need to rescue feminism from that. We need to stress the importance of raising boys and girls who are open-hearted, respectful, and comfortable with themselves and each other. Adapted from an interview with Mona Charen conducted by Ana Samuel during The CanaVox state leaders meeting.