Contrary to the claims of Dr. Alfred Kinsy there is no Sliding Scale of sexual orientation
LGBTTTIQist supporters and lobbyists frequently claim that Dr. Alfred Kinsey has proven that there is a sliding scale of human sexuality. In the article below Dr. Aarons, a bioethicist, cites Kinsey and claims that some 10% of the population are heterosexual, 10% are homosexual and 80% and bisexual on this sliding scale. This claim is patently false and does not accord with research done by the Centers for Disease Control indicates : “Results-Based on the 2013 NHIS data, 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay/lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% of adults identified as ”something else,” stated ”I don’t know the answer,” or refused to answer”.
Vital Health Stat 2. 2014 Dec;(169):1-32.
Sexual orientation in the 2013 national health interview survey: a quality assessment.
Dahlhamer JM, Galinsky AM, Joestl SS, Ward BW.
Objective-This report presents a set of quality analyses of sexual orientation data collected in the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). NHIS sexual orientation estimates are compared with those from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Selected health outcomes by sexual orientation are compared between NHIS and NSFG. Assessments of item nonresponse, item response times, and responses to follow-up questions to the sexual orientation question are also presented. Methods-NHIS is a multipurpose health survey conducted continuously throughout the year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Analyses in this report were based on NHIS data collected in 2013 from 34,557 adults aged 18 and over. Sampling weights were used to produce national estimates that are representative of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. adult population. Data from the 2006-2010 NSFG and 2009-2012 NHANES were used for the comparisons. Results-Based on the 2013 NHIS data, 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay/lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% of adults identified as ”something else,” stated ”I don’t know the answer,” or refused to answer. Responses to follow-up questions suggest that the sexual orientation question is producing little classification error. In addition, largely similar patterns of association between sexual orientation and health were observed for NHIS and NSFG. Analyses of item nonresponse rates revealed few data quality issues, although item response times suggest possible shortcutting of the question and comprehension problems for select respondents.
All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.
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THIS weekend, as we celebrate our emancipation from slavery, it would be good if we could also emancipate ourselves from some of the intolerances that have been besetting us as a nation.
From as far back as man’s written history began, there has been great diversity amongst men. Although emanating from one man, Adam, in the beginning, the Bible records people of different tribes and ethnic diversity, and ethnographic studies currently confirm vast differences in customs, habits, and social practice throughout the world. Research has also revealed much linguistic as well as biological diversities existing across the world.
We acknowledge vast differences in mankind that include cultural, economic, ethnic, racial, religious beliefs, and ideological diversities. Our knowledge and understanding of ourselves, what affects our bodies, and the effects of our environment has been increasing by leaps and bounds, and with the addition of technological innovation and genetic research during the 20th century, our discoveries have quadrupled over the last quarter century. We now know that most of the features and qualities that we observe about mankind may be plotted along a spectrum.
MANKIND’S FEATURES EXIST ALONG A SPECTRUM
For instance, we realise that intelligence may vary from the lower end of the imbecile to the upper end of the genius, and wealth varies from the very poor through to the extremely rich. By the variation of only one per cent of our genetic make-up, our skin features change through various expressions that may be aligned with colour (eg black, white), ethnicity (eg Arab, Jews), or geographical origins (eg Syrian, African-American). We also accept that persons vary in the type of personalities they have, and have also become very tolerant of this variation. Persons with borderline, paranoid, schizoid, anti-social, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personalities are all living amongst us, and we have been tolerant of them even when their behaviour sometimes irks us.
So, why are we tolerant of a vast array of differences amongst us, but not of others? We are willing to accept some but choose to view others using particular ‘lens’? We accept that diversity in religions exist, despite believing that ‘our’ religious beliefs are the right ones. We accept and tolerate that some persons do not believe in a God, and that many others are sceptical about the existence of a God. Yet, if researchers tell us that we are also very diverse in our gender and sexuality, many of us refuse to accept their research findings.
Diversity in sex and gender
Research over the last 70 years has confirmed that our gender exists along a spectrum of diversity. Historically, we used to think only of the binary sex poles of male or female. However, research has found that the psychological backgrounds to these external sexual characteristics are extremely varied. Persons, whether through hormonal variations, upbringing, or a combination of both, may come to experience a variety of feelings regarding who they are and how they should relate to others sexually. According to PAHO (2011), sex and gender are not the same. Sex refers to the anatomical organs we were born with. On the other hand, gender is a construction that varies from society to society and refers to the roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a particular society thinks is appropriate for the men and women among them. So, whilst it may be appropriate for men to cry or to hug and kiss each other on the cheek in one society, it could be inappropriate for them to do so in another society.
Even amongst the external sex organs, there is much diversity in appearance, size, shape, and formation — with hermaphrodism (the presence of both male and female sex organs in a person) sometimes occurring at birth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one in every 2,000 babies is born ‘in-between’, and the new term for the latter (hermaphrodites) is ‘intersex’. So whilst at birth a doctor may declare a child to be a boy or a girl, there is also an acknowledged ‘in-between’ or ‘intersex’.
MALE, FEMALE, BI-GENDER, AND TRANSGENDER
Subsequently, as a child grows it either identifies as male, female, or some combination of both. This gender identity reflects an internal subjective framework that is constructed over time, and the individual will perform social roles that reflect their perceived sex and gender. Gender identity thus reflects how psychologically a person perceives themselves as male, female, bi-gendered (a combination of both), or trans-gender (male to female, or female to male). Research in the field (PAHO, 2011) thus suggests that gender identity reflects a serial combination of genetic, pre-natal (before delivery), intra-womb hormonal, post-natal (after delivery), social, and pre-puberty hormonal determinants.
Biological factors include the influence of testosterone hormone and gene regulation in the developing brain cells. Social factors include the influences and effects from family and the surrounding environment. However, whilst the innate gender identity is powerfully influenced by the external sex of the genitalia (which may be ambiguous or ‘intersex’) and the gender of the child rearing, its determination is much broader and more complex than either of these two features. A major ground-breaking research by Alfred Kinsey on male and female sexuality revealed that a range or continuum exists in the living world, with many gradations existing between exclusively heterosexual and fully homosexual.
VARIATIONS IN SEXUAL TENDENCIES
The spectrum of sexual identities varies through exclusively heterosexual (attraction to the opposite sex) with no homosexual (attraction to the same sex) tendencies, through predominantly heterosexual with only incidental homosexual tendencies, through predominantly heterosexual with more than incidental homosexual tendencies, then equally heterosexual and homosexual, then predominantly homosexual with more than incidental heterosexual tendencies, then predominantly homosexual with only incidental heterosexual tendencies, and ending in exclusively homosexual features. Kinsey’s seminal research found that in the human family, some persons could also move along the scale from one point to another at different times in their lives. However, whilst these are features of human sexuality, due to deep stigmatisation such realities are rarely spoken about in society.
The research found that only 10 per cent of any given population is exclusively heterosexual, and likewise only 10 per cent is exclusively homosexual. Most persons (80 per cent) fall in-between, but as the issue is shrouded in shame, most persons hardly ever speak about it or express themselves openly, particularly in the Caribbean. We therefore need to stop putting specific labels on people, and instead see people as human beings! For those of us who are Christians, we should do our Christian duty of ‘care for our fellowmen equally’, without judgement!
Our reality is that – as humans, we are as diverse as all our characteristics put together. So, in the words made famous by Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Derrick Aarons MD, PhD is a consultant bioethicist/family physician, a specialist in ethical issues in medicine, the life sciences and research, and is the Ethicist at the Caribbean Public Health Agency – CARPHA. (The views expressed here are not written on behalf of CARPHA)