Luis E. Tellez

Luis E. Tellez, an Opus Dei numerary, is also president of the Austin Institute.

Image via YouTube

On March 9 Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture (“AI”) is holding a “Sexuality and Gender Workshop” at the University of Texas at Austin. Everyone involved with Austin Institute is a conservative Christian.

Mark Regnerus (of the corrupt gay parenting study fame) is a senior fellow at AI. I believe that Regnerus was one of its founders. The president of AI is Louis E. Telez. Telez, an Opus Dei numerary, was a co-founder (with Robert George) of several organizations including Witherspoon Institute, National Organization for Marriage and the American Principles Project. There are probably others.

Witherspoon Institute, you will recall, was the primary underwriter of that corrupt gay parenting study. I write corrupt because the study was designed and executed to yield the result desired by the people who paid for it. It was not a legitimate academic endeavor.

At AI’s website they provide some details about the workshop:

This one-day workshop is designed to give campus ministers and religious and civic leaders the vocabulary and tools they need to more confidently and productively engage our culture-wide conversation about sexuality and gender issues.

What that bullshit means is arming anti-LGBT leaders with talking points intended to refute the scientific consensuses regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender dysphoria. In doing so the workshop will undoubtedly turn religious objections into secular arguments which fail critical analysis. This goes on:

About The Event

Is sexual orientation fixed at birth? What societal factors might affect the emergence of a non-heterosexual orientation? Are transgender people “born that way?” What about transgender therapies?

Over the course of one packed day, we will examine what reputable scientific studies have to say about homosexuality and transgender identity and will discuss how these scientific studies might come to bear on concrete situations religious leaders currently face.

The first paragraph about the event:

The first paragraph is composed of rhetorical questions. AI and attendees already have the answers to these questions. Those answers are based on religious beliefs. Again, this is about talking points.

Whether or not sexual orientation is “fixed at birth” is the wrong question (by design). The intellectually honest question would be something like “by what age is sexual orientation established?” I cannot predict the future. Nor can I read minds. I can, however, posit what I expect to happen based on history.

The second rhetorical question about societal factors is an attempt to suggest that sexuality can be influenced by others. The third (transgender) rhetorical question is also dishonest. Gender identity is formed by the age of two to three. If gender and sex are incongruent it causes discomfort at a later age. If the discomfort becomes severe, children will start to affirm the gender to obtain relief from their misery.

The fourth rhetorical question begs the question regarding gender affirmation. Attendees want to be “informed” that there is talk therapy to align gender and natal sex when someone has acute gender dysphoria. The fact that such therapy does not exist will not dissuade AI from arguing that it does.

The second paragraph about the event:

I would expect those “reputable scientific studies” to have the trustworthiness of those blog posts to the New Atlantis. What I expect not to happen is an exploration of current research on sexuality published by respected academic journals; those that subject articles to rigorous peer review. In other words, AI and attendees already “know” what the research says. Both the real research and the faux research. The attendees simply want to know how to argue in favor of the BS which includes:

  • Sexual orientation is a choice; one that can be altered with conversion therapy.
  • Even if conversion therapy fails, acting on “same-sex attraction” is a choice.
  • There are people who suffer with gender dysphoria (insert Christian sympathy and compassion).
  • However, no one should ever become transgender.
  • Gender dysphoria can occur due to social influences including social media.

The title of this workshop should be: How to convince people that science conforms to religious dogma. People with advanced degrees will work hard to make others stupid in defense of their faith. It’s just one more item (of many) that is infuriating.

Related content:

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.