Is sexual orientation #homosexuality fixed? Ask the Royal College of Psychiatrists

As a Christian I have been very uncomfortable (to put it mildly) with the practice of some Christian groups claiming they can change a person’s sexual orientation through therapy or counselling.

But…

As a pastor I have had many people who have confided in me about their sexual appetite, desires and orientation. As a result I have found myself to be a bit sceptical of the claim that a person’s sexual preferences or orientation are fixed for life. I have known supposedly heterosexual people leaving their heterosexual partner of many years to pursue a same sex lifestyle. I have also known those who have always claimed to be homosexual to have left a homosexual lifestyle and partnership and ended up in a heterosexual partnership and lifestyle.

I have listened to various explanations of an apparent sexual orientation switch, in both directions. Some people have claimed they were never really what they started out as, and others have simply claimed to have changed and found peace, contentment and fulfilment in their new “orientation”.

Not personally having gone through a sexual orientation switch I find it a difficult subject to discuss with people as one thing that does seem very much fixed are the views about this subject.

I find it very interesting therefore that, virtually ignored by the media, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) has quietly issued a statement marking a small but significant shift in their thinking.

Their previous view expressed in 2007 was that sexual orientation is “biological in nature determined by genetic factors…and/or the early uterine environment…”; and that “there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation”; or with regard to sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) that “there is no evidence that such change is possible.”

Now they seem to be moving more in the direction of saying that likely causes of homosexuality are “a combination of biological and postnatal environmental factors.”

Setting aside their comments questioning whether a person is born with heterosexual or homosexual orientation, they are now questioning whether sexual orientation is fixed for life: “It is not the case that sexual orientation is immutable or might not vary to some extent in a person’s life” even though “there is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”

By introducing the term ‘postnatal’, the RCP has taken a significant step to acknowledge that research over the last few years has increasingly recognised the importance of nurture and environmental influences in explaining sexual orientation.

Significant is the almost simultaneous publication of recent research by the renowned American sex researcher Dr Lisa Diamond on whether homosexuality is unchangeable and whether homosexual people change. The study by Dr Lisa Diamond is particularly significant as, being a self-identified lesbian she considered by many in her field to be one of the leading experts on female homosexuality.

In 2009 she shook up previous understandings by publishing her findings about the fluidity of female sexuality (see Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire, Harvard Press, 2009).

More recently, in a lecture at Cornell University in October 2013, she presented her more recent discoveries about male and adolescent sexuality. Diamond has come to the conclusion that identity, attraction and behaviour is fluid, is not specific to women, but is rather a general feature of human sexuality. She now questions whether the gay community can any longer advocate for rights based on the concept of immutability (that sexual orientation is fixed) “now that we know it is not true”.

I wonder how long it will be before this shift is more commonly known about or accepted.

No #assistedsuicide. Since NL euthanasia law passed in 2002 its now acceptable for disabled babies to be given lethal injections

Since the Netherlands euthanasia the law was passed in 2002, it has become acceptable for disabled babies to be given lethal injections.

Commenting on the medical practices in the Netherlands Dr. Herbert Hendin, of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention said “the Netherlands has moved from considering assisted suicide… to giving legal sanction to both physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia… from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress, and from voluntary euthanasia to nonvoluntary and involuntary euthanasia.”

soynentgreen

When I watched the film Soylent Green in the 1970s it was then regarded as a horror. I never thought I would see its approach in my lifetime.

Living with hats – what sun hat to wear for running

As I write this I still have a scabby nose as a result of being treated for a pre-cancer on my sun-maxed-out skin. It is making good progress at the moment.

Having bought a broad brimmed three season felt hat, and a linen sun hat, I now want a hat to run in. A sun hat for running is, I have realised, something I need to sort. My regular runs amount to many hours a week in the sun, with a weekly long run (when marathon training) lasting over three hours alone. I will still supplement the hat with sunscreen cream but cream alone is not enough.

I have used a lightweight running cap that wicks sweat away, but it does not shade much of the face. It shades the eyes, and would shade the nose if the sun is directly above, but doesn’t do much if the sun is shining from the side. I have also tried a running cap that has a bit at the back like a Legionnaire but once I am moving along the back bit just trails in the breeze. That style still doesn’t shade the face as much as I would like.

Factors to bear in mind as I search then:

  • Not too hot in use.
  • Brim all around
  • Not likely to blow off in wind

My first try was this.

fishinghat

Extremely ugly (which I can probably put up with for a solution that works). As it was only £5.99 it seemed worth a try. The mesh around the top looked like it would get rid of excess heat and the brim looked nice and broad.

It did not work! Despite looking ridiculous when it was worn with my normal runners kit I had been willing to give it a try. It is snug enough not to be blown off. I could see from my shadow that the brim was providing good shade to my face and nose.

But HOT! It seemed okay for a while but then I felt the heat building up, and up! The mesh sides that looked so cooling end up against the side of the head so no breeze blows through there as I had expected.

Solution? I could save it for cooler days but I think it would still end up being too hot. Or, I could cut the whole of the top off (even more ridiculous looking). I will keep that option in reserve.

The search continues.

Today I have been wearing a Spanish Pico Fedora

image

Here it is balanced on my foot.

I have become a hat wearing man!

Because I am being treated for sun damaged skin for the second time, I have decided I will now wear a hat when I am not indoors. I went to a specialist hat shop while on holiday in Bath (great shop – The British Hatter) and was able to try some hats on while getting excellent advice.

I purchased a linen sun hat for those occasional hot summer days we may get , and the fedora for every other occasion. I will wear the fedora in all weathers.

image

I am not asking if it looks cool, I am telling you it does.

I have switched from typing on a Qwerty keyboard layout to a #Colemak one

Today marks the completion of my first week in Colemak!

I needed a new keyboard and it was when I looked at what was available that I also ended up reading about alternative layouts such as Dvorak and Colemak. The advantages for speed and ergonomics were clear.

As it is such a simple matter on Ubuntu Linux to switch layouts, I had a few minutes play with Colemak thinking I might try it some day. I considered, before deciding definitely to switch, doing a speed test to see how fast I was (after over 30 years of touch typing). I forgot! Now I will never know.

Colemak_fingers

After three days at a conference and not typing, I returned to the office. I printed the layout of Colemak and propped it against the monitor and slowly started to type. I intended doing it for about 15 minutes but ended up staying in Colemak all day. It was not fast but still faster than handwriting speed. And I am not a typist so did not have loads to type, just some documents and a few emails.

On day two I did some of the exercises from the Colemak in 9 Days site. I concentrated on getting a grasp of the home row layout. An advantage with Colemak is that the most used keys are on the home row. Cracking the home row moved me forward quicker than I had expected. It was then that I realised that I had done it, I had switched. There was no going back.

How to do the £ sign in Colemak? Hold down Alt Gr and Shift with the right hand and click the number 4 key.

Belgian child euthanasia. Lives no inherent value or worth… they should die?

The Belgian Parliament will hold a debate next Wednesday before voting the following day on a measure to allow minors to ask for euthanasia if they are terminally ill. This is supposed to be for if they are in great pain and if there is no treatment to alleviate their distress. It follows a 50-17 vote in favour of child euthanasia in the Belgian Senate in December.

The Council of Europe Written Declaration is against this abhorrent proposed legalisation of child euthanasia in Belgium.

The Declaration (which has been supported by parliamentarians from across Europe) notes that the move “betrays some of the most vulnerable children in Belgium by accepting that their lives may no longer have any inherent value or worth and that they should die… [and] promotes the unacceptable belief that a life can be unworthy of life which challenges the very basis of civilised society.”

freeimages.co.uk medical images

photo: freeimages.co.uk

Some commentators suggest that the bill is being fast-tracked because opposition is growing and supporters want it law before it is blocked.

Several Belgian studies already exist proving that in Belgium:
(1) euthanasia is widely under-reported (2) euthanasia is often done without an explicit request (3) and nurses are lethally injecting patients, even though the law does not permit it.

In Belgium adults have been put to death simply for being depressed.

Belgium is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). How this proposal fits the UNCRC is a puzzle to me. How could anyone be sure of the competence of the child to both understand the consequences of euthanasia, and to choose death over the benefits of good palliative care. Surely they need our protection not abandonment to the limitation of their own knowledge and experience?

Words can not describe…

Photo: freeimages.co.uk