Weekly Review


Warren Cole Smith

Transgender Chaos. A prisoner in an Idaho jail wants a sex change operation, and he wants the state to pay for it. The state said no, but last week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said to withhold the surgery would be “cruel and unusual punishment.” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said he will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The court’s decision is extremely disappointing,” Little, a Republican, said, “The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals.” The inmate is a convicted male rapist who now identifies as female. He was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old boy at a house party in 2012.

No Gay Gene. There is no one gene that determines a person’s sexual orientation, but genetics — along with environment — play a part in shaping sexuality, a massive new study shows. Researchers analyzed DNA from hundreds of thousands of people and found a handful of genes connected with same-sex sexual behavior. The researchers say that, although variations in these genes cannot predict whether a person is gay, these variants may partly influence sexual behavior. Andrea Ganna, lead author and European Molecular Biology Laboratory group leader at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland, said the research reinforces the understanding that same-sex sexual behavior is simply “a natural part of our diversity as a species.” The new study was published last week in the journal Science. It is the largest of its kind, and experts say it provides one of the clearest pictures of genes and sexuality.

Online Matchmaking. Online dating has replaced church, family, and mutual friendships as the main way U.S. couples meet. This conclusion is the result of a study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis is a “study of studies” conducted in 2009 and 2017. The analysis found that “met online” eclipsed “met through friends” in 2013. It also found that 90 percent of those who met online had no other connection to each other prior to the on-line introduction. “Increasingly, it’s not our friends, siblings, and churches that serve as mediators between us and potential partners; apps and websites and their algorithms do,” wrote Robert VerBruggen of the Institute for Family Studies. While noting science has not determined whether this is a good or bad trend, VerBruggen added, “It could be a bad thing for relationships to start completely outside of existing social connections, and perhaps there’s such a thing as too much choice—especially if it leads people to waste a lot of time sampling the possibilities.” (By the way, I recommend hitting the links in this paragraph for a lot of interesting data and analysis.)

Portuguese Parents Fight Back. Government officials in Portugal announced a new directive in August that requires schools to allow children to self-select their gender and choose restrooms, uniforms, and names based on their gender identity. Parents sprang immediately into action. Using social media and other tools, they fought the new guidelines, saying they will endanger the safety of their children. Nearly 35,000 parents – in a country of just 10-million people — signed an online petition calling for the government to suspend the directive, which is supposed to take effect this school year.

Hands Off Hands On. The Kentucky Supreme Court recently heard the case of Hands On Originals. Back in 2012, Blaine Adamson, the owner of a t-shirt printing shop in Lexington, Ky., said he would not make t-shirts promoting a gay pride festival. Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization filed a complaint with the local Human Rights Commission. That began a legal process that has so far consumed nearly seven years of Adamson’s life. So far, two courts have ruled in Adamson’s favor, but LGBT activists and the local Human Rights Commission keeps harassing Adamson with continuing appeals. Alliance Defending Freedom’s James Campbell represents Adamson. The Kentucky Supreme Court could issue a ruling on the case at any time.


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