Are They Really Harmless?
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Alternative Lifestyles: Are They Really Harmless?
In the culture war battles raging across the Western world, the issues of LGBTQ and transgender “rights” have shoved and shouldered their way to center stage. As is the case with the abortion issue, some states have begun to take sides. In April, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation outlawing the teaching or discussion of transgender issues with kindergarten and elementary school children up to third grade. This action shocked LGBTQ and transgender rights advocates, but helped bring into full consciousness the growing transgender debate.
Yet lost in all the rhetoric and emotional heat is a related issue the mainstream media have largely chosen to ignore—the danger to physical and mental health suffered by those who practice these lifestyles.
Penalties for violating natural laws
The issue can be summed up simply: There are real and severe penalties to be paid for violating laws of health and morality. Though most people either don’t know about or refuse to acknowledge them, natural laws exist that lead to good health if obeyed—or sickness, disease and death if violated.
The push toward acceptance of “alternative lifestyles” has been decades in the making. Beginning in the 1960s with the growth of the “new morality,” a satanic, anti-God movement has pushed in every way possible for acceptance of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) lifestyles.
These efforts have met with much success, especially in the United States, with acceptance of these lifestyles growing rapidly. A Gallup poll conducted in May 2015 showed 53 percent of Americans had come to believe that gay and lesbian lifestyles are morally acceptable. That view has since increased: A more recent poll from early 2022 indicates that acceptance of LGBTQ lifestyles has grown to 62 percent.
Although government and most media refuse to discuss it, it’s well documented that LBGTQ people live with much higher risks of physical and mental health problems than the general population.
They experience higher psychological distress and higher rates of smoking and alcoholism. Lesbian and bisexual women, in particular, have been found to be prone to having multiple chronic conditions. Surveys have shown transgender people more likely to be overweight, depressed and foregoing of treatment for these and other health problems than the general population (Human Rights Campaign Foundation survey and report, July 2018).
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ advocacy and lobbying organization, confirms that one in three LGBTQ people suffers from mental illness, compared with one in five heterosexual adults—a rate more than 50 percent higher. LGBTQ populations are nearly four times more likely to suffer clinical depression, with those who are younger being most at risk. In the survey cited above, HRC reported that 40 percent of LGBTQ youth suffered from depression most of the time, as compared to just 12 percent of the general youth population. Confusion over gender and sexual identity, along with still-considerable societal rejection, were cited as leading causes.
As might be expected from such elevated rates of depression, suicide and suicide attempts among the LGBTQ population are very elevated, also at a rate four times the general population.
Setting aside higher suicide rates, several studies have documented shorter lifespans among homosexual men. A Canadian study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology back in 1997 noted that in urban gay areas, life expectancies of homosexual men had shrunk to about 55 years, comparable to life expectancies in the 1870s. The researchers found that in one major Canadian city, life expectancy for gay men was 8 to 20 years less than the average for all men.
Natural consequence of lawbreaking
The various alternative lifestyles involve deviation from the sexual laws our Creator set in place. God, the One who designed the human body and the processes that allow human beings to reproduce, provided mankind with a guidebook for human behavior—your Bible. In this “operation manual” He clearly spells out His rules for human sexuality, rules that center on the use of sex for human reproduction and expressing love between husband and wife.
For thousands of years mankind has rejected those laws, practicing every type of abominable sexual activity imaginable. Yet God’s laws remain inviolable, with blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, as spelled out in Deuteronomy 28.
Society cannot cleanse what God declares to be evil. In addition to the Old Testament prohibitions against homosexuality and bestiality (Leviticus 18:22-23, 20:13) and against cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5), New Testament writers such as the apostle Paul condemned such practices.
One such powerful passage is Romans 1, where Paul excoriates the evil and degeneracy of the pagan Roman world around him. After condemning the refusal of Roman society to even acknowledge the one true God (verses 18-21), he lashes out against its evil sexual practices: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error . . .” (verses 26-27, emphasis added throughout).
History confirms that Roman society, as was the case with most ancient cultures, was afflicted with the same sexual sins—and sexually transmitted diseases—that plague us today.
Writing to the church at Corinth, whose membership consisted largely of formerly pagan converts, Paul instructed them regarding certain evil practices: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.” He went on to make clear to them that they could not return to their evil ways: “But such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
The United States was founded largely on Judeo-Christian principles. Yet in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ignored this national heritage, ruling that same-sex “marriages” must be recognized in all 50 states.
Deviancy has consequences
The deviant sexual practices of the Greek and Roman worlds are well documented. Some of the most well-known of the Greek philosophers, such as Aristotle and Plato, promoted certain homosexual relationships. Alexander the Great is believed to have been bisexual. Homosexual relationships were common in ancient Rome, especially among the upper classes. Roman emperors such as Hadrian, Titus and Nero, the emperor during Paul’s time in Rome, kept young male lovers.
These societies paid a price for such practices. As reported by the National Library of Medicine, most ancient societies were plagued with sexually transmitted diseases. Language too explicit to relate here describes the various diseases that affected ancient populations from their widespread deviant sexual practices.
The Israelites had lived for centuries among the pagan Egyptians, whose culture, though in some ways one of the most advanced in the ancient world, tolerated and practiced many forms of sexual deviancy. Histories of ancient Egypt show they suffered from many of the same diseases that plague our modern society, including heart disease, cancer and many forms of sexually transmitted diseases.
It seems that mankind refuses to learn from the past. These diseases are still with us, and in many cases are on the increase.
Millions still dying from AIDS
The early 1980s were marked by the worldwide AIDS plague, as the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome proliferated among much of the world’s homosexual population, ultimately killing millions. Since that time modern drugs have somewhat abated the spread of AIDS, and the general public thinks that AIDS is no longer a major threat. But is that true?
Figures from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) show that 2020 began with an estimated 38 million people infected with HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. Nearly 2 million more became infected that year, and an estimated 680,000 died. Perhaps surprisingly, more than half of these were women and girls who contracted the disease from male sexual partners.
Let’s put this in perspective. Since its outbreak in early 2020, worldwide attention has focused on the Covid pandemic, which is said to have caused more than 6 million deaths worldwide as of May 2022. Yet AIDS has killed almost a third of that number since the start of 2020, and nearly 36 million—almost the population of Canada—since its onset in 1982.
Many think the development of powerful drugs has largely conquered this disease. But these drugs, which have been around for more than 35 years, have only contained and slowed the disease—not stamped it out.
The same can be said about the more traditional common STDs—syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. In spite of the pharmaceuticals available today, a 2019 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that new cases of these diseases have risen for six years in a row, reaching an all-time high that year.
Also largely unreported are the links between AIDS and Covid-19. According to the UN’s World Health Organization, people “living with HIV experience more severe outcomes and have higher comorbidities from Covid-19 than people not living with HIV.” In 2021 it reported that most people living with HIV lacked access to Covid vaccines, and that for the HIV-positive, the risk of dying from Covid was double that of the general population.
Growing gender confusion
While the acceptance of gay and lesbian lifestyles has been longer in the making, the current upsurge in gender confusion has more recently burst onto the scene. Today, children as young as seven and eight are encouraged to question the validity of their biological sex.
Medical and psychological journals today are filled with articles and studies on gender dysphoria, showing how confused so many people, especially the young, are about their identities, roles in society, the social circles they want to belong in, and even their correct gender. By the time they reach puberty, many young teens are asking questions about whether they are really male or female.
Gender identity did not seem to be an issue with previous generations. But should it be any surprise this is surging in a society where masculinity is under attack, where little boys are accused of exhibiting “toxic masculinity” and told they should develop more female traits? Where little girls are discouraged from playing with dolls, wearing dresses and encouraged to adopt masculine traits?
This crisis is real, especially among children and teen-agers. Children confused about whether they are male or female exhibit many mental health problems, including depression, feelings of isolation and desires for self-harm. In their mental confusion they try to dress in clothing of the opposite gender, and often avoid participation in gender-specific sports. Some face bullying and harassment from classmates. Many struggle with suicidal thoughts.
Suicide rates among transgender youth are particularly disturbing. A study reported in Forbes last spring showed 52 percent of all transgender young people in the United States seriously considered suicide in 2020. Across all ethnic groups, approximately 18 percent, nearly one in five, actually attempted suicide. These young people felt the rejection, isolation and loneliness brought on by their lifestyle made life simply not worth living.
Can we really change a child’s sex?
If a child experiences feelings of gender confusion before puberty, the oft-prescribed solution is puberty blockers—drugs that stop or delay the onset of puberty traits, such as breasts in girls or deeper voices in boys. More intense measures can involve hormone therapy, even “gender reassignment surgery.”
Each year thousands of preteen and early teen girls—who don’t feel like girls—undergo masculinizing hormone therapy. A doctor will administer the male hormone testosterone, which suppresses the menstrual cycle and induces wanted male physical characteristics. Psychiatrists and medical doctors who advocate such practices claim it reduces psychological and emotional distress, social functioning and quality of life.
Even more invasive is “gender reassignment surgery,” in which surgical procedures are employed to change the anatomy. Chosen by only one in four transgender or nonbinary people, it’s designed to give transgender people a body that aligns with their desired gender. Surgeries can range from relatively minor plastic surgery to changing facial features to those of the opposite sex, to removal of female breasts and, in the most drastic cases, reworking of a person’s genitalia to resemble that of the opposite sex.
In general, the American psychiatric and medical communities now support these procedures as supposedly beneficial to the emotional health of transgender individuals. But many medical practitioners think otherwise.
One is Dr. John McHugh, former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As quoted in the book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, Dr. McHugh states: “Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men.” Rather, they become “feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they ‘identify.’” In that lies their problematic future, because it’s “not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb” (2018, pp. 101-102).
These altered people try to live counterfeit lives, and few are able to successfully pull it off. Sweden is one of the most transgender-friendly nations on earth, where thousands have undergone sex-reassignment surgery. Yet a 30-year study there documented “lifelong medical unrest” among the majority of those who had undergone these drastic alterations of their bodies. At 10 to 15 years after surgery the suicide rate of this group rose to 20 times that of their comparable peers.
We should ask: Are some of these measures going too far? For decades, gender researchers have known that the majority of transgender youth, anywhere from 65 to 90 percent, eventually outgrow their gender confusion and cease to identify as transgender. But those who bring out this fact risk the wrath of many among today’s psychological and medical communities, with both of these now pledging allegiance to children's gender selection and affirming that as early in life as possible.
Government officials have even implied that parents who deny such gender-affirming care are guilty of child abuse and could end up with their children removed from their custody to provide the needed gender treatment and acceptance.
We reap what we sow
Although it’s scrupulously suppressed by media and governments, the evidence is clear and overwhelming. These lifestyles may appear to be enlightened and give adherents a sense of sexual freedom. They may be supported by academia, the mainstream media, Hollywood, corporate America and, sadly, even the U.S. military.
But God labels them for what they really are—immoral, degenerate, destructive and unhealthy. Those caught up in such lifestyles usually experience lifelong misery, frustration and unhappiness that could be avoided if people would only follow what God says.
Sexual Identity Issues: What to Do, How to Help
With all the ever-worsening confusion and chaos in the world today, how can we distinguish fact from fiction and good from evil? In our quest for truth regarding healthy minds and bodies and relationships, our starting point, foundation and filter should be God’s “instruction book” for mankind, the Bible (see John 17:17; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).
The Bible is in perfect harmony with science. In fact, God created science! The Bible celebrates the fact that our “marvelous” human bodies and minds are “wonderfully made” by God! (Psalm 139:14).
In His perfect wisdom, God made two versions, male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). Every chromosome in a human body is proof that the body is either male (with the XY chromosome) or female (with the XX chromosome). With surgery and drugs, body parts can be altered, but an actual sex change is impossible. Sadly and tragically, however, more and more confused people—both adults and kids—are trying to “switch genders” or are at least contemplating it!
So what can we do to further educate ourselves and learn how to help family members and friends to recognize and resist deceptions and temptations and make wise decisions?
First of all, stay close to God (obey Him, pray to Him, and listen as He speaks to us through His Word). Also please read the other enlightening and alarming articles in this issue of Beyond Today related to this subject. And continue to seek up-to-date factual knowledge of the ever-evolving propaganda and pressures.
Regularly and earnestly pray for yourself, your loved ones and friends, and for all those who are struggling to resist the forces of deception and evil. Occasionally fast along with your prayers. For a good understanding of Bible study, prayer, fasting and other spiritual tools, we recommend our free study guide Tools for Spiritual Growth.
Remember that you are not alone. God sympathizes with your stresses and He wants you to rely on Him to replace anxiety with peace of mind and even joy (see Philippians 4:4-13).
God holds parents and guardians responsible to daily teach, guide, encourage and inspire their children to understand the priceless principles of God’s Word and way of life (see Deuteronomy 6). Decide when to completely shield your children from bad influences and when to explain to them how God views those influences. An ever-increasing societal disaster is the widespread absence of fathers in the home. A wonderful way for a caring man to help a single mother is to spend quality time with her children.
The teenage years are a time of curiosity and confusion. Don’t be shocked if one of your children indicates some level of gender confusion—after all, they’re being exposed to it regularly. Listen, but present to your child factual knowledge that this confusion will pass—that your child was born a boy or girl and will be much happier if he or she accepts God’s design in that. God absolutely does not want us to mutilate our bodies by trying to change our God-given gender.
Be mindful of the need to help others by sharing your well-informed understanding and convictions whenever the circumstances warrant (see 1 Peter 3:15). While we are to “hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13), we must strive to be like God who loves everyone and desires that everyone ultimately be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). With everyone, be respectful, kind, compassionate and patient (see Colossian 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15).
Be courageous and encourage your loved ones to be brave. Courage is an essential and priceless virtue, but sadly it is all too rare. It takes courage to swim upstream, to resist public pressure and peer pressure and to stand up for what is right (see Joshua 1:5-9).
Learn about local groups and organizations that can support you or that you can support and assist. A team effort is often more effective.
Beware of “higher education,” as most colleges are very expensive and many are more focused on “woke” indoctrination than true education. Many careers today don’t require four-year degrees from such institutions, though some still do. Learning a skilled trade can be more financially rewarding than a university degree. A person can remain properly grounded in an academic setting, but it takes awareness and diligence.
Thoroughly check out any school you are considering for your children. Many public and private high schools and grade schools teach unbiblical and even anti-biblical ideologies. Consider home-schooling your children. It’s more doable than you might think. There are numerous fine organizations that offer guidance and assistance to home-schooling parents.
Lastly, if you’re a female, enjoy being a female! If you’re a male, enjoy being a male! More than that, celebrate the fact that God has blessed you with an ideal and wonderful mind and body!