In an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun last month, a number of Johns Hopkins faculty branded the report as "troubling."
"The recent report, released by one current and one former member of our faculty on the topic of LGBTQ health, is so troubling. The report, 'Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological and Psychological and Social Sciences,' was not published in the scientific literature, where it would have been subject to rigorous peer review prior to publication. It purports to detail the science of this area, but it falls short of being a comprehensive review," the faculty charged.
"We wish to make clear that there are many people at Hopkins who hold a profound and long-standing commitment to the health, wellness, well-being, and fair and non-stigmatizing treatment of LGBTQ people and communities. We do not believe that the 'Sexuality and Gender' report cited above is a comprehensive portrayal of the current science, and we respectfully disassociate ourselves from its findings," they added.
A statement released by editors of The New Atlantis on Monday, on the other hand, describes the HRC as a bullying organization launching a "political assault" on Johns Hopkins.
"The Human Rights Campaign attempts to preemptively argue that its political assault on Johns Hopkins and its scholars poses no threat to academic freedom, precisely because the HRC recognizes that the public will see this assault for what it is: an obvious threat to academic freedom, and intentionally so," the editors said.
"This blatant effort to intimidate Johns Hopkins University by insisting that the entire university must answer collectively for everything written by its faculty is a disturbing strategy designed to make impossible respectful disagreement in the academy on controversial matters. The HRC's claim that its efforts 'pose no threat to academic freedom' is nonsense; intimidation tactics of this sort undermine the atmosphere of free and open inquiry that universities are meant to foster," the editors added.
Speaking with Adam Keiper, editor of The New Atlantis, about the findings in the report, Dr. McHugh, described as "arguably the most important figure in American psychiatry in the last half century," explained that more research is needed to better understand sexuality.
"I think in the transgender world and the world of both heterosexual and homosexual life, the assumption is that science has given us full answers and it is complete, is closing off debate about what further science is needed, what the nature of the contemporary science really is," he explained.
"Science is never settled. There is always another and better experiment and a better study to do. The claim that it is settled now that the issues such as 'born that way' or you're fixed or it's immutable, there is no evidence from the science that those things are correct," he said.
Dr. Mayer added it is difficult to make a definitive statement on transgenderism because there is insufficient data.
"I would say more scientifically based research is needed. There are thousands of articles published where people express opinions and they grab some data to support their opinion but the sort of long term follow-up that looked at an entire community over time and compared it to other communities that's what we really need," said Mayer, who said he was driven to explore transgenderism because of children.
"I care about the welfare of children a great deal. That's my primary concern. I got involved when I read more and more statements about the discovery that children as young as two years old were transgender. The parents declared they were transgender when in fact the majority of children at some time in their life identify with members of the opposite sex actually grow out of that. The notion of gender among children is very, very fluid," he said.