Mark Regnerus

This content was last updated Nov. 16, 2023, 4:50 p.m. UTC

Dr. Mark Regnerus is a sociologist and professor of sociology at the University of Texas, in Austin. His work is focused on sexual behavior, marriage and family, and religion and has been cited by many conservative activist groups. He is the author of several books and has spoken in opposition of LGBTQ+ rights in court more than once. He has recently authored a paper titled “Attitudes in the U.S. Toward Hormonal and/or Surgical Interventions for Adolescents Experiencing Gender Dysphoria” examining an increase in support for gender-affirming care, which was referenced in a conservative article on how to argue against support for gender-affirming care. 

Regenerus was an expert witness in the 2021 lawsuit challenging Arkansas' ban on gender-affirming care for minors, Act 626 also known as the SAFE Act, but his testimony was thrown out by the judge due to his lack of relevant expertise.

There are fairly small numbers of completed suicides among gender clinic patients, and that’s just a very different impression than one gets when you read about suicidality

Regnerus in an article for the Arkansas Times, November 29, 2022

Education and Sociology Career

Regnerus' CV from The University of Texas at Austin, updated in January 2021, shows him having graduated with high honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Trinity Christian College (1993), a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1997), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2000).

He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Carolina Population Center (2000-2001), an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Social work as well as the Director of the Center for Social Research at Calvin College (2001-2002), an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin (2002-2007), a Faculty Research Associate in the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin (2002-2014), an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin (2007-2018), and he is currently a full Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin (2018-present).

New Family Structures Study

In 2012, Regenerus authored the "New Family Structures Study" (NFSS) a controversial piece of research sponsored by social conservative funders that found, contrary to all other major studies, that same-sex parenting was associated with worse outcomes for children. The paper was criticized for poor methodology including a large number of respondents that seem to have been joking. A reanalysis that left out the questionable data points failed to support the original findings. The peer review process of the journal Social Science Research, where the article was published came under audit as a result of the many methodological questions. 

Act 626 Arkansas 2021, The SAFE Act Testimony and Response

Regnerus was called as a witness to testify in a trial on whether to stop Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care for minors from going into effect. During his testimony Regnerus argued that a need for gender-affirming care is a new concept and that there is not enough scientific evidence to justify its use. He also argued that not enough is understood about the long-term use of puberty blockers in minors, although he acknowledged that they are already in use for other medical conditions. He also suggested that those in favor of gender-affirming care were acting purely out of ideology rather than science, although his own motivations were questioned based on his association with the rightwing group, Alliance Defending Freedom and the conservative Witherspoon Institute. Ultimately, Regnerus' testimony was thrown out by the judge because his expertise was not relevant enough to the actual case.

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