The topic of this paper is definitely a sensitive one. Whether the reason is religious, political, or personal, we all seem to have an opinion on homosexuality, but how many of us have actually taken the time to do our homework on this matter. Before we choose to support or oppose the growing “LGBT” movement shouldn’t we arm ourselves with as much information as possible? Is homosexuality genetic, or does it start in the home? Although I did not find conclusive evidence to support genetics or nurture as the cause of homosexuality, I do feel there is enough logical theory to dismiss the “Gay Gene” as the cause of homosexual behavior.
Research on this subject was hard to find, but I was able to gather some of the most popularly used material on homosexual genetics. I have analyzed all the information I have gather, looking at the material from all viewpoints available to me. I am confident that you will find my argument to be compelling, if nothing else. Homosexuality has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. The debate on the subject has been going on for almost as long. Aristophanes, in his Symposium argues that sexual desire alone is not strong enough to create homosexuality, but that the cultural environment allows or forbids it.
You see, in his time homosexuality was common practice, with the focus being on sex. From this point of view it would be easy to make homosexuality a black and white, social issue. There was no title for homosexuals at the time and it stayed that way until about a hundred years ago. Giving homosexuality a title change the way we looked at it completely. Was it something someone could catch? Is it permanent or can it be cured? How do we stop our children from getting it? All of these questions created a wide spread panic and fear around homosexuality.
Because of the negative thoughts and feeling surrounding homosexuality it was long abeled as a mental illness. In 1957, a woman named, Karen Hooker conducted a study to test the mental and developmental differences between heterosexual men and homosexual men. Hooker’s study consisted of two groups, one group for each sexual orientation. The men were match in age, ‘Q, and education level. Each group was given three test; The Rorschach Test, The Thematic Apperception Test, and The Make-a-picture Story Test, or (MAPS) test. Hooker concluded little to no difference between the two groups of men.
Hooker’s findings lead to The American Psychological Association removing homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders in 1973. Homosexuality no longer being view by the APA as a disorder caused people to pose the question, if it’s not a mental disorder than what is it? The studies that follow are incomplete, to say the least but they open the door for deep thought on the matter. One of these studies is, Bailey and Pillard’s 1991 Twin Study. The thought was that if homosexuality was inherited then more twin brothers would have the same sexual orientation than non-twin or non-biological brothers.
In a way they were wright, with omosexual, as were 22% of fraternal twins, 11% of adoptive brothers, and 9. 2% of non-twin brothers. At first glance it seem as if Bailey and Pillard might have found a genetic link to homosexuality, but look deeper and you began to see that the facts actually point to nurture playing a big role in sexual orientation. If homosexuality is genetically caused than why are there more homosexual non- biological (adoptive) siblings than non-twin biological siblings in Bailey and Pillard’s study?
Identical twins share the same genes and yet in nearly half of the identical twins studied one brother was homosexual and the other was not. With these facts in mind one could argue that the percentage of homosexual adopted siblings, raised in homosexual households (11%) being higher than the national LGBT population (1-10%) that this study is at least a strong implication of nurture being a factor in homosexuality. One of the most popular studies on the subject of homosexuality was conducted by Dr. Simon LeVay. Dr.
LeVay studied the brains of cadavers hoping to find a noticeable difference between the brains of homosexual men and their heterosexual counterparts. LeVay found what he was looking for in the hypothalamus. He noticed hat the (INAH) of the hypothalamus was twice the size in the homosexual men than in the heterosexual men. He also found that the (INAH) of the heterosexual females he studied were also twice the size of the heterosexual males. Many have tried to use these “findings” as proof of homosexuality being genetically baste. So people go as far as calling Dr.
LeVay the discoverer of the “gay gene”, even though he never found any genes linked to his findings. Due too numerous problems with the methods used in Dr. LeVays study it is hard to find his conclusion to be a cause for homosexuality. If the size of the (INAH) etermined sexual orientation then all the homosexual men would display larger (INAH) than their heterosexual counterparts, but this was not always the case. Dr. LeVay also did not have sexual back round on the presumably heterosexual men, nor the presumably heterosexual females. This means that for all Dr.
LeVay knew some of his female subjects could have actually been homosexual, and the same go for the assumed heterosexual male subjects. If all that wasn’t enough, all the presumably homosexual men died of AIDS, so it is hard to say if the difference between the sizes of the (INAH) was there from birth, or if it was caused by AIDS. There are less published studies on the organ of homosexuality than you would probably think. Due to lack of uniform definitions for behavior, identity, and desire of homosexuals it is difficult to make conclusions.
With such groups as Baylor University, Max Planck Institute, Sanger Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, and others finding no conclusive cause for homosexuality it seem the answer might be harder to find than we thought. One thing we can do is take what we already know about genetics and apply it to homosexuality. Homosexuality is identified by the sexual actions someone carries out. If we are to believe there is a “gay gene” this would only why someone with this gene would choose to live a gay life style. One of the other major issues with the “gay gene” theory is how is this trait being passed on?
Supporters of the “gay gene” theory claim that the gene is sex linked to the X- chromosome. If this was the case any man with this gene would be gay, and any homosexual females would have fathers who had this gene. The chances of enough gay men procreating with enough female “gay gene” carriers to produce the rising number of lesbians would qualify homosexuality as an epidemic. I do not think yself to be a geneticist, nor do I think that I am smarter than the many men and women who believe in the X linked “gay gene” but the evidence Just is not there.
The Human Genome Project of 2003 successfully mapped 153 million base pairs for X- chromosomes with 1168 genes, and 50 million base pairs for Y-chromosomes with 251 genes. In all of their thirty years of research no “gay gene” was found. After looking over all the information I can only conclude that there is strong evidence against the existents of a “gay gene”. It seems that because of the public’s unwillingness to upset the LGBT community studies are more focused on finding a enetic link to homosexuality than exploring alternative causes.
It is safe to assume that homosexuality is not all choice, with young men like Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo N. Y. , deciding it would be better to die than live with the abuse that can come with being gay. It is all but impossible to see cases like Jamey’s and say that all homosexuals choose their orientation. Jamey is not the first or the only person who has been bullied or tormented for being a homosexual. If they could Just stop being gay why would they put up with being treated like minorities? The thing is they shouldn’t have to.
Being like everyone else or people understanding why you do what you do shouldn’t be required for someone to be treated with respect and kindness. For the sake of homosexual tolerance, and for those in the LGBT community who wish to know more about their sexual orientation, I do think it would be wise to fully explore cause of homosexuality outside of genetics. We should be asking if it’s not genetic and it’s not all choice than what is it? Whether or not there is ever conclusive proof a cause of homosexuality we must decide to be above politics and choose to care for those that we might not understand.