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Homosexuality: Your Genes Do Not Make You Do It

The homosexual community relies on scientifically discredited studies to further their cause. Here we will provide a brief critique of some of the most frequently quoted studies which are often  used to garner support for the claim that homosexuality is rooted in ones genes, and therefore should be considered as natural and normal as heterosexuality:

The Kinsey Studies. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Alfred C. Kinsey and his associates studied sexual behavior in both the human male and female. These studies are widely used today to make the claim that 10% of the population is homosexual. However, this claim was never actually made in any of the Kinsey reports. Instead, “Kinsey said that 10% of white males are more or less exclusively homosexual (a 5 on a scale of 1 to 6; 6 being exclusively homosexual) for at least 3 years between the ages of 15 and 65, and 4% are exclusively homosexual throughout life after the onset of adolescence.” 1 Clearly, from this there is no way to make a credible argument for the ‘10%’ number. In addition, Kinsey’s numbers have since been shown to be inflated by what the National Research Council has acknowledged to be flawed methods. For example, “his studies focused on men whose homosexual experience was certainly higher than normal. Kinsey’s analysis was on a study group in which 20% to 25% had prison experience and 5% may have been male prostitutes. This would be like trying to estimate the percentage of Americans who are religious and then taking a survey on the street in front of a church at noon on Sunday. The sampling would have an over representation of religious people.” 2

The Evelyn Hooker Study.  During the 1950s UCLA professor Evelyn Hooker, at the urging of the Los Angeles homosexual community, decided to conduct a study in an attempt to prove the hypothesis that psychologically, homosexuals could function as normal human beings.  The results published in her 1957 report were subsequently used to advance the false claim that homosexual behavior is not pathological in nature.  Professor Hooker, whose only prior experience in behavior studies involved animals such as rats, used highly questionable research techniques.

  1. Hooker's study group was not random, but rather made-up of volunteers from an early gay rights group known as the Mattachine Society, which, as she put it in her published report, "has as its stated purpose the development of a homosexual ethic..."3
  2. Although recruitment of homosexual volunteers for the study group was very easy, obtaining heterosexual subjects for her "control group" was a significant challenge.  She attempted to recruit anyone she could find, "including a fireman who showed up to inspect her home.  'No man is safe on Saltair Street,' joked her husband."4
  3. Hooker started with a total of 80 subjects, 40 in the study group and 40 in the control group.  She matched the 40 homosexuals as closely as possible by age, IQ, and education with the 40 heterosexual subjects.  However, her preliminary screening resulted in the elimination of 5 from each group who were deemed to be too unbalanced to be in the study-- she also eliminated the subjects that were matched with these 10 from the opposite group, leaving a total of 60 subjects.
  4. Hooker administered three standardized tests to her 60 subjects;  The Rorschach test, which consists of a series of ink blots that subjects are asked to interpret, The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), and the Make-A-Picture-Story test (MAPS).  The TAT involves subjects making up stories about pictures of people in various settings, and the MAPS test requires subjects to arrange cut-out pictures and then make up a story about their arrangement.  For the Rorschach test, experts agree that a great deal of skill is required to successfully administer and score this test, yet as mentioned previously, Hooker's prior work involved only animal subjects.  Also, both Hooker and her subjects knew the desired outcome which could bias the results.  The experts agree that double-blind tests are best because the subject and interviewer are both unaware of the purpose of such tests, which prevents unwanted bias.  The problem Hooker experienced with the TAT and MAPS tests is that the homosexual subjects, in spite of knowing the desired outcome, did not refrain from indulging themselves in homosexual fantasies, thereby exhibiting the obsessive nature of homosexuality.  Realizing that the identity of the homosexuals was so obvious from these tests, Hooker did not even ask the judge to distinguish between homosexual and heterosexual subjects.
  5. Hooker concludes her report with a "highly selective summary of comments by judges, all of which support her thesis that  the two groups are, in effect, indistinguishable in terms of 'overall adjustment.'  In her own evaluation of the results, Hooker-- aware of the degree to which she is challenging leading authorities in the field-- offers a set of 'admissions' about the limitations of her study.  In this section she concedes the possibility that homosexuals are indeed pathological, a point overlooked by most of her admirers."5

Difference in Brain Study by Dr. Simon Levay. In his report published in Science, August 1991, Dr. Simon Levay claimed physical differences exist between brains of homosexuals and heterosexuals. However, independent review of his work by the scientific community found that Levay “actually has no idea if there are really any heterosexuals in his group”.6    Another problem with Levay's study is the fact that the brain is ever changing due to behavior and environment.  That is, homosexual behavior itself may result in changes in the brain.

Dean Hamer et al., of the National Cancer Institute, "A Linkage Between DNA Markers on X Chromosome and Male Sexual Orientation".  On pages 18-24 in his book, Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality, Richard Cohen provides valuable insight into three of the most publicized studies from the early 90's: 1) the previously mentioned study by Dr. Levay, 2) the Bailey and Pillard study mentioned below, and 3) this study by Hamer et al..  Hamer and associates studied 40 pairs of homosexual brothers and suggested that some cases of homosexuality are linked to a specific region on the X chromosome (Xq28) inherited from the mother by her homosexual son.  This study was reported in Science magazine in July 1993, and was the source of media reports that the "gay gene" had been discovered.  However, review of the work done by Hamer et al. reveals several problems with their suggestion.  First, there was no control group.  In fact, Hamer et al. failed to test the heterosexual brothers to see if they had the same genetic markers.  Second, a Canadian research team using a similar experimental design was unable to duplicate the findings of Hamer's study.  Third, Hamer himself emphasizes, "These genes do not cause people to become homosexual... the biology of personality is much more complicated than that."  Finally, one of Hamer's fellow research assistants brought him up on charges saying that he withheld some of the findings that invalidated his study.  The National Cancer Institute is investigating Hamer.

Bailey and Pillard Study, "A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation".  This study was reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, December 1991.  John M. Bailey and Richard Pillard studied the prevalence of homosexuality among twins and adopted brothers where at least one brother was homosexual.  They found that 52 percent (29 pairs out of 56) of the identical twins were both homosexual; 22 percent (12 pairs out of 54) of the fraternal twins were both homosexual; and 11 percent (6 of 57) of the adoptive brothers were both homosexual.  They also found 9 percent (13 of 142) of the non twin biological siblings were both homosexual.  The authors therefore concluded that there is a genetic cause to homosexuality.  As with the other studies this one has several significant problems.  The biggest is that 50 percent of the identical twins were not homosexual, which means that genetics does not play a major role in determining sexual orientation.  If it had, then nearly 100 percent of the identical twins should be homosexual since identical twins have the same genetic makeup.  Another problem with this study is the lack of a random sample.  The biased sample was obtained from twins volunteering in response to ads placed in homosexual newspapers and magazines, rather than general periodicals.  Therefore, the subjects were more likely to resemble each other than non homosexual twins.
It is interesting to note, as Richard Cohen points out in Coming out Straight pages 23-24, that Simon Levay, Richard Pillard, and Dean Hamer are all self-proclaimed homosexual men.  Which might explain why some the obvious problems were not adequately addressed during these studies.

As the attempts to find a genetic cause for homosexuality continue, one only needs consider the following observations, obtained from the wrap-up chapter of the book My Genes Made Me Do It! by Neil and Briar Whitehead, to dispel the myth that genes make you do it:

  • If homosexuality were genetically endowed, then it could not appear and disappear suddenly in family trees like it does.
  • There is so much scientific evidence of change from homosexual orientation to heterosexual orientation that it is impossible to argue homosexuality is genetically dictated.
  • Those researchers who know the most about genes say, “Your genes did not make you do it”.
  • If homosexuality is genetically dictated, homosexual practices will be identical or very similar in all cultures. But the range and diversity of homosexual practice and customs between different cultures, and even within cultures, argues against any genetically mandated homosexuality.
  • The human race shares most of its genes-- something between 99.7% and 99.9% of them according to one estimate. That means that all ethnic groups will have most of them. ... So many genes held in common by all ethnic groups would argue for similar incidence of homosexuality in all cultures. But homosexuality has been unknown in some cultures and obligatory in others.

It's not hard to find cultures where homosexuality is unknown, many of which continue to have a strong moral foundation such as the Amish communities.  But where might one find cultures where homosexuality is obligatory?   In ancient Greece, on the island of Lesbos, from which the word 'lesbian' is derived,  young ladies attended a 'finishing' school to learn, among other things, how to be sexually intimate with other women.  In addition, ancient Greece cultural norms included man-boy homosexual relationships.   A modern day example can be found "among the Sambia, a Papua-New Guinean tribe in which homosexual sex is prescribed for growing boys until marriageable age (when they were expected to be exclusively heterosexual), there was a significant change toward heterosexuality."7

1Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths, 1994 The American Family Association, pp. 9
2Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths, 1994 The American Family Association, pp. 9-10
3The Evelyn Hooker Study and the Normalization of Homosexuality, 1995 The Family Research Council, pp. 2
4The Evelyn Hooker Study and the Normalization of Homosexuality, 1995 The Family Research Council, pp. 3
5The Evelyn Hooker Study and the Normalization of Homosexuality, 1995 The Family Research Council, pp. 6
6Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths, 1994 The American Family Association, pp. 11
7My Genes Made Me Do It! A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation, 1999 Neil and Briar Whitehead, pp. 187
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