Homosexuality: Personal Choice or Act of God?

“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, not thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Homosexuality has been around as long for as there is recorded history. Through the years, however, the opinions towards homosexuality have changed. Now, homosexuality is being labeled as a genetic trait rather than as a psychological problem. Not everyone believes this to be true, however. I have always believed that homosexuality is genetic and I decided to search the web for some evidence.

I first checked out a site written by a supporter of the “gay gene.” http://voyager.dvc.edu/~bmckinney/www.pilot.infi.net/~susanf/aolgay.htm is written by Don Robertson. Don Robertson is a gay teacher of biochemistry and molecular biology. In his article, he states that many experiments have proved the genetic connection to homosexuality. He names some of the experiment’s methods but he doesn’t include who ran the experiments, where they were done, why or why not they would be reliable or whether they would have the same results if the experiments were repeated. He comes up with figures like if one identical twin is gay there is a sixty- percent chance that the other identical twins will also be gay. This is included to prove that since identical twins share identical genes; they must have had the “gay gene” passed down to both of them. This claim brings up a few problems.

First, there is nowhere in the article that cites where this information was collected or if the information is reliable. Second, there is no guarantee that biological twins make decisions that are independent of each other. As many religious folk hold the same opinions based on religion, siblings who are as similar as identical twins may also be greatly affected by what one or the other decides for their own life. Also, we do not know how these people were chosen for this sample. It is possible that the twin homosexuals who were observed for the experiment were chosen based on their similar sexual preferences.

Robertson tries to explain how homosexuality is passed down the family tree. He claims that the x sex chromosome that is carried down from the mother is the determining factor to tell whether the child will be gay or straight. Robertson writes that he found this information in a magazine called Science. I searched the web for any kind of information about the article written in the 1993 issue of Science magazine that Robertson reportedly received his information from but there was no record of it anywhere.

Elsewhere in the article, Robertson writes about how “we” should be considered normal. The “we” that he refers to is all homosexuals. He writes that homosexuals should be given all the same rights as heterosexuals and that the information in his article proves that he and all other homosexuals never had a choice. Unfortunately, this ending to his article makes me wonder how much of the information he provides is objective. What are his motivations for choosing these specific experiments? Is Robertson making the mistake of false dilemma? Is he assuming that just because there seem to be only two ways for homosexuality to “occur” that his information must prove the genetic theory? Can I believe this claim? This article is poorly constructed and based on what looks like one man’s recollection of some articles he read about the subject. Although I believe that homosexuality is genetic, the information provided here doesn’t help explain why.

http://voyager.dvc.edu/~bmckinney/www.frc.org/infocus/if94k7hs.html is a site that tries to disprove the theory of the “gay gene.” This site doesn’t name any one author but has a lengthy list of sources at the end. The article begins with an attack on the motivations that homosexuals may have for wanting the possibility of genetic homosexuality to be true. His hostile tone immediately gives me the impression that the writer takes the subject personally and I become prepared to read another biased article. The author then begins with a list of experiments and their results. He or she brings up the experiment about the identical twins who are both homosexuals. The author tries to disprove this theory by bringing up my original suspicion that there was a possibility the twins who were chosen weren’t chosen randomly. Apparently the advertisement asking to study the families was posted in a homosexual-based magazine and no control group was used to try to disprove the possibility of environment playing as a lurking factor.

Another experiment that is often used to prove that homosexuality is genetic was performed by a scientist named Simon LeVay. LeVay chose 35 dead men, 19 of whom were known homosexuals and 16 who were presumed to be heterosexual, for his experiment. He studied the cluster of neurons in the brains of the cadavers and found that the homosexuals tended to have smaller clusters resembling the neuron clusters in the female brain, therefore causing a sexual attraction to males. The author tries to prove that this experiment is flawed with his statement, “LeVay didn’t know the orientation of the “heterosexual cadavers and assumed they were all heterosexual, even though six had died of AIDS.” From that remark I am to assume that AIDS is a sign of homosexuality. From research of my own, I have found that more and more heterosexuals are being diagnosed with AIDS. This shows a flaw in the author’s reasoning. He or she is using an old stereotype to assume the sexual preference of the people being observed before they died. I decided that the author’s argument wasn’t good enough to base my opinion on so I searched for information on LeVay.

LeVay was a professor at Harvard Medical School and worked more specifically in the Department of Neurobiology. This is a strong indicator that LeVay had access to the equipment and information he would need to study the neurons of the corpses and the prestige of Harvard makes me assume that he is well educated in his field. Another interesting fact, however, is that LeVay is a homosexual. This brings up questions about his intentions and his biases while experimenting. He knew who the gay men where and who the “straight” men were. He performed the experiments and recorded the results. Could his results have been biased based on his own personal desire for genetics to be the proven reason for homosexuality? The author brings up well-documented points, but fails to stay away from common stereotypes and a personal tone. His or her emotional responses make me wonder what the author’s intentions include. Why does the author react so angrily when faced with the possibility that homosexuality could be genetic? The idea that homosexuals are trying to make homosexuality seem as natural as race is a point that is raised on more than one occasion. Is it possible that the author is of an “oppressed” race and doesn’t feel that the crusades of the homosexuals are as important as those of his or her own race? Although the author of this article was pretty consistent with stating his or her resources, the structure he or she used showed a very negative and personal tone towards the subject. The tone made it difficult for me to feel that the article was written objectively.

The last site I found is written by a born-again Christian. Qrd.rdrop.com/qrd/religion/Judeo-Christian/
another.effort.at.explaining.the.bible.and.queers is written by Tom Terry. When searching for religious aspects of this issue, I was expecting to find vicious remarks that completely disregarded all facts in the name of God and His way. However, Terry takes an objective look at the possibilities that homosexuality could be genetic and then ties in how the possibility of genetics influencing homosexuality may relate to the Bible. His first look at the issue is his evaluation of LeVay’s experiment. Terry believes the information about the different sized neutrons is interesting, yet doesn’t jump to form any opinion based on it. He simply states, “LeVay’s study showed that there do exist some kind of biological differences between the homosexual and heterosexual. Whether this resulted from natural biological causes or from environment or other reasons has not been determined thru scientific analysis.” Terry doesn’t make the mistake here of suggesting a false dilemma that the different neurons have to be caused by either nature or nurture. He stays open to other options that may be unknown. Terry then comments about the experiment involving the identical twins. Unfortunately, he claims that fifty-two percent of identical twins will both be gay. Robertson stated that sixty percent was the correct number. Because both of these men failed to sight their sources in their articles, I am unable to tell whether this is a flaw in one of their calculations, if the information was recorded at different times or if the study was a completely different one altogether. Terry doesn’t claim that the coincidences in identical twins proves that homosexuality is or isn’t genetic. He simply states that it is “interesting.”

After the scientific proof, Terry gets into the influences of the Bible and how they relate to the possibility of genetic homosexuality. Because God is said to have made everyone of us, many homosexuals believe that the Bible cannot then say that homosexuality is wrong if it is biological. Terry shoots that theory down (as have many other religious followers) stating that a homosexual’s genetic makeup does not decide whether homosexuality is a sin or not. Supposedly, God made man imperfect after Adam and Eve and through genetics, these imperfections have been handed down from generations. These imperfections do not influence the person’s relationship with God. Instead, what is important is that the flawed person overcomes his or her desire to fulfill the sins that are naturally within him or herself. Basically, Terry says that it doesn’t matter whether homosexuality is genetic or caused by an outside force. Rather, it is only important to overcome and be strong so that God may love you even though you are a sinner, and in death you will return to “perfection.”

After reading this article, I am impressed by the way a conservative Christian has decided to put all stereotypes away and simply look at the person as just another person who was born flawed and who needs to overcome. Although I do not believe that his views are necessarily true, I believe that his accounts of the facts included in the experiments are well recorded and he doesn’t completely shut his eyes on science in the name of religion. This article is far from flawless, however. The author is neither homosexual nor bisexual, and his sexual preference makes me assume that when he was looking at the information about the experiments, he went into it open to whatever seemed most logical and was best supported. His religious views put a totally strange twist on everything, though. From his article, I have come to assume that God does not in fact make all of us but that He only made our first ancestor and then let go of all creation after that. Also, Terry claims that God loves all people, including the sinners, and yet the Bible says that those people should die. Is it true that in the name of religion, science doesn’t really matter? Does biology not matter if we don’t go against God’s word? Everything that Terry puts forth is personal opinion. Even when writing about how God feels towards the homosexuality issue, he says that his evaluation of the Bible is strictly his own interpretation and it may not be one hundred percent accurate. This makes it difficult to believe his views because they are not based on facts and are supported by nothing but a personal interpretation of a scripture that has baffled millions since the book was first written. Terry puts forth a lot of scientific evidence and then claims that it’s all irrelevant in the big picture. Although I don’t agree, I think it is a positive step for a conservative Christian to be willing to at least ponder the thought of genetics causing homosexuality.

My search on the web proved to be without much support for my personal feeling that homosexuality is genetic. Although a few new studies where included, they were not completely dependable. None of the studies were based on common knowledge and none of them of them were supported by solid evidence. The authors of the articles did a poor job of listing all the aspects of the experiments while Robertson didn’t question anything he read about; the author from the second article questioned them based on outdated beliefs.

Altogether, I didn’t feel that I was convinced on either side. Were there any more experiments? Were any of the ones listed proven to be true? Are there any alternatives to the cause of homosexuality other than genetics and environment? Is religion the true way to look at the matter?

“That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary nature and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.” (Romans 1:26-27)