BORN THIS WAY – ACTUALLY, NO
If I really wanted to get to know you, would it be beneficial for me to see your genetic DNA? Could I gain an understanding of who you are, and why you behave the way you do, by getting to know your identical twin? Or would this information be irrelevant? Are you your own person, or are you simply a product of genetic programming? Were you born gay? Some cry out that they were born this way, that is, with a sexual orientation towards members of the same sex. Does the field of psychology confirm this claim?
Is it true that men and women are born homosexual? Has not the science of psychology proved this? The modern media has given us a window into some of the science of psychology. However, the material has been selective and interpreted. For example, in 1991 the researcher Simon LeVay, who himself is a gay activist, did studies on the brains of some presumedly homosexual men and found some small differences. The media quickly publicized his study around the world as evidence for biological causes for homosexuality. However, he could not say whether these differences were a cause or result of homosexuality. Also, he could not determine whether these differences appeared from birth or were a result of HIV infection. In fact, he later admitted:
It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. 1
In 1993, not long after LeVay's study, geneticist Dean Hamer, of the National Cancer Institute, released the results of his own study claiming to have found a gene that was foundational for male homosexuality. Hamer also is a gay activist. Again, his study was publicized as evidence that homosexuals are born gay. Later, other researchers conducted a study specifically done to test, and possibly reproduce, the results of Hamer's study. However, they arrived at different findings from Hamer's. 2 In his study “Male Homosexuality: Absence of Linkage to Microsatellite Markers at Xq28,” Rice, et al, say that it is unclear why their results differ from Hamer's and that they had even conducted a larger test than Hamer had done, yet with different results. 3 Hamer was later asked if homosexuality was based solely in biology. To his credit, he replied that it was not and that at least half of the variability in sexual orientation does not come from heredity. 4 Hamer also conceded that concerning female lesbianism, studies suggested that female sexual identification has more to do with environment than heredity.5
It may surprise you to learn that between any two unrelated persons there are approximately 99.7 to 99.9 percent genes that are the same. So, how much difference do those .1 or .3 percent of variance make in a person? Can they totally reverse his or her sexual orientation and explain their behaviour? The truth is that homosexuality is a behaviour and genes have very little or nothing to do with human behaviour. No genetically caused behaviour has ever been proven in humans, only in very simple organisms. In his book “My Genes Made Me Do It” Dr. Neil Whitehead says; “But attempts by scientists to pin specific behavior down to single gene defects or specific genes are proving very difficult and often unproductive. The established genetic links to behavior usually only link to negative behaviors such as schizophrenia (see Chapter 9), and many of the findings have been retracted in the face of the repeated failure of further independent laboratory tests.”6
If homosexuality is not a result of genetics, how then does it come about? It has much more to do with external influences upon a person than it does with genetics. What do some experts in this field of study say on this topic? Dr. Judd Marmor, former president of the American Psychiatric Association, and also an advocate of gay activism, admits that homosexuality is “by no means inevitable ... for, as has often been noted, constitutionally 'effeminate' boys or 'masculine' girls can develop normal heterosexual object relationships when their family environments and their opportunities for appropriate gender-role identification are favorable.”7 Even the gay support group, P-FLAG, has admitted that no known researcher has claimed that sexual orientation is determined by genes.8 Lastly, sociologist Steven Goldberg says; “I know of no one in the field who argues that homosexuality can be explained without reference to environmental factors.”9
The closest that psychology comes to saying that homosexuality is genetic is to say that gays have had traits that may open the door to that life-style. However, there is a great deal of difference between having a gay gene and having traits towards homosexuality. There is no such thing as a gay gene. To understand better what these traits may be, psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover says:
The real genetic question is – what is it in the background of people who become homosexual that opens that door for them, whereas the door is essentially closed for other people? In a nutshell, every behavioural trait in human nature has a genetic component. For example, basketball playing is clearly genetic. .... But if you ask yourself what that's about, it's clear that it's NOT that there is a gene for basketball playing. ... The reason there's a genetic association is that there's an intermediate trait which allows people who carry these traits to become basketball players in greater number that those who do not have those traits—namely, height, athleticism, and so on. So, it's not surprising that there is a growing number of studies that show a genetic association to homosexuality. But this is a far cry from saying that homosexuality is genetic in the way that eye colour is genetic.10
So, just as a tall, athletic person may have the traits of becoming a basketball player, they were not born a basketball player. In fact, they were born very far from being a basketball player. If they one day become a basketball player, it is because a coach or someone who knows the game taught them how to play and then put them into the game of basketball. Similarly, people are not born gay. They may have certain traits which open the door towards the possibility of that life-style, but they are made gay through the influence of others and their own choices.
It is commonly claimed by homosexuals that they have had the feelings that they do for as long as they can remember and that this is proof that they were born gay. However, there are also many testimonies of people joining the gay lifestyle somewhere in their adult life after years of living a meaningful heterosexual lifestyle. This weakens the argument that people are born gay. To claim that someone was born gay is to accept a nature over nurture explanation for sexual orientation. It is to say that because their desires are such that they were created this way. However, can anyone say with certainty that their desires were created by God? What we can say with certainty is that our anatomy was created by God.
No one has ever discovered a gay gene. If such a gene exists, then how can it be passed on? Gay individuals can't reproduce with a partner of their own sex. So, how could such a hypothetical gene be passed on? Even if it could be proven that genetics cause same-sex attraction, would this make same-sex lifestyle right? There are those who have a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism because their mother used alcohol during her pregnancy. If someone has this predisposition, does that give them the right to abuse alcohol? No, certainly not. It merely means that they have an even greater responsibility to avoid alcohol. Similarly, if someone has same-sex attraction, they have a greater responsibility to resist this temptation and not stumble into this area of personal weakness.
Some will ask, “Weren't you born heterosexual?” The most correct answer for anyone would be, “I was born male or female, evidenced by my anatomy at birth.” Sexual activity, either heterosexual or homosexual, is a choice. It is a decision that people make, some based on a feeling they had in a given moment. However, their choice doesn't change their sexuality. The Bible answers the question for us as to where homosexual and lesbian sin comes from. We read:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, Romans 1:18-28.
Same-sex desires are “degrading passions” which people may be given over to if they turn away from God and reject His truth. I do not believe that everyone who feels same-sex attraction has been given over to this sin, but those who have gone head-long into this lifestyle seem to fit the description of what we read in these verses.
Psychology has not proven that homosexuality is genetic. In fact, some of the researchers who have conducted experiments on this topic have had their own words stretched by the media and by activists who desperately want there to be evidence for genetic homosexuality.
People have traits which open the door for the possibility of becoming gay or lesbian, but becoming gay or lesbian does not happen without the choice of the individual and also, likely, environmental influences.
1. Simon LeVay, quoted in David Nimmons, “Sex and the Brain,” Discover,March 1994, 64-71.
2. Peter Sprigg and Timothy Dailey, Eds. Getting It Straight : What the Research Shows about Homosexuality. (Washington, D.C.: Family Research Council, 2004), 13.
3. Rice, et al., “Male Homosexuality : Absence of Linkage to Microsatellite Markers at Xq28.” Science 23 April 1999: Vol. 284 no. 5414 p. 665.
4. NEW EVIDENCE OF A GAY GENE By Anastasia Toufexis;Alice Park/New York Time Magazize, Monday, Nov. 13, 1995.
5. Dean Hamer and P. Copeland, Living with Our Genes : Why They Matter More Than You Think (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998), 188.
6. Dr. Neil Whitehead and Briar Whitehead, “My Genes Made Me Do It.” http://www.mygenes.co.nz
7. Judd Marmor, “Overview: The Multiple Roots of Homosexual Behavior,” in Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal,ed. J. Marmor (New York: BasicBooks, 1980), 9.Reprinted from Homoesexual Behavior by Judd Marmor. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of The Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 1980.
8. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, “Why Ask Why? Addressing the Research on Homosexuality and Biology” (1995), prepared with assistance of the American Psychological Association's Clinton Anderson.
9. Steven Goldberg, When Wish Replaces Thought : Why So Much of What You Believe Is False (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1994), 63.
10. J. Satinover, “Reflections from Jeffrey Satinover,” NARTH Bulletin, April 1995, 3.
Discover, March 1994.
Goldberg, Steven. When Wish Replaces Thought : Why So Much of What You Believe Is False. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1994.
Hamer, Dean and P. Copeland. Living with Our Genes : Why They Matter More Than You Think. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998.
Marmor, Judd. “Overview: The Multiple Roots of Homosexual Behavior,” in Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal.ed. J. Marmor. New York: BasicBooks, 1980.Reprinted from Homoesexual Behavior by Judd Marmor. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of The Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 1980.
NARTH Bulletin, April 1995.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. “Why Ask Why? Addressing the Research on Homosexuality and Biology”(1995). Prepared with assistance of the American Psychological Association's Clinton Anderson.
Science 23 April 1999: Vol. 284 no. 5414.
Scientific American,November 1995.
Sprigg, Peter and Timothy Dailey, Eds. Getting It Straight : What the Research Shows about Homosexuality. Washington, D.C.: Family Research Council, 2004.
Scripture references taken from the King James Bible and
"Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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