One of the most persistent and culturally damaging Homosexual Urban Legends is the erroneous claim by homosexual activists that they are "born gay" or that their sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence and is fixed and unchangeable.
One or both of these urban legends has been perpetuated not only by homosexual activist groups but by prestigious organizations like the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
The American Psychological Association, for example, features a Q&A section on its web site that deals with sexual orientation. To the question, "Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?" the APA answers: "No, human beings can not choose to be either gay or straight. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed."
In a follow up question, "Can Therapy Change Sexual Orientation?" the APA answers: "No. … The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable."
Current research from professional organizations like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) dispute the APA's pro-homosexual position.
Regrettably, however, homosexuals have used this particular urban legend to fight for anti-discrimination laws and for "hate crime" laws that provide special legal protections for homosexuals not accorded to heterosexuals. They have also used this fraudulent claim to push for homosexual recruitment programs in public schools under the guise of providing "safe schools" for "homosexual" teenagers. Homosexuals have also demanded sensitivity training for those who are repelled by homosexual behavior. Currently, transgendered individuals (those who cross-dress or are undergoing sex change operations), are also now claiming to be "born transgender." Transgenders are demanding federal laws to protect them from societal disapproval. (See TVC's Special Report on this: "A Gender Identity Goes Mainstream.")
Great cultural and legal changes have taken place in our society because of this Homosexual Urban Legend-but it is slowly but surely being debunked. This is being done not only by conservative psychologists and psychiatrists, but by the admissions of homosexual researchers themselves.
Dr. Robert Spitzer, a NARTH associate, was one of the main forces behind the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 decision to remove homosexuality as a mental illness from the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
Dr. Spitzer is now convinced that men and women who have a homosexual orientation can change through therapy. His most recent findings were published in Archives of Sexual Behavior (Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003, pp. 403-417).
NARTH summarized his findings on its web site. Dr. Spitzer interviewed some 200 men and women who reported changes from homosexual to heterosexual orientation that lasted five years or longer. According to Spitzer, his findings show that "the mental health professionals should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has, as a goal, a change in sexual orientation."
One of the most compelling articles to dispel the notion that homosexuality is genetically determined, fixed, and unchangeable is: "The Innate-Immutable Argument Finds No Basis in Science: In Their Own Words: Gay Activists Speak About Science, Morality, Philosophy," by Drs. A. Dean Byrd, Shirley Cox, and Jeffrey W. Robinson. This essay is published on the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality web site.
The authors of this study carefully quote a number of homosexual researchers who have worked for years to locate a "gay gene" or some other genetic basis for homosexuality. They have failed and are now admitting that such evidence may never be found.
Homosexual researcher Dean Hamer, for example, attempted to link male homosexuality to a bit of DNA located at the tip of the X chromosome. He has written: "Homosexuality is not purely genetic…environmental factors play a role. There is not a single master gene that makes people gay. . . . I don't think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay."
Homosexual researcher Simon LeVay, who studied the hypothalamic differences between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men noted: "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. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain."
Homosexual researchers Bailey and Pillard conducted the famous "twins study" quoted by homosexual activist groups to promote the idea that being "gay" is genetic. The study found that among those twins studied, 52% of identical twins were both homosexual; only 22% of non-identical twins were both homosexual; and 9.2% of non-identical twins.
This was hailed by homosexual activists groups and by the media as supposedly proving that homosexuality is genetic. The study actually proved the opposite. As Byrd, et al, note: "This study actually provides support for environmental factors. If homosexuality were in the genetic code, all of the identical twins would have been homosexual."
In short, the three most famous studies in recent years that homosexual activists use to claim that homosexuality is genetic prove no such thing. In fact, two of the authors of these studies admit their research has not proven a genetic basis to homosexuality.
Catholic Psychiatrists Offer Insights
In June, 2002, Catholic psychiatrists with the Catholic Medical Association in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, sent a letter of concern to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and offered to help the Catholic Church deal with its scandals over priests with same-sex attractions. Many of these priests are not pedophiles in the clinical sense or the legal sense of the word. These are pederasts or homosexuals who are attracted to teenage boys or young adults.
The letter of concern notes: "There is no verifiable evidence that same-sex attraction is genetically determined. If same-sex attraction were genetically determined, identical twins would always have the same sexual attraction pattern. Numerous studies of twins have shown that this is not the case. And there are numerous studies documenting change of sexual attraction pattern (see 'Homosexuality and Hope,' available at www.cathmed.org
). This entire statement is available on the Catholic Medical Association web site. This association is helping to debunk the notion that individuals are "born gay."
If Not Genes,
Then What Causes Homosexuality?
Regent University's Law Review for Spring, 2002, is entirely devoted to a discussion of various aspects of homosexuality, including the origins and causes of homosexual behaviors. The Law Review includes a study, " Homosexuality: Innate and Immutable?" by Dr. A. Dean Byrd and Stony Olsen.
After discussing the lack of evidence on the genetic origins of homosexuality, Dr. Byrd and his associate detail the various environmental factors that can lead a person into a homosexual lifestyle.
Gender Confusion: Dr. George Rekers, an expert on Gender Identity Disorders, is author of dozens of scholarly research papers on homosexuality and wrote Growing Up Straight: What Every Family Should Know About Homosexuality in 1982. He is also editor of Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexual Problems, published in 1995. Dr. Rekers stated in 1995, that "Gender nonconformity in childhood may be the single common observable factor associated with homosexuality. Some of the typical childhood factors leading to homosexuality are: feeling of being different from other children; perception of father as being distant, uninvolved and unapproving; perception of mother being too close, too involved; diminished or distorted masculinity or femininity; premature introduction to sexuality; and gender confusion.
Failure To Internalize Maleness: Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality has written: "Homosexuality is a developmental problem that is almost always the result of problems in family relationships, particularly between father and son. As a result of failure with father, the boy does not fully internalize male gender identity, and develops homosexuality. This is the most commonly seen clinical model."
Dr. George Rekers, writing in Growing Up Straight, observes: "Many studies of homosexual patients as well as of nonpatient homosexuals have established a classic pattern of background family relations. The most frequent family pattern reported from the male homosexuals includes a binding, intimate mother in combination with a hostile, detached father."
Sexual Abuse By Same-Sex Predator: In studies conducted by Diana Shrier and Robert Johnson in 1985 and 1988, males who had been sexually abused as children were almost seven times as likely as non-molested boys to become homosexuals.
Dr. Gregory Dickson recently completed a doctoral dissertation on the pattern of relationships between mothers and their male homosexual sons. His paper is entitled: "An Empirical Study of the Mother/Son Dyad in Relation to the Development of Adult Male Homosexuality: An Object Relations Perspective."
Dr. Dickson's study is reviewed on the NARTH web site. His study sheds new light on the relationship between early childhood sexual abuse and a child's later involvement in homosexual behaviors. According to Dickson, an alarming 49% of homosexuals surveyed had been molested compared to less than 2% of heterosexuals.
His study affirms previous findings of Dr. David Finkelhor (1984), which found that boys victimized by older men were four times more likely to be currently involved in homosexual behaviors than were non-victims. As Finkelhor observed: "It may be common for a boy who has been involved in an experience with an older man to label himself as homosexual (1) because he has had a homosexual experience and (2) because he was found to be sexually attractive by a man. Once he labels himself homosexual, the boy may begin to behave consistently with the role and gravitate toward homosexual activity." (Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research, New York: The Free Press, 1984).
Dr. Dickson's study suggests that sexual abuse should be considered in evaluating the factors that contribute to the development of adult homosexual behaviors. Dickson writes: "An experience of sexual abuse could possibly contribute to the sexualizing of the unmet needs for male affection, attention, and connection."
Dr. Dickson continues: "Given the relational deficits [with his mother] experienced by the male child, it is also possible that the molestation, as devastating as it may have been emotionally, simultaneously may be experienced by some of the boys as their first form of adult male affection, as well as something relational that is not shared in common with his mother."
Counselor Dr. Robert Hicks, author of The Masculine Journey, has written: "…In counseling gay men for twenty years, I have not had one yet whom I would say had a normative childhood or normative adolescent development in the sexual arena. More often than not I have found stories of abusive, alcoholic, or absent (physically and emotionally) fathers: stories of incest or first experiences of sex forced upon them by older brothers, neighborhood men, or even friends. I sometimes find these men have had early exposure to pornography…."
Homosexuals Are Made, Not Born
In summary, the most credible research to date on homosexuality-and research conducted years ago-demonstrates that no one is "born gay." The homosexual is suffering from a developmental problem, which frequently starts out in childhood as gender confusion, family dysfunction, or molestation.
From a Christian perspective, homosexual behavior is also labeled a sin and a sexual perversion. It is a behavior that must be repented of. The sin is akin to allowing oneself to become addicted to pornography or to drugs. These behaviors can be overcome-but the person must want to change!
The Bible-both the Old and New Testaments-clearly condemn homosexuality as a sin and a sexual perversion. Dr. Robert Gagnon, assistant professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has written a definitive text on how God views homosexuality. In The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, Gagnon proves beyond doubt that the Bible consistently condemns homosexual behavior but calls the homosexual-and other sinners-to repentance and salvation. Gagnon urges Christians to resist the homosexual agenda but to love the sinner by "befriending the homosexual while withholding approval of homosexual behavior."
There is hope for homosexuals through developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, through both religious and secular counseling programs, and through support groups that provide accountability for those struggling with same-sex attractions and self-destructive behaviors.
Organizations like Exodus International, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, NARTH, Reality Resources, and others can provide the resources that homosexuals need to be set free from these self-destructive sexual behaviors. Freedom is possible for those who wish to be free!