A Life Determined Before Birth?
INTRODUCTION--Essentially, society has two views of homosexuality. The traditional view holds that homosexuality is an aberration, the orientation is a disorder, and the behavior is pathological. The opposing view is that homosexuality is a normal variant in the human condition, that it is determined before birth, and homosexual behavior is natural for those so oriented. The gay community has been tremendously successful in gaining acceptance for the second view. This view; however, rests on a number of questionable premises, which if false, lead us back to the traditional views.
"Homosexuality is genetically or otherwise prenatally determined." This is the bottom line for many regarding homosexuality. Almost without exception, this is the belief of those in the church who advocate the acceptance of homosexuality. They are born that way; they cannot change; and so the loving thing to do is to help them accept their homosexuality.
The gay community has a tremendous stake in having society accept this view. The whole gay rights movement is really a "gay acceptance" movement. As a people often subject to scorn, ridicule, hate and rejection, they desperately want to be accepted as "normal".
Having people believe that a certain proportion of mankind is born homosexual would legitimize homosexuality as nothing else could. "Being born gay, is just like being born left-handed, or with red hair. It’s a normal variation in the human species." Who wouldn’t rather be seen this way as opposed to being labeled a "deviant" or "pervert?"
What is the evidence as far as homosexuality being genetic, or hormonal, or otherwise biologically predetermined?
First, we should state that the burden of proof on this should rest with those who take the position that homosexuality is inborn. On this count, the advocates of the normalcy of homosexuality fail miserably.
Almost always, they speak in generalities, using phrases such as "many believe", or "current research has proven". But when asked who the many are, or where the research is, they come up short.
The Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Newark, who has gained national attention for his strong pro-gay statements, in stating absolutely that homosexuality is inborn, offers his source, nothing more than private conversations with people who are doing "frontier work in the scientific field."
In fact, nothing has been published and gained wide acceptance in the scientific and medical communities that indicates that homosexuality is primarily genetic or otherwise prenatally determined. This is a strong statement, but we are so sure of it that we back it up with the agreement to address any reasonable challenges to it in this newsletter.
What do the experts say, those who specialize in the fields of human sexuality or homosexuality? These are the views that we should seek on this particular issue, not those who have a religious agenda to promote or a lifestyle to protect.
One of the most widely recognized authorities on the subject is John W. Money, Ph.D., a professor at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Director of the Psychohormonal Research Institute. In an article in Perspectives in Human Sexuality, he states:
Whatever may be the possible unlearned assistance from constitutional sources, the child’s psychosexual identity is not written, unlearned, in the genetic code, the hormonal system or the nervous system at birth.1
A psychiatrist who has written and spoken widely on the subject of homosexuality, Dr. Charles W. Socarides, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York has stated:
Homosexuality, the choice of a partner of the same sex for orgastic satisfaction, is not innate. There is no connection between sexual instinct and the choice of sexual object. Such an object choice is learned, acquired behavior; there is no inevitable genetically inborn propensity toward the choice of a partner of either the same or opposite sex.2
Another expert who has written widely on the subject is George A. Rekers, Ph.D., Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. In his view:
At the present time, we may tentatively conclude that the main source for gender and sexual behavior deviance is found in social learning and psychological development variables…although we should recognize that there remains the theoretical possibility that biological abnormalities could contribute a potential vulnerability factor in some indirect way.3
Finally we have the opinions of Masters and Johnson, the most widely known authorities in the field of human sexual behavior. In one of their books they have written:
The genetic theory of homosexuality has been generally discarded today.4
Despite the interest in possible hormone mechanisms in the origin of homosexuality, no serious scientist today suggests that a simple cause-effect relationship applies.5
"Nurture vs. Nature" arguments are always difficult, man being such a complex creature. Whether we are discussing alcoholism, criminal behavior or homosexuality, it may be impossible to prove the cause of any form of behavior or any identity using scientific method or the strict rules of logic. But the overwhelming consensus from experts in the field is that homosexuality is primarily learned behavior; and if there is any genetic element, it is almost certainly a minor contributor.
If homosexuality is, indeed, learned behavior, then there is the strong possibility that it can be unlearned. In fact, there is growing evidence that substantial numbers of people are experiencing real change!
1. John W. Money, "Sexual Dimorphism and Homosexual Gender Identity," in Perspectives in Human Sexuality, ed. Nathaniel W. Wagner (New York: Behavioral Publications, 1974), p.67
2. Charles W. Socarides, "Homosexuality: Basic Concepts and Psychodynamics," in the International Journal of Psychiatry, 1972
3. George A. Rekers, "The Formation of Homosexual Orientation," an address to the North American Social Science Network Conference, Washington, D.C., February 26, 1987
4. William H. Masters, Virginia E. Brown, and Robert C. Kolodny, Human Sexuality, (Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1984), p.319
5. Ibid., p.320
Reprinted by Permission. Regeneration News, P.O. Box 9830, Baltimore, MD 21284-9830.