IS SEXUAL IDENTITY FIXED? RESPONDING TO THE WILDFIRE MYTH OF ‘GENETIC HOMOSEXUALITY’

IS SEXUAL IDENTITY FIXED? RESPONDING TO THE WILDFIRE MYTH OF ‘GENETIC HOMOSEXUALITY’

A Research Paper

Presented to

Professor Daniel R. Heimbach

In partial fulfillment of the requirement for

ETH6550B Moral Foundations of Marriage & Family

Leonard O Goenaga

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

December 10, 2009

IS SEXUAL IDENTITY FIXED? RESPONDING TO THE WILDFIRE MYTH OF ‘GENETIC HOMOSEXUALITY’

As a youth pastor, I am in the front lines of the culture war. The number of questions we receive, from sex to salvation, are quite diverse. Having an open question policy, a student of mine recently approached me with the following. A friend from school had made the statement that homosexuality was genetic, and thus fixed and unchanging. The friend had quoted an article from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-friendly activist organization within the Republican Party, as proof.[1] Within this article were numerous studies by researchers and psychologists I had never heard of. However, understanding God’s revelation on sexual morality, and the serious threat immorality poses upon both society and faith, I sought to do some research and provide my student with an answer. What I discovered was simply shocking: “contrary to what many Americans believe, there are no replicated scientific studies demonstrating that homosexuality is determined by biological or genetic factors.”[2]

From here I began to pour through the research and dig through various journals and studies, finding this statement affirmed within the scientific record. I had written these findings in a short essay and provided them to my student to share with his friend. This essay was then posted on my Facebook, with the following remarks from friends: Female 1: “The fact that you are arguing that homosexuals CHOOSE this life style is hatred in itself,” Female 1: “But the Bible says nothing against homosexuality.” Male 1: “And to think if being gay were truly a matter of choice, why would I, or any one else bother to pick it?” Male 2: “And for the record, I think Homosexuality is genetic, and there are many geneticists who believe so.”[3] In short, I was again in shock.  Why would I have received such comments? Was the evidence not studied? What assumptions were being made? Where did this claim that homosexuality was genetic come from, and how has it been absorbed so fully by the public? To answer these various questions, as well as provide a detailed exploration, I had done the following research. The claims made by such individuals needed answers, and it is the purpose of this paper to do so.

One more concern must be clearly expressed before the evidence is presented is the spirit of this research. In all things, we must have love. Our presentation must always be one of grace. However, we must not mistake this for political correctness, or a fear of man. The very motivation of love should motivate us to share knowledge with one another, regardless of one’s subjective preference. To share in a civil and well-supported manner cannot be perceived as hate simply because it brings about an opposition to emotionally attached issues. Such is the method of suppressing exchange, which is true bigotry (to simply toss the hate sticker at anyone who disagrees). Rather, a deconstruction of presuppositions must occur, and the approach to the evidence must be done with honesty. In this paper, I will explore the initial groundbreaking studies that lead to the myth of genetic homosexuality, and critique them both on scientific and moral grounds, as well as on biblical exegesis. I will argue that the idea that homosexuality is genetic and thus fixed is simply unsupportive, and contradicts the works in which the myth stems, as well as the body of scientific research. I will summarize the essential studies in which this myth arose (LeVay, Swaab & Hofman, Bailey & Pillard, and Hamer), as well as the vehicles that propagated the myths. After analyzing the source of the myth and how it spread, I will critically analyze the above individual’s work, place focus on the scientific community’s reaction, and the earlier mentioned researchers own later conclusions. Following this critical analysis, I will proceed to develop an understanding of homosexuality and it’s source of origin. When this framework is established, I will explore God’s Word on the subject, and refute contaminated readings of key topical passages. When the presentation is complete, I will conclude the paper by asking whether change possibly exists.

Sparking the Myth: Root of ‘Genetic Homosexuality’

In his study of the male brain, Dr. LeVay takes three subject groups (presumed heterosexual men, homosexual men, and women), and studies four cell groups (INAH 1, 2, 3,and 4).[4] The specific area of study is the anterior hypothalamus, which regulates male sexual behavior. Dr. LeVay takes postmortem tissue measured from the three subject groups, and finds no grave difference in the measurement of INAH 1, 2, and 4. However in INAH 3, Dr. LeVay discovers twice a difference between the amount in heterosexual men versus homosexual men, and women.

In addition to the LeVay brain studies, a second source of research studied the cell groupings in the brain and their relation to homosexuality:

The Swaab and Hofman research studied the volume of the suprachiasmatic nucleus [SCN]…in homosexual men. The SCN is a cell group located in the basal part of the brains of mammalians. It has been thought to be the principal component of the biological clock that generates and coordinates hormonal, physiological and behavioral body rhythms…it has been thought to have involvement in sex because of the varying body rhythms in sexual desire as well as the sexual changes that come with aging.[5]

The study conducted by Swaab and Hofman studied the brains of 34 subjects, divided into several groups. The first group was one of reference, consisting of eighteen males who died of various causes. The second group consisted of ten homosexuals who died of AIDS. The third group consisted of six heterosexuals who had also died of AIDS. The final group consisted of four males and four females. The study concludes: “…the human hypothalamus revealed that the volume of the…SCN in homosexual men is 1.7 times as large as that of the reference group of male subjects and contains 2.1 times as many cells.”[6]

In addition to the brain studies, a major area that contributed to the ‘genetic homosexuality’ illusion is that of twin studies. In J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard’s “A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation,” research was conducted upon identical twins with the intention to show a high concordance rate (the rate at which both twins are homosexual). Their findings concluded with a 50% concordance rate for identical twins.[7] The concordance rate for non-identical rates hovered around 22%.[8] Their claim was that “the pattern of rates of homosexuality by type of relative was generally consistent with substantial genetic influence…”[9]

Complimentary to the works on brain studies and those of twins, proponents have cited gene studies by Dean Hamer. Geneticist Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute released a study by a team he led that studied genetic material on the x chromosomes of homosexual twins. Dr. Hamer states, “The goal of our work was to determine whether or not male sexual orientation is genetically influenced. We used the standard techniques of modern human genetics, namely pedigree analysis and family DNA linkage studies.”[10] Hamer’s study led him to conclude that “We have now produced evidence that one form of male homosexuality is preferentially transmitted through the material side and is genetically linked to chromosomal region Xq28…[and that it] contributes to homosexual orientation in males.”[11]

Fanning the Flames: The Media Response

Although the various studies may have sparked the myth of genetic fixed homosexuality, it is clear the media’s response fanned the flames. From Larry Thompson’s “Search for a Gay Gene,” in TIME magazine, to Newsweek’s “Is This Child Gay?” numerous stories propagated the myth in their headlines. Other works worth mentioning include the Wall Street Journal’s July 16 1993 headline, “Research Points toward a Gay Gene,” and the New York Time’s “Report Suggests Homosexuality is Linked to Genes.” Predictably, these various pieces did a poor job providing the fullness of the research and its opposition, and instead provided headlines that easily sway simple readers into leaving with the conclusion that homosexuality is genetically fixed. We cannot underestimate the profound impact such media stories have had on the public, and their failure to provide the substantial volume of scientific work clarifying and critiquing the above-mentioned studies.

Spreading the Flames: Gay Activists

In addition to the work of the media, gay activists have played a major role in spreading about the genetic homosexuality myth. One accompanying statistics that needs to be addressed before we go further is in reference to the myth of the homosexual population size. “John Money of Johns Hopkins University, a well-known sex researcher, defined a homosexual as one who had six or more sexual experiences with members of the same sex. Using this as the definition, he found that 13% of adult males were gay and about 7 percent of adult females were lesbians.”[12] However, John Money’s estimations appear quite high.[13] [14] A study of adult men in the U.S. published 1989 by Charles F. Turner, Robert E. Fay, Albert D. Klassen and John H. Gagnon provide lower estimations.[15] According to the study, 20.3% of adult males had participated in some same-sex experience by the age of 21. However by the age of 20 the percentage of 6.7% is given, arguing for such an exploratory stage between the ages of 20 and 21. The value of the study comes in the percentages post-20 years of age. The study suggests that as few as 1.8% of males rarely had a same-sex encounter, 1.9% occasional had them, and 1.4% had them quite often.[16] With this, statistics of the numbers of homosexuals begs the question, what is a homosexual? Clearly one cannot define a homosexual by an unrepeated sexual same-sex act. It is better defined as continual same-sex activity, and as the study shows above, keeping this in mind provides a drastically lower percentage.

What is most troubling is the politicization of the above-mentioned research and homosexual population estimations. From Log Cabin Republicans to Bruce Voller’s National Gay Task Force, many homosexual advocacy groups have touted the numbers and claims in an effort to develop political collateral. Offering the public the illusion that homosexuality is genetically fixed fostered sympathy and political justifications for claims of violations. In addition, the claim of 10% homosexuals tricks the public into believing one out of every ten Americans is gay. No better can political abuse upon science be seen then with the handling of homosexuality within the American Psychiatric Association.

The point worth mentioning is in regards to the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality as deviant behavior. Many proponents point to this change as evidence of some internal fixed nature of homosexual attraction. However, one must understand the political reasoning for this change. In the words of Dr. Charles Socarides, a longtime APA member who witnessed the change:

The change in the diagnosis was strictly a political one. No scientific evidence was produced. A board of trustees heavily weighted towards gay activism took charge and removed it without scientific study whatsoever. No scientific study had been done. And nor had the experts in the field – like Irving Bieber, myself, and other people – never were we asked for our opinion. It was just rammed through without scientific study and without evidence…The organization was under political assault by gay activists – some of them members of the APA itself. It was easier for the leadership to switch than fight.[17]
Dr. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe add additional insight on the issue in relation to psychiatry around the world: “According to a 1992 study of 125 psychiatric associations around the world, all but three still consider homosexuality a mental illness or sexual deviation. That means that U.S. psychiatrists are joined only by Denmark and South Africa in their liberal stance,”[18]

Putting out the Fire: Refuting the Work of LeVay, Swaab & Hofman

First thing we must acknowledge regarding the works of LeVay and Swaab & Hofman, is the sample size. We address both studies collectively as they address similar issues as well as fall under similar critique (although most focused of our critique would be the work of LeVay, as it focuses directly on an area of sexual response). Within the Swaab & Hofman study, merely ten homosexuals are studied (out of a sample size of thirty-four).[19] Within the work of LeVay, the number is slightly higher (nineteen).[20] A total sample of twenty-nine homosexual men is quite immature to make universal claims.

In addition to a critique of the tiny sample sizes, there was a presumption of the heterosexual samples that must be explored. Within the heterosexual sample of Swaab and Hofman, eighteen heterosexuals were presumed to contain such sexual preference. However, as Swaab and Hofman acknowledge, “Sexual preference of the subjects of the reference group was generally not known.”[21] As for the work of LeVay, the same presumption was made. Within his very sample of assumed heterosexuals, six had died of aids. Regarding the sample, he himself stated that they were “men who were presumed to be heterosexual.”[22] There are also a myriad of homosexual activity that leaves further questioning regarding the male samples. As John Frame explains in his massive work of ethics, The Doctrine of the Christian Life:

People have bisexual inclinations, and still others are largely heterosexual, but willing to enter homosexual relationships under certain circumstances (experimentation, prison, etc.). Is there a genetic basis for these rather complicated patterns of behavior? Neither LeVay nor anyone else has offered data suggesting that.[23]

In addition to the weakness of sample size, and the presumption of heterosexual sexual orientations, their work comes into an additional problem: the cause of changes within the INAH 3 cell groupings and brains. First, all homosexual subjects studied died of aids, which could mean that a possibility of the change was not an object of ingrained sexual orientation, but the effect the disease could have upon their brains. Others have argued for other such unknown causes, as seen in the work of Mariage Barinaga[24]

One final point worth mentioning regarding the work of LeVay, Swaab & Hofman, is whether changes within the brains were the cause or consequence of sexual orientation. It is basic biological fact that, much like physical exercise, behavior can issue forth changes within the body. Besides the obvious physical changes that occur with bodily exercise, certain patterned behaviors exercise specific areas of the brain. These areas then change according to the practice, and this understanding may be applied to the work of LeVay, Swaab & Hofman. How can we remain assured that homosexual orientation is the product of such brain sizes, and not the cause there of?[25]

Putting out the Fire: Refuting the Work of Bailey and Pillard

Before critiquing the finds of Bailey and Pillar, we must acknowledge their potential research bias. It must then be observed that Michael Bailey is openly sympathetic to gay politics, while Richard Pillard identifies himself as a homosexual. Although we cannot cast aside their research on such grounds, it is fruitful to keep this in mind when we evaluate their findings and observations. Besides acknowledging potential bias, a solid refutation occurs within an analysis of the concordance rate. Jeffrey Satinover, the author of the work Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, provides a solid critique on the concordance rate of the study:

If ‘homosexuality is genetic,’ as activists and their media supporters repeatedly claim, the concordance rate between identical twins [monozygotic twins] – that is, the incidence of the two twins either both being homosexual or both being heterosexual – will be 100 percent. There would never be a discordant pair – a pair with one homosexual twin and one heterosexual twin.[26]
Within identical twins we always find the exact eye color, as determined by their genes. To make the suggestion that homosexuality is genetic, is to expect the same results. However, this clearly is not the case.[27]

Within Satinover’s work, five essential objectives are raised. First, the author claims that the determining factor was genetic, which makes little sense given the shared environmental factors, specifically amongst identical twins.[28] Second, homosexual twins were sought after in gay magazines, thus polluting the study (homosexual twins are more likely to answer such an advertisement versus homosexual/heterosexual twins).[29] Third, sexual orientation was assessed by a report from the respondent (the inaccuracy of this method is overt). Fourth, the absolute similarity of genes can exaggerate the concordance rate, given the similarities. Fifth, Bailey and Pillard predicted an early childhood genetic nonconformity, which simply did not occur to any significant degree.[30]

Hardly do their conclusions verify the claim that homosexuality is genetic. If anything, it enforces the idea that several shared environmental factors play key roles. When other twin studies were pursued, conflicting conclusions were found. Regarding monozygotic and dizygotic twins, The Journal of Sex Research concluded, “for men, no significant genetic effects were found for number of opposite- and same-sex sexual encounters, not for sexual orientation.”[31] Bailey and Pillard admit other studies they conducted “found a strong familiar resemblance, but had insufficient power to determine whether that correlation was due to genetic or environmental factors or both.”[32] In the British Medical Journal, Miron Baron concludes regarding the report that “most of these results are un-interpretable because of small samples or unresolved questions about phenotypic clarification…the finding that the adoptive brothers of homosexual twins are more prone to homosexuality than the biological siblings suggests that male homosexuality may well be environmental.”[33] [34]

Putting Out the Fire: Refuting the Work of Hamer

In addition to LeVay, Bailey, and Pillard, we must first establish the existence of any bias, and come to discover that like LeVay and Pillard, Dr. Hamer is also a self-professed homosexual. By Hamer’s earlier mentioned conclusion of his study, the novice may leave with an impression that Xq28 somehow causes homosexuality. However this was never Hamer’s conclusion, regardless of the direction of his language. It is important to clarify what he did not find: 1) That homosexuality is directly inherited, and 2) That all homosexuals contain this gene marker.[35] What then can we conclude? Perhaps the analogy of a basketball player is best used. Searching the genetic traits of professional basketball players, we may find specific genetic markers that contribute to their ability to perform as professional basketball players (genes for body mass, lean muscle, ambidexterity, etc). However, these specific gene markers will not be found in every professional basketball player, nor can we assume that the presence of such gene markers absolutely predict whether one will be a basketball player. Rather, such genetic traits may incline someone to play basketball, but there is no ‘basketball player gene’! The same can be said of the misleading nature of Hamer’s research. Specific genetic markers may incline someone to homosexual desires, however they do not absolutely predict a fixed homosexual orientation. If anything, it will merely highlight the willful response towards such inclinations.

The most damaging evidence to Hamer’s research is that it has not been replicated (as can be said of all the studies in question). George Rice’s 1999 study in the journal Science failed to provide Hamer’s results. As their work concludes “It is unclear why our results are so discrepant from Hamer’s original study. Because our study was larger than that of Hamer… we certainly had adequate power to detect a genetic effect as large as was reported in the study. Nonetheless, our data do not support the presence of a gene of large effect influencing sexual orientation at position Xq28.”[36]

Perhaps the best evidence regarding the works of these individuals is their own words. Regarding his work, LeVay states,  “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality was 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.”[37] In his work, Bailey claims he “did not provide statistically significant support for the importance of genetic factors” for homosexual orientation.[38] As for Dr. Hamer he comments “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.”[39]

To Rebuild: Presentation of a Defense

In addition to the works of LeVay, Swaab & Hofman, Bailey, and Hamer, others have suggested hormonal irregularities as a cause to predispose one towards homosexuality. This is found within such works as G. Dorner’s, which studied the imbalance of sex hormones in rats. Within his work, prenatal development and hormonal irregularities during the fourth-seventh week may incline them to homosexuality.[40] However, other scientists have not confirmed Dorner’s work.[41] In addition, hormonal treatment for homosexuality has been rather unsuccessful, leading some to presume that perhaps the cause is more psychological than physiological.[42] If we have been able to readily dismiss the argument of genetic homosexual, as well as having observed the weakness of some hormonal imbalance as its cause, where then shall we go? How shall we approach the cause of sexual orientation? Our answer shall be two-fold: In the observance of research and consensus, and the revelation of biblical insight.

In discussing the source of homosexuality, a useful tool is to probe into the research of Irving Bieber and others. Regarding a study done on numerous homosexuals and their family background, Bieber and his team found that “a ‘triangular’ pattern in the family backgrounds of many male homosexuals [exist].[43] These men reported an emotionally detached or hostile father and an enmeshed, ‘close-binding’ mother who tended to ‘minimize’ her husband.”[44] Also in agreement, Mark Siegelman found that “homosexuals, in contrast to the heterosexuals, reported their fathers to be more rejecting and less loving. The homosexuals also described their mothers as more rejecting and less loving… homosexuals indicated less closeness to their fathers than the heterosexuals.”[45] Finally, Columbia University professors Richard Friedman and Jennifer Downey conclude the following on the issue of homosexual orientation, “The assertion that homosexuality is genetic is so reductionistic that it must be dismissed out of hand as a general principle of psychology… It is apparent that biological, psychological and social factors interacting in complex and various ways shape human sexual orientation.”[46]

After having reviewed the false evidence for a genetic justification for fixed orientation, as well as the myriad of factors that possibly result in homosexual attractions, we must make something clear. Regardless of future evidence, and whether or not we advance in some discovery that shows such attractions to be biologically advanced, we must understand that it does not make it natural or excusable. It has been known that an individual may have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, yet that by no means makes it excusable. The same can be said of violence and other such factors. We cannot excuse all actions on the basis of some predisposition within the biological genetic makeup, as accountability for actions would be impossible. In addition, we cannot hold to some subjective moral understanding. God had designed his moral law to be objective and absolute, and some predisposition does not justify disobedience. In relation to this concern, John Frame provides the following conclusion:

Would a genetic predisposition for homosexuality eliminate the element of choice? Certainly not. A person with a genetic propensity for alcoholism still makes a choice when he decides to take a drink, and then another, and then another. If there is a genetic propensity for homosexuality, then those with that makeup face greater temptation in this area than others. But those who succumb to the temptation do choose to yield to it, as do all of us when we succumb to our own besetting temptations… they are not forced to do this by their genes or by anything contrary to their own desires.[47]


A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality: ‘Gay Christianity’

In addition to the problem of interpreting the above critiqued work to argue for genetic and biological reasons for unchanging sexual orientation, individuals have made the claims that the practice of loving same-sex sexual union is compatible with the teachings of scripture. The modern protestant church is engulfed with the flames of such a controversy. From the Anglicans heresy trial of Bishop Righter, to the United Methodist Church convention’s 2000 riots caused by sexual revisionists, to the various mainline denominational splits that have occurred over the issue of revised sexual policies, the arguments are not merely within the homosexual community. Rather, they stretch much further, to the very reformed understanding of Scripture and it’s authority.[48] Such a revisionist understanding of homosexuality’s relation to Christianity is seen within Walter Barnett’s work, which he states “Some theologians and a number of Gay Christians, working from a growing understanding of the biblical texts, have come to the conclusion that the Bible does not exclude homosexual people from the Christian fellowship…”[49] In addition to Walter Barnett, John J. McNeill states that according to scholars, “nowhere in the Scripture is there a clear condemnation of a loving sexual relationship between two gay persons.”[50]

Beyond merely arguing that scripture lacks a condemnation of homosexual sexual relationships, some have even stated that there is something intrinsically divine regarding ‘coming out’, and that even the process may be considered sacramental. Dr. Daniel Heimbach identifies this ‘Sacrament’ of coming out, as well as a general morphing of sexual morality and theology to support fixed homosexual orientations, in his book True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crises. Surveying the works of James B. Nelson, Eugene Rogers, Chris Glaser and others, Dr. Heimbach shows the compulsive direction theology and sexual morality descend upon observing sexual orientation as fixed, and ignoring specific biblical revelations on sexual behavior. As clarified in his work, we may see the danger of such descent by quoting Glaser from his Sacrament of Coming Out: “those of us who come out as bisexual and lesbian and gay reveal a glory larger than our self-identity: we reveal the glory of sexuality itself, a divinely created and graciously given glory… because we have seen in our sexuality the glory of God.”[51] It is interesting to note Glaser’s assumptions as they relate to the debunking of fixed genetic homosexual orientation listed previously. Glaser assumes homosexual, bisexual, and lesbian orientation to formulate self-identity, and that it is even a divinely created gift. Besides having acknowledged the removal of his assumption (gay orientation being fixed, let alone one’s very self-identity), what may we discover within scripture regarding the claim that homosexuality is a “divinely created and graciously given glory”?[52] What clarification does the work of God offer on this subject? Does my friend’s charge that “the Bible says nothing against homosexuality” hold true? We will study four major proof-texts on the subject: Gen. 19:1-11, Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, and Rom. 1:26-27.000214

A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality: Genesis 19:1-11[53]

One of the first major objections to the text by proponents is found within the claim that the passage merely condemns acts of rape. As defended by Walter Barnett in “Homosexuality ad the Bible”, the crowd sought to gang rape Lot’s visitors. They then argue that the act to be condemned is not homosexuality itself, but any form of rape. However, this understanding is quite lacking. Feinberg and Feinberg in their work Ethics for a Brave New World provide a clarification and refutation of this:

Nowhere does the text even slightly hint that what the men of Sodom wanted to do would be permissible if only Lot’s guests had consented. Moreover, this interpretation does not account for the fact that God’s judgment fell upon two entire cities. Was homosexual rape a common practice and thus brought the judgment of God? It could have been, but such is not stated in the text. What is more damaging is that God’s judgment on homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah is quite in harmony with his prohibition and denunciation of this sin in other Scriptures properly interpreted. It is not as though this is the only time homosexuality is denounced and judged.[54] (p. 190)

In addition to the argument of rape, a second popular explanation is offered. This argument is founded upon an understanding that the Hebrew word yada is used only 10 out of the 943 times in the OT to refer to sexual relations.[55] [56] For a response to this argument, known as the argument of hospitality, we must remember that mere statistics of word usage cannot account for meaning. We must take the word yada, and look at it within its context and author. Of interesting note, given the earlier statistic, is that seven usages of yada in the sexual sense occur within the book of Genesis (Gen 4:1, 17, 25; 24:16, 38:26, plus those in question). Given that proponents of the hospitality argument acknowledge that, absent of the two usages of yada in question, only ten usages refer to sexual acts, and half of these occur in Genesis. We have evidence to suggest that it’s author, Moses, would have used the word stylistically to refer to sexual acts.[57]

However, the best understanding of this text must be an evaluation in context. If we take yada to refer to some hospitable act of getting to know each other, how does Lot’s offering of his daughter make any sense? To quote the text, “Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man,” (Genesis 19:8, ESV), however if understood absent sexual relations, we must take this to mean Lot’s daughters have never become acquainted with and met men. This makes no sense, simply because their father, Lot himself, is a man. In addition, it is impractical to assume they had never before met men, and as such the sexual understanding makes more sense. Lot was offering his daughters up for the men sexually, and their rejection points in the way of homosexual desires. It would then make most sense, given the sexual understanding of yada in Genesis 19:8, that it’s usage in Genesis 19:1-11 would mean the same.[58]

Finally, in response to this argument, we may cross-check it with other references in scripture. Jude provides commentary on the actions and judgment cast upon Sodom and Gomorrah, stating: “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire,” (Jude 1:7, ESV). The cause stated was ‘sexual immorality’, and the Greek used is σαρκπσ ἐτερασ, which describes unnatural sex. As Feinberg and Feinberg explain, “Jude uses the verb porneuo with the preposition ek, which means they gave themselves up to sexual immorality completely and utterly! This is an extremely strong statement!”[59] When we take this in combination with the fact the city was punished, and not Lot (who would have breached the hospitality code and merited punishment), we see how weak such an understanding is.
A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality: Leviticus 18:22, 20:13

The next set of major texts on homosexuality includes Lev. 18:22[60] and 20:13[61], which attempt to define Holy Living for the set apart people of the Israelites. The texts seem quite clear on restricting the acts of homosexuality, however this has not stopped proponents from formulating several interpretations. Perhaps the majority of these include an understanding of the practice to be directly tied to pagan idolatrous worship. The homosexuality in question is simply a form of idolatry, and not essentially evil. The pagan worship, which included homosexual acts as found within the practices and prostitutes of their neighbors, was the ‘abomination’ in question.[62] Furthermore, given the preceding texts regarding idolatrous sexuality, it is argued chapter 18 specifically seeks to set apart the Israelites from pagan worship, and must then be understood in this context.[63]

This argument is wrong, given several reasons. It is perhaps best to understand it in light of other biblical prohibitions. In relation to this issue, Feinberg and Feinberg provide the following clarification:

In the Leviticus Code incest, adultery, child sacrifice, bestiality, spiritism and the cursing of one’s parents are all prohibited. Only one act condemned in the Code has cultic or symbolic significance – child sacrifice, and it is condemned whether associated with religious worship or not. Child sacrifice was practiced in pagan religious rites, but it was wrong on two counts – in itself and because of its association with idolatry… Moreover, homosexuality is condemned in the context of adultery, bestiality, and incest. Clearly, those practices were not prohibited simply because of their association with idolatry or Egyptian and Canaanite cultures.[64]

A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality: Romans 1:26-27

In addition to Genesis and Leviticus take on the issue, we may find prohibitions on homosexuality within the New Testament. Perhaps our best proof-text occurs within Romans 1:26-27, where Paul discusses the moral descent and heart-hardening that occurs within fallen humanity. Here Paul specifically discusses the practice of homosexuality and lesbianism.[65]

Similar to the approach taken above for Leviticus, proponents seeking to justify homosexuality argue that Romans 1:26-27 is to be taken within the context of idolatrous pagan practices.[66] It is argued that the context of the text provides the context of adultery to the homosexuality and lesbianism described in Romans 1:26-27.[67] However, this is poorly deceptive, as it ignores Paul’s clarifications of the acts as ‘sexual impurity’ and ‘shameful lusts’. In addition, Paul clarifies his statement by proclaiming the actions ‘unnatural’, as opposed to God’s natural creation. Being against God’s design is clearly a product of sin, and taken together with the clarifications as sexual impurity and shameful lusts, we may understand the act of homosexuality beyond idolatry or pagan worship, but a perversion of God’s created order, and something immoral in and of itself. If Paul sought to simply condemn pagan prostitution, which included heterosexuals, why leave this absent? Rather, Paul’s clarification as being ‘unnatural’ and growing out of lust is enough to understand the text as a condemnation on the act, and not merely it’s association with pagan practice.

One further point of clarification on Romans 1:26-27 is the argument of ‘unnatural’. Proponents such as Sherwin Bailey in his work Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition have argued that Paul merely refers to acts of ‘unnatural’ homosexuality. He then argues that, given sexual orientation is fixed, a constitutional gay individual committing homosexuality is in accordance to nature. A heterosexual committing the act of homosexuality, or a homosexual committing the act of heterosexuality is thus unnatural and within the condemnation of Romans 1:26-27. However, this is perhaps the great flaw of leftist theologians in general. They place man’s works as a filter for God’s Word. Clearly Bailey and others make the presumption that sexual orientation is fixed, however the science, as shown above, is simply absent to make such an absolute genetic charge. It also assumes Paul knew of such fixed orientation, which is unlikely. As such, we can see the initial error in such proponent’s presuppositions. Additionally, it fails to take God’s mega-narrative on sexuality. From the very beginning in Genesis, man was created for woman, and the two were committed to exclusive sex within the confines of marriage. Scripture is quite clear on the reservation of sex to marriage, as outside of it produces adultery. As such, we can apply these principles to understand that any sex outside of marriage is immoral, and this would include homosexual relations. Marriage is clearly defined as between a woman and man (affirmed by Jesus in his divorce statements), and thus any committed sexual homosexual engagement is thus unnatural, and thus immoral.[68] A removal of the presuppositions of fixed homosexual orientation, a proper exegesis on the words ‘sexual impurity’ and ‘shameful lusts’, and an understanding of the grand narrative of sexual morality debunk the proponent’s assumptions in Romans.

Opportunity from Ashes: Hope and Healing

Having analyzed the evidence, we may safely verify our initial statement: no replicated scientific studies exist that prove individuals are born homosexuals. Rather, it is a combination of complex environmental, social, and biological factors. In addition, we may trace the root of this myth not only to the studies mentioned, but the work of several over-eager activists and media sources. Further more, we may turn to the vast body of research to verify this claim, as well as a proper exegesis of Scripture that illuminates homosexuality. We are left now to ask two questions: 1) Why embark on such research, and 2) Is there a possibility for change?

With the utmost concern and love for humanity, I must humbly profess the following: lying to the public regarding homosexuality being genetic is damaging. This is not to be stretched as some wild call for punishing homosexuals. This is simply to say that a message is being conveyed to youth and the public that they cannot help being gay, regardless of a desire to be straight. There is an irony in this: in their attempts to verify homosexual identity, and claim a fixed constitutional sexual orientation, they trap individuals into the belief that their desires are unchangeable, regardless of an assumption of normality. As much as gay activists may assume, some individuals may not desire such sexuality (as made clear by the thousands of individuals who seek help), and to tell them there is no other way, given the clarity of research I provided, is unfair. This also begs the question whether aspects of homosexuality are unhealthy, and if so, it adds a real physical danger to misleading someone into believing they are fixed and unchanging.[69] However, let me again recall for the need not to allow one’s emotions to get the best of them, but to evaluate the evidence as is.

This leads us to ask if change is available and possible for those desiring to remove unwanted homosexual desires. We can answer this in the affirmative. Both secular and religious help exist, as we’ll make evident. An example of secular treatment that has seen some success is found in Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. and NARTH (the National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality) founder’s Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach. On the issue of success rate, and debunking the activist’ claim that change is not possible, the following sample is found regarding counseling:

Of 49 patients… 31 (63 percent) were contracted for follow-up. The average period since the end of treatment was 4 years. Nineteen subjects (61 percent) have remained exclusively heterosexual, whereas nine (29 percent) have had homosexual intercourse. Heterosexual intercourse was reported in 28 (90 percent), including the previous nine subjects. Thee (10 percent) subjects have had neither homo nor heterosexual intercourse.[70]

The Masters and Johnson program has had similar results over a five-year follow-up, showing a 65% success rate.[71]

In addition to secular therapies for unwanted homosexual desires, numerous Christian treatments are available. Perhaps best known is Exodus International, an open-ended organization across denominational lines. An example of one of Exodus International’s ministries involves Desert Stream in Los Angeles. It is led by Andrew Comiskey, a former homosexual, and seeks to train ministers via his method and book Pursuing Sexual Wholeness (a biblical approach to removing unwanted homosexual desires).[72] A host of other resources are available as well.[73]

In conclusion, I have dug through the sources and research on the subject, providing corresponding information and findings when necessary. We have seen, by the individuals behind the studies’ own admission that “it’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality was 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.”[74] Hopefully, I have clarified LeVay’s very statement by providing evidence to refute the common misinterpretation of his work. It is also my hope that this paper serves as a tool, to those who desire it, to aid them in bringing about change. I must also clarify a motivation behind this work. If I am to truly love my neighbor, then how much would I have to hate people not to speak to them the truths of God? For this reason, I hope proponents will understand, that regardless of how they react to the research, that it is my servant and loving heart that drives me to share what I understand to be purely beneficial. To do otherwise would be unloving and hypocritical on my part. In conclusion, I will end with a simple meditation of God’s Word that offers hope and change regarding the topic:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:9-11, ESV)[75]

Bibliography

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Linkage to Microsatillite Markers at Xq28,” Science 284, no. 666 (April 1999).

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General Psychiatry 58 (2001): 85-91.

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Siegelman, Marvin “Parental Background of Male Homosexuals and Heterosexuals,” Archives of
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Stanton, Glenn T., and Dr. Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case for Same-Sex Marriage and
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Swaab, D. F. and M. A. Hoffman, “An Enlarged Suprachiasmatic Nucleus in Homosexual Men,”
Br Res 537 (1990): 141.

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U.S. Department of Justice, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence,”
Office of Justice Programs (2000), 30.


[1] The article in question is Chandler Burrs “The Only Question that Matters: Do People Choose their Sexual Orientation?” http://online.logcabin.org/talking_points/Burr_White_Paper.html

[2] Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case for Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004): 138

[3] The comments and exchange are available online for your own judgment. It is calm, collected, and well researched. I find it interesting that individuals are quick to brand Christians as ‘bigots’. Here we have a clear example where empirical research and studies were provided (by someone who so happens to be a Christian), and is met in return with vile charges of hatred, and an overlooking of the evidence. http://www.facebook.com/notes/leonard-goenaga/argument-against-the-so-called-gay-gene/160002933062

[4] Simon LeVay, “A Difference in Hypothalamic Structure Between Heterosexual and Homosexual Men,” Science 235 (August 1991): 1034-1037.

[5] John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993).

[6] D. F. Swaab and M. A. Hoffman, “An Enlarged Suprachiasmatic Nucleus in Homosexual Men,” Br Res 537 (1990): 141.

[7] Other studies regarding homosexuality within twins includes Michael King and Elizabeth McDonald’s “Homosexuals Who Are Twins: A Study of 46 Probands.” Their conclusion: “Disconcordance for sexual orientation in the monozygotic pairs confirmed that genetic factors are insufficient explanation for the development of sexual orientation.”

[8] King and McDonald also discovered “a relatively high likelihood of sexual relations occurring with same-sex co-twins at some time, particularly in monozygotic pairs.” As Satinover comments on the observation, “this finding hints at a principle that turns out to be quite important in understanding the development of any embedded pattern of behavior, namely the role of early experience and subsequent repetition. The fact that identical twins in particular tended to have sexual relations with each other suggests that the experience of twinhood… itself can cause an increase in homosexuality as a factor in its own right, apart from the shared genes.” (p. 88). 1/5 of same-sex twins engaged in sex.

[9] J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard, “A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry 48 (December 1991): 1089, 1094.

[10] Dean H. Hamer, “A Linkage Between DNA Markers on the X Chromosome and Male Sexual Orientation,” Science 261 (1993): 321-327.

[11] Ibid 325

[12] Tom and Nancy Biracee, Almanac of the American People (New York: Facts on File, 1988).

[13] “In addition to John Money’s high number, an often quoted number of 10% is given, rooted in the work of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. “The oft-used 10 percent figure needs downward revision in light of the more reliable and valid data from the scientifically randomized samples reported here.” “Milton Diamond, “Homosexuality in Different Populations,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 22 (1993): 303

[14] “[A]ll the recent population-based surveys of sexual behavior, including this one, have found rates that are much lower than 10 percent.” Edward O. Laumann, John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael and Stuart Michaels, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).

[15] Robert E. Fay, Albert D. Klassen, John H. Gagnon and Charles F. Turner, “Prevalence and Patterns of Same-Gender Sexual Contact Among Men,” Science, 1989: 338-348.

[16] John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993).

[17] Dr. Charles Socarides as quoted in Dr. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What’s Wrong with Same-Sex Marriage? (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004) 104.

[18] Ibid 104-5

[19] Simon LeVay, “A Difference in Hypothalamic Structure Between Heterosexual and Homosexual Men,” Science 235 (August 1991): 1035.

[20] D. F. Swaab and M. A. Hoffman, “An Enlarged Suprachiasmatic Nucleus in Homosexual Men,” Br Res 537 (1990): 143

[21] Ibid 141

[22] Simon LeVay, “A Difference in Hypothalamic Structure Between Heterosexual and Homosexual Men,” Science 235 (August 1991): 1035.

[23] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg: Crossway Bibles, 2001).

[24] Mariage Barinaga, “Is Homosexuality Biological?,” Science 253 (1991): 956-957

[25] Ibid 956

[26] M.D. Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 1996) 83. “The best book on homosexuality written in our lifetime…” – Congressional Record, May 1996

[27] Ibid 84, “In the small number of recent identical twin studies that have been touted as proving ‘homosexuality is genetic,’ concordance rates turn out to be considerably less than 100 percent – less than 50 percent, in fact – even though all the sizable studies to date have examined only twins that have not been adopted away after birth. (In fact, the only study of adopted-away twins, which had a very small sample size, showed a concordance rate of zero.) This means that some proportion of the rate of concordance – which is anyway smaller than anticipated – is itself caused not by genes but by something else.”

[28] Although small in it’s sample size, a study observing the concordance rate among identical twins raised apart found a rate of 0%. Study reported in Eckert’s “Monozygotic Twins Reared Apart,” pp. 421-25

[29] On the issue of their sampling size, Bailey and Pillard state the following: “The sampling method employed in this study falls short of the ideal genetic epidemiological study,” J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard, “A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry 48 (December 1991): 1094

[30] Ibid 1089. On homosexuality among non-twin biological siblings: “significantly lower than would be predicted by a simple genetic hypothesis and other published reports.”

[31] Scott L. Hershberger, “A Twin Registry of Male and Female Sexual Orientation,” The Journal of Sex Research 34, no. 2 (1997): 212.

[32] J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard, “A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry 48 (December 1991): 1090.

[33] Miron Baron, “Genetic Linkage and Male Homosexual Orientation,” BMJ 307, no. 337 (August 1993).

[34] For additional rebuttals, refer to Byne and Parson’s solid work, “Human Sexual Orientation: The Biological Theories Reappraised.”

[35] Family Research Council, Getting it Straight: What the Research Shows About Homosexuality, ed. Peter Sprigg and Timothy Dailey (Washington DC: Family Research Council, 2004): 11.

[36] George Rice, Carol Anderson, Neil Risch and George Ebers, “Male Homosexuality: Absence of Linkage to Microsatillite Markers at Xq28,” Science 284, no. 666 (April 1999).

[37] LeVay, cited in David Nimmons, “Sex and the Brain,” Discover 15, no. 3 (1994): 64-71.

[38] Michael J. Bailey, “Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orienation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78 (2000): 534.

[39] Hamer, cited in Nancy Micthell, “Genetics, Sexuality Linked, Study Says,” The Standard Examiner, April 30, 1995: 7-B.

[40] John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993): 188.

[41] Garfield Tourney, “Hormones and Homosexuality,” in Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraised, 55 (New York: Basic Books).

[42] Ibid 42.

[43] “About 67 percent of male homosexuals come from a home where the mother is a domineering man-hater and the father is weak, detached and often uninvolved in the family. “John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993).
[44] Irving Bieber’s “Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals”, as summarized in Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case for Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004).

[45] Marvin Siegelman, “Parental Background of Male Homosexuals and Heterosexuals,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 3 (1974): 10.

[46] Richard C. Friedman and Jennifer I. Downey, Sexual Orientation and Psychoanalysis: Sexual Science and Clinical Practice (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).

[47] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg: Crossway Bibles, 2001): 264.

[48] A detailed summary of the Revisionist Sexual Morality controversy within mainline churches can be found within Dr. Daniel Heimbach, True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crises (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004): 89-112.

[49] Walter Barnett, Homosexuality and the Bible (Wallingford: Pendle Hill Pamphlets, 1979).

[50] John J. McNeill, “Homosexuality: Challenging the Church to Grow,” Chr Cent, March 1987: 246.

[51] Chris Glaser, Coming out as Sacrament (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1998): 2

[52] Ibid 91

[53]1The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said,” No; we will spend the night in the town square.”  3But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

4But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  5And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them [yada].”  6Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  8Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man [yada]. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”  9But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.  10But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door.  11And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.” (Genesis 19:1-11, ESV) [Underscore and brackets added]

[54] John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993): 190

[55] “The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were simply interested in getting to know the angelic visitors.” John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993): 190

[56] Proponents claim Intra-biblical exegesis: Isa 1:10, Jer. 23:14, Ezek 16:48, 49 Matt 1-:14, 15, and Luke 10:10-12 do not mention sexual sin.
[57] John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993): 191

[58] Ibid 192-3

[59] Ibid 192

[60]22You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22, ESV)

[61]13If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13, ESV)

[62] “Support for this position is found in the word “abomination” (to’ebah), which, on this view, does not signify something that is inherently evil such as rape or theft, but something that is ritually unclean like the eating of pork or engaging in sexual intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in this context.”  John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993): 194.

[63] Proponents of this argument suggest that Lev. 18:3 set the tone of set apart, while the homosexuality text follows 18:21, which is a direct condemnation of idolatrous sexuality.

[64] Ibid 194-5

[65] 6For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:126-27, ESV)
[66] “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:22)

[67] “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator,” (Romans 1:25, ESV).

[68] “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’  7 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and they shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.  9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9, ESV)

[69] “Homosexuals are more likely to suffer from mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse, and a variety of life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, certain types of cancer, and hepatitis…on average, male homosexuals die a premature death by up to twenty years… gays and lesbians are more likely than heterosexuals to commit suicide, and be victims of domestic violence at the hands of a sex partner.”  Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case for Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004). Studies regarding the health statistics listed above are found in the following: W.E. Owen Jr., “Medical Problems of the Homosexual Adolescent,” Journal of Adolescent Health Care 6, no. 4 (1985): 278-85.  Theo G. M. Sandfort, “Same-sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders,”,” Archives of General Psychiatry 58 (2001): 85-91.  D. M. Fergusson, L. J. Horwood and A. L. Beautrais, “Is Sexual Orientation Related to Mental Health Problems and Suicidality in Young People?,” Archives of General Psychiatry 56 (1999): 876-80.  R. S. Hogg, “Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men,”,” International Journal of Epidemiology 26 (1997): 657-61.  G. L. Greenwood, “Battering Victimization Among a Probability-based Sample of Men Who Have Sex with Men,” American Journal of Public Health 92 (2002): 1964-69.  “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence,” Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (2000), 30.

[70] A. Cantom-Dutari, “Combined Intervention for Controlling Unwanted Homosexual Behavior,” 269-74.

[71] Schwartz and Masters, “The Masters and Johnson Treatment Program for Dissatisfied Homosexual Men,” American Journal of Psychiatry 141: 173-81.

[72] “Comiskey reports that 50 percent of those who start the program complete it with substantial progress out of homosexuality and into heterosexuality.”  M.D., Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 1996): 203

[73] Redeemed Life Ministries, Setting Love in Order (Mario Bergner, former homosexual), Pastoral Care Ministries (Leanne Payne), and Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out are but a few.

[74] LeVay, cited in David Nimmons, “Sex and the Brain,” Discover 15, no. 3 (1994): 64-71.

[75] As the author states “And such were some of you”. Some of them were once homosexuals. However, as the author then reminds them: “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:9-11, ESV)

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2 thoughts on “IS SEXUAL IDENTITY FIXED? RESPONDING TO THE WILDFIRE MYTH OF ‘GENETIC HOMOSEXUALITY’

  1. This is the argument my 43 year old son uses…It’s genetic and I can’t change my sexual orientation. It has broken our hearts.

  2. “Rather, it is a combination of complex environmental, social, and biological factors.”

    on behalf of my community, we appreciate that admission from someone as tied to religion as you are. it gives us hope.

    now, on the rest: have you considered the possibility that the subjects in the programs you mentioned may have lied on their follow ups? i can only speak for myself, and i can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no changing me, who i am, who i am able to love (in the romantic sense) and who i wish to spend the rest of my life with.

    upon “coming out” to my parents when i was 16, i was taken to a priest for “counseling.” my parents believed i could “pray the gay away.” i did as i was told and spent the next 4 years of my life miserably, forcing heterosexual relationships and telling myself i was just going through a “phase” on a daily basis (literally, i had to say this to myself every day just to keep going).

    then she walked into my life. she was brilliant, kind, funny, warm, loving, and most importantly she made me feel alive again. i had never in my life felt so connected to someone on such a deep, spiritual level and never had i been so overwhelmed by love. i finally came to terms with what my heart and my mind are set on. this is me.

    and it’s not about sex. it’s never about sex. i don’t lust after women. i just happened to have one as my soulmate. i am happy, and i fulfilled and i am finally looking forward to the future of my loving union. how could this possibly be bad? even my parents, a decade later, have not only accepted me as who i am (despite deep-seeded religious beliefs) because they can SEE how happy i am. they see the difference and have even accepted my partner as part of the family (she even gets presents under their tree!).

    i’m not trying to convince you of anything. i’m not even trying to get into a debate. i just get really frustrated when i see people who have no experience with these feelings or this life throwing around flimsy “research” and making conclusions about something they know nothing about. scientific research, though helpful, is limited. you can’t make any conclusions on the gay community yet, in large part because half of us haven’t even come to terms with the fact that we’re a part of it, so any sample you take will almost always be lacking (at least as society stands now).

    anyway, sorry for the rant. i’m a homosexual floridian who is on the verge of starting a family, so i’m particularly worried about the state of the debate right now. living in this state, i have no way of planning and protecting for my partner or my future as the law stands, so i’m particularly sensitive at the moment.

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