What Biological Theories of Homosexuality Cannot Explain

What Biological Theories of Homosexuality Cannot Explain

James R. Aist

(Note: References are cited by number in parentheses and appear at the end of the article)

“Truth is not arrived at by wishful thinking or vacuous argument. It comes, instead, by careful examination of factual evidence.”

Since the early 1970s, gay activists have increasingly claimed that they were “born gay” and that, therefore, they could not change even if they wanted to. By repeating this claim over and over again for decades now, gay activists have managed to win over a large percentage of heterosexual “believers” to their cause, without any substantial basis in fact to validate the claim that they were “born that way.” “Born gay” is, in fact, a hoax of mammoth proportions. Therefore, it is necessary to examine carefully the facts concerning the origins and development of homosexuality to see if there is any truth at all to the “born gay” claim. Most of the relevant information can be grouped into two main categories: biological theories and social and environmental influences. The critical question is whether homosexuality is already determined at birth by biological factors and is immutable (unchangeable), or develops later as a result of post-natal experiences and influences during childhood.

There are several social and experiential factors that have been shown to play an important role in the development of homosexuality. Let’s take a quick look at a few of these post-natal factors, which cannot be explained by biological theories:

Childhood sexual abuse has been shown to be associated with the subsequent development of homosexuality in adulthood. Whitehead (8) lists eight relatively recent studies demonstrating this association. For example, in the article by Zeitsch, et al. (10), childhood sexual abuse was associated with an approximately two to three-fold increase in homosexuality in adulthood.

Divorce during childhood has also been shown to be associated with the development of homosexuality in adulthood, as evidenced by homosexual “marriage.” For example, men whose parents divorced before their sixth birthday were 39% more likely to “marry” homosexually than peers from intact parental marriages, and the figure for men whose cohabitation with both parents ended before age 18 years was in the range of 55%-76% (4). In a related study, Wells, et al., (7) found that cohabiting with two heterosexual, non-biological parents until the age of 16 was associated with a two-fold increase in homosexuality in adulthood, compared to cohabiting with both biological parents.

Urban versus rural environment. Whitehead and Whitehead (9) pointed out that the percentage of homosexuality in males reared in urban environments is 3.3 times that of males reared in rural environments, while the corresponding factor for homosexuality in females reared in urban environments is 2.3 times, indicating a very strong influence of the urban environment, as opposed to the rural environment, on the development of homosexuality.

Homosexual parents. Schumm (5) found that adults with a homosexual parent are 12 to 15 times as likely to self-identify as homosexual or bisexual as are adults without a homosexual parent, which indicates that post-natal environmental factors associated with having a homosexual parent (such as having a homosexual adult role model and unequivocal acceptance of homosexuality in the home) can play a major role in the development of a homosexual orientation. These results confirmed those of an earlier, much aligned (by gay activists), meta-analysis conducted by Cameron (3), and they suggest a very powerful post-natal influence on the development of homosexuality.

Therapy and Counseling Influences. Aist (1) reviewed and summarized some of the published information on religiously mediated and secularly mediated change in sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Numerous studies have shown that both religiously and secularly mediated change in sexual orientation occurs in highly motivated, dissatisfied homosexuals at a rate that is comparable to the success rates generally achieved by therapists and counselors for psychological disorders and behavioral problems, such as alcoholism. And many studies have found that, for the most part, these are long-term, stable shifts in sexual orientation. In fact, many ex-gays have been happily married with children for several-to-many years. What is the significance of these results relative to the claim that homosexual people are born gay? First, they confirm that pre-natal influences, including genes, do not dictate sexual orientation, because very significant change in sexual orientation has been achieved through therapy and counseling. Such change would not be possible if sexual orientation were fixed at birth. And second, the fact that therapy and counseling are successful at a rate that is comparable to the success rates generally achieved by therapists and counselors for psychological disorders and behavioral problems, such as alcoholism, confirms that any predisposition to homosexuality that may be present at birth is so weak that it can be nullified by subsequent intervention. Socarides (6) put it this way: “As psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, we are treating obligatory homosexuality successfully, changing sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Such a change would be unthinkable if there were any truth at all to the organic or biological or hereditary causation of homosexuality.”

It is virtually impossible to envision how prenatal mechanisms could explain these post-natal associations of increased or decreased homosexuality that correlates with social and experiential factors. But it is easy to envision how these factors could account for the two-thirds or more of post-natal influence on homosexuality that is revealed by the results of twin studies (2).

References Cited:

  1. Aist, J. 2012. Homosexuality: Good News!(click HERE)
  2. Aist, J. 2014. What Twin Studies Tell Us About Homosexuality: Nature vs. Nurture (click HERE)
  3. Cameron, P. 2006. Children of homosexuals and transsexuals more apt to be homosexual. Journal of Biosocial Science 38:413-418.
  4. Frisch, M. and A. Hviid. 2006. Childhood Family Correlates of Heterosexual and Homosexual Marriages: A National Cohort Study of Two Million Danes. Archives of Sexual Behavior 35:533-547.
  5. Schumm, W. 2010. Children of Homosexuals More Apt to be homosexuals? A Reply to Morrison and to Cameron Based on an Examination of Multiple Sources of Data. Journal of Biosocial Science 42:721-742.
  6. Socarides, C.W. 1995b. Exploding the myth of constitutional homosexuality. Narth Bulletin, Vol. III, Number 2, pages 17-18.
  7. Wells, J.E., et al. 2011. Multiple Aspects of Sexual Orientation: Prevalence and Sociodemographic Correlates in a New Zealand National Survey. Archives of Sexual Behavior 40:155-168.
  8. Whitehead, N. 2012. Book Review of Simon LeVay’s Gay, Straight and the Reason Why. (click HERE)
  9. Whitehead, N. and B. Whitehead. 2012. Chapter 2. The genetic implications of SSA population percentage. (click HERE)
  10. Zietsch, B., et al. 2012. Do Shared Etiological Factors Contribute to the Relationship between Sexual Orientation and Depression? Psychological Medicine 42:521-532.

(For more articles by Dr. Aist on homosexuality, click HERE.)


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