May 31st, 2008
Anti-gays cling to the mantra “there is no gay gene” to comfort them when troubled about their efforts to legislate discrimination. As long as sexual orientation is not genetic then they can claim it is not innate and therefore gay people can be blamed and punished.
Anti-gays know we can’t change our genes, but if they can convince themselves that orientation is brought on by environment, well then it can be reversed and they can insist that gay persons choose to change. And if we don’t, then they have every right to deny us marriage, redress from organized bigotry, the opportunity for housing or employment, and the rights to serve our country, raise our children, and care for our own.
If “there’s no gay gene” and gays choose to stay “in the lifestyle”, then anti-gays can convince themselves that they aren’t monsters, but that we are.
Hey, we all have to find a way to sleep at night.
One of the “evidences” that anti-gays use to insist that sexual orientation is not based in genetics is the fact that not all identical twins have the same orientation. As Focus on the Family’s Melissa Fryrear puts it
The third major study trumpeted as “proof” of homosexuality’s genetic link was also conducted in 1991 by psychologist Michael Bailey and psychiatrist Richard Pillard. Using pairs of brothers — identical twins, non-identical twins, biological brothers, and adopted brothers — Bailey and Pillard attempted to show that homosexuality occurs more frequently among identical twins than fraternal twins.
Again, what the majority of people do not know, and what the media did not accurately report, is that this study actually provides support for environmental factors versus genetics! If homosexuality were in the genetic code, then both of the twins would have been homosexual 100 percent of the time, yet this was not the case.
Most researchers see the differences of orientation matching (50% in identical twins and 20% in fraternal twins compared to a general population rate of probably less than 6%) as an indication that genetics are a factor. But anti-gays magically find just the opposite. Since Melissa’s research credentials are, well, not particularly solid, she relies on NARTH’s Neil Whitehead to back up her assertions.
Identical twins have identical genes. If homosexuality was a biological condition produced inescapably by the genes (e.g. eye color), then if one identical twin was homosexual, in 100% of the cases his brother would be too. But we know that only about 38% of the time is the identical twin brother homosexual. Genes are responsible for an indirect influence, but on average, they do not force people into homosexuality. This conclusion has been well known in the scientific community for a few decades but has not reached the general public. Indeed, the public increasingly believes the opposite.
Fryrear may be excused for having but a layman’s understanding of genetics. But when Whitehead implies that genetics can be disregarded he is either demonstrating a willful ignorance or is cynically seeking to play on the public’s lack of expertise.
Genetic influence is not limited to a gene’s presence. Identical genes do not behave identically. And a research team at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Gender-Based Biology is setting out to study just what role genes play in determining sexual attraction. Out in America reports
Identical twins provide a unique model to study the role of gene regulation: “Both twins have the same genes, but they might use these genes differently,” says Bocklandt. “And that difference in gene use could explain the difference in sexual orientation.”
“If we can identify specific genes that are ‘turned off’ or ‘turned on’ among our gay and straight twins, we will have excellent genetic targets for further investigation with respect to sexual orientation,” Bocklandt adds.
Study researchers will measure the chemical signal attached to the DNA that controls if and when a gene is turned on and off. Utilizing novel DNA-chip technology, large parts of the human genome can be screened for differences in gene regulation between the twins. “Because identical twins have the same DNA sequence, we can study a ‘gay genome’ and a ‘straight genome’ within one single genetic background, and that’s extremely powerful,” says Bocklandt.
The study is headed by Drs. Eric Vilain, Cisco Sanchez, and Sven Bocklandt. Drs. Vilain and Bocklandt were part of the team that observed the extreme skewing of x chromosome inactivation in the mothers of gay men. Bocklandt also worked with Hamer on his earlier gene research (which was horribly misreported) and is one of the “gay sheep guys” who researched the variances in the brains of same-sex attracted rams. These researchers are at the very forefront of studying how genetics and orientation interplay.
This research promises to add to the growing knowledge on what does and does not contribute to sexual orientation. It may help understand whether genes can be solely, significantly, or only minimally responsible for the sex to which each of us are attracted. And while I doubt that a “gay gene” that indisputably determines orientation is likely to be the result, additional information in this field of study is very welcome.
The team currently has about 20 sets of mixed-orientation identical twins and is seeking to double that size. If you are an identical twin whose sibling does not share your orientation, check out the study to see if you would like to participate.
If you are not an identical twin but are a gay man with a gay brother, please consider contributing to the work being performed by Dr. Sanders at Northwestern University.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.