The Evil of Saying that Homosexuality is a Choice
Science has an increasingly clear message - homosexuality is a natural biological phenomenon, as much a result of developmental and genetic effects, as any other form of sexuality. And not just for humans - homosexuality has been observed across hundreds of types of animals. It is part and parcel of nature.
It is then an evil to say that homosexuality is a "choice" that can be avoided or cured, and evil to characterize homosexuality as anything other than being natural, as opposed to, for example, the scientific nonsense seen in the Cathecism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2357:The same Sacred Scripture also says that under some conditions, it is legal to rape and murder women, commit genocide, put people in slavery, and other evil that aren't intrinsically disordered.Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, [Catholic] tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered". They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life [procreation]. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
On the hand, in 1973, the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association passed the following civil rights resolution, which you would think would be the word of a loving God:Whereas homosexuality in and of itself implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or vocational capabilities, therefore, be it resolved that the American Psychiatric Association deplores all public and private discrimination against homosexuals in such areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, and licensing, and declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed on homosexuals greater than that imposed on any other persons. Further, the APA supports and urges the enactment of civil rights legislation at local, state, and federal levels that would ensure homosexual citizens the same protections now guaranteed to others. Further, the APA supports and urges the repeal of all legislation making criminal offenses of sexual acts performed by consenting adults in private.
What follows are some recent quotes from a 2007 New York Times Science Times article on the current state of research into explaining human sexuality, and quotes from a 2007 article on the evil and harm of trying to eugenically "cure" homosexuals. These quotes are then followed by a list of papers on the biological research into the natural nature of gender, sexuality and homosexuality.
A good book on this subject is The Mismeasurement of Desire: The Science, Theory and Ethics of Sexual Orientation by Edward Stein, Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-19-509995-8 - a good review of the false cultural stereotypes and how science is revealing the truth of the biological nature of sexual orientation.
The June 2007 issue of Discover magazine has an excellent review on this subject by Michael Abrams titled Homing in on the science of homosexuality - and sexuality itself". One quote: "Whether or not a gay gene, a set of gay genes, or some other biological mechanism is ever found, one thing is clear: The environment a child grows up in has nothing to do with what makes most gay men gay. Two of the most recent convincing scientific studies have proved conclusively that sexual orientation in men has a genetic cause." - IT IS NOT A CHOICE.
For the Bible Tells Me So - an award winning documentary on the malicious interpretation of the Bible that lets Christian churches sanction hatred of gays, and how five Christian families decided instead to love their gay children. Episcopal Church divide over gays has a global audience - October 2007 LA Times article on fights within churches around the world over homosexuality due to ignoring the scientific research.
Hurting people for God and profit: the "ex-gay" scam exposed, yet again - article reporting on the fraud of, and hurt caused by, "ex-gay" therapy groups.
The sad, regretable irony of all of this religious hatred of homosexuals is that the founding father of one of the religions (Christianity), (Saint) Paul, was probably a closet homosexual.
Pas de Deux of Sexuality is Written in the Genes
by Nicholas Wade, New York Times Science Times, 10 April 2007, D1
Desire between the sexes is not a matter of choice. Straight men, it seems, have neural circuits that prompt them to seek out women; gay men have those prompting them to seek other men. Women's brains may be organized to select men who seem likely to provide for them and their children. The deal is sealed with other neural programs that induce a burst of romantic love, followed by long-term attachment.
Several advances in the last decade have underlined the .. fact that the brain is a full-fledged sexual organ, in that the two sexes have .. different versions of it. This is the [design] of testosterone, which masculinizes the brain as thoroughly as it does the rest of the body.
... Dr. Larry Cahill of the University of California, Irvine, wrote last year in Nature Reviews Neuroscience [that]. Widespread regions of the cortex, the brain's outer layer that performs much of its higher-level processing, are thicker in women. The hippocampus, where initial memories are formed, occupies a larger fraction of the female brain. Techniqes for imaging the brain have begun to show that men and women use their brains in different ways even when doing the same thing. In the case of the amygdala, a pair of organs that helps prioritize memories according to their emotional strength, women use the left amgydala for this purpose but men tend to use the right.
... The male brain is sexually oriented towards women as an object of desire. The most direct evidence comes from a handful of cases, some of them circumcision accidents, in which boy babies have lost their penises and been reared as female. Despite every social inducement to the opposite, they grow up desiring women as partners, not men. "If you can't make a male attracted to other males by cutting off his penis, how strong could any psychosocial effect be?, said J. Michael Bailey, an expert on sexual orientation at Northwestern University.
Presumably the masculinization of the brain shapes some neural circuit that makes women desirable. If so, this circuitry is wired differently in gay men. In experiments in which subjects are shown photographs of desirable men and women, straight men are arosed by women, gay men by men. Such experiments do not show the same clear divide with women. Whether women describe themselves as straight or lesbian, "Their sexual arousal seems to be relatively indiscriminate - they get aroused by both male and female images.", Dr. Bailey said. "I am not even sure if females have a sexual orientation. But they have sexual preferences. Women are very picky, and most choose to have sex with men."
Sexual orientation, at least for men, seems to be settled before birth. "I think most of the scientists working on these questions are convinced that the antecedents of sexual orientation in males are happening early in life, probably before birth, ...", said Dr. Marc Breedlove, a neuroscientist at Michigan State University, "... whereas for feamles, some are probably born to become gay, but clearly some get their quite late in life."
Researchers have devoted considerable effort to understanding homosexuality in men and women, both for its intrinsic interest and for the light it could shed on the more usual channels of desire. Studies of twins show that homosexuality, especially among men, is quite heritable, meaning there is a genetic component to it. But since gay men have about one-fifth as many children as straight men, any gene favoring homosexuality should quickly disappear from the population.
... So that leaves the possibility that being gay is a byproduct of a gene that persists because it enhances fertility in other family members. Some studies have found that gay men have more relatives than straight men, particularly on their mother's side. ...
A somewhat more straightforward clue to the origin of homosexuality is the fraternal birth order effect. Two Canadian researchers, Ray Blanchard and Anthony Bogaert, have shown that having older brothers substantially increases the chances that a man will be gay. Older sisters don't count, nor does it matter whether the brothers are in the house when the boy is reared. The finding suggests that male homosexuality in these cases is caused by some event in the womb, such as "a maternal immune response to succeeding male pregnancies", Dr. Bogaert wrote last year in ( Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men's sexual orientation , 11 July 2006 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10771-4). Antimale antibodies could perhaps interfere with the usual masculinization of the brain that occurs before birth, though no such antibodies have yet been detected.
The fraternal birth order effect is quite substantial. Some 15 percent of gay men can attribute their homosexuality to it, based on the assumption that 1 to 4 percent of men are gay, and each additional older brother increases the odds of same-sex attraction by 33 percent. The effect supports the idea that levels of circulating testosterone before birth are crucial in determining sexual orientation.
... Researchers had long assumed that steroid hormones like testosterone and estrogen did all of the ... shaping of the male and female brains. But Arthur Arnold of the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that male and female neurons behave somewhat differently when kept in laboratory glassware [which means that genes have affect on the sexual differentiation of the brain.]
Anatomy of a Pseudo-Science
by Jason Ciancotti and Sean Cahill, Gay & Lesbian Review, Jul/Aug 2007, 22
While research does not support the ex-gay movement's claims, there is a growing body of research indicating that conversion therapy is psychologically harmful to the individual, not to mention a violation of standard psychotherapeutic ethics.
For almost three decades, the ex-gay movement has claimed that gay men and lesbians can become heterosexual through "reparative therapy" or "conversion therpay". Despite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, ex-gay programs operate under the premise that homosexuality is a mental illness. Over the past few years, however, the ex-gay movement has adopted a new approach, targeting youths viewed as exhibiting signs of "prehomosexuality" with recourse to both "preventive" measures and conversion techniques. "Conversion" to heterosexuality is allegedly achieved through embracing evangelical Christianity and being "born again".
Shidlo and Schroeder surveyed 202 individuals who had participated in conversion therapy. ... Of the 176 participants in the self-perceived failure group, 155 reported significant long-term harm from conversion. Many participants reported depression and suicidal ideation, while many more reported damage to their self-esteem. Some male participants reported sexual dysfunction, including impotence. Eighteen participants who were forced to endure aversive conditioning, a form of behavioral therapy in which a pleasureable stimulus is paired with a painful one in order to suppress the power of the former, experienced highly disturbing and disruptive ideation. The interventions experienced by these eighteen included electric shock therapy and the use of inhalable or injectable emetics to induce vomiting.
Many participants complained that conversion therapy harmed their relationships with family members and friends, particularly with parents, who were often blamed by their therapists for their homosexuality. Many reported loneliness and an inability to commit to long-term relationships with same-sex partners with whom they were in love. Many therapits instructed them to break off amorous same-sex relationships, as well as relationships with lesbian and gay friends. Similar losses occurred when those participants ended conversion therapy and left the ex-gay community. Some said that the years spent in coversion therapy delayed a number of experiences, including intimate relationships and the development of social skills. According to one participant, the treatment "added more years to my time in the closet. I lost a lot of my life as a result of this".
Sixty-six percent of participants considered themselves to be religious. considered themselves to be religious. Those in the perceived failure category reported a negative impact on their beliefs, including a complete loss of faith, a sense of betrayal by their religious leaders, anger at the therapists who told them God was ashamed of them in the first place, and excommunication from their churches.
Ex-gay therapy also raises ethical concerns. Unlike most organizations and individuals offering counseling and mental health services, most ex-gay programs market themselves as religious ministries and are therefore not governed or overseen by professional association, licensing boards, or state departments of health. D.C. Haldeman (1994) found that conversion therapists fail to uphold the dignity and welfare of their patients because their treatments are predicated on the devaluation of homosexual identity and behavior. According to Haldeman, there would be no conversion therapy in the first place if not for the assumption that homosexuals are mentally ill and require treatment. This is contrary to the positions taken by nearly every major medical and mental health association, representing 477,000 professionals.
Schroeder and Shidlo reported the following ethical concerns and violations in their sample of 202 consumers of ex-gay therapy: 1) Lack of Informed Consent. Many conversion therapists provided "false and prejudicial" information disguised as science to prospective clients in order to convince them that they needed treatment. 2) Use of Religion in Therapy. Is it ever ethical to use the threat of religious consequences, such as going to hell or living outside of God's will, to convince clients to change? 3) Lack of Pre-Termination Counseling. Many clients who failed to change were not provided with proper assistance to help them after treatment. Clients blamed themselves and were even blamed by their therapists for failing to change, and were not provided with help to deal with the internalized homophobia that results from being indoctrinated into believing that homosexuality is a psychological disorder. 4) Lack of Information About Negative Side-Effects. Many conversion therapists failed to inform their clients about the possible harmful side-effects of this therapy. For decades, former clients have been sharing stories of pain, depression, internalized hatred, and other forms of life-altering damages that resulted from their conversion experience.[Haldeman], "The Practice and Ethics of Sexual Orientation Counseling" (1994)
[Shidlo & Schroeder], "Changing Sexual Orientation: A Consumer's Report", Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(3), 2002.
BIBLIOGRAPHYTransgender woman sues hospital: Catholic-owned Seton won't let her get breast surgery, San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 2008
Lesbian mothers celebrate a special birthday with their quadruplets - Proud Parenting, Dec. 2007
As dads have begun to act more like moms, old notions of masculinity have come into question - Time Magazine, 26 November 2007
Gender identity and the chemical delay of puberty - San Francisco Chronicle, 18 November 2007
Genetics plays a role in determining sexual orientation - Nov. 2007
Sexual orientation, sexual identity, blur - San Francisco Chronicle, 3 October 2007 - (about failed equal rights bill)
"Maternal Inheritance and Familial Fecundity in Male Homosexuality" (2007)
A new treatment for transgender kids - puts puberty on hold so that they won't develop into their biological sex, SF Weekly, 11 July 2007.
Going Beyond X and Y - June 2007 article in Scientific American on gender - "Babies born with mixed sex organs often get immediate surgery. New genetic studies, Eric Vilain says, should force a rethinking about sex assignment and gender identity.
(Rethinking) Gender - May 2007 article in Newsweek magazine - "How those who believe they were born with the wrong bodies are forcing us to re-examine what it means to be male and female.
The Genetics of Bisexuality - review of Nature magazine article, March 2007
"Evidence for maternally inherited factors favouring male homosexuality and promoting female fecundity" (2004)
"Male-to-Female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus" - J. Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, (2000)
"A Question of Gender" - January 2000 article in Discover magazine about intersexuality, with 65,000 babies naturally born each year neither male nor female, but rather with parts of both male and female sexual organs.
"Sex and the Brain" - March 1994 article in Discover magazine about neurobiologist Simon Levay's research into the biological basis for homosexuality.