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‘Gay’ not really born that way

Cover of David Spiegelhalter’s book.

A monthly column by the Emmanuel Community: 46 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook.Tel:628-1064;

While several studies have attempted to prove the existence of a ‘gay gene’, the fact is that there is no reputable scientific evidence that anyone is born gay.  In an April 2015 (UK) Guardian Observer report, David Spiegelhalter presents the findings of his book Sex By Numbers: What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour, in which he concurs with Kinsey’s contested claim that ten per cent of us are gay.

Even though many surveys find that less than two per cent of respondents consider themselves to be exclusively homosexual, Spiegelhalter concludes that ten per cent of the population could well be involved in same-sex behaviour.

An interesting aspect of both Kinsey’s work and Spiegelhalter’s discussions, however, is the fluidity of the concept of homosexuality, a fact that debunks and makes invalid one of the powerful weapons in the gay rights movement: the proposition that homosexuals are “born that way”.

A September 2016 Life Site News article, ‘Large Study Debunks LGBT Creed With Scientific Facts’, presents a report published in The New Atlantis (Lawrence S Mayer and Paul R McHugh, “Executive Summary,” Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social SciencesThe New Atlantis, Number 50, Fall 2016).

The study explains that sexual orientation is a biologically fixed property of human beings, and shows further evidence that while “biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.  While minor differences in the brain structures and brain activity between homosexual and heterosexual individuals have been identified by researchers, such neurobiological findings do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.”

Justin Lehmiller points out in a June 2017 online article, ‘Why are we searching for a “Gay Gene”?’, that epigenetic research reveals that environmental factors have the potential to effectively turn certain genes off and on. What this means, he says, is that not everyone who carries “gay genes” will necessarily be gay, and we probably won’t be able to predict someone’s sexual orientation from their genetic profile.

In the mean time, Church teaching on the matter remains unchanged and relevant.  The Vatican Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, issued in 1975 by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, provides the following guidelines:
“At the present time there are those who … have begun to judge indulgently and even to excuse completely homosexual relations between certain people. This they do in opposition to the constant teaching of the Magisterium and to the moral sense of the Christian people.

A distinction is drawn … between homosexuals whose tendency comes from a false education … or from other similar causes and is transitory … and homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable.  In regard to this second category of subjects, some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life.

In the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties and their inability to fit into society. … But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people.

Homosexuals are called to embrace the same lifestyle of sexual abstinence adopted by chaste single people and committed celibates.