The 'Gay Gene' Guessing Game
A new genetic study claims that homosexuality is determined by multiple DNA factors.
The findings of a recently released study on the origins of human sexual orientation, the largest of its kind ever conducted, is sure to reignite the debate over homosexuality and whether it is a controlled life choice or the result of an uncontrollable set of genetic circumstances.
The study determined that genes do have an impact on a person’s sexual orientation, but that it is impossible to predict a person’s sexual behavior solely on their genome. Researchers concluded that different components of different genes in the human genome can contribute to determining a person’s sexuality, particularly in the presence of some external factors, but there is no single so-called “gay gene” that separates homosexuals from heterosexuals.
The study was conducted by researchers and geneticists at the Broad Institute at MIT, Harvard, the University of Queensland, and other institutions. It included surveys conducted among 400,000 UK and Swedish men and women in a British database and approximately 70,000 American customers of the genetic testing service 23andMe. All the subjects are of white European descent, and some 3% of the British sample and a surprising 19% of the American sample admitted to having sex at least once with a same-sex partner.
The sample audience for the study hardly indicates a strong representation of the general adult population, nor did the study spend any time on societal factors such as religion, income, family structure, and so forth. For the purposes of this study, researchers focused solely on genetic factors.
The study is sure to be attacked by the Rainbow Mafia for not quite supporting the party line that homosexuals are “born that way” and are therefore unable to reject that lifestyle. On the flip side, the report also indicates that homosexuality is too complicated to simply be a lifestyle choice.
How will the Left reconcile this study — which purports to lend more nuanced credence to the “born this way” argument — with the “I was born the wrong way” argument of so-called “transgendered” individuals?
On the one hand, leftists insist conversion therapy should be banned for homosexuals because of genetics. As one study author put it, “I hope that the science can be used to educate people a little bit more about how natural and normal same-sex behavior is. It’s written into our genes.” On the other hand, some individuals — including children — should undergo hormone treatment and even surgical alteration because their genetics got their biology wrong.
Some researchers in the study initially questioned the wisdom of going forward with the work. Geneticist Steven Reilly, who leads an LGBT group at the Broad Institute called [email protected], told The New York Times, “I deeply disagree about publishing this,” citing fears that the data could be misconstrued — by conservatives — for political purposes.
And the Left would never use homosexuality for political purposes…
Joe Vitti, another researcher at Broad who spoke to the Times, expressed similar close-minded sentiments. “As a queer person and a geneticist, I struggle to understand the motivations behind a genome-wide association study for non-heterosexual behavior. I have yet to see a compelling argument that the potential benefits of this study outweigh its potential harms.”
In the face of discovery, these “scientists” were willing to let their own political views interfere with their ability to conduct and share research for fear of how it might inform political opponents. They even entertained the idea of burying the study. Publicly they claimed fear, but it’s clear that the real motivation is that the study does not comport with their long-held social beliefs. It is the perfect example of what leftists frequently accuse conservatives of doing: using politics to distort reporting scientific fact.
The study was released to the public only after months of internal deliberations. The Times notes that the research team “used suggestions from [Broad] colleagues and outside L.G.B.T.Q. groups to clarify wording and highlight caveats.” Who knows how these so-called suggestions might have changed data as presented in the final report?
One finding of the study that could not be kept in the closet was the discovery of a genetic correlation between same-sex behavior and certain mental-health issues and traits like risky behavior and drug use. Hopefully this information, and the rest of the study, will be used to help people instead of being wielded as a cudgel by the Rainbow Mafia.