Sunday, September 14, 2008


Several months ago, I wrote an article entitled, The Homophobia Behind Studies of the Causes of Homosexuality that tried to show the homophobic ramifications of the existence of such studies.

Part of that article reads as follows:

"We must again ask why it's so important, beyond the intellectual issues involved, to seek to establish why some people are Gay? Why not study why some people are Straight? Why not study why some people like meat and others don't like meat? Why not study why some people love vegetables and others don't? Why not study why someone's favorite color is different from another person's favorite color? Well, you get the point!

"The fact that sexual orientation is felt to be deserving of the appropriation of funds and expenditure of time and energy by scientists, as opposed to such questions as the above that any scientist would hardly deem likely to investigate, has far more to do with people's hang-ups regarding sex and sexual orientation than it has to do with the intrinsic importance of that subject.

"I can certainly see the validity of studies as to why some people love war and others love peace; why some people are sadistic and others are not; why some people take advantage of others and others don't; why some people prey on others and others don't; why some people are homophobic and others are not, but I can't understand why studies of the causes of sexual orientation are viewed as being so important."

However, the other day, my good friend Don Charles sent me the following article entitled, Born that gay that cogently shows how sexual orientation is largely determined by neurobiological and mother's hormonal in utero factors before the baby is even born.

Moreover, what makes this study, beyond its scientific sophistication, additionally compelling is that it is a study that was not written with the intention of proving that homosexuality was biologically determined, although that is its conclusion that is largely based on advanced brain imaging technology.

I have no illusion that this excellent, truly scientific study, conducted by neuroscientists with no ax to grind, will in any way dissuade "religious" [For example, see here.] and secular homophobes from banging their drums of hate and exclusion.

However, I'm suggesting that you read the entire article as it should help remove any sense of shame, or even any vestige of shame, that a Gay person may feel because of internalized homophobia born of the inundation of vilification by homophobes, ranging from the Pope to, in many cases, one's very own family.

Here is an excerpt from that article, entitled, Born that gay that I hope whets your appetite to read this article in full:

"As the accuracy and resolution of brain imaging improve, we can expect virtually all behavior to be shown to be associated with demonstrable brain changes. It shouldn't come as a surprise that imaging studies of sexual orientation are increasingly revealing anatomic and functional differences between "straight" and "gay" brains. But demonstrating such changes doesn't answer the age-old question of how much our sexual preferences are innate and how much they are fueled by environmental exposure, cultural norms and conscious personal choices.

"One way to distinguish the effects of nature from nurture would be to look at brain regions believed by neuro-anatomists to be fully formed at birth and impervious to subsequent environmental effects, both physical and psychological. Focusing on such brain regions, a research team at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, headed by neuroscientist Ivanka Savic, obtained MRIs for 90 adult volunteers -- 25 straight men, 25 straight women, 20 gay men and 20 lesbians. Using the latest quantitative techniques for assessing cerebral symmetry and functional connections between various areas of brain, Savic was able to demonstrate highly statistically significant differences between straight and gay brains. Gay and lesbian brains more closely resembled the brains of straight volunteers of the opposite sex than the brains of heterosexual members of the same sex.

"In their study, reported in the June 16, 2008, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Savic said, "This is the most robust measure so far of cerebral differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects." Although Savic admits that her study cannot distinguish between genetic or prenatal intrauterine environmental changes, such as relative differences in sex hormone levels, her studies do suggest that our sexual preferences are, at least in large part, determined by the time of birth."

As one neurologist stated, "There are obvious-to-the-naked-eye differences in cerebral symmetry and in the functional connections in various portions of the limbic system, including the differing degrees of connectivity between amygdala and other brain regions critical for emotional responsiveness. It's as though you can actually see the brain changes that most gays have always suspected; and, believe me, it's a great relief to realize that these findings are clearly present at birth and aren't anyone's 'fault.' They simply are [present] in the same way that one has blue eyes or red hair. No more and no less."

I again urge you to read the full article, as it might well lift the weight, the unnecessary burden, of internalized homophobia and consequent shame and self-loathing, with all of its many self-destructive consequences, from so many LGBT people's hearts; even go a long way toward healing family relationships, frequently fractured by ignorant and/or hateful clergy and their blind followers.

Moreover, sophisticated studies such as this one may further help to convince Gay people, their loved ones, and all others that they have been told one gigantic lie over and over again, perpetrated by the "religious" and secular haters in our midst who claim a mantle of ecclesiastical and moral authority that their often strident homophobia proves comes neither from objective and sophisticated scientific findings, intelligent reading of the Bible, nor from God Himself!
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