National Commentary

Homosexuality is Not a Choice


Today, presidential candidate Herman Cain declared on ABC’s The View that homosexuality is a choice. He told View co-host Joy Behar: “You show me the science that says that it’s not [a choice], and I could be persuaded. Right now it’s my opinion against the opinion of others who feel differently. That’s just a difference of opinion.”



Actually, empirical and scientific evidence strongly suggest that sexual orientation is not a choice and is inborn. The “pray away the gay” industry has tried to make the choice claim and has largely failed.

For example, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, two of the founders of the largest “ex-gay” group Exodus International left their wives and married each other. After appearing on the Phil Donahue show as a “cured” ex-gay, Colin Cook had to leave his ministry after having sex with his male counseling clients. Focus on the Family “ex-gay” poster boy John Paulk was photographed by me in a gay bar in 2000.

Meanwhile, as the alleged “ex-gays” were proving that that had not actually turned heterosexual, as advertised, a growing body of research has shown potential biological origins of homosexuality:

• In 1993, the National Institute of Health’ Dean Hamer illustrated that homosexuality might be inherited from the mother by her sons through a specific region of the X chromosome (Xq28). Hamer demonstrated this by noting that 33 out of 40 pairs of homosexual brothers whom he studied showed the same variation in the tip of the chromosome.

• A June 2006 Canadian study published in the journal, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” said that nature, instead of nurture, explains the origins of homosexuality. The study’ author, Prof. Anthony F. Bogaert, at Brock University in Ontario, explored the causes behind what is known as the fraternal birth order. The research showed a correlation between the number of biological older brothers a man has and his sexual orientation. Dividing his sample of more than 900 heterosexual and homosexual men into four groups, Bogaert examined the impact of all types of older brothers, including step and adopted siblings, and the amount of time brothers spent together while growing up.His research found that only the number of biological brothers had an impact on sexuality, regardless of whether the boys were raised together.

• A study released in May 2006 by Swedish scientists demonstrates that biology plays a key role in determining a person’ sexuality. The research shows that the portion of the brain that helps regulate sexuality – the hypothalamus – reacted the exact same way in straight women and gay men when exposed to male pheromones, which are chemicals designed to provoke a behavior, such as sexual arousal. The same area of the brain only became stimulated in heterosexual men when introduced to female pheromones.

• In 2005, Dr. Brian Mustanski of the University of Illinois at Chicago published a study in the esteemed biomedical journal Human Genetics, claiming he identified three chromosomal regions linked to sexual orientation in men: 7q36, 8p12 and 10q26.

• In 2003, University of Texas psychoacoustics specialist Dennis McFadden found that when measuring the way the brain reacts to sound, lesbians fell in between heterosexual men and straight women, suggesting they might be exposed to higher than normal levels of male hormone in utero.

• In 2003, University of Liverpool biologist John T. Manning found that the lesbians whom he studied have a hand pattern that resembles a man’ more than a straight female’. Manning concluded from his study that this “strongly tells us that female homosexuals have had higher levels of exposure to testosterone before birth.”

• A 1991 study by Dr. Simon LeVay found that a specific region of the hypothalamus is twice as large in heterosexual men as it is in women or gay men. This strongly points the role of biology in sexual orientation.

• Another 1991 study by scientists Richard Pillard and John M. Baily studied homosexuality among brothers and found that 53 percent of identical twins were both gay. In adoptive brothers, 11 percent were both homosexual. Of non-twin biological siblings, 9 percent were gay. Again, this points to solid evidence that homosexuality is a matter of nature.

Additionally, the JUN/JUL 2006 issue of Seed Magazine points out that at least 450 vertebrate species engage in homosexual behavior, showing that homosexuality occurs in nature.

Eli Coleman, professor and director of Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School told CNN: “We’ve been through this over and over. You can get behavioral changes, but that’s not orientation change. You can get short-term behavioral change. It’s not sustained.”

Coleman’s views are echoed in a landmark 2009 American Psychological Association report that claims: “No evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work, says APA.” The report also says “Practitioners should avoid telling clients that they can change from gay to straight.” And let’s not forget that millions of LGBT people can tell you firsthand that they did not choose their sexual orientation.

The evidence is clear: Herman Cain needs to do his homework.


Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”