What Causes Homosexuality

996 Words Oct 5th, 2010 4 Pages
What Causes Homosexuality?

What causes homosexuality? There has been much debate about what causes homosexuality. Is there a gay gene? Is homosexuality caused by environmental factors, such as upbringing, child molestation, an absent mother or affectionate father? Or is it something we’re born with, an inherited trait, like skin or hair color?

Although there have been few studies on the cause of homosexuality, the debate seems to be divided, with scientists in one corner and religious fundamentalists in another.

What is Sexual Orientation?

The American Psychological Association defines sexual orientation as such: Sexual orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction that a person feels toward
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Studies of identical and fraternal twins suggest that there is a genetic influence on sexual orientation. If being gay were strictly genetic, then in identical twins, there would be a 100% concordance rate for sexual orientation. But one study in 1995 found a 52% correlation for male identical twins and 22% for male fraternal twins. A study on females came up with similar results. If one identical twin was a lesbian, in 48% of cases, the other twin was also a lesbian. For fraternal twins, the concordance was 16%. (source Simon LeVay)

These studies show that people with the same genetic make up (identical twins) are more likely to share sexual orientation than those with different genetic make up (fraternal twins.) Genetics alone cannot cause sexual orientation, but they do play a part.

Is there a gay gene?

Scientists have not been able to conclude that there is any gene or combination of genes that will make someone gay. Genetics is very complex and scientists continue to study both humans and animals chromosomes for linkage to sexual orientation.

What about the gay brain study?

A widely publicized study in 1999 found that a certain part of the hypothalamus was smaller in gay men then in heterosexual men. This study was widely touted at the time as “proof” that one’s sexual orientation is biological and not chosen. But it is not known whether these differences in brain are present at birth or if
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