from "Born that way" theory
By Roy WallerOctober 23, 2003 -- A new study conducted at the UCLA School of Medicine on the developmental differences between the male and female brains of mice is being touted as evidence that sexual orientation is hard-wired into the human brain before birth.
A reporter from the news service Reuters titled his article, "Sexual identity Hard-Wired by Genetics." The reporter opened his article with the following sweeping statement, "Sexual identity is wired into the genes, which discounts the concept that homosexuality and transgender sexuality are a choice, California researchers said on Monday."
Psychologist Warren Throckmorton disagreed. "All this study really suggests," he noted in an opinion piece published by the web site of Grove City College, "is that genes may play a role in creating the differences in male and female brains. This is not news; researchers have known this for a long time." But the study, Throckmorton said, has nothing to do with the formation of sexual orientation.
Throckmorton, Director of College Counseling and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College, expressed his frustration at the misleading and inacccurate news reports. "No wonder the public is confused about this issue. The reporting has made inferences that are not at all warranted by the study itself."
According to another news article written by the Canadian news service CanWest, the researchers' discovery of some 54 genes related to sexual differentiation adds weight to the gay lobby's claim that homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgenderism are literally part-and-parcel of the nervous system, and thus inborn and unchangeable.
However, the actual claims of the researchers were considerably more modest than the newswriters' headlines suggested. Lead researcher Dr. Eric Valain maintained that "This is not about finding the gay gene." The Vilain team was actually studying the factors that cause the masculinization and feminization of the brain, and did not look for factors that influence sexual orientation. In fact, the published results of his study do not even include the word "homosexuality."
Vilain went on to remark that the study's findings will have their most immediate impact upon understanding transsexualism, not homosexuality. He added rather modestly that "it's possible some of these genes, with more research, could explain homosexual behavior."
But then, discussing the social-political policies he supports should such a gene someday be found, Dr. Vilain added, "If you can't do anything about [homosexuality]...you should have all the rights to be integrated into society and have the same rights as heterosexuals in terms of marriage and the rights to inheritance."
Also adding to the discussion was Linda Nicolosi, Director of Publications for NARTH. "What's new about this study?" Nicolosi asks. "Nothing, at least as regards the study of homosexuality. As for its findings about the masculinization and feminzation of the brain, NARTH does not disagree that biological factors lead some people to feel a sense of masculine or feminine deficit. But when gender identity is influenced by a set of unusual biological factors that make a man feel like a woman, wouldn't that in fact be something abnormal--a biological developmental error?"
"The most alarming problem with this study is the inaccurate headlines it's getting," said Nicolosi, agreeing with Dr. Throckmorton.
Most of the news-service articles omitted mention of the fact that this study was conducted upon mice, not human beings. NARTH Vice-President, Dr. A Dean Byrd, commented on the irony of that omission.
"There is no animal model that accurately reflects human sexuality," Dr. Byrd noted. "Pigs don't date, ducks don't go to church and mice don't fall in love."