from "Born that way" theory
by Dr. A. Dean ByrdPresidential hopeful Dr. Howard Dean was recently quoted in the Washington Post as saying that, "From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people," and "The overwhelming evidence is that there is very significant, substantial genetic component to it [homosexuality]."
Dr. Dean's theological comment, while sounding compassionate, is a rather na•ve view of homosexuality. Homosexual behaviors are fraught with serious mental health and physical consequences--all of which are well documented in scientific literature. One doesn't have to consider homosexuality to be sinful to understand that such behaviors places its participants at risk for mental/physical illnesses.
The fact is that a condition such as Down's Syndrome has a genetic component to it, but we do not consider this as a positive, life affirming physical state. Even if homosexuality were found to have a genetic basis, the mental/physical health consequences would still be present.
In 1999, the Medical Institute of Sexual Health reported that, "Homosexual men are at significantly increased risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections as a result of their sexual practices." Dr. Dean should be asked why he thinks homosexual behavior should be encouraged when this behavior so clearly endangers men's lives.
We have learned at NARTH that homosexuals can be helped through therapy to overcome unwanted homosexuality, with its elevated risk of both emotional and physical disorders. Dr. Robert Spitzer, one of the psychiatrists who led the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental illness from the diagnostic manual, is now convinced that not only can homosexual behaviors be eliminated but that some individuals can experience a change in sexual orientation from predominantly homosexual to predominately heterosexual through the help of competent therapy. He has recently published a study that found that a homosexual orientation can be modified.
Dr. Dean's second statement is even more problematic than his flawed theological views on homosexuality. To say that there is "overwhelming" evidence that homosexuality has a "significant, substantial genetic" component is just the opposite of what the latest scientific research says.
In fact, even gay-activist researchers themselves, who have been desperately seeking a genetic element to homosexuality, have come up empty. Several of these researchers have openly admitted their failure.
My previously published article, "The Innate-Immutable Argument Finds No Basis In Science--In Their Own Words: Gay Activists Speak About Science, Morality, Philosophy," quotes several of these researchers, including Drs. Dean Hamer and Simon LeVay. According to Hamer, "There is not a single master gene that makes people gay. ... I don't think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay." Dr. LeVay says, "I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work."
Homosexual philosopher Camille Paglia is quite blunt in her assessment of the "born gay" theory: "No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous ... homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait. ..."
In short, Dr. Dean's comments are not only inaccurate, but pose serious consequences for the health and well-being of homosexual individuals who are struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions or who are engaged in sexual practices that can lead to increased morbidity and mortality rates.
A person who seeks the highest office in the land should be more responsible in his comments on a subject as controversial as homosexuality--should certainly be informed by the research. A commitment to the basic civil rights of self-identified gays and lesbians does not require a belief in the false notion that homosexuality is innate and immutable in all people. It is not.