from "Born that way" theory
Serious scientists have long known that a simply "genetic" cause for homosexuality was highly unlikely, but the mass media conveyed the misimpression of genetic causation to the general public. In the Globe article, prominent researchers admit the distinct limitations of the "born that way" theory.
"Gay gene" researcher Dean Hamer comments, "It is the same for every human behavior--environment matters for extroversion, smoking cigarettes, just about anything you can name."
Interestingly, Dr. Hamer--himself a gay man--adds that science remains "just as clueless" as ever about the environmental influences on homosexuality. Dr. Hamer's statement is consistent with a position taken by most gay advocates, who flatly deny the existence of evidence that points to certain family and social influences on homosexuality. (Gay advocates almost invariably either say "I was born that way," or "How I became gay doesn't matter.") Only prominent gay writer Andrew Sullivan has publicly given credence to the Freudian model of homosexual development.
Said the Globe:
"The research project in 1993 that indicated many gay men shared a common genetic marker in the X chromosome was hailed as a momentous scientific discovery.
"The idea of a 'gay gene' offered an ironclad defense of homosexuality; if it was genetically predetermined, then being gay could not be cast as 'deviant' behavior, something 'correctable.'
"Six years later, however, the gene still has not been found, and interest in--and enthusiasm for--the 'gay gene' research has waned among activists and scientists alike. And there is a growing consensus that sexual orientation is much more complicated than a matter of genes.
"Dr. Richard Pillard, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine who was involved in a study of twins and sexual orientation, has done research showing that sexuality is greatly influenced by environment, and that the role of genetics is, in the end, limited."
The Globe article goes on to quote Ruth Hubbard, a board member of The Council for Responsible Genetics, and the author of Exploding the Gene Myth, who says that searching for a gay gene "is not even a worthwhile pursuit...Let me be very clear: I don't think there is any single gene that governs any complex human behavior. There are genetic components in everything we do, and it is foolish to say genes are not involved, but I don't think they are decisive."
In the Globe story, a gay advocate speaks of the "immense malleability of human sexuality." Interestingly, this observation seems to have been lost on the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations--which both claim that there is no evidence that homosexuals can change.