Are same-sex attractions biologically determined?  Most people are under the impression that they are.  Organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), have helped propagate the idea.  For example, in the 1998 version of their “Answers to Your Questions about Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality” brochure, they say “there is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality.”  The truth, however, is that no biological link has been discovered to-date. 

In an unexpected turn of events, the APA has softened its language, replacing the above sentence with a more modest claim in an updated version of their brochure (now called “Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality”) (click here for the HTML version).  Now it reads:

There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.

While I think there is little reason to doubt that social influences are largely responsible for same-sex attraction, I appreciate their more honest assessment of the biological evidence.

 

HT: NARTH