The Biology of Sexual Orientation

An interview on the current state of research seeking to better understand sexual orientation…

Do you think these studies can help counter fundamentalist arguments that homosexuality is evil?

Accepting sexual preference as an innate characteristic is an essential first step. But this sidesteps the more deep-seated gut sense that homosexuality isn’t natural and goes against the laws of nature. This argument can be partially defused by recognizing how ubiquitous homosexual behavior is in the animal kingdom — starting with the lowliest fruit fly. I’m sure you’re aware that there is a single gene, which, in the fruit fly, can turn on and off homosexual behavior.

But in the end, I suspect that real acceptance will only come about when we have a much more comprehensive view of how the mind works, including how we make conscious choices versus how much of our apparent willfulness arises out of involuntary biological mechanisms.

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