Aren’t homosexuals born that way?

The widespread popular belief of a biological or genetic origin to homosexuality can be traced to three highly publicized studies:

  • Simon LeVay and the INAH-3 (1991): post-mortem examinations of the brains of cadavers.
  • (J. Michael) Bailey and (Richard C.) Pillard Twin Studies (1991): study comparing identical and fraternal twins, and adoptive brothers.
  • Dean Hamer and the X Chromosome (1993): study found a specific “chromosomal region” containing “a gene that contributes to homosexual orientation in males”.

Perhaps what is less widely known is that each of these studies suffered from serious methodological weaknesses, such as small sample sizes, non-random samples and even possible misclassification of their subjects, which bring the validity of their conclusions into question. Other scientists have also been unable to replicate the same dramatic findings of these studies.1, 2

Michael Bailey conducted a subsequent study3 on a larger sample size of 27 Australian male identical twin pairs, where at least one of the twin brothers was homosexual. Since identical/monozygotic twins have identical genes, we should expect that whenever one twin is homosexual, the other twin would be as well (100% concordance rate). Instead, “in only three of the pairs were the second twin brother gay as well” (11% concordance rate).

Researchers Peter Bearman and Hannah Brückner, from Columbia and Yale Universities respectively, studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and found even lower concordance rates for homosexuality in identical twins (6.7% for male; 5.3% for female), neatly refuting several of the biological theories for the origin of homosexuality. On the contrary, social experiences in childhood are found to be a far more significant contributor.4


1. Family Research Council, The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality (Washington)
2. Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality(Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2004)
3. J. Michael Bailey, Michael P. Dunne & Nicholas G. Martin, Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, Vol 78(3), pp 524-536)
4. Peter S. Bearman & Hannah Brückner, Opposite-Sex Twins and Adolescent Same-Sex Attraction (American Journal of Sociology, 2002, Vol 107(5), pp 1179-1205)

Is being homosexual a choice?

Many homosexuals attribute their first realization or hint that they have same-sex sexual attractions to their adolescent or pre-adolescent years. Unremembered early experiences – some as early as before a child is old enough to walk and talk – may contribute to this perception.1 Understandably, for the person grappling with homosexual attraction, it can feel as if homosexuals are “born that way”.

It doesn’t mean a person wakes up one morning and decides at that moment to make himself or herself attracted to someone of the same sex. While sexual attractions may not be voluntary, many homosexuals do make voluntary, conscious choices about expressing their sexual attractions in sexual behaviour. This is akin to how a married person can choose to indulge affections for a third party by pursuing an extra-marital affair. Homosexuality is traditionally understood to be preceded by:

  • Sin: acting out sexually in deviant ways and against natural law due to mankind’s fallen nature which has departed from its created order and purpose.
  • Seduction and Grooming: older homosexuals “recruiting” more into their fold by preying on, grooming and sexualizing young heterosexuals who later turn homosexual.
  • Psychiatric/Mental conditions: confusion over one’s gender identity, rejection by and fear of the opposite sex, sexual addictions or dysfunctional family of origin.

Even if there were some innate disposition or (unfortunate) extenuating circumstances that led a person toward homosexual inclinations, no human being is compelled to yield to every sexual impulse he/she experiences.

1. Kerby Anderson, A Biblical Point of View on Homosexuality (Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008)

Born this way?

There are transsexual women and transgender women and suddenly it becomes poisonous… because there are some people in this world that believe being gay is a choice. It’s not a choice; we’re born this way.

Lady Gaga 1


No properly qualified geneticist today will ever say or agree with the statement, “I am born Gay, and I cannot change”.  Indeed, no form of human behaviour is ever solely inherited.  Genes produce proteins, and not behaviour.  Behaviour is much more complex than a single protein…environmental factors account for 74% of male homosexuality. Environmental factors are clearly much more important than genetic factors.

Dr John S H Tay
Author of BORN GAY? Examining the Scientific Evidence for Homosexuality

1. Lady Gaga Says Homosexuality Isn’t A Choice (19 March 2010)