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Reader Insists Being Straight or Gay is a "Choice".

I didn't choose my sexual orientation, but apparnetly this reader did.

I didn't choose my own sexual orientation, but apparently some Inquire readers did. I learned this from the responses I received following Monday's column, which had the term "gay gene" in the headline but was not really about gay genes.

It was about a meeting that dealt with newer research on the biology of sexual orientation. Most of the column was devoted to a theory that male sexual orientation can be influenced during development by the actions of the mother's immune system.

This reader seems to have missed this point:

Faye Flam's article on the gay gene is a classic example of people using science to attempt to justify what they are already determined to believe. The "evidence" provided includes the well-known Hamer study, which, as the article acknowledged, has never been successfully replicated, and a twin study that showed that, when one member of a pair of identical twins was gay, the other also was gay 50% of the time. If homosexuality is genetic, wouldn't that number have been 100%? Wouldn't environmental factors provide a more logical explanation for that finding? The remainder of the article consists of a series of speculations about what "might" have allowed homosexuality to survive the pitiless weeding-out process known as natural selection. These are tenuous foundations indeed on which to attempt to convince people that homosexual behavior is justifiable because it is not a matter of personal choice, but clearly anything that contradicts the orthodoxy of the moment, whether scientific or biblical, must be twisted or rejected.

I guess he didn't grasp the point made by Toronto psychiatrist Ray Blanchard about the influence of the environment – in particular the prenatal environment – in influencing sexual orientation. Sexual orientation does seem to be shaped by a combination of genetic and biological factors.

I was not aware there were any scientific theories explaining the roots of sexual orientation in the Bible.

What I find baffling about this letter it is that, as a heterosexual, I never felt like I got a "choice" in my sexual orientation. Did anyone out there really feel this was a choice? I understand that some conservatives would like all unmarried people to choose to refrain from sex, and they would like to bar gay people from marrying people of the same sex (a set of rules that makes enjoying a good sex life difficult). But that's not the same thing as suggesting that sexual orientation is a personal choice. That idea makes no sense whatsoever, though perhaps it makes it easier for certain religious people to justify their prejudice.