Is there a Gay Gene?

Is There a Gay Gene?


Douglas A. Abbott, Ph.D. (COURAGE International, Inc.)

Myths and Misconceptions about Behavioral Genetics and Homosexuality, July 2007:


  • “Behavioral genetics is the study of genetic influences on human behavior. Behavior refers to ‘observable actions, or even emotions or moods.’ Employing probability statistics, researchers estimate the comparative contribution of both genes and environment in shaping a behavior.”


  • “A gene is a segment of DNA—with hundreds or thousands of nucleotides—that appear to act together in some orchestrated manner. Genes act in two primary ways: they direct the manufacture of proteins, and activate or deactivate other genes.”


  •  “The environment is any non‐genetic influence, including internal biological entities such as nutrients, bacteria, viruses and medicines . . . and any forces that impinge upon the person (from outside) such as parenting and family life, peers, the media, climate variations and natural disasters, and disease and war.”


  •  “Complex psycho‐social behaviors such as sexual preference are not determined by a single gene but by a gene‐environmental process involving possibly hundreds of genes acting through complex environmental factors.”


From “The Importance of Twin Studies” by N.E. Whitehead (


  • Identical twins have identical genes. If homosexuality was a biological condition produced inescapably by the genes, then if one identical twin was homosexual, in 100% of cases his brother would be too. But we know that only about 38% of the time is the identical twin brother homosexual. Genes are responsible for an indirect influence, but . . . they do not force people into homosexuality. This conclusion has been well known in the scientific community for a few decades but has not reached the general public. Indeed, the public increasingly believes the opposite.”


From “The Language of God: a scientist presents evidence for belief,” New York: Free Press, 2006, by Dr. Frances S. Collins, MD, Ph.D., head of the Human Genome Project,:


  • “Except for the rare physical abnormalities (such as Huntington’s Disease) at the present time there is no evidence of a direct causative link between a single gene and complex psycho‐social behavior such as sexual preference.”


  • “Evidence indicates that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”


  • Environment can influence gene expression, but free will and environmental factors determine the response to whatever predispositions might be present.


From “Homosexuality 101: What Every Therapist, Parent, and Homosexual Should Know,” by Julie Harren, Ph.D., LMFT (


  • Homosexual “feelings typically stem from a combination of temperamental factors and environmental factors that occur in a child’s life. One way of understanding this combination might be expressed in the following equation:


Genes + brain wiring + prenatal hormonal environment = Temperament

Parents + peers + experiences = Environment

Temperament + Environment = Homosexual orientation”


  • “Perceptions are very important . . . [and] more powerful than what actually happens, because perceptions become that person’s reality. Perceptions are influenced by temperament. Temperament is the biological contributor; however, temperament alone is not enough to create a homosexual orientation. The temperament type must be met with the right environmental factors in order to produce same‐sex attractions.”


From “What Do First Ages of SSA or OSA Tell us about their origins?” by N.E. Whitehead (The NARTH Conference Papers 2006):


  • “The timing of puberty, as for gestation time, first tooth, and menopause is tightly under genetic control and occurs in a relatively narrow time‐frame. However ages of first recognition of SSA (same-sex attraction) and OSA (opposite‐sex attraction) are spread over a long period of time. They are in a different class from life‐events like puberty and hence almost certainly very little preprogrammed.”


  • “The phrase ‘born that way’ means in this context predestined, bound to develop an SSA or OSA. In this sense it would be like puberty. It would be a biological, programmed event and should have a narrow cluster in time, like puberty and other known biological‐origin life‐events. . . .” “However, we have to say (a) SSA and OSA are grossly different from the known biological life events (b) their peak age occurrence has changed dramatically in the last 50 years and this shows they are greatly influenced by changing influences within one culture. It seems there is little genetic contribution.” (Emphasis added)


  • “Rather than SSA or OSA being outstanding examples of innate biological events, they appear less innate than any other life‐event for which we can find data.”


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