What if gay people aren’t born that way?

By Tom Quiner

The young woman said she had never really been attracted to other women.

But when she was in college, she was seduced by another woman and decided she was gay.

In other words, she wasn’t born gay. I heard her candid story on a radio talk show as she defended the gay lifestyle.

I mention the story in light of my post yesterday which defended the right of gay people to pursue therapies that can cure unhealthy same-sex attractions.

A Quiner’s Diner reader responded that people are “born that way.”

In the case of the woman above, that wasn’t the case.

On the other hand, I know someone with a child who is openly gay. They acknowledge that, indeed, it seems their child was born that way, that he exhibited behavior at a very early age that pointed toward same-sex attractions.

On the other hand, actress Anne Heche thought she was a lesbian and was involved in a public relationship with lesbian comedian Ellen Degeneres. Ms. Heche eventually left Ms. Degeneres, married a man, and had a family with him.

In an interview with Barbara Walters, she disclosed that she had been repeatedly molested by her father as a child and has had a lifelong battle with mental illness.

In her case, she wasn’t born gay, her unhealthy upbringing may have had an affect on her sexuality as well as her emotional health.

Chris Christie signed into a law a bill which would have prevented a disturbed, teenaged Anne Heche from pursuing therapy to sort out her confusion … IF the treatment involved any sort of sexual identity conversion therapy.

On the other hand, a young woman today interested in pursuing her lesbian identity would be allowed to seek therapy to help her along the way to a lesbian lifestyle, even if her parents objected.

If she lived in California, she could even undergo hormone therapy to change her gender if she felt she was a boy born in a girl’s body. But the state of California, like New Jersey, would refuse to allow her to seek therapy to undo same-sex attractions if she thought they were unhealthy.

Are some people born with same-sex attractions? Most certainly.

Are all? Certainly not.

Two researchers studied twins looking for genetic similarities regarding sexual orientation. Peter Bearman and Hannah Brückner, from Columbia and Yale respectively, studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The hypothesis is that if one identical twin is gay, so will be the other, if in fact, same-sex attractions are somehow genetic, somehow imbedded in the DNA.

It turns out the concordance rate is very low, just 6.7% for males and 5.3% for females. These Ivy League researchers determined that social experiences played a larger role in influencing sexuality.

Some, maybe most, people with same-sex attractions AREN’t born that way. 

What is disturbing is the high incidence of emotional fragility in the gay population. Studies have shown gay men have five times the level of mental health problems as straight men, and that lesbian women have double the rate as heterosexual women.

If people aren’t born gay, and if they are battling the mental health problems that seem associated with the gay lifestyle, why would the government prevent them from seeking safe therapies to help them to heal their wounded sexuality?

I know, I know, it is politically incorrect to suggest that the gay lifestyle is anything but the equal to the married, heterosexual lifestyle. That is what the liberals tell us.

In the meantime, decent people who are fighting desires they find destructive are systematically being denied the right to seek reparative therapies in California and New Jersey. They gay lobby is pushing this agenda across the land.

Let’s push back. Let us stand firm for our friends and family fighting unwanted attractions who seek help. Let us support free choice for these walking wounded.


  1. juwannadoright on August 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    You know, Tom that I generally agree with your perspective. So you’ll forgive me if I found this post both superficial and condescending (the “walking wounded” final line).

    I am the first to admit that I don’t know if people are born homosexual or not. I return to an old question which I have posed, “If they are not born gay then why would any rational person choose a lifestyle which is the butt of jokes, results in discrimination in employment, is the subject of specific hate crimes and violence, and which contains absolutely no economic or any other benefits?”

    If anyone could offer a cogent response to that then I would be more inclined to believe that this is an acquired behavior than a genetic one.

    You refer to the greater degree of mental issues that gay people seem to experience. I don’t know what the source for this was but I would be inclined to believe that. But your implication is that this is symptomatic of a mental condition which manifests itself in many ways – including the gay person’s sexual lifestyle.

    Rather, I think someone could argue that if you are someone who is looked down on by ninety percent of society it is not unreasonable that a person or group will lack self-esteem and from that, might not mental issues such as depression ensue?

    Let me offer an alternative that I know from personal experience to the Anne Heche example you cited.

    One of my employees was married and had a daughter. He stayed in that marriage despite the fact that he knew he was gay.

    He met another married man who had been president of a major university and was then president of a major not-for-profit organizaion. This man had four children. But he also knew he was gay.

    They both had grown up in an era where even people who knew they were gay got married because that was what you were supposed to do.

    They entered into a relationship – but it was going to go nowhere in the legal or religious sense which you or I might recognize. Both of them were devout Roman Catholics. Neither of them would even consider the prospect of divorcing their spouses.

    While I have serious reservations about “gay marriage,” I do think that from a purely societal standpoint we need to offer our gay and lesbian citizens some civil protections regarding property ownership, inheritance, etc. Perhaps that will help remediate some of the mental problems that these people now experience.

    • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Human sexuality is certainly a complex issue. In response to the question, ‘why would someone choose to be gay if they’re not born that way?’ I don’t think they choose. Evidence suggests that events in our formative years can affect our sexual identity in SOME people. In other words, I question the blanket statement that people with same sex attractions are born that way. I acknowledge that some are, but not all, maybe not most. If attractions have been altered through childhood traumas, perhaps abuse by a parent, other associated mental health issues may manifest themselves. I wouldn’t want the State passing laws which prevent treatment which gets at the root cause of a person’s sexual confusion. Thanks for writing.

    • lburleso on August 21, 2013 at 9:27 am

      The question you pose is not old at all. People routinely make self-destructive and irrational decisions.

      As for your claim that people who choose this form of sex are depreciated, they are now being honored with parades, special events at schools, privileged media status, etc., plus an entire subculture that caters specifially to this lifestyle. This community has patiently done a masterful job of social indoctrination that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable and even glamorous lifestyle.

      Young people are especially vulnerable as they work through the ages of attention-seeking, and can afterward find themselves unable to escape their peer groups and social routines.

      The NJ bill is just another nail in the United States’ coffin.

      • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 10:47 am

        So-called gay marriage and religious liberty cannot co-exist. One will lose. The fight for marriage may be even more important that our fight against human abortion.

      • juwannadoright on August 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

        Taking last things first, I agree that the NJ and CA bills are bad because I do not believe that an intelligent person should want to allow a mindless government to interfere in her/his fundamental right to make decisions regarding that person’s own health.

        As I try to look at things from a historical perspective – since that is part of my educational background – I have to acknowledge that homosexuality has been around for thousands of years. It has existed in virtually every culture on earth. This is not a recent phenomenon with which we have suddenly been “plagued.”

        In the United States you are certainly correct that what was once a stigma has now been elevated to a desirable lifestyle by the pop culture and the media. I believe that is as destructive as the former oppressive mindset. But this recent development has not been the standard during most of my lifetime and the fact is that many gay and lesbian people have quietly lived their lives, constantly fearful that they would be “outed” or harrassed – and many of them were. In many instances they were blackmailed or murdered. So even though I find it in bad taste, I can understand why young homosexuals are over-reacting and breathing a sigh of relief at a new sense of freedom that those who went before didn’t know.

        Perhaps the most telling comment I ever heard on the subject came from a very successful, caring and sensitive businessman who happened to be homosexual. He made the statement, “If I could change only one thing about myself, it would be that I could be straight. Life would be so much easier and fulfilling.”

        If you’d care to get a perspective on how attempts to assist people re-identify themselves sexually work within the Mormon Church, you should view the movie, “Latter Days” which is available as a download or DVD on Amazon. I discussed the accuracy of this with several Mormon neighbors who admitted, reluctantly, that the movie offers a factual depiction.of the “re-orientation process.”

        • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 11:38 am

          Thanks for weighing in. I always appreciate your perspective, although I was taken aback by your previous characterization of my post as “superficial and condescending.” At least that was a better criticism than some I have received. Thanks again … I always like to hear from you and respect your views.

          • juwannadoright on August 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

            Thank you, Tom and I apologize for the criticism – but I know gay people who would be very offended by the “walking wounded” comment and I guess I was as well. It’s as though someone were to speak of a Downs Syndrome child as being “less than human.” I suspect I know from the many passionate posts you’ve put up on the topic how you would probably react to that kind of statement.

          • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm

            One doesn’t write a blog if he or she wishes to avoid criticism. It’s an important aspect of blogging. Thanks for your clarification on my reference to the “walking wounded.” I see where you’re coming from. I intended it in the context of those individuals with same-sex attractions who don’t want to be ruled by them; in other words, those who seek change due to religious or other reasons.

            To be clear, I do not consider those with same-sex attractions has being less than human. Like you, I have friends and family with them. Each person is a unique creation of God, an unrepeatable miracle, so to speak regardless of their passions.

  2. cbcburke9 on August 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Cbcburke9's Blog.

  3. bernicium on August 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Reblogged this on Glorious Ruins.

  4. irishsignora on August 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Thanks for posting this, Mr. Quiner. As a woman who engaged in same-sex relationships for a dozen years after taking the advice of a well-intentioned counselor who advised me that the root of my difficulties in relationships with men was a latent same-sex attraction in need of actualization, I have followed this entire kerfuffle over counseling with an amount of disgust that would stagger you. I am now happily married to a fine man, with whom I have four children; even so, it is very painful to be considered an unperson. In the eyes of those opposing honest and loving counsel, people like me simply do not exist. You are a good man for bringing this to light, and you have my grateful prayers. Peace be with you – Kelly

    • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Thanks for sharing your unique perspective.

  5. JoeC on August 21, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I believe gays are born that way. Do I think that excludes people from engaging In homosexual behavior? No.

    I agree with Juwanna that most issues gays have today are due to being so unaccepted by society.

    My grandmother told the story of her younger sister being left-handed and how that was considered “ungodly”. They went as far as tying her hand behind her back to force her to learn to use her right hand. Can you imagine the trauma pushed upon that poor child?

    • JoeC on August 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

      “For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the “left-hand side” being associated with evil. As an example, in France it was held that witches greet Satan “avec le bras gauche” or with the left hand. It is also considered that we can only see ghosts if we look over our left shoulder and that the Devil watches us over the left shoulder. Evil spirits lurk over the left shoulder – throw salt over this shoulder to ward them off. In Roman times, salt was a very valuable commodity, giving rise to the word “salary” and was considered a form of money at the time. If salt was spilled, that was considered very bad luck, that could only be avoided by throwing some of the spilled salt over your left shoulder to placate the devil. Joan of Arc (burned at the stake in 1431 for being a heretic and a witch) was not necessarily left-handed, she may have been depicted in this way to make her seem evil. Getting out of bed with the left foot first means that you will have a bad day and be bad tempered . i.e. getting out of bed the wrong side. A ringing in the right ear means that someone is praising you. In the left ear it means that someone is cursing or maligning you. An itchy right palm means that you will receive money. An itchy left palm means you will have to give money. Wedding rings worn on the third finger of the left hand originated with the Greeks and Romans, who wore them to fend of evil associated with the left-hand The Romans originally considered the left to be the lucky side and used for augury. However, they later changed back to the Greek methods and favoured the right-hand side. The right hand often symbolises ‘male’ while the left hand is ‘female’. If you hear the sound of a cuckoo from the right it will be a lucky year. If the sound comes from the left it will be unlucky. The Meru people of Kenya believed that the left-hand of their holy man has such evil power that he had to keep it hidden for the safety of others. If your right eye twitches you will see a friend, if it’s your left eye that twitches you’ll see an enemy. When dressmaking it’s believed to be bad luck to sew the left-hand sleeve onto a garment before the right sleeve. When leaving to go on a journey, if your right foot itches you’re bound to have a good journey. If your left foot itches it will end in sorrow. It is thought to be bad luck to pass a drink to another person with your left-hand or anti-clockwise around a table.”

  6. JoeC on August 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

    A woman getting counseling because she questions her change in sexuality after being raped is different than parents forcing their kids to undergo “conversion” therapy because they don’t want their child to be gay or lesbian.

    The bill Mr. Christie signed covers underage children. The medical community says it is child abuse. As I pointed out before, even the Christian-based group Exodus International has came out to say conversion therapy doesn’t work after promoting it for years.

    If a gay person choses to marry a woman and have kids, I fully support their choice. If counseling helps them achieve that goal, great. Just don’t force or pressure them into it.

    • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

      On the other hand, there are those who say the therapy worked for them.

      • JoeC on August 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm

        I would be willing to bet those who say it worked wanted to be there and wanted to change. Adults who chose that path willingly have every right to do so.

        • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm

          You may be right. Even then, some who willingly and eagerly sought conversion found it didn’t work.

          My take is let the parents and the individuals be free to choose the therapy if they wish. Let’s keep government out of banning a treatment because it is politically incorrect.

  7. lburleso on August 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    As always the Catholic Catechism is enlightening about homosexuality:

    ‘2357 It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.’

    • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm


    • quinersdiner on August 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      By the way, we missed you this morning. We had a lively discussion on “natural law.”

      • lburleso on August 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        HT is back in session, and first day for Alicia in middle school.
        So I’m back to late arrivals like John!

    • JoeC on August 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      If you are Catholic, I agree you should strive to live by Catholic rules. But most of us here in the U.S. who are legal citizens are not Catholic.

      • lburleso on August 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        Are you implying that most illegal citizens are Catholic? Or that one who is not Catholic should strive to live contrary to its teachings? Seems like you left off a clarifying sentence or two.

        Apart from the extent that it aligns with civil law, you are not forced to believe it or follow it. But Catholic teaching does apply universally to mankind.

        I posted the excerpt not as an evangelical prop, but as a properly referenced explanation of what our disposition should be toward this population.