(On genetic factors for sexual orientation)
By Ann C.
The question “what causes people to be gay” is at the forefront of the gay rights movement. Some argue that it is a deeply rooted genetic issue, while others hold that it is a choice made because of past experiences. Scientists are investing the root of homosexuality in hopes of finally answering this controversial question. Recent research about gay brothers suggests that a genetic cause is possible. This remains, however, like most issues concerning homosexuality, highly divisive.
Recent studies of gay brothers have surfaced, attempting to isolate one or more gay genes to prove that homosexuality is a genetic trait and not a personal choice. The Molecular Genetic Study of Sexual Orientation is recruiting 1,000 pairs of gay brothers for blood or saliva samples. The study also looks at the social history of the brothers, including play habits and environment (Sanders, Alan). The study is headed by Dr. Alan R. Sanders in association with Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Chicago (Sanders, Alan). The samples collected from the study’s voluntary participants will be used to see if gay brothers share genetic regions in their brain that may be the cause of homosexuality.
This study is looking exclusively at pairs of gay brothers and does not include any study of lesbians. Those who developed the study have asserted that while there is some evidence of genetic origin for lesbians, it does not appear that the genetic cause of homosexuality in men and women occur in the same location. There are no further studies being conducted at this time about a genetic source for homosexuality in women.
"Many gays fear that if gay genes are
identified, it could result in discrimination, prenatal testing and even abortions to eliminate homosexuals, said Joel Ginsberg of the Gay and Lesbia
Researchers at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute and the other major university participants hope that a positive outcome to their research will end discrimination of gays. Timothy Murphy, a bioethisist at the University of Illinois at Chicago stated that “if science can show that homosexuality is a biological trait, like eye color, the public likely would be more accepting of gays (2006).” Dr. Alan Sanders, a psychiatrist at Northwestern University, asserts a similar desire to “dispel mythologies and ignorance about homosexuality (2006).” Researchers involved in this study believe that isolating one or more genes that causes homosexuality will end arguments about the root of homosexuality, ultimately resulting in equal rights for the LGBT population (Espera 2006). Some gays and lesbians, however, feel that proving a gay gene may in fact encourage further discrimination that could lead to prenatal genetic testing and selective abortions of fetuses that are believed to carry the “gay genes”, or efforts to “cure” homosexuality (Espera 2006).
The cause of homosexuality is a matter of heated debate. Researches from some major research universities in America have begun conducting studies of gay brothers in order to determine whether or not one or more genes that cause homosexuality can be isolated. Researches involved in the study believe that proving that homosexuality is based in genetics will end discrimination of the LGBT population, while many gays and lesbians believe that it may result in genetic discrimination and selective abortions. Regardless, a discovery of such a genetic connection would undoubtedly change the face of homosexuality in the world.
Editor’s note: Both pictures we used for the article, isn’t reflecting any kind of a romantic relation, both pictures shows sympathy and support to gay brothers who’re fallen in the same “GAY” gene. So the pictures shows support and family bond hand-on-hand kind of a thing.