Scientists: No choice on being gay, no gay recruitment

4 May

The mistaken belief that sexual orientation is a choice — instead of a fixed aspect of a person’s identity — underpins the anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria and many others among the 76-plus countries with anti-homosexuality statutes.

That faulty thinking is challenged by scientific evidence about the nature of homosexuality, summarized by Dr. Chris Beyrer in a review of relevant scientific studies from recent decades.  Beyrer is a medical doctor who also has a master’s degree in public health and leads the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.

On the basis of his review, Beyrer criticized a supposedly scientific report that Uganda President Yoweri Museveni used to justify signing that country’s Anti-Homosexuality Law. Beyrer stated:

“The report deviates widely from available scientific evidence and repeats the longstanding and non-evidence-based argument that since homosexuals cannot reproduce, they must ‘recruit’ children and inculcate them into adopting a homosexual lifestyle.”

Similar claims were made “as part of the argument for the passage of the anti-homosexuality propaganda law in the Russian Federation in 2013,” he noted. In addition, he said:

“Statements by the Ugandan authorities after the recent raid on a Makarere University Walter Reed HIV clinic in Uganda (in April, 2014), and similar statements from the Kenya Government after a recent (April, 2014) clinic raid in Kisumu, Kenya, both assert the (false) allegation that these clinics were attempting to ‘recruit’ young men into homosexuality.”

Beyrer found no scientific evidence that such “recruitment” has occurred or is even possible. He concluded:

“Homosexual ‘propaganda,’ such as it can be said to exist, is no more likely to change heterosexual orientation then heterosexual propaganda is likely to change homosexual orientation. This reality is critical to undermining the argument that homosexuality is a threat to heterosexuality, and that LGBT persons seek to recruit and convert heterosexuals.”

Similar findings were presented by Chinese scientists in a report that was publicized after Beyrer wrote his report. The nervous system of straight women and gay men responds automatically to a sex-linked steroid emitted by men, those scientists stated, while  the nervous system of straight men and lesbians responds automatically to a different sex-linked steroid emitted by women. (That scientific report, “Chemosensory Communication of Gender through Two Human Steroids …,” was discussed in a Gay Star News article last week.)

Beyrer’s full report (below) also includes evidence about the negative consequences of conversion therapy and other related issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)  in Uganda and beyond.


Full report;


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