"Although the book's chief appeal probably will be to professionals dealing with these issues, other interested readers will find it an informative and generally. Gay, Straight and the Reason Why by Simon LeVay (O.U.P. ) is about sexual orien- tation, both gay and straight. It asserts the origin of both is the same: . What causes a child to grow up gay or straight? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one.
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To read Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation PDF, you should click the web link beneath and download the document or gain . Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation (; second edition .. (PDF). PsycCRITIQUES. Retrieved 27 November Lauritsen, John (). "The Gay Brain and other such nonsense". John Lauritsen's. What causes a child to grow up gay or straight? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one inescapable.
Most studies simply rely on subjects self-identifying as gay or straight.
A nice illustration in this dilemma comes when LeVay discusses the only four identical-twins-separated-at-birth-with-at-least-one-gay-member that researchers have identified. Such twins are the holy grail of determining hereditism as a characteristic.
Of one pair, both are gay. Of two, one is gay and one is straight. The final pair, both men, have both have sexual encounters with men and with women. But one identifies firmly as straight and the other as gay. The researchers, and LeVay's, frustration is palpable through the paper.
Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation
It would not be unreasonable, LeVay asserts, to describe them both as some kind of bisexual. And indeed, it would not be unreasonable. But the kicker here is the main reason I can't take this research seriously - it's because researchers choose to interpret the data this way because it fits what they think is true.
There are so many uncertainties in this world for us to fill with preconceived ideas. LeVay expresses dubiousness with a finding, based on self-reporting, that gay men have larger penises than straight men.
His doubt is understandable - but it's based on his personal experience of gay men's value on penis size.
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A similar study, showing lesbians have lower sex drives, he accepts because it reinforces his idea of the truth. Our assumptions, our life experience, are all things we bring to the research table, especially with behavioural sciences, and they influence the conclusions we are going to draw from inconclusive data.
And boy is the data inconclusive. Studies undertaken by different research groups into the same topic almost never come up with correlating figures. In no single area is the evidence compellingly consistent, so LeVay relies on the fact that a huge number of diffuse studies tend to come up with something - but whether that is the something we expect to see, is left open to doubt.
Some, such as occupation choice, are so palpably influenced by social factors, as to be able to be dismissed easily.
One of the key flaws in his approach is that he accepts as a given the assertion of Simon Baron-Cohen that such behavioural differences are provable in men and women from birth - an assertion which is difficult to substantiate. He spends a single chapter essentially summarising Baron-Cohen's book, weeding out the most absurd and outdated studies, but still relying pretty heavily on the baby-looking-at-mobile survey which has been widely criticised, as well as the mental-rotation studies in their simplified form.
This chapter is much less patronising and easy to read than Baron-Cohen's book and I'd recommend it as a substitute, actually.
He does not refer to Baron-Cohen's critics at all. Another is his starting point of homosexuality as a manifestation of cross-gender biology probably hormone exposure at the fetal stage.
But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities.
They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at the LGBT community, which is more targeted for such attacks than any other minority group in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.
Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why
MYTH 1 Gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron , the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly , Cameron's work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations, although many no longer quote him by name.
Others have cited a group called the American College of Pediatricians ACPeds to claim, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council did in November , that "the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a [molestation] danger to children.
Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation's leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual.
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But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive.
The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because "he often finds adults of either sex repulsive" and often molests children of both sexes.
Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may "regress" to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found, as Herek notes , that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.
In fact, the so-called college is a tiny breakaway faction of the similarly named, 60,member American Academy of Pediatrics that requires, as a condition of membership, that joiners "hold true to the group's core beliefs Gary Remafedi, a researcher at the University of Minnesota who wrote a letter to ACPeds rebuking the organization for misusing his research.
In spite of all this, the anti-LGBT right continues to peddle this harmful and baseless myth , which is probably the leading defamatory charge leveled against gay people. MYTH 2 Same-sex parents harm children. THE ARGUMENT Most hard-line anti-gay organizations are heavily invested, from both a religious and a political standpoint, in promoting the traditional nuclear family as the sole framework for the healthy upbringing of children.
They maintain a reflexive belief that same-sex parenting must be harmful to children — although the exact nature of that supposed harm varies widely. The American Psychological Association APA noted in that "same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.
Similarly, the Child Welfare League of America's official position with regard to same-sex parents is that "lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are as well-suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts.
In some cases, it found, children in same-sex households may actually be better adjusted than in heterosexual homes.
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A preliminary study in Australia found that the children of lesbian and gay parents are not only thriving, but may actually have better overall health and higher rates of family cohesion than heterosexual families. The full study was published in June Despite all this, the Regnerus Study is still used in the U. MYTH 3 People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents.
This argument is used to counter the common observation that no one, gay or straight, consciously chooses his or her sexual orientation. Joseph Nicolosi, a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality , said in that "if you traumatize a child in a particular way, you will create a homosexual condition. The American Psychiatric Association noted in a fact sheet available on the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, that dealing with gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual.
Similarly, the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization notes on its website that "experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation" and added that it's unlikely that anyone can make another person gay or heterosexual.
Advocates for Youth, an organization that works in the U. In , Dr. THE ARGUMENT Anti-LGBT organizations, seeking to promote heterosexuality as the healthier "choice," often offer up the purportedly shorter life spans and poorer physical and mental health of gays and lesbians as reasons why they shouldn't be allowed to adopt or foster children.
On the basis of the same obituaries, Cameron also claimed that gay men are 18 times more likely to die in car accidents than heterosexuals, 22 times more likely to die of heart attacks than whites, and 11 times more likely than blacks to die of the same cause. He also concluded that lesbians are times more likely to die of murder, suicide, or accidents than straight women. Remarkably, these claims have become staples of the anti-gay right and have frequently made their way into far more mainstream venues.
Even Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has called Cameron's methods "just ridiculous. The authors of the study became aware that their work was being misrepresented by anti-LGBT groups, and issued a response taking the groups to task.
Lively is the virulently anti-gay founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and Abrams is an organizer of a group called the International Committee for Holocaust Truth, which came together in and included Lively as a member. The primary argument Lively and Abrams make is that gay people were not victimized by the Holocaust.
Rather, Hitler deliberately sought gay men for his inner circle because their "unusual brutality" would help him run the party and mastermind the Holocaust.
In fact, "the Nazi party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history," the book claims.
The book has also attracted an audience among anti-gay church leaders in Eastern Europe and among Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America.
Christine Mueller, professor of history at Reed College, did a line-by-line refutation of an earlier Abrams article on the topic and of the broader claim that the Nazi Party was "entirely controlled" by gay men. Historian Jon David Wynecken at Grove City College also refuted the book , pointing out that Lively and Abrams did no primary research of their own, instead using out-of-context citations of some legitimate sources while ignoring information from those same sources that ran counter to their thesis.
The myth that the Nazis condoned homosexuality sprang up in the s, started by socialist opponents of the Nazis as a slander against Nazi leaders. The Nazis considered homosexuality one aspect of the "degeneracy" they were trying to eradicate. Heinrich Himmler, Hitler's security chief, announced that homosexuality was to be "eliminated" in Germany, along with miscegenation among the races. Historians estimate that between 50, and , men were arrested for homosexuality or suspicion of it under the Nazi regime.
These men were routinely sent to concentration camps and many thousands died there.So, his sophomore year, he started watching his male teachers for their default positions, deliberately standing with his feet wide, his arms at his sides. So we show other people what the world shows us, which is nastiness. I did come out feeling like I had a handle on the area of scholarship, and understanding the author's point of view.
These traits develop as children and some studies have seen certain a-typical gender behaviors in children who later become gay. Particularly sexual orientation. I suspect that, on the whole, they back up his argument, even when it seems that most instances are "three studies say this, but one doesn't; six studies found significant data to support blah-blah LeVay knows his science.
If you are looking for an analysis that is more conclusive with relevant findings and includes more biology and less psychology, I would skip LeVay's work.
I find the book informative but at some point similar data were repeated and with different results so it was a little bit confusing.
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