The researchers looked at the available literature regarding sexual orientation looking for evidence of causal factors including biological and non biological. They note that the data are lacking in many areas to make firm conclusions so they provide their own hypotheses
- It is difficult to objectively measure sexual orientation and the data often rely on self-reports. In addition the phenomenon of sexual fluidity occurs (more so among women) where some individuals experience desires for either men OR women under certain circumstances, regardless of their overall ‘orientation’. The causes for this phenomenon are not known.
- They note a high incidence of ‘childhood gender nonconformity’ (behaving like the other sex) and adult non heterosexual orientation.
- Sexual identity and behaviour are susceptible to cultural variation. Although homosexual PRACTICE has been known to occur since antiquity, the categories of ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ and ‘homosexual’ are ‘historically and culturally specific, and they do not necessarily translate to other times and places’
- There is no conclusive evidence showing that changes in brain anatomy or hormonal factors are causes of homosexual orientation.
- Twin studies show that only approx one third of variation in sexual orientation is due to genetic differences, with the rest being environmental factors.
- Environmental factors can be broken up into social factors and non social factors. Whilst the authors speculate that non social factors are more important than social ones, there is no conclusive evidence to answer this question.
The evidence tells us one thing quite clearly: there is no one cause of same sex attraction. Researchers have their hypotheses and Bailey et al are no exceptions but to claim categorically that science proves that people are ‘born gay’ is simply not supported by the evidence. The authors acknowledge this as follows: “No specific theory of what causes people to be attracted to men, to women or to both has received enough support to win the backing of all reasonable scientists’
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