Suggestion of Genetic Link for Male Homosexuality
This week, NorthShore Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois presented quasi-evidence that people are born gay. Although this study that looked at 409 sets of gay brothers fell short for a conclusion that being homosexual is inborn, the data was statistically too weak for a definitive answer to the riddle: Are you born gay or does your environment and upbringing cause you to be gay?
The study identified two genetic regions Xq28 and 8q12 that correlate to homosexuality in men. According to neuroscientist Simon LaVay, “being straight, bisexual, or gay, or none of these, is a central part of who we are, thanks in part to the DNA we were born with.” Lead scientist of the National Institutes of Health-financed study Alan Sanders says that “not only genetics play a part in developing sexual orientation, but also upbringing and environment.”
Debate Shouldn’t Matter to Parents, Rights Do
As a parent, whether you’re of the religious right persuasion that believes your child has chosen this wicked lifestyle or you believe it’s innate shouldn’t matter. It is what it is.
Net, net, you will Not be able to change the person, make him straight. ( The wedding last week of the former advocate of conversion therapy, Dr. John Smid of infamous Love in Action, to Larry McQueen in Oklahoma is a case in point). The parent who believes that his child’s DNA caused his homosexuality may feel guilty for passing on that DNA responsible for his same-sex preference. In his mind, that parent could be making more issues in life for the child to combat. On the other hand, he may feel relieved that his actions within the family environment did not force the child to become gay.
Never Less Than
Whatever your beliefs, your child needs to be validated and loved for the person he or she is, not for your idealized version of him that started at birth. He or she is still the same person you’ve always known, only attracted to the same-sex.
Your child needs your support to combat homophobia. It may seem as if the U.S. is more accepting, with thirty-five states and the District of Columbia with legalized gay marriage, but it’s still not a gay-friendly world. There are still twenty-nine states where you can be fired for being gay. Violent Hate Crimes still exist against gays, and not just in rural, remote areas.
The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco Statehttp://familyproject.sfsu.edu/cites the problems that LGBT youth face if not accepted at home: higher suicide rates compared to straight youth, more days missed in school if bullied, higher use of illicit drugs, and a large population of LGBT youth living on the streets because of rejection at home.
Movie stars may come out and may continue to be idolized. But that’s la-la-land. Many LGBT youth lose straight friends when they come out.
So, don’t worry about why your LGBT kid is gay. It’s a moot point. Focus on how you can make your home a haven for his self-acceptance
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.
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