The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 50,000
new HIV infections occur in the United States every year (Yin, 2013). This number is in addition to an estimated 1.2 million already infection, 1 out of 5 of whom is unaware of his or her condition and, thus, cannot be treated. Gay and bisexual men account for a large share of the infected population. The lack of access to adequate healthcare by this population may be explained by the stigma of homosexuality, in addition to the illness, as among the structural factors (Yin). This brings to focus the chronic and much-debated issue on homosexuality and its basis: whether it is genetic or environmental and thus, a matter of choice.
Summary of Positions
Certain studies conducted have suggested that homosexuality is genetic. One is the LeVay Study, conducted by Simon LeVay in 1991, which used 41 homosexual subjects, almost all of whom had died of HIV complications (Bailey, 1993). The size of the deceased subjects' INAH3 nucleus of the hypothalamus was the focus of the study. Any difference in the nucleus size results from causes that are present during early childhood development. These causes are believed to result from genetic factors, other than environmental, behavioral or functional. A change in the size of the INAH3 points to genes as the determinants of sexual orientation or homosexuality. The second is the Bailey and Pillard Study (Bailey & Pillard, 1991) of identical and non-identical twins of gay men as well as adoptive brothers of gay men. Findings showed that half of them were homosexual, suggesting that homosexuality is biological and that biology itself influences or conduces to the development of homosexuality (Bailey, Bailey & Pillard).
Supporters of homosexuality argue that it is genetic or biologically-based and a destiny, which cannot be controlled (APA, 2013). Acceptance of this argument will allow laws to regulate same-sex marriages and stop penalties and prejudices for homosexual behaviors. Some sectors believe that religion helps shape attitudes about homosexuality and religious beliefs assert a stronger influence on homosexuality (Adamcyzk & Pitt, 2009) than other assumed factors or causes. Many studies have been conducted to examine genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences. But until today, no consensus has been reached on the exact factors, basis or causes (APA). Many believe that both nature and nurture are involved.
Haider-Market and Joslyn (2008) used Weiner's attribution theory of controllability in analyzing beliefs on the origins of homosexuality. They found that attributions are the strongest predictor of support for homosexuality. If it is perceived as genetic or biological and uncontrollable, it is able to attract support for gay civil rights, civil unions and marriage. But when perceived as controllable and environmental or social, the attribution produces negative effects, such as reduced support for policies (Haikel-Market & Joslyn).
One more study concludes that the scientific argument for a biological basis remains weak (Shagor, 2011). The argument that is politically-based or motivated is not sustained by experience. The study found no one neat answer to this complex interaction among environmental, cognitive, and bodily factors, which shape a person at an early age. But whatever the influences and the ultimate cause, those who adopt this orientation should be afforded protection and support from discrimination. The study recommends that this "normal, natural, harmless and common" gender preference be recognized rather than criminalized and discriminated (Shagor).
III. Position Statement
There are many effeminate-looking men and masculine-looking women who enter straight relationships, get married and raise children and homes normally. At the same time, there are very masculine men and very feminine women who become homosexual or bisexual without the accompanying physical/anatomical justifications advanced by scientific research. From experience and readings, it appears that the growing acceptance, endorsement and tolerance of homosexuality are the attributions, which strengthen it. Those in the middle road can be convinced that they cannot help it and proceed to accept their deviation from the norm. There is no room for serious reflection on why it has developed. Exposure to gay friends and gay influences are potent reinforcements that can be avoided. My position is for those at the threshold to give themselves all the possible opportunity to rethink what they are about to become and evaluate their motivation rather than look for excuses to become a homosexual and demand social support for it.