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New Book Collects 'Gay Brain' Research

Gaybrain With Carl Paladino's gay "brainwashing" scandal bringing up the always controversial question of whether homosexuality's a choice, Harvard neuroscientist Simon LeVay's celebrating the publication of his new book, Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation, which sheds more light on that very inquiry.

LeVay achieved fame in the 1990s for publishing a study, often called "the gay brain" report, which revealed that the third Interstitial Nucleus of the Anterior Hypothalamus in heterosexual men was twice as large as the one found in gay men's brains.

His work launched a new wave of biological examinations into human sexuality, and this new book contains the findings for more than 650 such studies.

“When I conducted my initial findings in 1991 and wrote ‘The Sexual Brain’ in 1993, there was no science to really talk about,” remarked LeVay. “The new book details the weight of the evidence, which is a lot stronger now, and bolsters my initial conclusion that homosexuals have a predisposition to being gay.”

Of course all these answers bring up even more questions, including the ultimate conundrum: once science has proven once and for all that homosexuality is a choice, how long before someone starts fighting to take that choice away? Paladino, any comment?

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Comments

  1. I think the article is meant to read, "homosexuality is (NOT) a choice"

    If they can prove unequivocally that it is physiological, can we then have equality?

    Posted by: pete | Oct 11, 2010 2:02:00 PM


  2. "....once science has proven once and for all that homosexuality is a choice" ?????? The story that you posted states just the opposite, which is what we have known all along.
    Editor??

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Oct 11, 2010 2:02:22 PM


  3. I am so sick of the technique gays are trying to use that it's not a choice. Honestly, who cares if it's a choice or not!? THIS IS THE LAND OF THE FREE?!

    Posted by: ila lwara | Oct 11, 2010 2:03:15 PM


  4. I don't understand this question: "once science has proven once and for all that homosexuality is a choice, how long before someone starts fighting to take that choice away?"

    The science seems to support the idea that homosexuality is a matter of biological predisposition and is therefor not a choice (duh). Doesn't that pull the rug out from under those who say it IS a choice and that gays should have no civil rights protections because they choose to be gay?

    Posted by: Trev | Oct 11, 2010 2:05:38 PM


  5. What? Who posits this "conundrum" (which, by the way, is not a conundrum at all)? I do not follow the logic in this post that leads to a choice. I am not familiar with this work but, as presented here, there are some very confusing statements.

    Posted by: wtf | Oct 11, 2010 2:08:49 PM


  6. That last paragraph *is* somewhat perplexing, other than as a possible story tie-in with the Paladino diarrhea-of-the-mouth, lie-of-the-minute shuffle. Was that meant sarcastically? Something was lost in the context. Not a critique, just curiosity. It's not easy to run constant storylines, be the editor, and still keep it interesting.

    Anyway, ILA LWARA makes a good point. The bigger picture here is why it's anyone's damned business or concern.

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Oct 11, 2010 2:11:57 PM


  7. What??? Do you even look over what you write before posting???
    Is Andy back from vacation yet, or are you back and just a little jet lagged?

    Posted by: Bobo | Oct 11, 2010 2:14:00 PM


  8. "once science has proven once and for all that homosexuality is a choice,"


    don't u mean NOT

    science is showing h0omsexuality is not a choice

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Oct 11, 2010 2:15:04 PM


  9. More errors in the past few days on towleroad. They are a bit distracting. Proofread please! Otherwise, I love the posts

    Posted by: Raf | Oct 11, 2010 2:15:04 PM


  10. (I assume that "is a choice" should read "is physiological".)

    Even assuming that one has a gay brain, the religious conservatives have maintained it is a brain abnormality that should be lived with, with abstinence, just as one with a brain predisposed to alcoholism abstains from alcohol.

    They have an answer for everything.

    Posted by: Philo | Oct 11, 2010 2:17:36 PM


  11. Uh.. you just wrote that homosexuality is proven to NOT be a choice, then you write if science proves that homosexuality is a choice? WTF?

    Posted by: Tre Gibbs | Oct 11, 2010 2:19:00 PM


  12. Please fix the error. It is really glaring.

    Other than that I think the question you posed at the end is the same one Ann Coulter posed at homocon: once it is proven that being gay is biological, some people will start asking how they can prevent their children from being gay. It will be interesting/humorous to watch the religious wingnuts start to champion scientific gene research to get rid of gayness. Those people have no moral and are only against what they do not like. Either that or they will start telling us that God made us this way to be condemned and hated or that the devil interfered (much like radical racist arguments that blacks were made out of mud so they should be slaves or were cursed with blackness).

    I don't understand how one can really think homosexuality is a choice. Why would anyone choose to be discriminated against?

    Posted by: Joe | Oct 11, 2010 2:27:35 PM


  13. Happy Monday, Andrew,

    You are going to catch hell for this one all day!When dealing with a sensitive and serious topic,if you're gutsy enough to use sarcasm you better be able to hit it out of the park. Better luck next time.

    Posted by: KEW | Oct 11, 2010 2:31:05 PM


  14. I liked the question asked. I mean, what if someone showed "evidence" that it is a "choice"? Or, what if for a few people, ir really is? Should it matter?

    It's a little bit absurd that some in the gay movement seem so driven to rely on the notion that there is no choice involved. Why should it be any less a civil rights issue if some level of choice IS involved at least for some people?!

    Isn't the world a shittier place when most people who might have a larger personal choice in the matter become knee-jerk heteros who, by the way, too often become the biggest anti-gays out there?

    Is the risk of a few more people experiencing gay love so offensive that it's worthwhile that we've built our whole gender system around discouraging gay love--to the point of encouraging gay suicides?!

    Somthing's gotta give, people. And studies suggest there are like twice as many bi-folk as there are full-blooded gays. Not that we want to turn them. And not that the total really would even then extend beyond 10 percent of us.

    The point is that the issue can be bigger than gay rights for gays. How 'bout a right to be who you believe you might be -- or who you want to be? Or the right to be ok with a part of you that you happen to not express much/ever? Is that so wrong?

    Posted by: justaguy | Oct 11, 2010 2:47:46 PM


  15. "The new book details the weight of the evidence, which is a lot stronger now, and bolsters my initial conclusion that homosexuals have a predisposition to being gay.”

    Or that heterosexuals have a predisposition to being straight.

    Posted by: randy | Oct 11, 2010 3:04:47 PM


  16. Beg pardon? I *chose* what university to attend, I *choose* which grocery store to use, I *choose* not to play golf. I did not *choose* to be gay.

    Posted by: Tone | Oct 11, 2010 3:09:43 PM


  17. One can preview several sections of the book here:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=HmQFFfa03nkC

    Posted by: Philo | Oct 11, 2010 3:11:07 PM


  18. It shouldn't matter if it's a choice or not.

    But legally it does in the United States. Look up the criteria for the application of strict scrutiny in constitutional law. One of the requirements is the presence of an immutable character trait.

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 11, 2010 3:21:03 PM


  19. My comment is about the ultimate conundrum: once science has proven once and for all that homosexuality is a choice, how long before someone starts fighting to take that choice away?

    I think I understood what you were trying to say, about if being gay is part of our hardware, one day they may try to remove or change whatever it is that makes people gay.

    Your phrasing however was interesting because it makes it seem that you believe being gay is a choice, which I do not believe is the message you were trying to get across.

    That is one of the things I fear most, the day where they succeed in preventing any child from being born gay, what a boring homogeneous uncreative world that will be.

    Posted by: John Hillegass | Oct 11, 2010 3:22:08 PM


  20. FIX THE ERROR!!

    Posted by: Drew Murray | Oct 11, 2010 3:36:29 PM


  21. I guess if you're being sarcastic then I get it now, but like others have mentioned, this subject is much too touchy to use sarcasm since it is the foundation argument of why we don't deserve equal rights.

    Good job at pointing out that even if it is considered a choice it shouldn't matter and that Paladino types are bigots... I guess.


    Posted by: Joe | Oct 11, 2010 3:52:16 PM


  22. The typo from hell.

    Posted by: Tom | Oct 11, 2010 4:17:18 PM


  23. The civil rights issue isn't and shouldn't be tied to whether or not it is a choice.

    We protect religion and what could be more of a choice than that?

    However helping others see that it isn't a choice will further the cultural issues.

    We (should) get equal right regardless of if it's a choice.

    But we gain faster cultural acceptance when more people are educated that it is not a choice, but a benign and innocent characteristic.

    Posted by: Dave L | Oct 11, 2010 4:20:15 PM


  24. what a bunch of CRANKY BITCHES! does MY voice sound that high and whiney?

    Posted by: Rikard | Oct 11, 2010 5:23:30 PM


  25. Why is everybody so upset about this wording? First of all, brain studies have almost no bearing on the "is it a choice?" debate as you could easily make the argument that the choice to be gay changes the way the brain develops and thus how it looks in its final state. Second, the most recent scientific evidence is not as clear-cut as some of you (and certainly LeVay) would like. It appears exceedingly unlikely that sexual identification is entirely biologically determined; see Bearman and Bruckner's study of same-sex attraction in opposite-sex twins for a very different take.

    So let's be really clear about our terms here. I don't think I ever chose to have same-sex attractions but I definitely did choose to be gay. And that is a very meaningful distinction. Essentializing sexual identities through genetics or biology really only makes sense to middle-class white gay men like LeVay (and, I presume, most of the readers of this blog) who experience an unproblematic relationship between their desires and their identification. The lived experience of other queer people attests to the fact that this relationship cannot be taken for granted. (Consider, for instance, women whose sexual-object choice changes through the course of their cycle.) The adoption and foreclosure of identities is an opaque process but I'm not convinced that there is no element of choice involved.

    I fully understand the political advantages of asserting that being gay isn't a choice but it is mal foi. As has already been noted, what matters is not what causes certain varieties of sexuality but whether we, as a society, have an obligation to protect their free expression. We don't need a gay gene to win that argument.

    Posted by: Jeff | Oct 11, 2010 5:29:06 PM


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