|How Sexual Behavior Impacts Public Health|
Health and Homosexuality
How Sexual Behavior Impacts Public Health
August 11, 1997
A Hawaii court recently ruled that same-sex couples cannot be refused marriage licenses, and last year the United States Congress passed legislation designed to give states the right to deny recognition of such "marriages" conducted in another state. Homosexual activists said years ago that this decade would indeed be the "gay" nineties, and with each passing year, homosexuality and gay rights has become more and more a part of mainstream America. Today many Americans are asking, "Is there really anything wrong with homosexuality?"
However, there is a deeper question America should be asking: "Is homosexuality healthy for society?" This question has many moral ramifications often discussed in public forums. However, far too often the issues of public health with regard to homosexuality are casually dismissed or conveniently overlooked.
AIDS is one disease that has captured the attention of the media. Homosexuals make up over 80 percent of the AIDS cases in America.1 However, AIDS is but one of the many diseases linked to homosexual behavior. A survey of literature in leading medical journals reveals the host of medical dangers associated with the homosexual lifestyle.
Dr. Steven Wexner of the Cleveland Clinic in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, chronicled the diseases in 1990. "Up to 55 percent of homosexual men with anorectal complaints have gonorrhea; 80 percent of the patients with syphilis are homosexuals," he wrote. "Chlamydia is found in 15 percent of asymptomatic homosexual men, and up to one third of homosexuals have active anorectal herpes simplex virus." He went on to point out, "In addition, a host of parasites, bacterial, viral, and protozoan are rampant in the homosexual population."2
Wexner is not alone in his observations. Dr. Selma Dritz wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, "Oral and Anal intercourse present physicians with surgical as well as medical problems, ranging from anal fissures and impaction of foreign bodies in the rectum to major diagnostic dilemmas."3 Dr. Marlys Witte et al. noted in The International Journal of Dermatology, that homosexual male practices such as "receptive anal and oral intercourse and oral-anal contact, recurrent rectal trauma associated with 'fisting,'" and venereal and parasitic infections, lead to many medical problems including tissue inflammation, "... intense angiogenesis, and progressive fibrosis."4 And Dr. Christina M. Surawicz et al. noted Homosexually active men have frequent intestinal and rectal symptoms resulting from sexually acquired gastrointestinal infections."5
Despite the evidence of the unhealthy nature of homosexuality, medical doctors have often taken a politically correct view of the gay lifestyle in recent years. A doctor treating a heart patient would urge him to stay away from fatty foods. But instead of urging patients to abstain from dangerous sexual behavior, many doctors have encouraged patients to continue the unhealthy behavior -- as long as they take precautions.
Not all doctors subscribe to this conventional wisdom. In 1990, a study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluding that homosexuals should use condoms to protect against the transmission of hepatitis B. 6 Dr. Ralph H. Harder wrote to the journal, "I worry about the loss of objectivity and of scientific approach in current research, at least in dealing with certain sacred subjects. . . . A much more valid and useful conclusion, it would seem, is that anal insertive intercourse is inherently dangerous and should be proscribed." 7 Published just below Dr. Harder's letter was the authors' rebuttal. They argued that if homosexual anal intercourse should be proscribed, so should heterosexual vaginal intercourse since it is "a well-known risk factor for transmission of virtually all sexually transmitted diseases."8 But what the authors do not acknowledge is the well-established fact that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) strike homosexuals at a rate many times higher than that of heterosexuals.9,10,11
This paper surveys the medical literature dealing with health and homosexuality in an effort to investigate the dangers of this lifestyle to public health. Our study reveals that the spectrum of homosexually acquired diseases is vast and includes everything from viruses to bacterium to cancers. The evidence is so overwhelming that even if all moral judgments and religious biases are set aside, homosexuality -- by its very nature -- cannot play a part in a healthy society.
Over the past decade America has watched as homosexual activists have grown more and more powerful in public life. Today, four members of Congress are open homosexuals. Battles are raging in school systems all across our nation over whether homosexuality should be included in sex education. And in 1996, the Senate only narrowly defeated a measure that would have added sexual orientation to the list of groups granted special protection under the civil rights code for employment. The vote was 49 to 50.
The time has come to examine the medical facts and respond with appropriate public policy. Congress, the courts, and America's school systems would do well to examine the following information before placing their stamp of approval on the homosexual lifestyle.Bacteria
Homosexuals experience a wide range of bacterial infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, shigella, and campylbacter. One study of homosexuals in New York city found that "... 64.3 percent of the [homosexual] men reported a history of gonorrhea and/or syphilis."12 The heterosexual community has also experienced many of these sexually transmitted infections -- however it is generally on a smaller scale.
Gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease and perhaps the most common STD found in homosexual men.13 Gonorrhea is an inflammatory disease of genital track. In the homosexual communities, this disease has appeared in non-traditional locations. For example, gonorrhea traditionally occurs on the genitals, but recently it has appeared in the rectal region and in the throat.14,15,16
Gonorrhea is strongly associated with homosexual behavior at a rate higher than heterosexual behavior. In a study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1991, "...gonorrhea was associated with urethral discharge ... and homosexuality (3.7 times higher than the rate among heterosexuals)."17
This is especially true of gonorrhea of the pharynx (throat). A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology found, "In homosexual men a much higher prevalence of pharyngeal gonorrhoea (15.2 percent; two of the 13) was observed in comparison with heterosexual men (4.1 percent)."18
As pharyngeal gonorrhea results from oral sex with an infected partner, anorectal (anal) gonorrhea is spread through anal sex with a man infected with urethral gonorrhea. Physicians have promoted "safer sex" in an effort to stem the spread of gonorrhea. While for several years statistics seemed to indicate the plan may be working, the numbers began to rise again in the early 1990s. The American Journal of Public Health published a study of Amsterdam STD clinics that found, "After several years of decline, the number and percentage of diagnosed cases of gonorrhea among homosexual and bisexual clients of sexually transmitted disease clinics in Amsterdam started to increase again in 1989. This rise continued in 1990 and 1991."19 This study mirrors one done in King County, Washington, which yielded similar results.20
Unlike its effect on the genitals, when gonorrhea infects the pharynx and rectal regions, it often emerges without symptoms.21 And even if it does emerge with symptoms, those symptoms can be easily misinterpreted as simply a sore throat or misdiagnosed as part of a simultaneous ailment such as hemorrhoids.22 The Journal of the American Medical Association stressed the importance of properly diagnosing these infections: "Detection and treatment of these occult infections are essential, because gonococcal "carriers" represent reservoirs of potential infection in the community."23
Syphilis. Syphilis is a venereal disease caused by a bacteria known as a spirochet. If left untreated it can progress through three stages: primary, secondary, and tertiary or latent syphilis.
Primary anal syphilis is marked by anal ulcers that typically appear within two to six weeks of exposure to the spirochet. However, the ulcers may not appear for up to three months after initial exposure. The lesion that appears can be one of two types. One is particularly painful. The other causes little irritation. In the case of the painful variety, it may be mistaken for an anal fissure.24 If a patient suffers from the less painful ulcers, he may not seek medical attention and the disease can progress into secondary syphilis.
If left untreated, six to eight weeks after the ulcer sores heal, secondary syphilis sets in. Secondary syphilis is marked by a pale brown or pink lesion or it may surface as a rash. Tertiary or latent syphilis is rare and is composed of another type of rectal lesions.
Medical literature shows homosexuals to be at especially high risk for syphilis. The Archives of Internal Medicine reported on a study in 1991 that found, "Homosexually active men are significantly more likely to report syphilis and less likely to present with primary syphilis than heterosexual men."25 The British Co-operative Clinical Group noted that homosexuals acquired syphilis at a rate ten times that of heterosexuals.26 Other journals also note a high correlation of homosexuality and syphilis. 27,28,29Enteric Infections
An enteric infection is one that involves the intestines, and many of these are caused by various protozoa and bacteria. Decades ago many of these diseases were considered "exotic" diseases acquired through foreign travel or consuming contaminated food or water. However throughout the 1970s and 1980s, medical journals have noted their spread in homosexual communities.30,31,32
One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported, "At least 80 percent of homosexual men presenting to our sexually transmitted disease clinic with anorectal or intestinal symptoms were infected with one or more sexually transmissible anorectal or enteric pathogens. Such infections were also found in 39 percent of homosexual men presenting to the clinic without intestinal symptoms."33
The Annals of Clinical Research published a study in 1985 that examined 153 homosexual men. "Intestinal protozoa were found in 91 of the homosexual men, altogether 198 organisms were identified ..."34
Shigellosis. Shigella is a bacterium that commonly infects the intestinal tract of homosexual men. Infection with this bacterium is marked by diarrhea, fever, nausea, and cramps. In the early 1970s, public health officials noted it as a problem. "The San Francisco Department of Public Health has recognized a venereal outbreak of enteritis due to Shigella Flexneri 2a during the first half of 1974, " Dr. Selma Dritz noted in the New England Journal of Medicine. "Of the more than 50 cases reported, almost 60 percent occurred in young adult men, a majority of whom were habitués of the city's gay community."35
Campylobacter. Campylobacter is another bacteria that often infects the intestinal tract of homosexual men. One study of 113 patients found, "Campylobacter jejuni was the most common organism in the entire cohort, but Shigella species were most common in homosexual men." While that study did not specifically link campylobacter to homosexuality, other doctors have noted the connection. In 1987 eight physicians wrote Lancet noting, "it seems that the sexual practices of male homosexuals may facilitate colonisation with this organism."36
Amebiasis. An amebiasis is an infection of the large intestine, caused by Entamoeba histolytica. Homosexual populations have been hit hard by various types of amebiasis. The link was noted in the 1970s. "In 1975, 1,235 cases of amebiasis were reported from New York City. This represented 44.5 percent of the total number of cases nationwide," an article in the New York State Journal of Medicine stated. It went on to comment, "Although sexual orientation cannot be assessed from these statistics, a very significant portion of the cases occurring in native New Yorkers were probably within the homosexual community."37
G. Lamblia is a flagellate protozoan that causes giardiasis, which is a disease characterized by diarrhea.38 Harrisonís Principles of Internal Medicine reports, "In one New York Study, all nontraveled immunocompetent males with giardiasis were, in fact, homosexual."39
Both G. Lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica parasites can be transmitted through oral-anal intercourse, as they live in the stool. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that "the most powerful predictors of E. histolytica and G. lamblia infection was homosexuality."40 Interestingly enough, the study went on to note that homosexuality represented a higher risk for these parasites "not because of its unique association with any sexual practices (anilingus was practiced by 17 percent of heterosexuals, 37 percent of bisexuals and 75 percent of homosexuals in our study) but because only in homosexuals is there both a large reservoir of infection (endemic level) and a prevalent mode of transmission."41
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports similar findings. In a study of 200 homosexual men and 100 heterosexual men, "Entamoeba histolytica was isolated from 27 percent of the homosexual and 1 percent of the heterosexual men. Giardia lamblia was isolated from 13 percent of the homosexual and 3 percent of the heterosexual men."42 Other studies reinforce these conclusions for E. histolytica43 and G. Lamblia.44Viruses
Hepatitis. Hepatitis is a disease that causes an inflammation of the liver. There are several different types of Hepatitis including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Hepatitis A and B can be sexually transmitted and homosexuals are at high risk for both.45 One study of a community-wide outbreak of Hepatitis A concluded, "Hepatitis A infection among homosexual and bisexual men is associated with oral-anal and digital-rectal intercourse, as well as with increasing numbers of anonymous sex partners and group sex."46 Another study found that Hepatitis B is easily spread through homosexual contact. The study stated: "These data suggest that HBV [hepatitis B virus] is transmitted 8.6-fold more efficiently than HIV-1 among homosexual men studied ..."47
Hepatitis C appears to be less of a threat to the homosexual community. The Journal on Infectious Disease found, "In a cross-sectional study of homosexual or bisexual men in San Francisco, only 4.6 percent of 735 men were positive for anti-HCV [hepatitis C virus] antibody while 81 percent were positive for any HBV [hepatitis B virus] serologic marker ..."48
Human papillomavirus. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes genital or anal warts and is associated with cancer. For years HPV was linked to vaginal and cervical cancer in women. In recent years, medical studies have noted the spread of HPV in homosexual communities. One study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases stated, "Reports of an association between clinically identified anal warts and homosexual behavior predate the AIDS epidemic and undoubtedly reflect increased exposure of this population to HPV during receptive anorectal intercourse."49
Today, studies suggest a link between HPV and anal cancer in homosexual males -- particularly those who are HIV+. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated, "These studies indicate that immunosuppressed male homosexuals have a high prevalence of anal human papillomavirus infection and anal intraepithelial neoplasia, and this population may be at significant risk for the development of anal cancer."50
Along the same lines, an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded: "Anal intercourse may predispose to anal cancer through the transmission of an infection, most probably infection with human papillomavirus."51
Herpes Simplex. Herpes simplex is a common STD marked by watery blisters on the genitalia. It can also occur in the anorectal area, primarily in passive homosexual men.52 Homosexuals suffering from herpes simplex proctitis experience severe anorectal pain and may have difficulty urinating.53
While Herpes is a disease that affects both homosexuals and heterosexuals, a side-by-side comparison of heterosexual males to homosexual males shows that homosexual men are at a higher risk.
The Journal of the American Medical Association found that "among men, report of any lifetime homosexual activity was associated with an elevated risk for HSV-2 [herpes simplex virus - 2]."54 The link between homosexuality and herpes simplex-2 has also been noted in other journals.55
Cytomegalovirus. Cytomegalovirus is a virus that commonly infects homosexual men and can be serious when the patient suffers immunosuppressed conditions such as AIDS. This virus can infect both heterosexuals and homosexuals, but again, homosexuals seem to suffer from cytomegalovirus at a much higher rate. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed,"... heterosexual men in a sexually transmitted disease clinic have a substantially lower prevalence of cytomegalovirus seropositivity than do homosexual men."56
In fact, an article published in the British Journal of Venereal Disease noted "Sexual orientation was shown to be the most important determinant of antibody to CMV [cytomegalovirus] in this population."57
In a population that represents the majority of AIDS cases, CMV is particularly frightening. A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases reported, "DMAC [disseminated Mycobacterium avium] and CMV are causing substantial and increasing morbidity among AIDS patients."58HIV/AIDS
AIDS is the one disease that most Americans are familiar with and readily associate with homosexuality. It has captured the mediaís attention and won the nation's sympathies. AIDS is a terrible and tragic syndrome that attacks the patient's immune system so that it cannot fight off disease, making common ailments potentially fatal. It is not unusual for AIDS patients to die from pneumonia that begins as a common cold.
While no one would deny the horrible nature of AIDS, some confusion has erupted over who is at risk for contracting it. In 1987, the federal government embarked upon an education campaign to protect the nation against the spread of AIDS. It was called "America Responds to AIDS." This media campaign flooded the airwaves with the horrifying message that "anyone" could get AIDS. The risk of contracting AIDS through heterosexual vaginal intercourse is many times lower than anal intercourse or IV drug use. Consider the odds:
The problem was that although that message may be technically true, it is terribly deceptive. AIDS remains primarily a disease of homosexuals and IV drug users. Homosexuals and IV drug users make up more than 80 percent of AIDS cases in the United States.59
Health officials understood AIDS enough in 1987 to know how the disease was spreading and who was at risk. But the campaignís job was to bring an understanding of AIDS to the masses. Dr. Walter Dowdle, a virologist at the Centers for Disease Control involved with the education campaign, told the Wall Street Journal, "As long as this was seen as a gay disease or, even worse, a disease of drug abusers, that pushed the disease way down the ladder" in priority in Americans' minds.60
And so the deception began. John Ward, a health official involved with the tracking of AIDS cases at CDC, told the Wall Street Journal, "I don't see much downside in slightly exaggerating [AIDS risk]."61 But the exaggeration was more than slight, and the downsides were enormous.
Not only did the 1987 campaign institute a lie into American government, media, and education, it led the government to waste millions in research on the spread of HIV in populations who are least likely to acquire it.
In March 1994, the headlines once again filled with the threat of heterosexual AIDS. The New York Times reported with tabloid sensationalism: "In a development that reflects the changing demographic face of the AIDS epidemic in this country, heterosexual transmission accounted for the largest proportionate increase in AIDS cases reported last year..."62 However, when non-drug abusing heterosexuals comprise only 8 percent of the total AIDS population, it doesn't take but a small shift in figures to create "the largest proportionate increase."
The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that homosexuals and IV drug abusers make up 83 percent of all AIDS cases in America. Heterosexual contact accounts for only 8 percent of the cases, and nearly half (47 percent) of heterosexuals who have contracted AIDS were the sexual partners of drug abusers.63Cancers and Tumors
Homosexual behavior, especially when practiced by those infected with HIV, places people at an especially high risk for various cancers, as well.
ANAL CANCER. Homosexual men's practice of anal sex has left many of them victims of anal cancer. One article in the New England Journal of Medicine commented, "Our study lends strong support to the hypothesis that homosexual behavior in men increases the risk of anal cancer: 21 of the 57 men with anal cancer (37 percent) reported that they were homosexual or bisexual, in contrast to only one of 64 controls."64 The Journal of the American Medical Association also published similar findings: "Epidemiological studies have shown that risk factors for anal cancer include homosexuality, history of receptive anal intercourse, presence of anal condylomata, and smoking."65 And the International Journal of Cancer stated, "Being single and having practised anal intercourse appears to be associated with anal cancer and case reports have suggested a recent increase in the number of cases of anal cancer."66 Other studies have yielded the same conclusions.67,68
Kaposi's Sarcoma. Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is an AIDS-related cancer that affects the mucous membranes and the skin of its victims. It is marked by reddish-brown or bluish tumors. In years past it was primarily a benign disease that affected older men in the Mediterranean regions. In recent years it has earned a reputation for being a deadly disease in AIDS patients.
Homosexuals' sexual behavior places them at high risk for this disease. The International Journal of Dermatology explains why: "In this high risk group [the gay male population], the predominant portal of entry of free and cell-bound HIV as well as the brunt of associated cofactors and opportunistic infections can be traced to both ends of the gastrointestinal tract (mouth and anus) and also the genitalia, which happen to be common sites for KS lesions in addition to their lymphatic watersheds."69
Kaposiís sarcoma has taken a particularly tragic toll on HIV-infected homosexual men, sending them to an earlier grave than their IV-drug user counterparts. AIDS reports: "According to our data, homosexual men had a significantly higher risk of progression to AIDS and shorter survival compared with IDU [IV drug users] and other categories. In a multivariate analysis the increased risk was found to be independent of demographic and clinical characteristics but was accounted for by the higher probability of developing Kaposi's sarcoma."70 The Journal of the American Medical Association noted the difficulty in treating this disease in the mid-1980s, "Kaposi's Sarcoma as currently seen in young, homosexual men is less responsive to chemotherapy, and in many cases displays a more aggressive, rapidly progressive course. "71
Hodgkin Disease. Homosexual men suffering from HIV/AIDS also suffer from other cancers and lymphomas. One study published in the Annuls of Medicine noted the connection between homosexual AIDS patients and Hodgkin disease. The study concluded, "An excess incidence of Hodgkin disease was found in HIV-infected homosexual men."72 The Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study that further supports a connection between homosexual male AIDS patients and Hodgkin disease.73Drug/Alcohol Abuse
Another unhealthy aspect of the homosexual population is their vulnerability to dependance on drugs and alcohol. A study that surveyed 3,400 homosexuals found, "Substantially higher proportions of the homosexual sample used alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine than was the case in the general population."74 Other studies support these findings.75,76
One study published in Nursing Research noted that lesbians experience alcohol problems at a rate three times that of American women as a whole. The study also found: "Like most problem drinkers, 32 (91%) of the participants had abused other drugs as well as alcohol, and many reported compulsive difficulties with food (34%), codependency (29%), sex (11%), and money (6%). Forty-six percent had been heavy drinkers with frequent drunkenness; ..."77
Homosexual activists would argue that this population suffers from a higher rate of drug and alcohol problems because society will not accept their sexual orientation. However, a psychological study of nearly 2,000 lesbians from all 50 states found that most lesbians (57 percent) considered money the biggest worry in their life. The study went on to state, "Only 12 percent of respondents indicated that they were concerned about people knowing that they were lesbian."78"Safe Sex"
When gay rights activists concede to the health facts regarding their lifestyle they argue that homosexuals simply need to be taught how to perform their sex acts safely. However, despite innumerable education efforts, the homosexual male population remains plagued by disease.
For a few years, activists had some statistics to back up this philosophy as rates of gonorrhea and syphilis dropped after education efforts. However, homosexuals, even after receiving education, did not sustain their "safe" activities for very long. A study conducted in Amsterdam and another study conducted in Washington state found a drop in gonorrhea and syphilis for several years in the 1980s. In both studies, that trend was followed by a marked increase in the rate of these diseases in the homosexual population, while the rate in the heterosexual population continued to fall.79,80
The relapse into "risky" behavior has been documented in relation to other STDs as well, including HIV. One study published in the British Journal of Medicine stated, "This study provides evidence of continuing unsafe sexual behavior among homosexual or bisexual men infected with HIV-1 attending genitourinary medicine clinics up to the end of 1993." The study further pointed out, "This is consistent with other data indicating an increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, within the male homosexual or bisexual community in England and Wales between 1988 and 1990."81
While it appears clear that homosexual men have a difficult time sustaining "safe" sexual behavior, the inevitable question is why? Medical and psychological experts have developed several explanations. Some homosexual men believe that once they have established a monogamous relationship, they aren't at risk. The American Journal of Public Health published a study in 1990 that found, "Being in a monogamous gay relationship was associated with higher risk sex throughout the entire study."82
Another theory is that the few years of decline in the rates of HIV and other STD infections have led homosexual men to let down their guard. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported, "Because of declining incidence of STD and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, some homosexually active men may have relaxed behaviors regarding sexual safety."83
A journal known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases developed a more psychological explanation. Dr. Edward W. Hook III wrote, "After all, if higher risk behaviors for HIV/STD remain desirable albeit dangerous for some, their status as 'forbidden fruit' might paradoxically serve as a stimulus rather than a deterrent to those practices."84 In other words, the very fact that these behaviors are dangerous may make them all the more titillating.
The simple ineffectiveness of condoms likely also contributed to the spread of disease. A study published in Social Science and Medicine found that the rate of condom effectiveness in protecting against HIV infection is only 69 percent. The study noted, "Thus, efficacy may be much lower than commonly assumed ..."85
All of these factors may well play a part in explaining why there appears to be no such thing as "safe sex."Born or Bred?
Despite the clear medical evidence that homosexual behavior is at its very essence unhealthy, many advocates and activists insist that we cannot counsel these people to change their behavior, because it is an innate genetic trait.
These advocates make reference to several medical studies that claim to have established a biological link to homosexuality. However, fair evaluation of these studies proves that they are anything but conclusive.
One of the most often touted studies was conducted by Simon LeVay. His study, published in Science in 1991, noted a difference in a brain structure called the hypothalamus when evaluating homosexual and heterosexual men. LeVay found that in the specimens he studied, the hypothalamus was generally larger in heterosexual men than in homosexual men. Therefore he concluded that these findings "suggest that sexual orientation has a biologic substrate."86
While LeVay's study received top-notch billing in the media, it was anything but conclusive. An analysis of the study and its methodology reveals some notable weaknesses. The first problem, which LeVay himself readily admits, is the fact that all 19 of his homosexual subjects had died of complications associated with AIDS. Therefore the difference in the hypothalamus might well be attributed to the AIDS rather than homosexuality. LeVay attempted to compensate for the weakness by including a few heterosexuals who died of AIDS complications in the heterosexual sample. However, LeVay did not know for sure whether all subjects in his heterosexual sample were indeed heterosexual; all of these subjects were simply "presumed heterosexual."
Moreover, Dr. William Byne argued in Scientific American that "[LeVay's] inclusion of a few brains from heterosexual men with AIDS did not adequately address the fact that at the time of death virtually all men with AIDS have decreased testosterone levels as the result of the disease itself or the side effects of particular treatments.... Thus it is possible that the effects on the size of the INAH3 [hypothalamus] that he attributed to sexual orientation were actually caused by the hormonal abnormalities associated with AIDS."87
Finally another weakness of LeVay's study is the fact that even in his sample there were "exceptions" -- that is, there were some homosexuals who had larger hypothalamus structures than some of the heterosexuals examined. Even LeVay admits that these exceptions "hint at the possibility that sexual orientation, although an important variable, may not be the sole determinant of INAH3 [hypothalamus] size."88
LeVay is an open homosexual, and his interview with Newsweek appears to indicate he had an agenda from the outset. LeVay lost his gay partner to AIDS, an event that made him re-evaluate what he was doing with his life. As a result, he took on this project. LeVay believes America must be convinced that homosexuality is determined biologically. "It's important to educate society," he told Newsweek. "I think this issue does affect religious and legal attitudes."89
In 1993 a group of medical researchers at the National Cancer Institute led by Dr. Dean H. Hamer released a study that linked homosexuality to the X chromosome. While the study won a great deal of media attention, it also offered little proof of a biological link to homosexuality.
Hamer's results are often misunderstood. Many believe that the study found an identical sequence (Xq28) on the X chromosome of all homosexual brothers. In reality, what it found was matching sequences in each set of brothers who were both homosexual. Dr. Byne argues that in order to prove anything by this study, Hamer would have had to examine the Xq28 sequence of gay men's heterosexual brothers. Hamer insisted that such an inclusion would have confounded his study. Byne responded, "In other words, inclusion of heterosexual brothers might have revealed that something other than genes is responsible for sexual orientation."90
Hamer's motives are also questionable. Although Hamer's research is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, his work has had little to do with cancer. This study alone took $419,000 of the instituteís taxpayer-backed funds, according to the Washington Times.91
One of Hamer's researchers told the Times that homosexuality is "not the only thing we study," but it is "a primary focus of study." Hamer reportedly stated that he has pushed for an Office of Gay and Lesbian Health inside the National Institutes of Health. And he testified in opposition to Colorado's Amendment 2. Sen. Robert C. Smith (R-NH) accused the doctor of "actively pursu[ing] ... a gay agenda."92
Another study that has advanced the theory that homosexuality is a biological phenomenon is the famed "Twin Study" by J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard. Bailey and Pillard examined identical and fraternal twin brothers and adopted brothers in an effort to establish a genetic link to homosexuality. The study results yielded some statistics that seem to support the hypothesis and other statistics that appear to refute it. Fifty-two percent of the identical twins shared the same homosexual sexual orientation while only 22 percent of fraternal twins fell in the same category. This finding appears to support the argument for biology since identical twins share the same genes. However, the rate of non-twin conformity should mirror that of fraternal twins. In the Bailey and Pillard study, the rate was only 9.2 percent. And the rate in adopted brothers -- which, if the biological hypothesis were true, should have been even lower than non-twin brothers -- was actually higher (11 percent).93
In his article analyzing the medical evidence supporting a biological cause of homosexuality, Dr. Byne noted other twin studies. He wrote, "Without knowing what developmental experiences contribute to sexual orientation ... the effects of common genes and common environments are difficult to disentangle. Resolving this issue requires studies of twins raised apart."94
Other physicians have also criticized the study for overvaluing the genetic influence.95
Dr. Byne's arguments might lead some activists to label him a "homophobe." He is, in reality, quite the contrary. Byne readily advocates societal acceptance of homosexuality, but nevertheless concludes, "Most of the links in the chain of reasoning from biology to social policy [regarding homosexuality] do not hold up under scrutiny."96Conclusion
Homosexuality has become an increasingly prevalent part of modern society. It has infiltrated our schools, our news media, our entertainment media and may soon redefine our concept of marriage.
However, homosexuality is by its very nature dangerous to those who practice it. And society is doing homosexuals a disservice when it endorses and promotes homosexuality as normal. In doing so, it is encouraging these Americans to engage in self-destructive behavior.
Homosexuality is an issue of morality. But it is also an fundamental issue of public health. The evidence is clear. American government, educational systems, and courts should note the facts presented in this paper and advance public policy and curricula that encourage sound behavior rather than offering special protection and endorsement to a behavior that threatens individuals as well as public health.
The future of America hangs in the balance. If society is not willing to address the homosexual issue on moral grounds, then the medical evidence alone should be enough to convince the fair-minded that homosexuality is incompatible with good public health.
Copyright Family Guardian Fellowship
Last revision: April 03, 2009 08:32 AM
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