Archive for January, 2012



January 31, 2012

Links to what is in the news

Sean manages this page and adds what he finds in the news. These links will stay here and when I have time I’ll make cross links from the “About” page and other pages on this blog so this can be more useful as a resource and forum for discussion.

April 2012: Strict Parenting > Homophobia March 2012: Are Straight People Born That Way? January 2012: Genetic or Not, Gay Won’t Go Away | LGBT Baha’i News: Haifa, Israel | Children of lesbian parents do better

Article in The Atlantic, 18 April 2012

Study of the Day: Strict Parenting and Same-Sex Urges Lead to Homophobia

A few excerpts:
New research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that anti-gay prejudice may stem from restrictive upbringings and repressed homosexual desires.

PROBLEM: Time and again, stridently anti-gay public figures like Larry Craig and Ted Haggard are caught in same-sex scandals. Is there a relationship between homophobia and homosexuality?

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by University of Essex lecturer Netta Weinstein looked into the discrepancies between the overt and implicit sexual orientation of participants in a series of experiments.

RESULTS: Across all of the experiments, the subjects with supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation, while those from authoritarian homes revealed the greatest discrepancy between explicit and implicit attraction.

CONCLUSION: The fear, anxiety, and aversion that some seemingly heterosexual people hold toward gays and lesbians can grow out of their own repressed same-sex desires, says co-author and University of Rochester psychologist Richard Ryan in a statement. “In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward.”

SOURCE: “Parental Autonomy Support and Discrepancies Between Implicit and Explicit Sexual Identities: Dynamics of Self-Acceptance and Defense,” published in the journal Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Article in The Atlantic

Are Straight People Born That Way?

A few excerpts from an indepth article referring to scientific data from many sources and perspectives:

“…I put the question to a number of sexology colleagues…
…What do we mean when we say someone is “straight”?

In other words, do children give us clues about whether they’re going to ultimately be sexually attracted to males, females, or both? To a certain extent, yes. That’s why plenty of gay and lesbian adults can point to childhood clues that they were “born this way.” Most straight people could do the same, although typically no one asks straights when they knew they were straight. Behavioral patterns in childhood do show some correlation with adult sexual orientation.

For instance, in Samoa, boys who are very feminine as young children are understood to be destined for attraction to males. They are relabeled “fa’afafine” — meaning they will live “in the manner of a woman.” Without changing their bodies, the fa’afafine are raised like girls and then live as women, and take straight men as their sex partners.

Sexologists call this kind of phenomenon “homosexual transgenderism” and suggest it is fairly common around the world. Sometimes “homosexual transgenderism” is enacted via a humane cultural system, as in Samoa, and sometimes via a phenomenally oppressive one, as in Iran, where feminine homosexual men have been given the choice of transsexualism or death.

Regardless of the cultural system, social pressure to appear straight seems to be fairly intense cross-culturally. Indeed, one is inclined to wonder, if being straight is just natural, why does it require quite so much policing?

…the “fraternal birth order effect” (FBOE): The more older brothers a male has from the same biological mother, the more likely he is to be a gay adult. The theory is that the mother builds up an accumulating immune response to male fetuses, progressively dampening down masculinity of later-born male fetuses. That’s just a theoretical explanation, although the FBOE itself is unequivocally real; it holds up in study after study across cultures. Blanchard has estimated that the 15 to 29 percent of gay men are gay by virtue of the FBOE. (The effect doesn’t exist with women.)

While the FBOE is usually used to talk about the origins of male homosexuality, it could just as well be seen as suggesting that a particular womb environment is likely to produce babies who will grow up to be heterosexual men. In other words, the FBOE suggests that it is likely that many straight men were born inclined to be straight. Note this wouldn’t be because of these straight men having been born with a “straight gene.” They would be born inclined-straight following complex interactions of maternal and fetal genes.

Is there any evidence for “straight genes,” other than the rather indirect evidence of the large number of people who identify as straight? Researchers have looked at sexual orientation among monozygotic twins … Bailey concludes that the data are “consistent with some genetic influence” for sexual orientation but that the data are “not overwhelming.” He goes so far as to say “the evidence from twin studies for innateness of sexual orientation is pretty weak.

That said, Bailey does see some other evidence for an innate component to sexual orientation, at least in males. He points to cases …

Raymond Hames, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Nebraska,… …early same-sex experiences don’t seem to “turn” the boys gay.

While it has been asserted by some that abuse at the hands of men might incline girls to be more likely to ultimately become lesbians, the evidence for this claim is weak. Boston Children’s Hospital public health researcher Bryn Austin and her colleagues have documented that lesbian and bisexual women report having suffered higher rates of physical and sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence, a finding borne out by other teams’ investigations. But we can’t show any kind of clear causal link between the experience of childhood abuse (sexual or physical) and adult sexual orientation.

In short, we don’t really know where human sexual orientations come from yet. What we do know is that the evidence we have that sexual orientation includes an innate component doesn’t seem to point to the existence of simple “gay genes” and “straight genes.

Personally, I think it makes sense to let straight-identified people marry, not because they were necessarily born that way, but because it seems silly, in this day and age, to get in the way of their desire to marry…”

Article in the New York times28 January 2010:

Genetic or Not, Gay Won’t Go Away

By Frank Bruni

An excerpt: “…
The exact dynamics through which someone winds up gay are “still an open question,” said Clinton Anderson, the director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Office of the American Psychological Association. “There is substantial evidence of various connections between genes, brain, hormones and sexual identity,” he said. “But those do not amount to a simple picture that A leads to B.” Go to Sonja’s blog in response to this article >>

LGBT Baha’i News: Haifa, Israel

In the Summer of 2010 an unprecedented event happened in Haifa Israel, the Secretary General of the Baha’i International Community spoke at Haifa’s LGBT Center known as the Haifa Forum ( This talk was a part of a multi-faith panel from Haifa’s diverse religious groups that coincided with Haifa’s Gay Pride in 2010. This is the first time to my knowledge that any Baha’i official spoke at a LGBT Center (or a Gay Pride for that matter). What is most curious is that this event was not shared with the Baha’is of the world, no press release, no story on the Baha’i World News Service website ( about how active the Baha’i International Community is in the religiously diverse climate of Haifa, nothing …
This event was shared by a lesbian Jewish blogger ( I took it upon myself to contact the Haifa Forum about the details of this talk, but all I received was a warm e-mail thanking me for contacting them, and their hope that LGBT Baha’is will be embraced by the Baha’i Faith. Why keep such this event from the Baha’i community I ask? It could offer some hope to the LGBT Baha’is who have been historically estranged from their faith community. Could this talk be a “sign” that there is a shift occurring with the International Baha’i Administrative (the Universal House of Justice) in regard to accepting LGBT Baha’i relationships? (currently same-sex relationships are banned in the Baha’i Faith with administrative sanctions imposed on those who do have them such as Daniel Orey in the United States (

Article in The New Scientist, 8 June 2010

Children of lesbian parents do better than their peers

A few excerpts: The children of lesbian parents outscore their peers on academic and social tests, according to results from the longest-running study of same-sex families.

The finding is based on 78 children who were all born to lesbian couples who used donor insemination to become pregnant and were interviewed and tested at age 17.

… it began in 1986.

Compared with a group of control adolescents born to heterosexual parents with similar educational and financial backgrounds, the children of lesbian couples scored better on academic and social tests and lower on measures of rule-breaking and aggression.

A previous study of same-sex parenting, based on long-term health data, also found no difference in the health of children in either group.

“This confirms what most developmental scientists have suspected,” says Stephen Russell, a sociologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Kids growing up with same-sex parents fare just as well as other kids.”