Why Debate Over Born That Way Won’t Go Away

There is no gay gene. After enormous effort and expense to find it, it is not there. As I wrote about last week, GWAS studies confirm this fact. This should be no big surprise given the complexity of human sexuality. Yet, the “born this way” narrative, as a justification for pursuing one’s desires, will not go away. How come?


The brain does not have a gendered appearance. The male brain is larger on average, but you cannot really visibly differentiate them. I once asked a brain surgeon if he could tell, if he didn’t know, if he was operating on a man’s brain or a woman’s, and he said, without hesitation, ‘No.’


However, there remain differences between the typical female brain and male brain, divergences that begin as each develops in the mother’s womb. As perhaps most clearly explained by Patricia Weerakoon, in her 2023 book, The Gender Revolution (co-authored with Robert Smith and Kamal Weerakoon), the action of testosterone during brain development makes for gendered differences in behavior.


There is a surge of testosterone in a manchild in the first to third month after birth. But even before that, during week 8 to 16/24 of pregnancy, the level of testosterone is significantly higher in the developing male. This becomes the biological basis for, on average, little boys preferring trucks and little girls preferring dolls.


Now, if this gendered in utero development goes awry, the brain may be atypical. Hormone levels in the womb—which genetic aberration can disturb—can fall outside the usual range. This atypical washing can influence an eventual sexual desire. (A similar reasoning holds for gender dysphoria).  Of course, a lot depends on what happens after the child exits the womb and enters this fallen world.


There is no gay gene. But there can be a hormone-birthed predisposition which, when mixed with the right other ingredients in a person’s experiences and responses, can result in same-sex attraction. As Dr. Weerakoon puts it, “It can be activated and lived out, depending on the influences present in the individual’s environment and culture.” This pre-natal ingredient to SSA allows people identifying as gay to claim that they were “born this way.”


It’s not true, of course. Consider thieves. Some people have a predisposition to steal. That is, they are more easily tempted to steal. Circumstances might sorely tempt them to steal. One hopes, and prays as Jesus taught us, that they would not be led into that temptation. But, even if they are, they can still find the resolve to avoid becoming thieves.  And those in Christ know that they don’t have to steal. We never have to do what God tells us is not good for us to do. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us to be different (1Corinthians 6:11).


We easily recognize various predispositions among people, with some more prone to particular human frailties like  depression, anger, drunkenness or other sexual sin. But we don’t say that they should be left to their fate.


Why is it so hard to see the same, and say the same, about those predisposed to ways that limit their intergendered potential?


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