HRC Welcomes Scientific Study Exploring Genetic Basis Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

The Human Rights Campaign welcomes the results of a
scientific study adding to the body of research supporting the theory
that a person's sexual orientation and gender identity are genetically
based. However, laws should protect all Americans equally, regardless of
the genetic basis for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, says

"This study is part of a growing body of evidence showing that
it is likely that sexual orientation and gender identity are genetically
based," said Elizabeth Birch, HRC's executive director. "Although
further research will be conducted by this team, at the end of the day,
the question of nature versus nurture shouldn't matter. Laws in America
should protect everybody equally, regardless of what causes differences
of sexual orientation or gender identity."

The University of California School of Medicine study, published
in the October edition of the journal of Molecular Brain Research,
identified 54 genes in mice that may explain why male and female brains
look and function differently. Since the 1970s, scientists have believed
that estrogen and testosterone were wholly responsible for the
development of male and female genders. Recent evidence, however,
indicates that hormones cannot explain everything about the sexual
differences between male and female brains.

"Our research implies that genes account for some of the
differences between male and female brains," said Eric Vilain, a
genetics professor at UCLA who was the principle investigator of the
study. "We believe that one's genes, hormones and environment exert a
combined influence on sexual brain development."

In explaining sexual orientation Vilain opined, "It's quite
possible that sexual identity and physical attraction is 'hard-wired' by
the brain. If we accept this concept, we must dismiss the myth that
homosexuality is a 'choice' and examine our civil legal system

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