Footnote 1 Origins of Homosexuality (p.59)

 

*The English researcher D. J. West suggests there are three principal theories with respect to the physical origins of homosexuality, and then proceeds to refute all three.

 

The first of these theories tries to establish the fact that abnormal sexual behavior stems from an imbalance, proportionally speaking, in male and female hormones, both being present in the bloodstream of either sex. But tests performed directly on homosexuals have not yielded results which would confirm such a theory, that is to say, have not demonstrated a deficiency in hormonal distribution. As Doctor Swyer explains it in his study, "Homosexuality: The Endocrinologic Aspects," the charting of hormonal levels in homosexuals and heterosexuals has not revealed such differences. Moreover, were homosexuality to presuppose a hormonal origin (the hormones are secreted by the endocrine glands), it could be cured by means of injections to restore the hormonal balance. But this has not been the case, and in his study, "Testosterone in Psychotic Male Homosexuals," the investigations of Barahal suggest that with such administering of mascu. line hormones to male homosexuals, the only identifiable result has been a marked increment in the desire which the individual experiences for that form of sexual activity to which he has been accustomed. As for experiments conducted on women, Doctor Foss, in "The Influence of Urinary Androgens on Sexuality in Women," states that administering large doses of masculine hormones to women has in fact produced a noticeable change, and in the masculine direction, but only concerning the physical aspect: voice noticeably deeper, heard, reduction in the breast size, clitoral expansion, etc. As for sexual appetite, it is in fact stimulated, but normally remains feminine, that is to say that the object of the urge continues to be men, but clearly only if one is not dealing with a woman of lesbian tendencies. In addition, with the male heterosexual, the administering of large quantities of feminine hormones does not awaken homosexual urges, but it does contribute to a lessening of sexual energy. All of which indicates that the furnishing of masculine hormones to women and of feminine hormones to men reveals no necessary relationship between the percentage of masculine and feminine hormones in the bloodstream and corresponding sexual urge. One can therefore assert that sexual preference in a particular subject bears no demonstrable relationship to endocrinal activity, that is to say, to hormonal secretion.

 

The second important theory on the possible physical origin of homosexuality is, according to D. J. West, one referring to intersexuality. Intersexuals, or hermaphrodites, are those individuals who pertain physically to neither one of the sexes completely, although they still present certain features of both. The sex to which an individual will belong is determined at the moment of conception, and depends upon genetic variety of them corresponding spermatozoid that fertilizes the ovule. The physical causes of intersexuality have still not been properly determined; commonly it is produced by a malfunction of the endocrine system during the fetal state. The degree of intersexuality varies greatly; in some cases the internal sexual glands (ovaries or testicles) and physical appearance are contradictory, in others the internal sexual glands result in a varying mixture of testicle and ovary, and in still others the outer genitals may present all intermediate phases between masculine and feminine, up to and including the presence of penis and uterus simultaneously. The researcher T. Lang in his "Studies in the Genetic Determination of Homosexuality," for example, adduces that male homosexuals might actually be, genetically speaking, women whose bodies have suffered a complete sexual inversion, in a masculine direction. To demonstrate this hypothesis he conducted several surveys and in the end concluded that male homosexuals are the result of families which contain the resulting male homosexual thus viewed as a form of intermediary product, of unsuccessful compensation. If in fact the data prove to be of interest, the theory thereby formulated by Lang is marred by a failure to account for the normal physical characteristics of a large majority-99 percent--of homosexuals. This last consideration has led to G. M. B. Pare's researches, presented in "Homosexuality and Chromosomal Sex," where Lang's hypothesis is refuted; according to Pare, by resorting to modern microscopical technology, he was able to identify as equally masculine, biologically speaking, every male homosexual examined during the course of his extensive investigations, which included male heterosexual subjects. In addition, Lang's theory is also rejected by J. Money in his study, "Imprinting and the Establishment of Gender Role," where Money affirms that intersexuals, despite their apparent bisexuality, do not seem to operate bisexually when selecting the object of their individual sexual preference; the sexual drive of such individuals, Money states, does not follow the direction of their inner sexual glands, whether it be ovaries, testicles, or a glandular mix. The urge of the intersexual is, on the contrary, adapted to that of the sex to which he has been educated, even when the chromosomes and dominant characteristics of his outer and inner sexual organs may be from the other sex. From all of the above, one can surmise that heterosexuality and homosexuality, in all cases, whether the individual has a physically normal constitution or not, are roles acquired through psychological conditioning, and not predetermined by endocrinal factors.

 

The third and last theory on the physical origin of homosexuality with which West occupies himself is one that proposes a hereditary determinant. West points out that in spite of the seriousness of the studies carried out, among which he cites "Comparative Twin Study of the Genetic Aspects of Male Homosexuality," by F.J. Kallman, the vagueness of the data available still does not allow us to determine that homosexuality is a constitutional characteristic of the hereditary type.