Born Gay?

Recently, 19-year-old British Olympic diver Tom Daley revealed he is in a relationship with a man. ….And?  He certainly isn’t the first, nor will he be the last to do so.

Daley won an Olympic bronze medal at the London Summer games and hopes to improve on that for Great Britain in Rio in 2016.

He revealed to his fans via a YouTube video: “Come spring this year, my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great. And that someone is a guy.” He went on to say:  “Of course I still fancy girls, but I mean, right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier.”

Why wouldn’t the reaction be something like: “How wonderful! Tom Daley found love and companionship!” End of story…but it’s not.

So, what can a reasonable person gather from this revelation?

Perhaps that British diver Tom Daley is with a man and is happy. Good for him!

Sadly, it seems The head of a British evangelical Christian lobby group is reportedly suggesting that Tom Daley is in a relationship with a man because his father died. Really?

In an article in the UK publication, The Independent,  it was reported Andrea Minichiello Williams, the founder of Christian Concern, speaking at a conference in Jamaica to lobby against the repeal of the island’s controversial law banning gay sex and according to the news website BuzzFeed, she argued that it’s a “big lie” that homosexuality is inborn and blamed the “lack of the father” and “sometimes a level of abuse” for creating homosexual feelings.

Say what?

She reportedly made her point by mentioning Olympic diver Tom Daley who came out as gay earlier this month. She is said to have added that he is “loved by all the girls and had girlfriends” and had “lost his father to cancer just a few years ago”. (Let’s go back to the announcement by Mr. Daley himself, he didn’t come out as gay, he simply said he’s in a relationship with a man.)

Not only are the comments of Ms. Minichiello Williams out of step with the Church of England; they are just plain ridiculous. To illustrate briefly, here are some people who experienced the death of their fathers:

New England Patriots coach Bill Belicheck lost his father Steve in 2005. To date, no change in son Bill’s sexual orientation.

Speaker John Boehner lost his father in 1990 – and I’m sure we would have heard by now if he came out as gay.

Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps lost his father in 1977 and I think the world would be quite surprised to hear that the death of his dad caused him to prefer men.

The science just doesn’t back this claim up. While it is likely true that some kids wait until the death of a parent to come out, this is much more likely the result of the child being terrified to come out to a parent than it is a cause and effect relationship between the death of a father and a child being LGBT.

Science does have a say in the matter, Dr. Jerome Goldstein, director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Centre explains; “Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth.” Dr. Goldstein addressed 3,000 neurologists from around the world at the 21st meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Lisbon last month.

Some arguing it’s a choice and others maintain it is neurobiological as Dr. Goldstein explains. Perhaps the most compelling argument in favor of science is to ask someone who is clear in his or her sexual preference to just swap it out. Go ahead, “choose” to be attracted to people who you presently are not. Then things tend to get quiet.

Simon LeVay, a gay neuroscientist at the Salk Institute in San Diego commented, if gays were “born that way” it could undermine the morality of homosexual discrimination. He believed that a lifestyle based on an innate propensity rather than a conscious choice is far more difficult to condemn.

Jerome Goldstein agrees. “We must continue to bring forward data that show the differences or similarities between the brains of homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender persons.” He added: “The neurobiology of sexual orientation and the gay brain, matched with other hormonal, genetic, and structural studies, has far-reaching consequences beyond sexual orientation.”

So the research goes on as science comes closer and closer to discovering a clear neurobiological cause and effect relationship. Hopefully then we can put the whole “Lifestyle Choice” behind us and just be happy for Tom Daley and so many like him.