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Q: What causes a child to grow up straight versus gay or bisexual?

A. Simon LeVay PhD addresses these types of questions in his book, Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why (NY:Oxford University Press, 2011). For those of you who are wrestling with solidifying your brain’s opinion on sexual orientation (versus, perhaps, what you have been told to hold as an opinion), LeVay’s book may assist you with obtaining additional perspective. Whether or not this prompts your brain to adopt a new opinion, knowing more about the body of knowledge in this scientific discipline can help you to discuss it in a more informed manner.

There is a wealth of scientific evidence, some more conclusive than others, that points to “one inescapable conclusion: Sexual orientation results primarily from an interaction between genes, sex hormones, and the cells of the developing body and brain.” Thus, the general conclusion from multiple lines of research is quite clear that a person’s sexual orientation arises in large part from biological processes that are already underway before birth.

Dr. LeVay, a British-born neuroscientist, has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and the Salk Institute for Biological studies. This is just one of nearly a dozen books he has authored, including the textbook Human Sexuality (Sinauer, 3rd edition 2009).