As I write, in late 2015, the Australia is in the midst of a raging debate over the legalisation of same-sex marriage. This would be the ultimate victory for the normalisation of homosexuality, and a defining moment in the devolution of the Judao-Christian worldview on which our country was once built. But is homosexuality normal and where does come from? Is it a fundamental part of the human condition or an aberration? This essay will attempt to answer those questions as fairly as possible. An honest answer is crucial to understanding who we are as humans, what behaviour is under our personal control, the true nature of our sexuality, what defines abnormal behaviour, and ultimately, whether same sex marriage should be legalised.
Until a few years ago, sexual “orientation” used to be called sexual “preference”. The two terms denote significant differences in the manner by which sexuality develops. A preference is something that is chosen, whereas orientation is merely something that defines us. The shift in terminology suggests a new-found belief by our culture that sexual orientation is fixed at birth. But is it? Let’s now start looking at the evidence on both sides.
The Myth of Ten Percent
Many publications advertise the figure of 10% as the level of homosexuality in the average Western country such as the USA and Australia. However this figure was lifter inaccurately from the famous Kinsey report that used male prisoners for the survey. In truth, Kinsey never reported figures that high. The Kinsey Report clearly stated that: “Only about 4% of the men were exclusively homosexual throughout their entire lives….Only 2 or 3% of these women were exclusively homosexual their entire lives” (see Reinisch and Beasley, 1990, p. 140)
So what is the real figure? Reputable research that appeared in the Australian Journal fo Public Health (Sex in Australia 2003) found that the percentage of those self-identifying as homosexuals to be 1.6% for males and 0.8% for females. The most widely accepted study of sexual practices in the United States is the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS). The NHSLS found that 2.8% of the male, and 1.4% of the female population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (Laumann, et al., 1994). The study also found that only 0.9% of men and 0.4% of women reported having only same-sex partners since age 18.
The magazine, USA Today, in its April 15, 1993 issue published the statistics from a Planned Parenthood/Alan Guttmacher Institute study which found that only 2.3% of males ages 20 to 39 said they had experienced a same-sex relationship in the past decade. Only 1.1% said they were exclusively gay. A 1992 French study also found that only 1.4% of men and 0.4% of women said they had any same-sex contact in the past five years.
So when we are talking about the homosexual community it is very clear that we are dealing with a very small minority group in society. This reality is important when considering whether or not there is a genetic basis for homosexuality. If there is it is rare.