The ‘Gay Gene’ Hoax

Ryan Sorba Traces Initial Pseudo-Science Homosexuals Hang Their Hat On

By Ryan Sorba

One of the most common studies homosexual activists cite when they make the absurd claim that people are “born gay” was conducted in 1993 by pro-gay activist Dr. Dean Hamer and his team of geneticists at the National Cancer Institute.

Hamer and his colleagues reported that a “gay gene” seemed to be maternally linked and could be found on the Xq28 stretch of the X chromosome.

Hamer’s genetic study played a key role in a massive public-relations campaign designed by Harvard-educated and Madison Avenue-trained homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. I refer to this campaign as the “born gay hoax.” In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this hoax was designed to help homosexual activists legally obtain minority-class status. Historically, courts have awarded minority-class status to groups that:

have demonstrated a long history of discrimination;

have demonstrated that they are powerless as a community to help themselves; and

have demonstrated an immutable characteristic such as race or gender (i.e., are born that way).

In the 1990s, homosexual activists believed that if they could convince the courts that they were “born gay” they would acquire protected-class status and could then legally challenge anti-sodomy laws in the United States.

Dr. Hamer

Dean Hamer played an enormous role in this effort. In fact, on April 3, 1994, the The Washington Times reported that while Hamer was testifying against Colorado’s Amendment 2 – which sought to keep men who have sex with men from winning minority-class status – Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H., knew of Hamer’s motives and accused the doctor of “actively pursuing a gay agenda.”

Immediately after Hamer’s “gay gene” study was published in 1993, a media explosion ensued. Hamer’s results, however, were a fraud. The title of an article appearing on page 25 of the July 10, 1995, edition of the pro-gay magazine New York Native explains:

“Gay Gene” Research Doesn’t Hold Under Scrutiny, Chicago Tribune’s John Crewdson Uncovers Possible Scientific Misconduct by NCI Researcher.

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The article begins:

In addition to the political and social firestorm Hamer’s research has ignited, he has also been criticized by numerous scientists for not performing what seems to be an obvious control experiment: examining the genes of heterosexual brothers.

The omission of a control group in a scientific experiment is significant, because it essentially renders the experiment inconclusive. Why would a supposedly professional researcher like Hamer conduct an experiment in such an unacceptable and unprofessional fashion?

According to the article, another researcher who worked on the project claimed that although Hamer conducted the experiment correctly by including a control variable, the results he obtained did not lead to the conclusion he was hoping to find: that some men are “born gay.” Hamer therefore did not release the information related to the control group and published pseudo-scientific results. All went well for Hamer until a junior researcher on his team exposed his scheme. The article continues:

Even worse for Hamer, the National Institute of Health’s Office of Research Integrity is now investigating his “gay gene” research, according to Crewdson. The inquiry concerns allegations that Hamer was selective about which data he chose to report (i.e., that he ignored data that didn’t support his contention that homosexuality is genetically determined). The data manipulation was reported to NIH’s integrity office by a junior researcher who performed research crucial to Hamer’s claimed discovery, according to Crewdson.

Crewdson’s revelations turned out to be true. A November 1995 edition of Scientific American confirmed that Hamer was “being charged with research improprieties and was under investigation by the National Institute of Health’s Federal Office of Research Integrity.” Although the NIH never released the results of the inquiry, Hamer was shortly thereafter transferred to another section. In addition to lying about his results, he had done his “gay gene” research under a grant to work on Kaposi’s sarcoma, a skin cancer that inordinately afflicts men who have sex with men.

Upon learning that Hamer’s “gay gene” study was a hoax, one might assume that if other researchers were to attempt to replicate his experiment, including his control group, they would fail to obtain the pseudo-scientific result that there is a “gay gene.” This is exactly the case. The New York Native article continues:

“… [A]t least one lab that has tried hard to replicate his findings has been unsuccessful.

“’Only one independent laboratory has reported attempting such a replication, and it has found no evidence to support Hamer,’ Crewdson reported. ‘We can’t reproduce Hamer’s data,’ said George Ebers, a neurogeneticist from the University of Western Ontario, who has searched unsuccessfully for a Hamer-style genetic link to homosexuality in more than 50 pairs of gay Canadian brothers. In fact, Ebers found the genetic markers cited by Hamer in ‘exactly half of his brother pairs’ according to Crewdson – precisely what the laws of chance would predict, if the ‘markers had no significance.’”

The fact that Hamer’s study cannot be replicated confirms reports that Hamer lied about his results. In 1998, another group of researchers (Sanders, et al.) tried to replicate Hamer’s study as well; they also failed to find a genetic connection to homosexuality.

Then, in the Aug. 6, 1999, edition of Science, George Rice and George Ebers published a review of Hamer’s study to go along with their previous attempts to replicate his findings. The scientists stated that the results of Hamer’s study “did not support an X-linked gene underlying male homosexuality.” They found that the brothers observed by the Hamer group were no more likely to share the Xq28 markers than would be expected by mere chance.

By this time, Hamer had already conceded that his pseudo-scientific study did not support a genetic cause for homosexuality, in the Jan. 30, 1998, edition of the Washington Blade. He also conceded that homosexuality is “culturally transmitted, not inherited,” and that “there is not a single master gene that makes people gay. … I don’t think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Ryan Sorba has established conservative clubs on college campuses in Massachusetts and eight in Southern California, working as a field representative for the Campus Leadership Program at the Leadership Institute. He is the author of the forthcoming book The ‘Born Gay’ Hoax and can be contacted for speaking engagements at: This article was originally published in WorldNetDaily, Friday, June 4, 2010. This article is reprinted by permission.

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  1. July 4, 2010

    Well, I believe that clears up a few challenges for myself. How about anyone else?

  2. David
    February 16, 2011

    J Michael Bailey & Richard Pillard (1991) found that the concordance rates for sexual orientation were 52% for identical twins, 22% for fraternal twins, and 11% for adoptive brothers.

    See also:
    Collaer & Hines (1995); Money, (1987)
    Ellis & Ames (1987)

    The most likely explanation is that genetics play a significant role in determining the sexual orientation of a person, but don’t entirely cause it. Rather, they lead a child toward a personality style that determines sexual orientation. It is a case of nature and nurture, not one or the other.

  3. July 19, 2011

    Dr. Hamer obviously had turned a blind eye in an effort to substantiate his theory. In his effort to further gay rights he did that population a disservice. He made a mockery of the scientific process and put a black mark on his cause.

  4. September 28, 2011

    Gay Gene? What will people think of next… ridiculous!!

  5. May 15, 2013

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site wants far more consideration. I抣l most likely be once more to learn far more, thanks for that info.

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