Scientific Information About Homosexuality for President Museveni

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Letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni from global experts on the scientific evidence that homosexuality is innate.
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  Page 1 of 28   Letter to the President of Uganda, Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni  February 3, 2014 We, the undersigned, are responding to President Museveni’s request for current and accurate scientific information about homosexuality. Causes of Homosexuality From a scientific perspective, the causes of homosexuality are only partially understood. While it is unlikely that there is one simple biological or genetic cause for homosexuality in all people, there are neural, cognitive and personality differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals which appear to have at least some basis in biology. We can add that in rams the homosexual preference of a minority of rams are unrelated to socialization but instead appear to be related to brain structures. In humans, brain scan studies show important differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Some data suggest that genetic and hormonal factors during pre-natal development have an impact on sexual orientation, in different ways for different people. For instance, homosexuality can be found at a significantly higher rate among identical twins when compared to non-identical twins or non-twin siblings. However the rate is not 100% among identical twins and the reasons for these differences remain unknown. For most people, homosexual or heterosexual, sexual attractions emerge spontaneously without any prior sexual experience, exposure or recruitment. Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. Furthermore, despite early claims by some psychiatrists that faulty parenting causes homosexuality, there is little scientific evidence that parenting plays a role in directing a person’s sexual attractions. Neither is there much scientific support for theories that claim sexual abuse or recruitment causes homosexuality. The majority of people who were sexually abused did not later try homosexual behavior nor did they become homosexual. Homosexuality is Not a Mental Illness  Starting in the 19 th  century, psychiatrists began classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. However scientific sex research done in the middle of the 20 th  century began to change this view. For example, according to studies done in the 1950s, homosexual men showed no greater sign of psychiatric problems and  Page 2 of 28   seemed as well adjusted when compared to a comparable group of heterosexual men. In 1973, a review of newer scientific research led the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its Diagnostic Manual (DSM). In 1990, the World Health Organization concurred and also removed homosexuality from the mental disorder section of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). A Homosexual Orientation is Difficult, if Not Impossible, to Change While mental health practitioners have tried to change a homosexual orientation since the 19 th  century, those results have been mostly unsuccessful. Sigmund Freud himself once said, “In general, to undertake to convert a fully developed homosexual into a heterosexual does not offer much more prospect of success than the reverse, except that for good practical reasons the latter is never attempted.” In 2009, the American Psychological Association issued a report that studied the peer-reviewed scientific literature to date. That study found no scientific evidence that therapies designed to categorically change sexual orientation are effective. While it is possible that some self-reports of change are true, science does not support the idea that sexuality is changeable for most people. Homosexuality is Not the Same as Pedophilia  While homosexuality is no longer regarded as a mental disorder in the ICD, pedophilia or attraction to minors is considered to be one. However, the available scientific research does not support the view that adult homosexuals primarily attracted to other adults pose a threat to minors any more than the threat posed by heterosexual adults to children. Homosexual adults are not attracted to children, but rather to other adults. However, it is well documented that many who are opposed to any open expressions of homosexuality often raise the possible threat to children as a scare tactic. Is Homosexuality Normal? If by normal one means that homosexuality occurs in nature, then yes homosexuality is normal as scientific research shows it is found in many species besides human beings. However a scientific definition of normal may not mean the same thing as a cultural definition. There are many cultures where homosexuality, once considered as an abnormal mental disorder, is now regarded as normal. Part of this change is  Page 3 of 28   due to scientific research that disproved many common myths and beliefs about homosexuality. When they do not have to hide for fear of social stigma and punishment, openly homosexual individuals serve as politicians, physicians, psychologists, teachers, police, military personnel, etc. Those who know them, their families, co-workers, and neighbors, consider them normal. We thank you for this chance to summarize scientific research on this topic. Please direct any follow up questions to either Jack Drescher, MD ( ! #$%&'(#)'&*%+,* -./#0* ) or Warren Throckmorton, PhD ( (Reference list follows the signatures) Sincerely,   Salvatore M Aglioti Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory Department of Psychology School of Medicine and Psychology Sapienza University of Rome Via dei Marsi 78, 00185, Rome, Italy Joanne Ahola, M.D. Medical Director, Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights Medical Director, Research Institute Without Walls, Trainer, Asylum Network, Physicians for Human Rights  Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY Theresa Aiello, Ph.D. Co-Director, Advanced Certificate in Child and Family Therapy New York University Silver School of Social Work New York, NY Eric Anderson, PhD, AcSS Professor of Sport, Masculinities and Sexualities University of Winchester Winchester, Hampshire, England Renee Anderson, Ph.D., LPCC-S Walden University Minneapolis, MN Carl Auerbach, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology  Page 4 of 28   Bronx, NY J. Michael Bailey, PhD Professor of Psychology Northwestern University, Chicago, IL Roberto Baiocco, PhD,  Assistant Professor, Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome Rome, Italy Shirley R. Baron, PhD Clinical Psychologist  Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL Stephen F Bauer, MD Clinical Associate Professor Emeritus Department of Psychiatry Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University New York, NY Joel L. Becker, Ph.D. Director and Founder, Cognitive Behavior Associates and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Institute Clinical Professor, Department of Psychology, UCLA Diplomate, Fellow, Certified Trainer/Consultant, Academy of Cognitive Therapy  Asst. Clinical Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA  Anabel Bejarano, PhD, psychologist Director, Masters programs in counseling Clinical assistant professor, School of Education & Human Development, Educational & Psychological Studies University of Miami - Coral Gables Coral Gables, FL Max Belkin, PhD  Adjunct Instructor Department of Applied Psychology New York University New York, NY Christopher Bellonci, M.D Professor Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University Boston, MA
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