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Study: ‘Born this way’ belief does little to reduce homophobia

Study: ‘Born this way’ belief does little to reduce homophobia

The ‘born this way’ belief does little to reduce homophobia, a new study claims.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee and the University of Missouri are challenging the widely held belief those who think people born gay are less homophobic.

The study –recently published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology – surveyed two groups of college students, most of who believed sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable.

Many of those who believed gay men are ‘born that way’ also believed they are ‘all the same and act the same way’ – and they were more likely to hold prejudicial attitudes.

‘We suggest that this demonstrates the limited capacity of “born this way” arguments to reduce homophobia,’ said Patrick Grzanka, lead author of the study.

Grzanka noted that beliefs about sexual orientation have profound implications for science, policy, and the law.

Arguments that sexual orientation is inherent and unchangeable have been used in landmark court cases to serve as the foundation for civil protections and privileges, such as marriage, and to challenge ‘conversion therapy.’

‘”Born this way” arguments have been the cornerstone of LGBT advocacy against horrific attempts by physicians, clergy and psychologists to turn sexual minorities into heterosexuals,’ Grzanka said

‘And yet there is little scientific evidence to suggest that the categories we use today in the United States – categories that are historically quite new – originate in the body at all,’ he continued.

‘I think social scientists, lawyers, biological researchers, and activists all need to examine why it is that many of us are so deeply invested in biological explanations of sexual orientation, particularly when they appear to have limited efficacy in terms of promoting more positive attitudes toward sexual minorities.’