“heritability” levels of roughly 30 to 35%, which geneticists recognize as the signature for behavioral traits in human beings that are essentially non-genetic and almost completely determined by environmental influences —to the degree that any human trait enmeshed in a body can be.33 Hence, if the results of this study were to replace the erroneous explanations provided by the mental heath guilds, then without introducing value – judgments it could be expected over time to reduce the prevalence of homosexual identification—sans “therapy.” Here’s why: The ages between 21 and 26 constitute a distinct demographic group and New Zealand is a country not only with “a relatively accepting climate toward homosexuality,” that social climate is merely one component of its well -known, social-political atmosphere as a whole. One should not pretend, therefore, that attitudes, including attitudes toward homosexuality, are formed in a vacuum, nor that attitudes have no effect on behavior. Thus, for both men and women in New Zealand, more so for those with higher education there was a small but statistically significant net movement toward homosexuality and away from heterosexuality (that is, immediately following that education, temporarily). Given that all the evidence, when accurately presented, points towa rd the influence of environment, and the association with education, it is likely that the content of higher education in a politically liberal environment is contributory for the differential effect in this educated cohort of twenty – somethings. This is especially the case given that this increase in homosexuality follows a much larger decrease that would have had to have taken place in the years before age 21 in order to account for the above numbers. Once the educational effect becomes more temporally remote (wears off), however, the typical decline in homosexual identification resumes. 34 Second, studies on AIDS in New Zealand show the same hierarchy of risk factors as in the United States. In 2002, the most common transmission risk was male homosexual con tact (56%), followed by heterosexual contact (28%) 35, intravenous drug use (3%) and mother to infant transmission (1%)36. In 1995, of 11 industrialized nations studied and reported on by the International Epidemiological Association, New Zealand had the lowe st cumulative AIDS incidence rate—1.4 cases per 100,000 population, versus a U.S. rate of 15.2. 37 At the time, using the figures from that particular study, these cumulative incidence rates would have 33 This statement does not contradict the presence of “indirect genetic factors” influencing homosexuality. Most people mistakenly presume that an indirect genetic influence refers to a mere technical distinction. In fact, the distinction is crucial. Basketball playing shows a very strong, argu ably stronger than homosexuality, indirect genetic influence, but there are no genes for basketball playing —it is a wholly “environmentally” influenced behavior subject to a high degree of choice —much higher than same-sex attraction. The crucial point is that genes that indirectly influence a trait have nothing at all to do with the trait itself and therefore can’t possibly “cause” it. The genes that influence the likelihood someone will become a basketball player are self -evident: Those that code for height, athleticism, muscle refresh rate. There are, at present, even strong racial genetic associations to basketball playing. These associations are almost entirely socially-determined while the genes themselves are biological (and evolved in an era before basketball playing even existed), and the associational degree (i.e., with race) fluctuates over time as basketball spreads across the globe.
Footnotes: 34 This phenomenon was actually first recognized not by sociologists, epidemiologists, psychiatrists, psychiatrists or any other kind of “ist,” but by savvy Smith College students who first called themselves SLUGs: Smith Lesbians Until Graduation. Elsewhere, the eponym mutated into Selectively Lesbian Until Graduation. 35 The common pathway of high-risk infection shared by homosexual contact and heterosexual contact is anal sex. Vaginal intercourse has a much lower transmission probability. 36 Mills G, et al, New Zealand’s HIV infected population under active follow up during 2000. N Z Med J 2002 Apr 26:115(1152):173-6 37 KV Heath, et al., HIV/AIDS mortality in industrialized nations, 1987 -1991, International Journal of Epidemiology 1998L27:685-690. Even though much of the paper is devoted to an analysis of trends in the years stated, the paper also reports static cross -sectional data from later years.