|PFOX's inaccurate billboard highlights the organization's willingness to lie.|
Last week, the anti-gay group PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays) suffered a huge embarrassment because of a billboard it put up on a Virginia interstate
The billboard appeared recently beside I-95 in Richmond, Virginia,
according to NBC affiliate WWBT. The sign depicts two males, one dressed
in a suit and the other in a white T-shirt, and says: "Identical twins:
One gay. One not. We believe twin research studies show nobody is born gay."
As it turned out, the two males featured in the billboard sign was only one man
, Kyle Roux, who happens to be openly gay. This slip provided a delicious degree of schadenfreude
for the lgbt community.
However, in the midst of the laughter and derision, the lgbt community seem to be missing the larger picture which can be potentially beneficial to the community.
The way PFOX cited twin studies is inaccurate, according
to lgbt activist and Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen:
“PFOX’s billboard underscores the groups scientific illiteracy and shows that ‘ex-gay’
activism is about demagoguery and marketing, rather that truth and
results,” said Besen. “In
reality, twin studies prove
that there is a genetic link to sexual orientation. It is stunning that
PFOX would pay for a billboard to showcase its ignorance and
A Truth Wins Out press release
accused PFOX and other anti-gay groups of continuously distorting science:
. . . anti-gay activists consistently distort research. They point to twin
studies and say, “if homosexuality was truly genetic, the concordance
rate for identical twins would be 100-percent.” Scientists say that this
is a gross misunderstanding of the research. According to Dr. Eric
Vilain, Professor of Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Urology at UCLA, and
the Director of the Institute for Society and Genetics:
“All sorts of traits that are clearly genetic do not show
100% concordance [in twins]. I’ll give you examples, if people look at
obesity. Or autism, looking at twins. There is undeniably, no one will
even challenge that there is a genetic cause for both obesity and
The twin studies do not show that it is 100% genetic. They just
demonstrate that there is a genetic influence. There could be other
influences on sexual orientation. Some of them might be environmental.
For instance, the older brother effect [studies showing the more older
brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be gay] is an environmental
influence. That’s what has happened in the past, in the same womb seems
to influence the sexual orientation of future pregnancies. So, it is
certainly not an all or nothing phenomenon.”
Truth Wins Out's press release also quoted Dr. Marc Breedlove, Michigan State University, Rosenberg Professor of Neuroscience and Dr. Simon LeVay, author of Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation
. They both went into detail about what was omitted by the simplicity of PFOX's billboard.
PFOX's billboard is the latest in a long history of scientific inaccuracies and distortions undertaken by various anti-gay groups to bolster their negative claims against the lgbt community.