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September 11, 1996

Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research on Homosexuality

Author Affiliations

Loyola University School of Medicine Maywood, Ill

JAMA. 1996;276(10):836-837. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540100080037

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The author of Queer Science, until recently a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute in San Diego, Calif, researched and in 1991 published in Science his admittedly inconclusive report. In a small postmortem study of the brains of 13 homosexual men with AIDS, he found the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH) was smaller in some than the INAH of comparable heterosexual males. Although limiting factors were the small sample size, the diagnosis of AIDS, and medications used, the as yet unreplicated findings did stir up renewed interest and longstanding academic, social, personal, philosophical, moral, media, and legal questions about a possible anatomic cause of homosexual orientation (gender identity and feelings). The 295-page text has 50 additional pages of references and notes. It attempts to gather the research objectively, while the message comes through strongly: gays are born that way.

The title's "Queer" may perhaps be trendy, cute, or tongue-in-cheek