We live in a society obsessed with tracing the cause of homosexuality. Is there a gene that can be identified? Or do the origins lie outside of biology in the cultural context of childhood or adolescence? Most importantly, should we care about any of these questions?
Drawing on their own work with gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as well as other pertinent studies, psychoanalysts Bertram J. Cohler and Robert Galatzer-Levy have written a groundbreaking work that examines how psychological development and clinical intervention as well as social and historical change across generations contribute to how we think about sexuality. The authors argue that there is little support for assuming that homosexuality has a biological basis. Recognizing the many pathways that lead to same-gender sexual orientation, the authors conclude that the cause is much less important than understanding the meaning of being homosexual. They consider the destructive nature of an intolerant society that fosters so-called conversion psychotherapy and stress the importance of helping to rebuild a sense of coherence and personal integrity among homosexuals.