Ben Carson apologized for implying that changes in sexual orientation in prison prove homosexuality is a choice. Although the former neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential hopeful regrets the divisive nature of his comments, he still insists that there are no definitive studies showing that homosexuality is something people are born with. The American Psychological Association disagrees.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Ben Carson said on Chris Cuomo’s New Day people can change their sexual orientation, just look at prison inmates.
“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
According to CNN, Ben Carson released a statement apologizing for the way he phrased his comments.
“[I] realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues. I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”
Although Dr. Carson apologized, he’s still insisting that the basic premise is correct.
“Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality.”
PolitiFact checked Ben Carson’s comments soon after his television appearance.
The fact checkers found that Carson’s original statement on CNN is false, likewise, experts in the field of psychology have concluded that although many factors contribute to sexual orientation, free will is not one of them.
Criminal justice professor Christopher Hensley explained that “Carson is taking a simplistic view of sexuality.”
He went on to say that some inmates are unaware they’re gay until they spend time in prison. Others suffer rape or other forms sexual coercion that leave people confused about their orientation.
In a study of 142 inmates, Hensley found 24 changed their preferences during incarceration, the most common situation was changing from straight to bisexual, but he insists the research does not support Ben Carson’s claims.
As for sexuality being a choice and there being “no definitive studies” to prove otherwise, the American Psychological Association says the exact opposite according to PolitiFact. The organization says many factors go into someone’s sexual identity, but choice isn’t one of them.
One expert, Greg Herek from the University of California Davis, pointed to at least one study showing that the majority of LGBT people did not feel their orientation was by choice. Likewise, case studies of boys who had to undergo a sex change early in life (for medical reasons) would later grow up as women who were attracted to other women, leaving the impression that sexual preference is deeply rooted from birth.
Ben Carson may regret his wording, but his views on the subject remain clear, another thing for voters to consider as he prepares for his run for the presidency.
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