Neuroscientist to Explore Science of Sexuality

October 1, 2012 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

What causes a person to grow up gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight?

Neuroscientist Simon LeVay has been at the center of this controversy since 1991, when he reported on a difference in brain structure between gay and straight men.

On Tuesday, October 9, at Elmhurst College, LeVay will provide an update on the science, and discuss whether scientific knowledge about sexuality is relevant to the societal status of sexual minorities. His talk, The Science of Sexual Orientation, is this year’s William R. Johnson Intercultural Lecture.

LeVay trained at Cambridge University and served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In 1991, he reported on a difference in the brain structures of gay and straight men in a much-publicized study in Science. Since then, an entire scientific discipline has sprung up around the quest for a biological explanation of sexual orientation.

In his most recent book, Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation (Oxford University Press, 2011), LeVay explains where the science stands today through visits to laboratories that specialize in genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology and family demographics.

The Science of Sexual Orientation will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 4:00 p.m. in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center. A book signing will follow the lecture. Admission is $10 for the general public and free for Elmhurst College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available at the door or online. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.

The William R. Johnson Intercultural Lecture was established in 2011 in honor of esteemed alumnus the Reverend Dr. William R. Johnson ’68. Johnson is vice president for member relations at the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ. In 1972, he became the first openly gay person in modern history to gain ordination to the mainstream Christian ministry.

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