which this figure is drawn is so flawed as to be worthless; and,rntwo, that even the statistics that were produced should not bernconsidered as evidence of a behavioral condition called “homosexual.”rn”One in ten” originated with the celebrated Kinsey study ofrnthe 1940’s, which argued that about ten percent of men werernchiefly or exclusively homosexual for at least three years betweenrnthe ages of 16 and 55 (his claims for lesbianism ratesrnamong women were far lower). The original methodology,rnhowever, caused grave concern, not least over the ethical difficultiesrnof reporting children’s sexual responses in conditionsrnwhich have been criticized for violating most accepted standardsrnfor the treatment of child research subjects. Indeed, thernresearch has been denounced as formalized molestation in therndisturbing but well-documented book Kinsey, Sex and Fraud byrnJudith Reisman and Edward Eichel (1990). The study was alsornlikely to produce a sizable overrepresentation of subjects whornreported same-sex contacts both on a sporadic basis and as partrnof a continuing way of life. Kinsey and associates relied chieflyrnon volunteer subjects disproportionately drawn fromrnmetropolitan areas, and active homosexuals were overrepresentedrnin the sample, as were college-educated individuals. Inrnaddition, a substantial number of subjects had institutionalrnbackgrounds, generally in jails or prisons. Later scholars wererndivided over whether the data might usefullv be reinterpreted,rnor if the whole project is beyond salvage.rnAlready by the eady 1970’s, studies using methodologies superiorrnto Kinsey’s found the number of active homosexuals tornbe far less than popularly imagined. The size of the gay populationrnbecame an urgent issue during these years because of thernneed to determine the population at special risk from AIDS,rnand in 1988, the estimated number of gay males in New YorkrnCity alone was revised downward by some 80 percent. Severalrninfluential studies in the early I990’s revised the estimated homosexualityrnrate for men down even further, to between onernand three percent. In 1993, the Alan Guttmacher Institute reportedrnthat between 1.8 and 2.8 percent of men surveyed reportedrnat least one sexual contact with another man in the previousrndecade, while only about one percent had beenrnexclusively homosexual in the previous year. This was in accordrnwith the findings of a national survey recently undertaken inrnFrance. In 1994, a University of Chicago study found that 2.8rnpercent of men and 1.4 percent of women surveyed identifiedrnthemselves as homosexual or bisexual. Though homosexualrnbehavior varied by race and region, a figure approaching tenrnpercent was recorded only for men living in the largest cities.rnPutting these surveys together creates a convincing and surprisingrnpicture. Contrary to Kinsey’s “one in ten,” a figure ofrnone in 30 would offer a more accurate assessment of the malernpopulation that can be described as homosexual or bisexual;rnand one in 60 would best represent the exclusively homosexual.rnThe corresponding figures for women reporting sexual contactsrnwith other women are somewhat lower. The cumulative evidencernis now so overwhelming that any activist claiming thatrnhomosexuals represent “one man in ten” (still less one womanrnin ten) should ipso facto be discredited as an objective or crediblernauthority.rnBut even this improved social scientific evidence does not inrnitself measure the number of “homosexuals.” Clearly,rnthere is a set of behaviors that are generally termed homosexual,rninvolving sexual interest in a person or persons of the samerngender, or a pattern of same-sex contacts. However, it is a longrnway from accepting this fact to believing that there is such a humanrncategory as “homosexuality,” so that being gay is equivalent,rnsay, to being tall, short, strong, bald, or musically inclined.rnIronically, gay polemicists here often depart from the basic leftliberalrnprinciple that our behaviors and attitudes are culturallyrnconstructed, and that there is nothing innate about the characteristicsrnwe take to be normal for men and women, or people ofrndifferent races and nationalities. Being homosexual, however,rnis presented as innate and even hereditary in nature; gays arernborn, not made. In contemporary jargon, gay activists thusrnlapse into “essentialism,” an egregious heresy.rnIn reality, a long anthropological tradition shows that the extentrnand toleration of same-sex contacts is wholly dependentrnon social conditions, and the occurrence of the behavior atrnsome stage of life ranges from near 100 percent in one societyrnto negligible levels in neighboring communities. In our own society,rnsame-gender sexuality is often associated with other behaviors,rnand the adoption of the deviant label “homosexual,”rnbut it is not in others. For this reason alone, we should berndeeply suspicious of recent research purporting to show a predispositionrnto homosexuality, still less a genetic element in itsrntransmission.rnWc do not have to travel to other continents to find examplesrnof homosexual behavior as a culturally determined andrncreated aspect of life, as American prisons offer a classic examplernof a society almost designed to foster sexual intimacy withrnothers of the same gender. Though often consensual, this sexualrnactivity also involves the victimization of many thousandsrnof young men each year. I low many antirapc campaigners everrnacknowledge that the “typical” rape victim in this country isrnmale rather than female, and that such contacts represent arnsubstantial majority of actual (rather than recorded) assaults?rnAs the incarcerated population rises precipitously, so does thisrnhorrendous form of intimate violence. Incidentally, thesernprison contacts also cause havoc for the recent surveys of sexualrnidentity, which rarely ask whether reported same-sex contactsrnoccurred within the forced and unnatural setting of a prison orrncomparable institutional setting.rnWe now have definitive results from the vast behavioral experimentrnunwittingly undertaken by our justice system, inrnwhich millions of young men are placed for years in environmentsrndesigned to foster unhealthy and exploitative sexuality.rnNobody suggests that the men sentenced to prisons are disproportionatelyrnlikely to be homosexual in the outside world, andrnquite the contrary is almost certainly true. In prison, however,rnenvironment and patterns of opportunity determine that arn”normal” group of men temporarily adopt homosexual patternsrnof sexual expression, without necessarily “becoming gay”rnor identifying themselves as homosexual. It would berngrotesque to suggest that only this abominable setting has permittedrnthem to “come out” or find their true sexual identity.rnClearly, the frequency of homosexual behavior can varyrnenormously depending on the degree to which it is seen as normalrnand acceptable, and in appropriate settings, it can reachrnlevels which are either far higher or lower than what we currentlyrnfind. This has many implications, which tend to supportrnconservative stances in debates about, for example, ministriesrnand therapeutic programs aimed to “cure” homosexuals. Thernlatter idea seems a bizarre use of resources, with therapies usuallyrncausing more harm than the “disease” treated, but wouldberncurers are probably right in believing that they are dealingrn16/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn