Making "Ex-Gay" Sheep

By Henderson, William | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), September 12, 2006 | Go to article overview

Making "Ex-Gay" Sheep


Henderson, William, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


If there are gay sheep, can there also be ex-gay sheep. At Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon State University, researchers are exploring ways to reform rams that love other rams, and they have come under fire from an animal rights group that wants the gay sheep left alone.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, both studies rely on finding rams that regularly attempt to mate with other rams and then experimenting on them. Charles Roselli, a physiology and pharmacology professor at OHSU, is dissecting the brains of so-called "male-oriented" rams in search of a hormonal explanation for their homosexual behavior. His collaborator at OSU, animal sciences professor Fredrick Stormshak, operates on gay male sheep to surgically implant a device to release estrogen--an effort, the researchers wrote, "to restore tissue levels of estrogen comparable to those of heterosexual rams and affect sexual behavior accordingly."

In other words, to turn gay rams straight.

In separate letters in July, PETA urged the two universities to shut down their federally funded studies that seek to discover, as the researchers wrote, "whether sexual preferences can be altered. …

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