1. Dr. Dick Frans Swaab is a Dutch neurobiologist and professor at the University of Amsterdam, well-known for his work in the field of brain anatomy and physiology.
2. His latest book, We Are Our Brains, argues that smoking or drinking during pregnancy can affect your child’s sexual orientation.
3. A description of the book reads:
Moving beyond pure biological understanding, Swaab presents a controversial and multilayered ethical argument surrounding the brain. Far from possessing true free will, Swaab argues, we have very little control over our everyday decisions, or who we will become, because our brains predetermine everything about us, long before we are born, from our moral character to our religious leanings to whom we fall in love with.
4. Swaab suggests that, “Pre-birth exposure to both nicotine and amphetamines increases the chance of lesbian daughters.”
5. He also claims stress can lead to this outcome: “Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to have homosexual children of both genders because their raised level of the stress hormone cortisol affects the production of fetal sex hormones.”
6. Swaab holds the controversial belief that our brain structure determines who we are later in life – that it is nature, not nurture, which shapes our future behavior.
7. During an interview in December of 2013, he admitted his opinions on sexual orientation have led to heated backlash, demonstrations, and even some death threats.
“Weeks and weeks of telephone terror, day and night. Bomb threats in the house, bomb threats in the institute […] so that was more difficult to handle.”