If he's right, it could be a big help to families like the Hawkins, whose struggle with their son's homosexuality in a community that didn't accept him led to years of agony. Deborah has now set up a Web site called www.isyourchildgay.com to help other parents of gay children. And if science does find that genetic link, could there one day be a test that will tell parents their baby's sexual identity in the womb so they could, perhaps, change it? Cindy O'Connor would never have considered it.
"I would say no to a patch or something," she insisted. "I wouldn't have cared. He's who he is. It doesn't matter."
She is proud Zach, who's become a hero in his community for his personal journey.
For many other kids and their parents, it's difficult to face being different. David Hawkins says he hopes science will soon solve this medical mystery, to help kids like him understand why they are gay.
"I think it will give gay children something to hold onto," he says. "Something to say, 'I had no choice in this.' Because that was one of the hardest part, the fight between, am I or aren't I?"
Deborah Hawkins' Web site: www.isyourchildgay.com
The Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Center: http://www.ligaly.org