Can people really be born gay?

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geK0:

Edit: Wikipedia is not a reliable source

First things first? Pleas don't tell me you are one of those that don't trust Wikipedia, and think anything on wikipedia is false information?

Anyways on to the topic.

I think that as with a lot of things in life how your turn out is a combination of both biological and environmental stimuli.

If it was only environmental you should be able to create gay and straight people at will, granted if you cracked the code. And as with a lot of things in psychology this has been proven to be rather hard.
Sure you can suppress the "gayness" in a person through therapy, but that will cause a lot of mental stress in the subject.
The fact that there are next to no evidence of people being "cured" of gayness, tells me that it is founded in biology.

I use the word biology and not genetics, because genetics talks only about the actually genes passed on by our parents. Biology will take things like mutations into mind, and general biological workings of the body.

Sadly I don't know enough about biology to go into that :)

Yes, yes they can. I was, so I speak from personal experience here. And anyone who says that gays are only gay because they had some influence on their early lives... I disagree entirely.

I think by simple observation and logic we can stipulate that while genetics likely does play some role in determining whether a not a person will turn out to be a homosexual, it cannot be the only determining factor.

In any case I understand that science has yet to produce a conclusive answer for why some people are gay and others are not.

As to whether or not a person is going to certainly be gay when they are born I would personally say no but some people might be born with a certain mental disposition that makes them more open to exploring and perhaps embracing some irregular sexuality depending on their social environment and life experiences.

It is likely also fair to say that if a person claims to have been gay but is no longer gay then either they have found a way to control their sexual urges (in the same way that a heterosexual would just with different partners) or that individual was never gay to begin with...just confused.

I do not believe that human sexuality is limited to something so tedious as genetics. Sexuality is something that can change drastically in a person. No one can ever be strictly one thing (gay, straight, bi, pan, etc.). Straight people can find themselves attracted to people of the same gender and vice versa. That being said, while sexuality, in my opinion, is not limited to genetics, there may be a way in which genetics do influence preference. Either way, saying that you were "born that way" is, I suppose, a legitimate explanation, even if it doesn't entirely explain your sexual preference.

Aurgelmir:
First things first? Pleas don't tell me you are one of those that don't trust Wikipedia, and think anything on wikipedia is false information?

No, but some things on Wikipedia are, sometimes even in non-contested items. Aside from the fact that Wikibullshit said somewhere Nietzsche invented the overman the nazis wanted (Nietzsches Overman was the polar opposite of the nazi ideal, any sources indicating different are ussually religious lies, such as 'Harun Yahya' the Turkish hatemonger).
But in an innocent-looking entry about a now deceased Dutch prince, I found a part about him being a fanatical member of the hitler youth movement, complete with a source and all. Said source turned out to be a republican activist who'se never received any eduction regarding journalism or history, caught selling bold faced lies about the Dutch royal family before.
An an entry about horses, how non-contested can it get? Except it said literally it had been thought in the past horseshoes were needed, but they were now never needed at all, citing some vague guru as a source. This is utter bullshit. Horseshoes protect hooves from impact on hard surfaces and even those riding on soft surfaces will sometimes need horseshoes if the hooves of their horse aren't so tough by nature.

So, summarizing this: Wikipedia can be used as an indication, but nothing more. Especially not in a case like this where there are pseudo-scientists active in spreading lies and misinformation (NARTH for example) who can sometimes pass their makebelief as genuine using clever tricks to make their propaganda resemble legitimate publications.

And there are a LOT of idiots trying to fabricate 'proof' that our whole sexuality is a choice, fictional gods are real, and their ideas about sin and virtue are more than evil nonsense.

Rin Little:
It can be genetics or psychology, either way we're still here. I don't think how necessarily makes a difference.

agreed, what does matter to a degree, is that it's a psychological condition independent of choice. That is, Gay people do not choose to be gay.

ReservoirAngel:
Yes, yes they can. I was, so I speak from personal experience here. And anyone who says that gays are only gay because they had some influence on their early lives... I disagree entirely.

but how would you even know? People can't feel sexual attraction that young.

zehydra:
but how would you even know? People can't feel sexual attraction that young.

Not quite true. I remember some preliminary research done on people with bdsm related feelings, which returned most people had memories related to that from before puberty. Not a sexual experience, but often something having to do with ropes or other restraints, and the feeling there was 'something' with that.

Don't know how things stand with other sexual orientations, but this at least would suggest there's some connection with sexuality at a very early age. For one thing it's been noted boys and girls play together to a certain age, I can't remember if it was 4, 5 or 6, and then start to prefer the company of the same sex when it comes to playing, again suggesting there has to be something.

Blablahb:

zehydra:
but how would you even know? People can't feel sexual attraction that young.

Not quite true. I remember some preliminary research done on people with bdsm related feelings, which returned most people had memories related to that from before puberty. Not a sexual experience, but often something having to do with ropes or other restraints, and the feeling there was 'something' with that.

Don't know how things stand with other sexual orientations, but this at least would suggest there's some connection with sexuality at a very early age. For one thing it's been noted boys and girls play together to a certain age, I can't remember if it was 4, 5 or 6, and then start to prefer the company of the same sex when it comes to playing, again suggesting there has to be something.

not at all. Just because boys and girls may prefer to play together doesn't imply sexual feelings.

I found the BDSM thing interesting though. Perhaps the source of the BDSM fetish originates pre-puberty, but once again fetish itself doesn't manifest itself until post-puberty.

As a queer myself, I can tell you that I felt "different" from other boys my age by about ten. I didn't connect it with sexuality until far later, mind you, but I definitely always felt like I wasn't seeing people in the same way. When I finally acknowledged my sexuality a while later, I could definitely look back and see that I had the inklings of this orientation since at least second grade.

I don't buy into a pure genetic cause, but it's definitely not a choice. The truth lies somewhere between the two extremes, or at least as a mixture of both.

zehydra:

ReservoirAngel:
Yes, yes they can. I was, so I speak from personal experience here. And anyone who says that gays are only gay because they had some influence on their early lives... I disagree entirely.

but how would you even know? People can't feel sexual attraction that young.

The gift of hindsight. Back when I was young I wouldn't have been aware of it but when I look back and reflect on my first crush on a dude it goes past the Year 9 crushes I widely state as the first for convenience, all the way back to Junior School to my best friend Jason.

Yeah it wasn't a sexual attraction, but it was a deep attraction nonetheless. Some people call that just strong friendship, but not me.

zehydra:
I found the BDSM thing interesting though. Perhaps the source of the BDSM fetish originates pre-puberty, but once again fetish itself doesn't manifest itself until post-puberty.

I don't seem to remember having a fondness for handcuffs, blindfolds, feathers and chocolate sauce (hooray for giving strangers random insights into my sex life!) until after puberty, so with this one you may have a point.

How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

Really I think the problem is that people, perhaps out of dislike of complexity and nuance, are way too eager to treat human psychology like a panel full of on/off switches, as if gay/straight/bi were discrete states that can be toggled. The brain is analog, so we should expect psychology to be analog.

I strongly suspect that what most people define as "gay" is just a greater than x percent probability that a man will be attracted to another man. I also suspect that willingness to have sex with a guy is on its own separate (but likely connected somehow) scale too, as I've been attracted to guys a few times in my life but never really could see myself getting in bed with one. I also expect that these probabilities change over time.

So yeah, you can be born whatever and you can become whatever. There's no [b_Gay]VALUE[/b_Gay] entry in some xml file in your head. And that b is for "boolean", not "be"

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

Because being black is exactly that: a state of being, not actions tied to it. Being black does not mean any inherent differences in behavior, being gay does.

Jerubbaal:

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

Because being black is exactly that: a state of being, not actions tied to it. Being black does not mean any inherent differences in behavior, being gay does.

Not really, you can be gay and never have a sexual experience with the same sex in your life, and you can be heterosexual and never have a sexual experience with the opposite sex in your life. Who you sleep with does not determine your sexuality, it is simply an act derived from your sexuality developed as an individual. A man can be wholly attracted to females throughout the course of his entire life, but never get the opportunity to have sexual relations with any of them, just like he can be attracted to males in the same way, but never get the opportunity for sexual relations either.

Determining sexuality by one's sexual relations with others is hardly a in-depth determination of that rather complex concept.

Jerubbaal:

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

Because being black is exactly that: a state of being, not actions tied to it. Being black does not mean any inherent differences in behavior, being gay does.

And being gay is exactly that as well, it's a state of being that no one has any control over, you couldn't decide to be gay any more then you could decide to be a hippo, you're either born that way or you aren't.

ReservoirAngel:

zehydra:
I found the BDSM thing interesting though. Perhaps the source of the BDSM fetish originates pre-puberty, but once again fetish itself doesn't manifest itself until post-puberty.

I don't seem to remember having a fondness for handcuffs, blindfolds, feathers and chocolate sauce (hooray for giving strangers random insights into my sex life!) until after puberty, so with this one you may have a point.

I clearly remember being fascinated with pain, and with restriction, since the earliest days of my childhood, so i don't think he does.

I probably didn't sexualize it until puberty, sure, but i think there was a definite causal connection, and i don't think anything could have prevented or changed the way i eventually ended up feeling about BSM.

Ampersand:

And being gay is exactly that as well, it's a state of being that no one has any control over, you couldn't decide to be gay any more then you could decide to be a hippo, you're either born that way or you aren't.

people generally don't decide to get pancreatic cancer, but they certainly aren't "born that way". there are other potential causal factors at play here besides prenatal ones.

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

What?!? this doesn't even make sense.... is that a serious argument?

geK0:

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

What?!? this doesn't even make sense.... is that a serious argument?

You're one to talk, I seriously had to check myself to make sure you weren't joking when I read you're forum title. :-/
... and no it's not an argument, a silly question deserves a silly answer. So there you go.

cobra_ky:

Ampersand:

And being gay is exactly that as well, it's a state of being that no one has any control over, you couldn't decide to be gay any more then you could decide to be a hippo, you're either born that way or you aren't.

people generally don't decide to get pancreatic cancer, but they certainly aren't "born that way". there are other potential causal factors at play here besides prenatal ones.

For the last time. The factors(of which there are many) that influence whether or not a child is born gay have already taken place before birth. So you can put your mind at ease that you can't catch "the gay".
Props for the extremely ignorant and intentionally offensives simile by the way.

geK0:
What?!? this doesn't even make sense.... is that a serious argument?

Well, skin colour, like sexuality, is present at birth. Applying whatever rhetoric homophobics use to skin colour, is an excellent way of showing how ridiculous their views are

For example:
Can you imagine the KKK stating in an interview "We don't hate niggers, no sir. We just disapprove of anyone who chooses to have and express a black skin colour. It is sinful. They should refrain from choosing to be black and everything would be okay."

The exact excuse homophobics use, but now applied to race, and suddenly everyone sees in an instant how ridiculous the excuse truly is.

Rin Little:
It can be genetics or psychology, either way we're still here. I don't think how necessarily makes a difference.

Actually it does. If it can be proven it's not just psychological then there's a way stronger case against the opposition.

Rin Little:
It can be genetics or psychology, either way we're still here. I don't think how necessarily makes a difference.

Basically all that requires to be said. I certainly didn't feel like it was my choice either, it just happens.

Blablahb:

geK0:
What?!? this doesn't even make sense.... is that a serious argument?

Well, skin colour, like sexuality, is present at birth. Applying whatever rhetoric homophobics use to skin colour, is an excellent way of showing how ridiculous their views are

For example:
Can you imagine the KKK stating in an interview "We don't hate niggers, no sir. We just disapprove of anyone who chooses to have and express a black skin colour. It is sinful. They should refrain from choosing to be black and everything would be okay."

The exact excuse homophobics use, but now applied to race, and suddenly everyone sees in an instant how ridiculous the excuse truly is.

It's a completely different thing!
I'm not going to just accept something as a fact because it's "politically correct", it just doesn't seem very likely at all that somebody can be born gay; maybe that somebody can be born with a higher likelihood of being gay but that's different.
Is it really so much better to believe that gays are born fundamentally different from straights than it is to believe that there's external influences? Does that really make me a homophobe, despite having no negative feelings towards homosexuality?
FYI I never said anything about homosexuality being 'sinful'.

Ampersand:

geK0:

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

What?!? this doesn't even make sense.... is that a serious argument?

You're one to talk, I seriously had to check myself to make sure you weren't joking when I read you're forum title. :-/
... and no it's not an argument, a silly question deserves a silly answer. So there you go.

Thought so... (I admit I lold)
And I resent that! I mean, I've given the research serious consideration and have just come to the conclusion that, while there might be some influence on sexuality before birth, that it's unlikely for somebody to simply be born that way. The research shows it as a possibility but we don't know enough about it yet to consider it a fact.

Digitaldreamer7:

Rin Little:
It can be genetics or psychology, either way we're still here. I don't think how necessarily makes a difference.

Actually it does. If it can be proven it's not just psychological then there's a way stronger case against the opposition.

We shouldn't have to pull this out as a case against the opposition. That's my point, we shouldn't have to justify our existence, and its degrading that that's the only real reason that any research has been done on it at all. It's not out of simple curiosity, it's out of a want to have an edge over one side or the other.

Rin Little:

Digitaldreamer7:

Rin Little:
It can be genetics or psychology, either way we're still here. I don't think how necessarily makes a difference.

Actually it does. If it can be proven it's not just psychological then there's a way stronger case against the opposition.

We shouldn't have to pull this out as a case against the opposition. That's my point, we shouldn't have to justify our existence, and its degrading that that's the only real reason that any research has been done on it at all. It's not out of simple curiosity, it's out of a want to have an edge over one side or the other.

That's EXACTLY what bothers me about all this!

geK0:
It's a completely different thing!

No, it's the exact same kind of hatred. In both cases people are hated and discriminated against over an unchangeable characteristic of themselves. That's why drawing comparisons between them is so easy, and fitting.

geK0:
I'm not going to just accept something as a fact because it's "politically correct", it just doesn't seem very likely at all that somebody can be born gay; maybe that somebody can be born with a higher likelihood of being gay but that's different.
Is it really so much better to believe that gays are born fundamentally different from straights than it is to believe that there's external influences?

I don't see where you're going with this. Obviously things like hormone expose in the womb is an external influence, this too however results in birth with a specific sexual orientation.

And since several of those causes present at birth have been proven, the debate is over. Whatever else may or may not be at play, sexual orientation is determined at birth.

And I don't see why anyone would want to deny that, except if it's to keep the weak 'but it's a choice' excuse for homophobia alive. I mean, it's not like it's a question anymore, it's been established there's various causes that determine sexual orientation which is present at birth. Even if a later determining factor would be proven, it doesn't negate the other factors, and it doesn't turn sexuality into a choice.

So, what's the relevance of the paragraph I quoted? I don't really see where you were going with that.

Falconsgyre:
snip

I keep trying to reply line by line, but it ends being enormous and I keep giving up, so in very brief.

* I didn't really think of myself as putting forward a behaviourist argument, but I don't really see the problem with behaviourism when applied to animals. If you can think of an example of an animal's internal feeling not manifesting itself behaviourally, then it becomes more problematic but I can't think of one.

* I think you underestimate behaviourism a little. Behaviourism doesn't mean refusing to accept the existence of learned responses, indeed it strikes me that the most famous behaviourist experiments are about creating learned responses in animals. This doesn't mean animals are capable of abstract or symbolic thought.

* While a very small number of animals (apes and parrots) and pre-linguistic babies can be taught to form signs which connect to physical objects (i.e. saying 'mama') they are not capable of substituting the physical object with the sign. 'Mama' does not (yet) mean 'someone else's mother' or 'the maternal relationship', it means one particular distinct physical person. If 'mama' is used to describe something else it is because something tangiable about the situation reminds the baby of that one person.

Thus, while I have no doubt my dog has a conception of me, it's not an abstract conception. It's based on my presence, or things which remind the dog of my presence, not on any intangible quality I possess. If I go out and leave it alone, my dog cannot use its conception of me to imagine what I would do were I present. It will never project its fear onto me to defend itself, or come to see me as a 'bad' owner (possessing an intangible quality of badness) because I leave it alone. When I leave it is sad, when I come back it is happy, nothing short of actual physical abuse or neglect will change that.

Ultimately, claiming that animals consciously recognize 'sex' only works if sex possesses universal and tangible physical attributes, which in most animals it doesn't. Sex refers to a generalization and centralization of particular highly variable attributes. The fact that animals can detect the presence or absence of those attributes doesn't mean they understand sex. Human sex is socially imposed at the point where a doctor examines the genitals, the weighting given to the genitals in this case is not intrinsic. The fact that I have a penis (which I don't think either of them have ever seen) is not necessarily more important in determining 'who I am' to my dogs than the fact that I have a big nose.

The discovery of genital 'similarity' and 'difference' is a distinct point in child socialization. It's not something everyone is born with.

Ampersand:
How come no one ever asks "Can people really be born black?"?......
Oh right, its because that would be stupid.....much the same as this.
Think before you say things.

Because thats an absurd question. Its like asking, "can people really be born with a certain color of eyes?" Appearance is one thing but being born a certain race doesnt really affect you psychologically by virtue of being born a member of a certain race. Homosexuality is not a race and its not a matter of appearance so the comparison is not appropriate.

Rin Little:

Digitaldreamer7:

Rin Little:
It can be genetics or psychology, either way we're still here. I don't think how necessarily makes a difference.

Actually it does. If it can be proven it's not just psychological then there's a way stronger case against the opposition.

We shouldn't have to pull this out as a case against the opposition. That's my point, we shouldn't have to justify our existence, and its degrading that that's the only real reason that any research has been done on it at all. It's not out of simple curiosity, it's out of a want to have an edge over one side or the other.

Actually I am genuinely curious. I would like to be able to form views based on accurate information not speculation.

Seekster:
Homosexuality is not a race and its not a matter of appearance so the comparison is not appropriate.

Like skin colour however, it is an unchangeable feat of a person, present at birth. Therefore the comparison is perfect.

All the more because homophobics often use the lame excuse that sexuality is a choice, and then they claim that they don't condemn the person, but condemn 'the behaviour'.

Then we can draw the comparison with someone saying he doesn't hate black people, but does hate people who choose to have and continue to express having a black skin colour. Everyone instantly realises how ridiculous the reasoning is, and anything left unclear about how wrong homophobics are is immediatly solved.

Are people born gay? Not exactly, since babies and children aren't sexually active. Nobody is born formed gay or straight. But are people born with the innate attributes that will result in them becoming gay once they actually develop sexuality? Certainly. It quite clearly has a large genetic component, as observed with twin studies and siblings. Additionally, hormone levels during pregnancy probably play a large role, which isn't genetic but still not "choice" or "behaviour". Is there a later environmental effect as well? Probably. I do not think anything is completely predetermined by genetics as genetics aren't blue prints. But is a large part of it influenced this way? I think there can't really be any doubt. You won't find a "gay gene", though, because sexuality is far too complex to be determined by just one gene. More likely, it's very multifactorial, with a number of genes having a small effect and the sum of them being the genetic influence on sexuality. Especially since sexuality isn't as simple as a gay or straight switch. It's more of a spectrum.

Ok, free will and determinism are an inherent mental part of being human. We all accept this problem and only philosophers really nit-pick about it (and rightly so).

When I want to fuck a woman is it because I freely want to or because I am determined? Am I freely choosing to fuck her or is it because my balls short-circuited my mind and I am a zombie fucking machine? The fact that I like her heavy breasts, now is that because I am genetically programmed to prioritise a milk-giving mother for my future kids?

Who cares?

We all accept the fact that I wanna fuck a woman as normal. We can debate about the free will, and the determinism, and whether my balls or my brain acted first. We can debate about all this stuff but no-one questions whether it is right or wrong for a man to lay with a woman; and this morally acceptable fact seems to come before questions of free-will and determinism.

Except with gays. Suddenly their sexuality is central in the debate on free will and determinism in a way that it isn't with straight folks. And these strange free-will versus determinism arguments are used against gays all the time in a way that they are not with heterosexuals.

It just seems hypocritical to me to use legitimate philosophical issues so politically selectively.

If we are gonna play free will versus determinism games then it must be universally applied to all sexualities and not just gays.

Regards

Nightspore

Nightspore:
*snip*

To be fair, plenty of people (myself included) would argue that we never actively chose to be attracted to members of the opposite sex, just as we think that homosexuals generally did not actively choose to be attracted to their own sex, so you can't really fault us in regards to consistency. Was there ever any time in your life where you made a conscious decision? My memory is certainly fuzzy, but I'm quite sure that my first boner at the sight of breasts came on its own without my decision.

Blablahb:

Seekster:
Homosexuality is not a race and its not a matter of appearance so the comparison is not appropriate.

Like skin colour however, it is an unchangeable feat of a person, present at birth. Therefore the comparison is perfect.

All the more because homophobics often use the lame excuse that sexuality is a choice, and then they claim that they don't condemn the person, but condemn 'the behaviour'.

Then we can draw the comparison with someone saying he doesn't hate black people, but does hate people who choose to have and continue to express having a black skin colour. Everyone instantly realises how ridiculous the reasoning is, and anything left unclear about how wrong homophobics are is immediatly solved.

I am fairly sure there is technology out there that lets you change your skin color. In any case no its not an appropriate comparison, race is a matter of appearance while homosexuality is a matter of behavior.

"All the more because homophobics often use the lame excuse that sexuality is a choice, and then they claim that they don't condemn the person, but condemn 'the behaviour'."

Well the behavior is the only thing most people are going to object to. Certain behavior actually IS a choice. I think I heard a story recently where two lesbians were kicked off an airplane after passengers complained about them making out or something like that. I would like to think that such public displays of affection would be addressed regardless of sexuality but my point here is that it was absolutely a choice for those two to make out when and where they did. (I think the lesbians are actually getting a lawyer claiming that the airline discriminated against them).

"Then we can draw the comparison with someone saying he doesn't hate black people, but does hate people who choose to have and continue to express having a black skin colour."

Again, that comparison doesnt work. How would you even express having a black skin color? I mean if we are talking rap, white people do that too so...

I think we can all agree homophobes are wrong, we just disagree on what is and is not homophobic.

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