Can people really be born gay?

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

And I don't think either of you is right.

Homophobia means one of two things.

a) An anxiety response which people (straight men in particular) feel when confronted with evidence or allegations of homosexuality, due to the emergence of the repressed possibility for homosexuality (or the imagined consequences of being seen as such) in themselves. This results in the projection of the feared or imagined negative consequences of being 'outed' onto other people, whether they are actually gay or not.

Homophobia in this sense manifests itself extremely broadly. Any situation in which (either explicitly or implicitly) homosexuality is devalued or erased to enshrine either the valuation or normalcy of 'real men' or 'real women' can be described as homophobic.

b) A response to the imagined social thread of homosexuality to valued social concepts, the idea (explicit or implicit) that homosexuality is dangerous or threatening to 'normal' society. A good example would be the moral panic around the AIDS crisis, or conservative family values rhetoric in general.

If you want the word homophobia to have an extremely limited meaning, well, it kind of doesn't. The gay liberationists who made it up intended it to apply to just about everyone, anyone who has ever used their gender conformity to gain an advantage, anyone who has even casually implied non-conformity as an insult or a weakness, anyone who has ever felt shocked or anxious or angry at the violation of sexual or gender norms.

The airline case you bring up is completely standard. Unless they were actively fingering each other in public, it's extremely likely to have been homophobically motivated. People will complain when they see gays and lesbians making out because it makes them feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is not a neutral emotion, in fact it's exactly what homophobia is.

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

I have to disagree.

What children feel may not be intelligible as sexual attraction in the coherent, adult sense (particularly for girls who have to undergo a pretty huge reworking of their infant inclinations in order to become heterosexual adults) but children and even babies have a fully formed sexual response from pretty much the time they pop out of the womb.

It's silly to imagine that these early erections, accidental (or deliberate) masturbation, early physical play and other pleasurable activities, and even more importantly the absorbition of social guilt and taboos around them, don't in any way colour the psyche of the children in question.

I would be interested in learning:

1. Independent of any political consideration, where homosexuality falls on the nature-nurture axis? In other words, whatever the implications what does science say?

2. What is the position on this issue taken by homosexual institutions like GLAAD?

evilthecat:

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

And I don't think either of you is right.

Homophobia means one of two things.

a) An anxiety response which people (straight men in particular) feel when confronted with evidence or allegations of homosexuality, due to the emergence of the repressed possibility for homosexuality (or the imagined consequences of being seen as such) in themselves. This results in the projection of the feared or imagined negative consequences of being 'outed' onto other people, whether they are actually gay or not.

Homophobia in this sense manifests itself extremely broadly. Any situation in which (either explicitly or implicitly) homosexuality is devalued or erased to enshrine either the valuation or normalcy of 'real men' or 'real women' can be described as homophobic.

b) A response to the imagined social thread of homosexuality to valued social concepts, the idea (explicit or implicit) that homosexuality is dangerous or threatening to 'normal' society. A good example would be the moral panic around the AIDS crisis, or conservative family values rhetoric in general.

If you want the word homophobia to have an extremely limited meaning, well, it kind of doesn't. The gay liberationists who made it up intended it to apply to just about everyone, anyone who has ever used their gender conformity to gain an advantage, anyone who has even casually implied non-conformity as an insult or a weakness, anyone who has ever felt shocked or anxious or angry at the violation of sexual or gender norms.

The airline case you bring up is completely standard. Unless they were actively fingering each other in public, it's extremely likely to have been homophobically motivated. People will complain when they see gays and lesbians making out because it makes them feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is not a neutral emotion, in fact it's exactly what homophobia is.

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

I have to disagree.

What children feel may not be intelligible as sexual attraction in the coherent, adult sense (particularly for girls who have to undergo a pretty huge reworking of their infant inclinations in order to become heterosexual adults) but children and even babies have a fully formed sexual response from pretty much the time they pop out of the womb.

It's silly to imagine that these early erections, accidental (or deliberate) masturbation, early physical play and other pleasurable activities, and even more importantly the absorbition of social guilt and taboos around them, don't in any way colour the psyche of the children in question.

I disagree with both of the points you made with me.

I cant go into details due to time but I think Case A is drastically overstates (if you oppose things like same-sex marriage or if you arent comfortable with homosexuality you might be homosexual yourself). There is a simple test for this if you are a guy.

1. Do you find women sexually attractive?

2. Do you find men sexually attractive?

If you honestly answered yes to 1 and no to 2 then you are straight and you can contently ignore the ignorant blathering of those who accuse you of being homosexual yourself.

For case B in some cases like with AIDs I kinda agree with you but there are legitimate concerns about what happens to the morality of a society that views homosexual relationships as completely normal and acceptable or more importantly what else that then opens the door for (no people arent going to be marrying trucks or anything like that...at least I dont think so, anyway I do not advocate that typical slippery slope argument).

"If you want the word homophobia to have an extremely limited meaning, well, it kind of doesn't. The gay liberationists who made it up intended it to apply to just about everyone, anyone who has ever used their gender conformity to gain an advantage, anyone who has even casually implied non-conformity as an insult or a weakness, anyone who has ever felt shocked or anxious or angry at the violation of sexual or gender norms."

I read this as:

"The word "homophobia" is basically a buzz word created to discredit and label those you disagree with without actually addressing the points of their argument...if they actually have points at least."

For groups like WBC I completely agree that the word "homophobic" should apply. For people who arent all that comfortable seeing two girls making out on an airplane it does not apply (at least based on what you know there you cant say for sure if its actual homophobia or just the general American view towards certain displays of public affection).

I may look for that story again but I am almost certain that the couple was asked politely to stop at least once before being removed from the flight after they persisted. In this case its not so much an issue of who these two girls were but what they were doing.

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.

geK0:

Rin Little:

Digitaldreamer7:

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!

And I agree with you completely. 100% you shouldn't have to justify your existence. BUT there are religious groups and some countries with laws that will treat you as second class citizens unless you prove your case. It's not fair, it is a violation of your rights as a human being, but, unfortunately it is the way it is. Homosexuals are looked at as less then human, as an abomination because of religious beliefs and other laws. Finding a genetic cause etc is a double edged sword though. I believe it will bring about more rights for homosexuals, but also bring about more "christian scientists" trying to "cure the gay" so to speak. You will never win with the religious, but at least you can have the rights you deserve.

Seekster:

evilthecat:

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

And I don't think either of you is right.

Homophobia means one of two things.

a) An anxiety response which people (straight men in particular) feel when confronted with evidence or allegations of homosexuality, due to the emergence of the repressed possibility for homosexuality (or the imagined consequences of being seen as such) in themselves. This results in the projection of the feared or imagined negative consequences of being 'outed' onto other people, whether they are actually gay or not.

Homophobia in this sense manifests itself extremely broadly. Any situation in which (either explicitly or implicitly) homosexuality is devalued or erased to enshrine either the valuation or normalcy of 'real men' or 'real women' can be described as homophobic.

b) A response to the imagined social thread of homosexuality to valued social concepts, the idea (explicit or implicit) that homosexuality is dangerous or threatening to 'normal' society. A good example would be the moral panic around the AIDS crisis, or conservative family values rhetoric in general.

If you want the word homophobia to have an extremely limited meaning, well, it kind of doesn't. The gay liberationists who made it up intended it to apply to just about everyone, anyone who has ever used their gender conformity to gain an advantage, anyone who has even casually implied non-conformity as an insult or a weakness, anyone who has ever felt shocked or anxious or angry at the violation of sexual or gender norms.

The airline case you bring up is completely standard. Unless they were actively fingering each other in public, it's extremely likely to have been homophobically motivated. People will complain when they see gays and lesbians making out because it makes them feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is not a neutral emotion, in fact it's exactly what homophobia is.

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

I have to disagree.

What children feel may not be intelligible as sexual attraction in the coherent, adult sense (particularly for girls who have to undergo a pretty huge reworking of their infant inclinations in order to become heterosexual adults) but children and even babies have a fully formed sexual response from pretty much the time they pop out of the womb.

It's silly to imagine that these early erections, accidental (or deliberate) masturbation, early physical play and other pleasurable activities, and even more importantly the absorbition of social guilt and taboos around them, don't in any way colour the psyche of the children in question.

I disagree with both of the points you made with me.

I cant go into details due to time but I think Case A is drastically overstates (if you oppose things like same-sex marriage or if you arent comfortable with homosexuality you might be homosexual yourself). There is a simple test for this if you are a guy.

1. Do you find women sexually attractive?

2. Do you find men sexually attractive?

If you honestly answered yes to 1 and no to 2 then you are straight and you can contently ignore the ignorant blathering of those who accuse you of being homosexual yourself.

For case B in some cases like with AIDs I kinda agree with you but there are legitimate concerns about what happens to the morality of a society that views homosexual relationships as completely normal and acceptable or more importantly what else that then opens the door for (no people arent going to be marrying trucks or anything like that...at least I dont think so, anyway I do not advocate that typical slippery slope argument).

"If you want the word homophobia to have an extremely limited meaning, well, it kind of doesn't. The gay liberationists who made it up intended it to apply to just about everyone, anyone who has ever used their gender conformity to gain an advantage, anyone who has even casually implied non-conformity as an insult or a weakness, anyone who has ever felt shocked or anxious or angry at the violation of sexual or gender norms."

I read this as:

"The word "homophobia" is basically a buzz word created to discredit and label those you disagree with without actually addressing the points of their argument...if they actually have points at least."

For groups like WBC I completely agree that the word "homophobic" should apply. For people who arent all that comfortable seeing two girls making out on an airplane it does not apply (at least based on what you know there you cant say for sure if its actual homophobia or just the general American view towards certain displays of public affection).

I may look for that story again but I am almost certain that the couple was asked politely to stop at least once before being removed from the flight after they persisted. In this case its not so much an issue of who these two girls were but what they were doing.

Well, it depends on where you get your morals from. If you are religious you get your morals from fairy tale book, then yea, you are going to have some issues accepting people for who they are. It comes with being religious. Since everyone doesnt believe the same we shouldn't use old books to create our laws or morals. Im 100% for homosexuals being treated with respect and given the rights they deserve. I'm 100% AGAINST gay pride parades, inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay), and the oversexualizing and in-your-face style of the homosexual culture. I can't stand people who define themselves by their sexuality and find those people to be pretty sad and empty. You aren't you just because you are gay/lesbian. You are you for other reasons as well. Sexuality is but a small piece of who a person is. Yes, it may define some of your characheristics, but it doesn't define you completely.

Digitaldreamer7:
You will never win with the religious, but at least you can have the rights you deserve.

Bishop Gene Robinson would beg to disagree with that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Robinson

EDIT: So would all of these groups.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations

I understand where you're coming from, but creating false dichotomies like this are only making things worse.

no it doesn't matter. however in my group of friends we had a buddy who came out in high school. being a career people watcher I can tell with 100% certainty that he enjoyed conversation topics a girl would like more, his interests in sports and pop culture were not "manly," his mannerism and speech were feminine, you know little things (or maybe not so little to all the people who gave him shit over it). Frankly, I'm certain he was gay the whooooole time. This is without the friends I have nowadays that are gay telling me they always knew.

Why would I deny my own observations or their own words?

who cares? good people deserve good treatment.

Digitaldreamer7:
Im 100% for homosexuals being treated with respect and given the rights they deserve. I'm 100% AGAINST gay pride parades, inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay), and the oversexualizing and in-your-face style of the homosexual culture. I can't stand people who define themselves by their sexuality and find those people to be pretty sad and empty. You aren't you just because you are gay/lesbian. You are you for other reasons as well. Sexuality is but a small piece of who a person is. Yes, it may define some of your characheristics, but it doesn't define you completely.

If you removed the ignorant anti-religious comments from your post so that it just read as the quoted bit above, I would agree with you 110%.

You are not your gender, you are not your race, your are not your sexual orientation, you are not your political affiliation, you are not your religion, you are not your nation, you are YOU.

geK0:

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:

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.

While you were doing this research did you ever think to ask a homosexual? They'll generally tell you that they were always gay, it's not something that happens to them at some point.

Seekster:

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:

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.

Fine then i'll simplify it for you:
if you're a man, it's because you're born a man. If you're a woman it's because you're born a woman. If you're gay it's because you're born gay.

Seekster:
If you honestly answered yes to 1 and no to 2 then you are straight and you can contently ignore the ignorant blathering of those who accuse you of being homosexual yourself.

Ooh, I kind of knew that was going to happen at some point. Actually because it's happened to me before when I tried to explain homophobia, so I really shouldn't be surprised.

1) Evidence actually highlights the possibility that homophobia responses are related to repressed same-sex arousal. Now, I'm not going to take one really questionable study as fact after hating on so many for presenting themselves as such, but it's something to think about.

(Actually, I'll state my big problem right here. They aren't reporting it in any media attention given to that article, but the study actually found that all the men observed were aroused by all types of porn to a greater or lesser degree. That seems a pretty critical fact to leave out.)

2) You've missed the point and ironically given your earlier argument you're treating homosexuality and heterosexuality as completely discreet and immutable natural phenomena. The theoretical foundations of homophobia actually assume that they're not.

The fact that you immediately assume that any question as to your complete and abiding heterosexuality means you're being accused of being gay (not you specifically I should add) is much more revealing as to a potential homophobic response than anything else, and once again reminds me why I find this whole discussion of natural discrepancy so distasteful, because while some homophobes do want to erase the possibility of their being such a thing as a 'natural' same sex desire, absolute distinction is also deeply alluring to the homophobic mind.

What homophobes want is for there to be no possibility that any same sex desire could ever infiltrate their lives at any point. The fear which you've misinterpreted as a fear of a 'real' homosexuality which must exist, is a fear of the possibility of either being gay or of losing access to the social rewards of being regarded as straight.

Seekster:
For case B in some cases like with AIDs I kinda agree with you but there are legitimate concerns about what happens to the morality of a society that views homosexual relationships as completely normal and acceptable or more importantly what else that then opens the door for.

I don't see those concerns as legitimate. I think you have to live in a fairly arbitrary moral universe to see them as such.

Seekster:
"The word "homophobia" is basically a buzz word created to discredit and label those you disagree with without actually addressing the points of their argument...if they actually have points at least."

This is where I should probably explain gay liberation.

Gay liberation was a response to the argument that homosexuality constituted an illness, or that people who engaged in homosexual acts were deranged or sick. This was used, as you know, not just to "discredit" and "label" those people but also to physically confine them to mental institutions and perform invasive procedures like lobotomies and genital mutilation.

Gay liberationists countered this argument by claiming that they knew they weren't sick, which meant that if the majority of society was so willing to believe that they were then the majority of society itself must be suffering from a mental disorder, not recognized as such because it was so widespread as to be 'normal' behaviour. That social disorder is called homophobia, it prime symptom is the overarching and constant valuation of sex complementarity, rigid sex roles and heterosexuality and the devaluation, suspicion, fear or mistrust of alternatives.

Make all the accusations you want, the implications of anti-homophobic analysis were sown by straight people in their treatment of homosexuality. If you approach that treatment from the perspective that homosexuality is not arbitrarily 'wrong', then it is logical to conclude that the people who carried it out were themselves deluded and acted primarily to cater to and shore up their own personal issues, however widespread those issues might be in society.

Seekster:
For people who arent all that comfortable seeing two girls making out on an airplane it does not apply (at least based on what you know there you cant say for sure if its actual homophobia or just the general American view towards certain displays of public affection).

'Making out' is kissing right?

Can you find me an example of a straight couple kicked off an aeroplane flight for kissing?

If you can, I'll accept you have a point, but then probably go on to tell you that your country is seriously messed up if you've managed to be more sexually repressed than mine.

DuctTapeJedi:

Digitaldreamer7:
You will never win with the religious, but at least you can have the rights you deserve.

Bishop Gene Robinson would beg to disagree with that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Robinson

EDIT: So would all of these groups.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations

I understand where you're coming from, but creating false dichotomies like this are only making things worse.

It's not false. Unless you change every religious text to where it can no longer be interpreted as anti homosexual there are going to be religious people fighting against gay people forever. It's part of religious morality. Not saying that there aren't religious groups that accept homosexuals, just saying that it's a losing battle. The only way (other then changing the religious text) is to prove without a shadow of a doubt that homosexuality is genetic or something you are born with. Even then there are those who will believe that homosexuals are an "abomination from the devil" or just disregard the science completely because it doesn't align with "all people were created by god." part of religion.

Seekster:

Digitaldreamer7:
Im 100% for homosexuals being treated with respect and given the rights they deserve. I'm 100% AGAINST gay pride parades, inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay), and the oversexualizing and in-your-face style of the homosexual culture. I can't stand people who define themselves by their sexuality and find those people to be pretty sad and empty. You aren't you just because you are gay/lesbian. You are you for other reasons as well. Sexuality is but a small piece of who a person is. Yes, it may define some of your characheristics, but it doesn't define you completely.

If you removed the ignorant anti-religious comments from your post so that it just read as the quoted bit above, I would agree with you 110%.

You are not your gender, you are not your race, your are not your sexual orientation, you are not your political affiliation, you are not your religion, you are not your nation, you are YOU.

It isn't ignorant to say that religious text is widely interpreted as anti-homosexual. I wasn't attacking your PERSONAL beliefs, I was stating a FACT about religion. You are ignorant to believe that religious texts do not have an anti-homosexual message that they infuse with their teachings on morality.

evilthecat:

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

Yeah, that is a problem. The last few times we did this they ended up being huge, too. I guess I should try to keep my response short, too.

* 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 could say the same about humans. What can we observe about other humans except their behavior? In that sense, human internal feelings only manifest behaviorally as well. The cognitive insight is that it's far more parsimonious to explain most animal behavior in terms of cognition rather than behavior simpliciter. I can't attribute things like my dog's displays of affection when I return home, his obvious attachment to me and willingness to stay close to me in strange areas, his preference to me over strange humans, and so on to the literal physical qualities of each situation without going through some serious contortions. It's far easier to simply say that he loves[1] me, and far simpler to think that there is a mental quality that exists in dogs to reflect this.

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.

Behaviorism, as it was originally conceived, means the refusal to accept cognitive states as meaningful and/or important, which you seem to have done with animals. And behaviorism loves shaping behaviors, and learned responses are how they explain complicated animal behaviors. Nowadays, I think only really radical behaviorists would go that far. It's arguable that no animals are capable of symbolic thought,[2] but all anyone who doesn't buy behaviorism believes is that animals have some mental states and these are the best explanation for their behavior. Abstract thought is what I'm going for and what most animals seem to have.

I'm also a little skeptical that apes can't get the object represented by a picture card. If you showed them a picture of a banana, it seems likely that they'd be able to figure it out once you paired it up with an actual object. Hell, the footnote has an example of a dog that could do it.

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.

I'm not sure about that. For example, whenever my dog has digestive issues and can't hold it in for six hours or so, he will poop on the carpet. Then he will hide it from me by burying it with newspapers or whatever else is convenient (he once tried to shove it under the couch and another time dragged my slippers over it to hide it, both of which worked fairly well since I only detected it with smell). This is not instinctive behavior for dogs, as far as I know, and he never hides his poop in any other situation so it's not just something he does. The only explanation I can think of is that he understands that I will be angry with him if I see poop on the carpet.

Furthermore, dogs seem to be able to understand abstract social concepts such as "anger." At the very least, my dog can tell when I am or am not pleased with him. [3] When you yell at a dog, he isn't just startled by the noise. He reacts differently based on who yells at him, and his actions seems to have social connotations. The "guilty" look dogs get, while not actual guilt, is a social phenomenon, and would seem to be much more easily explained if the dog understood you as a social creature in your own right rather than as a disjointed collection of smells, sights, and sounds.

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.

Animals react consistently and broadly to the specific attributes of sex. Male/female, male/male, and female/female interactions are quite often different among animals, in some cases very different, and the best explanation seems to be that they have some conception of sex. The fact that some other dogs have penises while some other dogs have vaginas is very important to how they interact with each other. Their conception of sex is certainly not the same as ours is, and they wouldn't have anything like the same reactions we do. (I doubt my dog feels "emasculated" by being neutered, for example.) However, that doesn't mean they have no conception of it whatsoever.

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

Sure. That probably happens with animals, too, though I'd bet it happens very early with them, and may be far more controlled by genetics than by social interactions.

[1] As much as it is possible for a dog to love, which is going to be substantially different than what it means for a human to love.
[2] Actually, maybe this dog. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rico_%28dog%29 Amazingly, he could see a picture of a ball and actually get the ball it represented.
[3] I highly doubt that he has an understanding of the concept of "anger" in literally the same way I do, but he probably has something that serves that purpose.

Ampersand:

While you were doing this research did you ever think to ask a homosexual? They'll generally tell you that they were always gay, it's not something that happens to them at some point.

I think this is a point many people mistake. You can be born with the inclination to develop a certain way or with a fairly deterministic response to develop a certain way, and the environment can be a huge impact. Among biologists (and probably psychologists), the nature/nurture debate is meaningless. All traits, period, are a combination of nature and nurture. Behavioral traits especially are going to develop as a creature ages rather than being wired into the brain. I can give several examples.

First, are dogs naturally able to see? In many species, animals are born blind, and thereafter develop the ability to see. So dogs are born blind, but normal environmental conditions enable them to develop eyesight as part of natural development. The same thing could be said about humans learning to walk. These are examples of the first class of things which can meaningfully be said to be genetically determined, even though the environment plays a huge role in the actual development (keep a baby chained to a bed without letting it up and it will never learn to walk).

Second, are lions naturally hunters? The answer is "yes" in any meaningful sense, but they're certainly not born knowing how to hunt. They have to pick it up from other lions. They don't consciously choose to learn how to hunt, but they'll end up knowing it by the time they're fully grown. An example of this is language in humans. We aren't born knowing English or German or whatever language we take as our primary language(s), but we learn it naturally as a part of normal development. The exact language you learn will be different, too, based on what you heard growing up, but the process of learning language is automatic. [1]

The question about whether people are "born" gay seems to me to be a choice between these two options. Is it genetically determined? Or do we pick it up as part of development?

Oh, and this is the word of someone who self-identifies as "gay," so you can trust it. :P

[1] You don't need to actively teach kids how to talk. Cultures in which infants and toddlers are expected to remain silent show the exact same degree of proficiency with speech as our Western cultures which encourage actively teaching language to children.

First off, I completely support equal rights for everyone, regardless of sexual preference. I also believe that while sexual preference is not a choice, I don't think that it is as set-in-stone and completely logic-bound as genetics. So, for example, I don't think that sexual preference is merely I enjoy having sex with XY rather than having sex with XX, thus I'm gay. No, it definitely isn't just that. I do not believe that it is a choice whether or not your are gay or straight. You can fight against one or the other, but I don't think you can actually become the opposite of what you are by choice (drastic and intolerant psychological treatment for homosexuality asside, I don't know much about the idea of "gay people who are raised to believe being gay is wrong, is a disease," etc. and going to someone to try to "fix" you).
So I don't think that it is merely genetics, I think that it is much more "how your mind works".

Digitaldreamer7:
Im 100% for homosexuals being treated with respect and given the rights they deserve. I'm 100% AGAINST gay pride parades, inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay), and the oversexualizing and in-your-face style of the homosexual culture. I can't stand people who define themselves by their sexuality and find those people to be pretty sad and empty. You aren't you just because you are gay/lesbian. You are you for other reasons as well. Sexuality is but a small piece of who a person is. Yes, it may define some of your characheristics, but it doesn't define you completely.

Seekster:

If you removed the ignorant anti-religious comments from your post so that it just read as the quoted bit above, I would agree with you 110%.

You are not your gender, you are not your race, your are not your sexual orientation, you are not your political affiliation, you are not your religion, you are not your nation, you are YOU.

Okay, do either of you seriously believe even the most flamboyantly gay/butch lesbian literally does nothing else except be "gay?" Maybe if he/she also made a career out of fighting for gay rights, makes pride parade floats as a hobby all year round, and walks around all day with a cock in his ass/licking a vagina.[1]

An incredibly flamboyantly gay man isn't any different than an obnoxiously straight guy who hits on every woman he sees at a bar and brags about how many "hot chicks" he's banged. I have a suspicion that most people you'd consider "in your face" about sexuality don't reach anything like that level, at any rate. No one is defined by their sexuality, nor does anyone try to do so. Are you annoyed when you see Christian going around wearing a cross? Would you be annoyed if an atheist had a flying spaghetti monster t-shirt? When Republicans go to the Republican debates, or Democrats go to Democratic fundraisers, are they defining themselves by their political stances? Obviously not. Being gay, straight, or whatever is part of who you are, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with expressing that.

My question is, why are you so bothered when it's sexuality being expressed? Or more to the point, homosexual sexuality?

[2]

[1] Sorry my lesbian sex act example doesn't carry as much oomph, but it's surprisingly hard to think of one that does.
[2] Also, I personally find lisps incredibly annoying and start to lose respect for anyone who takes an interest in fashion. Not because they're stereotypically gay, but because I like hearing English pronounced properly and because fashion seems like a massive waste of time, respectively.

Digitaldreamer7:

DuctTapeJedi:

Digitaldreamer7:
You will never win with the religious, but at least you can have the rights you deserve.

Bishop Gene Robinson would beg to disagree with that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Robinson

EDIT: So would all of these groups.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations

I understand where you're coming from, but creating false dichotomies like this are only making things worse.

It's not false. Unless you change every religious text to where it can no longer be interpreted as anti homosexual there are going to be religious people fighting against gay people forever. It's part of religious morality. Not saying that there aren't religious groups that accept homosexuals, just saying that it's a losing battle. The only way (other then changing the religious text) is to prove without a shadow of a doubt that homosexuality is genetic or something you are born with. Even then there are those who will believe that homosexuals are an "abomination from the devil" or just disregard the science completely because it doesn't align with "all people were created by god." part of religion.

Seekster:

Digitaldreamer7:
Im 100% for homosexuals being treated with respect and given the rights they deserve. I'm 100% AGAINST gay pride parades, inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay), and the oversexualizing and in-your-face style of the homosexual culture. I can't stand people who define themselves by their sexuality and find those people to be pretty sad and empty. You aren't you just because you are gay/lesbian. You are you for other reasons as well. Sexuality is but a small piece of who a person is. Yes, it may define some of your characheristics, but it doesn't define you completely.

If you removed the ignorant anti-religious comments from your post so that it just read as the quoted bit above, I would agree with you 110%.

You are not your gender, you are not your race, your are not your sexual orientation, you are not your political affiliation, you are not your religion, you are not your nation, you are YOU.

It isn't ignorant to say that religious text is widely interpreted as anti-homosexual. I wasn't attacking your PERSONAL beliefs, I was stating a FACT about religion. You are ignorant to believe that religious texts do not have an anti-homosexual message that they infuse with their teachings on morality.

Um thats not what you said.

"Well, it depends on where you get your morals from. If you are religious you get your morals from fairy tale book, then yea, you are going to have some issues accepting people for who they are."

Can't speak for all religious texts but in the few cases where the Bible does actually make a brief reference to homosexuality (in each case its in the context of actually engaging sexually with a member of the same sex, doesnt say anything about walking around with a rainbow button or anything like that) it makes it clear that such BEHAVIOR is not right.

Falconsgyre:

Digitaldreamer7:
Im 100% for homosexuals being treated with respect and given the rights they deserve. I'm 100% AGAINST gay pride parades, inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay), and the oversexualizing and in-your-face style of the homosexual culture. I can't stand people who define themselves by their sexuality and find those people to be pretty sad and empty. You aren't you just because you are gay/lesbian. You are you for other reasons as well. Sexuality is but a small piece of who a person is. Yes, it may define some of your characheristics, but it doesn't define you completely.

Seekster:

If you removed the ignorant anti-religious comments from your post so that it just read as the quoted bit above, I would agree with you 110%.

You are not your gender, you are not your race, your are not your sexual orientation, you are not your political affiliation, you are not your religion, you are not your nation, you are YOU.

Okay, do either of you seriously believe even the most flamboyantly gay/butch lesbian literally does nothing else except be "gay?" Maybe if he/she also made a career out of fighting for gay rights, makes pride parade floats as a hobby all year round, and walks around all day with a cock in his ass/licking a vagina.[1]

An incredibly flamboyantly gay man isn't any different than an obnoxiously straight guy who hits on every woman he sees at a bar and brags about how many "hot chicks" he's banged. I have a suspicion that most people you'd consider "in your face" about sexuality don't reach anything like that level, at any rate. No one is defined by their sexuality, nor does anyone try to do so. Are you annoyed when you see Christian going around wearing a cross? Would you be annoyed if an atheist had a flying spaghetti monster t-shirt? When Republicans go to the Republican debates, or Democrats go to Democratic fundraisers, are they defining themselves by their political stances? Obviously not. Being gay, straight, or whatever is part of who you are, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with expressing that.

My question is, why are you so bothered when it's sexuality being expressed? Or more to the point, homosexual sexuality?

[2]

Did you even read what I said? Because I really don't think you did. Inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay) are just that, inappropriate. Just so we are clear i'm not talking about appropriate shows of affection such as hand holding, closed mouth kissing, or hugs. Men and women should wear gender appropriate clothing regardless of sexual orientation when engaging in public activities. I don't want to see a woman in skimpy clothes at a family restaurant just as much as I don't want to see a man in women's clothes in the same family setting. When women want to wear skimpy clothes, they should wear them to adult establishments such as clubs, bars, or other functions, that goes for men who want to wear women's clothes as well. It's not an issue of "repressing sexual expression" it's a matter of there being a time and a place for everything.

That being said, as far as the whole gay pride parade thing goes...

Expressing your sexuality through a parade where you bring out the extreme side of your lifestyle for all to see may make you feel "proud" but it doesn't make people take you seriously as a civil rights movement. If anything it adds more fuel to the fire of controversy. To ignorant people that oppose gay rights this completely demolishes any argument you could ever make. When they see men in drag parading through the streets all they can think of is the irrational fear they have that if they were to give gays rights then gays would parade around in the streets for all their children to see etc. all it does is REINFORCE the negative stereotype, much like modern rap music does to black stereotypes. Even if the intentions behind gay pride are good.. the only people getting the "pride" from it are the ones participating.

Again i feel I need to clarify what is appropriate and inappropriate to you because you can't seem to discern it yourself, or maybe I just didn't make that clear.

Wearing a T-shirt that pushes the homosexual agenda isn't inappropriate as long as it doesn't say something like "hi, i'm a fag" on it just as a jesus shirt that says something like Love christ or burn in hell" is pretty inappropriate.

A "gay agenda convention" isn't inappropriate, a parade through town with men wearing leather spanking each other IS inappropriate no matter what your sexual orientation is.

[1] Sorry my lesbian sex act example doesn't carry as much oomph, but it's surprisingly hard to think of one that does.
[2] Also, I personally find lisps incredibly annoying and start to lose respect for anyone who takes an interest in fashion. Not because they're stereotypically gay, but because I like hearing English pronounced properly and because fashion seems like a massive waste of time, respectively.

Seekster:

Digitaldreamer7:

DuctTapeJedi:

Bishop Gene Robinson would beg to disagree with that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Robinson

EDIT: So would all of these groups.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations

I understand where you're coming from, but creating false dichotomies like this are only making things worse.

It's not false. Unless you change every religious text to where it can no longer be interpreted as anti homosexual there are going to be religious people fighting against gay people forever. It's part of religious morality. Not saying that there aren't religious groups that accept homosexuals, just saying that it's a losing battle. The only way (other then changing the religious text) is to prove without a shadow of a doubt that homosexuality is genetic or something you are born with. Even then there are those who will believe that homosexuals are an "abomination from the devil" or just disregard the science completely because it doesn't align with "all people were created by god." part of religion.

Seekster:

If you removed the ignorant anti-religious comments from your post so that it just read as the quoted bit above, I would agree with you 110%.

You are not your gender, you are not your race, your are not your sexual orientation, you are not your political affiliation, you are not your religion, you are not your nation, you are YOU.

It isn't ignorant to say that religious text is widely interpreted as anti-homosexual. I wasn't attacking your PERSONAL beliefs, I was stating a FACT about religion. You are ignorant to believe that religious texts do not have an anti-homosexual message that they infuse with their teachings on morality.

Um thats not what you said.

"Well, it depends on where you get your morals from. If you are religious you get your morals from fairy tale book, then yea, you are going to have some issues accepting people for who they are."

Can't speak for all religious texts but in the few cases where the Bible does actually make a brief reference to homosexuality (in each case its in the context of actually engaging sexually with a member of the same sex, doesnt say anything about walking around with a rainbow button or anything like that) it makes it clear that such BEHAVIOR is not right.

Thank you for restating my point, so you DID get what I said, you were just being obnoxious about it. Nothing I said was anti-religious, what I said was completely true.

"Well, it depends on where you get your morals from. If you are religious you get your morals from fairy tale book (last time I checked religious texts are not proven history or events, neither are the gods they describe so therefore fiction), then yea, you are going to have some issues accepting people for who they are (namely homosexuals)."

Digitaldreamer7:

Did you even read what I said? Because I really don't think you did. Inappropriate shows of affection in public (straight or gay) are just that, inappropriate. Just so we are clear i'm not talking about appropriate shows of affection such as hand holding, closed mouth kissing, or hugs. Men and women should wear gender appropriate clothing regardless of sexual orientation when engaging in public activities. I don't want to see a woman in skimpy clothes at a family restaurant just as much as I don't want to see a man in women's clothes in the same family setting. When women want to wear skimpy clothes, they should wear them to adult establishments such as clubs, bars, or other functions, that goes for men who want to wear women's clothes as well. It's not an issue of "repressing sexual expression" it's a matter of there being a time and a place for everything.

It's the part when you talked about "being defined by your sexuality" that I mostly have an objection to, and the implications about you I'm drawing from the tone of the statement (which your reply supports). However, why is wearing non-gender appropriate clothing wrong? For one, what if they're transgender, rather than having a fetish for cross-dressing (and cross-dressing doesn't have to be a sex thing, either, by the way)? And frankly, some people would argue that your definition of "appropriate" in public is sexually repressed, though this is more of a personal preference so I don't really care to argue the point.

Expressing your sexuality through a parade where you bring out the extreme side of your lifestyle for all to see may make you feel "proud" but it doesn't make people take you seriously as a civil rights movement. If anything it adds more fuel to the fire of controversy. To ignorant people that oppose gay rights this completely demolishes any argument you could ever make. When they see men in drag parading through the streets all they can think of is the irrational fear they have that if they were to give gays rights then gays would parade around in the streets for all their children to see etc. all it does is REINFORCE the negative stereotype, much like modern rap music does to black stereotypes. Even if the intentions behind gay pride are good.. the only people getting the "pride" from it are the ones participating.

You mean like this? I disagree, but that wasn't your point, was it? Did you say that you disliked pride parades because you think it sets back mainstream acceptance of gay rights, or did you say that you didn't like people "defining themselves by their sexuality?" Are you really just that concerned about gay rights, and want to offer some helpful criticism, or are you just uncomfortable with the idea of a pride parade? Is the right response to say that we shouldn't have pride parades, or to question why such a thing raises controversy in the first place?

Again i feel I need to clarify what is appropriate and inappropriate to you because you can't seem to discern it yourself, or maybe I just didn't make that clear.

Wearing a T-shirt that pushes the homosexual agenda isn't inappropriate as long as it doesn't say something like "hi, i'm a fag" on it just as a jesus shirt that says something like Love christ or burn in hell" is pretty inappropriate.

A "gay agenda convention" isn't inappropriate, a parade through town with men wearing leather spanking each other IS inappropriate no matter what your sexual orientation is.

Do you know what you sound like when you non-ironically use the term "pushing the homosexual agenda?" Anyway, while actually spanking your partner in public might be a bit too much, that's not really what a gay pride parade is about. And what's wrong with a t-shirt saying something like "Hi, I'm a fag?" Surely you're harming no one with it, nor are you expressing an intent to harm or negative opinion of someone else (like the Christian t-shirt you described)? So what's wrong with it?

Falconsgyre:
And what's wrong with a t-shirt saying something like "Hi, I'm a fag?" Surely you're harming no one with it, nor are you expressing an intent to harm or negative opinion of someone else (like the Christian t-shirt you described)? So what's wrong with it?

It's in bad taste, it doesn't matter if you're not trying to hurt anyone. Would you expect to see someone wearing something like that in a social setting? What about a job intervies? Trip to the nursing home to see grandma? School? Come on now.

chronobreak:
It's in bad taste, it doesn't matter if you're not trying to hurt anyone. Would you expect to see someone wearing something like that in a social setting? What about a job intervies? Trip to the nursing home to see grandma? School? Come on now.

If someone wore it to a job interview? I probably wouldn't hire them, because that shows a huge degree of "not caring about this job"/unprofessionalism. In any other (non-formal) situation? What's wrong with it?

chronobreak:

Falconsgyre:
And what's wrong with a t-shirt saying something like "Hi, I'm a fag?" Surely you're harming no one with it, nor are you expressing an intent to harm or negative opinion of someone else (like the Christian t-shirt you described)? So what's wrong with it?

It's in bad taste, it doesn't matter if you're not trying to hurt anyone. Would you expect to see someone wearing something like that in a social setting? What about a job intervies? Trip to the nursing home to see grandma? School? Come on now.

I wouldn't care if I saw someone wearing that T-shirt in social settings. Sure, not in a job interview or a workplace but just out and about or hanging out with friends? Why not? It's just a shirt and if someone gets worked up over it, then that's their problem, not the problem of the dude wearing the shirt.

I mean, if anyone would have the right to be pissed it would be gay guys since it uses a derogatory slur, but I'm gay and I really wouldn't bat an eyelash at it.

By the way you instantly lose any credibility you might have in this entire debate for saying "pushing the homosexual agenda" in a non-joking way.

ReservoirAngel:
I wouldn't care if I saw someone wearing that T-shirt in social settings. Sure, not in a job interview or a workplace but just out and about or hanging out with friends? Why not? It's just a shirt and if someone gets worked up over it, then that's their problem, not the problem of the dude wearing the shirt.

I mean, if anyone would have the right to be pissed it would be gay guys since it uses a derogatory slur, but I'm gay and I really wouldn't bat an eyelash at it.

By the way you instantly lose any credibility you might have in this entire debate for saying "pushing the homosexual agenda" in a non-joking way.

I never said anything about pushing any agenda, did I? Anyways, whatever, I guess it's just me. I'm a Dad, have a good job and responsibilities, people who look up to me, I wouldn't wear something like that, and I wouldn't let my kids wear anything like that, around me at least. If I saw a shirt like that on someone, I don't care if they're gay or not, I'm gonna roll my eyes. It smacks of sterilized teenage rebellious antics.

Edit: I did not mean to derail the discussion. If you can't find what would be in bad taste about a shirt like that, I don't know what to tell you. Obviously we are just from different worlds on this.

chronobreak:
It's in bad taste, it doesn't matter if you're not trying to hurt anyone.

....because?

The only way to reason like that, that I can think of, is to not hurt the feelings of crazy homophobics. And their problems are their own. That they hate other people over nothing is an issue they need to resolve themselves, can't expect anyone to not hurt silly irrational feelings.

Ampersand:

Fine then i'll simplify it for you:
if you're a man, it's because you're born a man. If you're a woman it's because you're born a woman. If you're gay it's because you're born gay.

"if you're a man, it's because you're born a man. If you're a woman it's because you're born a woman. "

Thank you, now would you please explain that to the Transgendered people?

"If you're gay it's because you're born gay."

Possibly but that remains to be seen, there are some factors that bring this into question which I will get into later in this post.

evilthecat:

Seekster:
If you honestly answered yes to 1 and no to 2 then you are straight and you can contently ignore the ignorant blathering of those who accuse you of being homosexual yourself.

Ooh, I kind of knew that was going to happen at some point. Actually because it's happened to me before when I tried to explain homophobia, so I really shouldn't be surprised.

1) Evidence actually highlights the possibility that homophobia responses are related to repressed same-sex arousal. Now, I'm not going to take one really questionable study as fact after hating on so many for presenting themselves as such, but it's something to think about.

(Actually, I'll state my big problem right here. They aren't reporting it in any media attention given to that article, but the study actually found that all the men observed were aroused by all types of porn to a greater or lesser degree. That seems a pretty critical fact to leave out.)

There are very few things the media wont touch, im not surprised they wont touch a study of how men react to gay porn. Incidentally whats the control group for a study like that?

evilthecat:
2) You've missed the point and ironically given your earlier argument you're treating homosexuality and heterosexuality as completely discreet and immutable natural phenomena. The theoretical foundations of homophobia actually assume that they're not.

The fact that you immediately assume that any question as to your complete and abiding heterosexuality means you're being accused of being gay (not you specifically I should add) is much more revealing as to a potential homophobic response than anything else, and once again reminds me why I find this whole discussion of natural discrepancy so distasteful, because while some homophobes do want to erase the possibility of their being such a thing as a 'natural' same sex desire, absolute distinction is also deeply alluring to the homophobic mind.

What homophobes want is for there to be no possibility that any same sex desire could ever infiltrate their lives at any point. The fear which you've misinterpreted as a fear of a 'real' homosexuality which must exist, is a fear of the possibility of either being gay or of losing access to the social rewards of being regarded as straight.

Ok rather than saying how ridiculous the above quoted part is I am going to ask...how do you know what homophobes want? Are you a homophobe?

An interesting theory but so is the idea that the Universe exists inside a snow globe sitting on some mantelpiece somewhere, its possible but there is no sound basis for what you are saying and there are numerous problems with what you are proposing that should be obvious to anyone who actually thinks about it. Not the least of which being that a heterosexual male is obviously going to be repulsed at the thought of sex with a man in, I assume, the same way that a homosexual male is likewise going to be repulsed at the thought of sex with a female (which I do not get at all but whatever).

evilthecat:

Seekster:
For case B in some cases like with AIDs I kinda agree with you but there are legitimate concerns about what happens to the morality of a society that views homosexual relationships as completely normal and acceptable or more importantly what else that then opens the door for.

I don't see those concerns as legitimate. I think you have to live in a fairly arbitrary moral universe to see them as such.

Hmm...tell me is it standard practice for you to dismiss what a person has to say before they have even said it? I do not recall even saying what these concerns are and you are dismissing them already.

Anyway, whether or not you think these concerns are illegitimate, the fact is a large portion, perhaps even a majority, of people in this country see them as legitimate or, as in my case, partially legitimate, enough so to warrant consideration.

At the core of all these concerns is the issue of the family. Conventional wisdom tells us that a child is best raised by a family consisting of both a mother and a father (that is a strong female and male role-model). Single parents can compensate with some non-family related role model of the missing gender/sex but conventional wisdom still holds that the ideal situation for a child is to have both an attentive mother and father.

One reason I support adoption for same-sex couples is that while it is not ideal for a child to be raised by two mothers or two fathers, it is much more desirable than having no mother or father to raise you. I think most people can agree to that point at least.

Another reason I support adoption for same-sex couples is to satisfy a curiosity, call it a social test if you will. A common claim by those opposing adoption for same-sex couples is that children raised by homosexuals are more likely to actually become homosexuals themselves. Now obviously if its true that you are born a homosexual and cannot become one this should not be the case as biologically the homosexual couple and their adopted son or daughter are not related. Even factoring in that those raised by homosexuals are likely to be more accepting of homosexuality there is no reason why those children should be any more or less likely to actually be homosexuals themselves than any other child.

Statistics on such a thing would be tricky to obtain but if you can have enough cases where a straight person goes on to live a normal life and he or she was raised by homosexuals then I assure you that the public opposition towards homosexuality will soften considerably as this would remove one of the primary concerns people have about the possible dangers that homosexuality is perceived to present to the family and to social morality at large.

On another note, there is one obvious problem with the idea that genetics is the only or even the primary decider in whether or not someone turns out to be gay. Its the simple fact that homosexuals, being only attracted to members of the same-sex, are much less likely to breed and thus much less likely to pass on their genes than heterosexual couples are. This can explain why homosexuals represent a minority but even factoring in homosexuality skipping a generation and recessive genes and such, logically the number of homosexuals should be far less than it is today and eventually homosexuality might even disappear from the genetic code (due to the declining number who have the gene and thus could pass it on from one generation to another) if it were genetic. This leads people like myself to wonder if there may be some other factor in addition to genetics that causes or leads someone to be born, or to be homosexual.

evilthecat:

Seekster:
"The word "homophobia" is basically a buzz word created to discredit and label those you disagree with without actually addressing the points of their argument...if they actually have points at least."

This is where I should probably explain gay liberation.

Gay liberation was a response to the argument that homosexuality constituted an illness, or that people who engaged in homosexual acts were deranged or sick. This was used, as you know, not just to "discredit" and "label" those people but also to physically confine them to mental institutions and perform invasive procedures like lobotomies and genital mutilation.

Gay liberationists countered this argument by claiming that they knew they weren't sick, which meant that if the majority of society was so willing to believe that they were then the majority of society itself must be suffering from a mental disorder, not recognized as such because it was so widespread as to be 'normal' behaviour. That social disorder is called homophobia, it prime symptom is the overarching and constant valuation of sex complementarity, rigid sex roles and heterosexuality and the devaluation, suspicion, fear or mistrust of alternatives.

Make all the accusations you want, the implications of anti-homophobic analysis were sown by straight people in their treatment of homosexuality. If you approach that treatment from the perspective that homosexuality is not arbitrarily 'wrong', then it is logical to conclude that the people who carried it out were themselves deluded and acted primarily to cater to and shore up their own personal issues, however widespread those issues might be in society.

Thats rather judgmental and stereotypical of you. If i had more time I would get into all the things that are wrong with what you said but I have to start work soon so moving on.

evilthecat:

Seekster:
For people who arent all that comfortable seeing two girls making out on an airplane it does not apply (at least based on what you know there you cant say for sure if its actual homophobia or just the general American view towards certain displays of public affection).

'Making out' is kissing right?

Can you find me an example of a straight couple kicked off an aeroplane flight for kissing?

If you can, I'll accept you have a point, but then probably go on to tell you that your country is seriously messed up if you've managed to be more sexually repressed than mine.

Yes its kissing but very passionate kissing. Not something would be acceptable in public even for heterosexual couples. I did look but right now google is flooded with things on the story I mentioned. I did find another story of something similar happening to two gay guys. To be honest I would be surprised if there was a story written about something as mundane as a guy and a girl getting thrown off a flight for refusing to dial back a romantic activity in public. That kind of thing isnt going to make the news anymore than a streaker at the Superbowl. In fact the only reason this story with the two lesbians is being reported so widely is I understand one of them was an actress on some tv show called "The L word" or something like that so there is the celebrity factor. I mean if some girl down the street came out and said "hey I am a lesbian", thats not going to make the local paper. If Oprah or someone on TV does that I guarantee you that we will be hearing about it for a week at least.

Seekster:
Hmm...tell me is it standard practice for you to dismiss what a person has to say before they have even said it?

I imagine when it's silly religious dogma assuming certain people are inherently evil, it is. Any sensible person would dismiss that out of hand. After all, nobody can claim there are rational reasons for homophobia.

Seekster:
perhaps even a majority, of people in this country see them as legitimate or, as in my case, partially legitimate, enough so to warrant consideration.

That doesn't matter, their concerns are still given by an irrational hatred, and are thus to be ignored.

I mean, suppose that for whatever reason a majority of the people would be convinced negroes are an inferior race, should the US consider bringing back racially discriminating laws? No, they shouldn't, because the reason people support that notion is irrational.

Blablahb:

Seekster:
Hmm...tell me is it standard practice for you to dismiss what a person has to say before they have even said it?

I imagine when it's silly religious dogma assuming certain people are inherently evil, it is. Any sensible person would dismiss that out of hand. After all, nobody can claim there are rational reasons for homophobia.

Seekster:
perhaps even a majority, of people in this country see them as legitimate or, as in my case, partially legitimate, enough so to warrant consideration.

That doesn't matter, their concerns are still given by an irrational hatred, and are thus to be ignored.

I mean, suppose that for whatever reason a majority of the people would be convinced negroes are an inferior race, should the US consider bringing back racially discriminating laws? No, they shouldn't, because the reason people support that notion is irrational.

Inherently evil? Well I suppose all humans are inherently sinful so homosexuals would be no more sinful than anyone else. People who understand and have actually read the Bible will see that its the behavior that is the problem.

Perhaps if you did not ignore beliefs without hearing them you would be less ignorant. Heck I can attest to that just by being on this forum. I disagree with probably most stances put forward on the Escapist but I have come to at least understand where people are coming from on those issues even if I still disagree.

"That doesn't matter, their concerns are still given by an irrational hatred, and are thus to be ignored."

Not the majority of them no and even if they all did have irrational hatred, they still vote so you cant really ignore them anyway.

"I mean, suppose that for whatever reason a majority of the people would be convinced negroes are an inferior race, should the US consider bringing back racially discriminating laws? No, they shouldn't, because the reason people support that notion is irrational."

No they shouldn't because racial discrimination laws are unconstitutional. There is a reason why its so hard to change the constitution you know.

Falconsgyre:

Ampersand:

While you were doing this research did you ever think to ask a homosexual? They'll generally tell you that they were always gay, it's not something that happens to them at some point.

I think this is a point many people mistake. You can be born with the inclination to develop a certain way or with a fairly deterministic response to develop a certain way, and the environment can be a huge impact. Among biologists (and probably psychologists), the nature/nurture debate is meaningless. All traits, period, are a combination of nature and nurture. Behavioral traits especially are going to develop as a creature ages rather than being wired into the brain. I can give several examples.

First, are dogs naturally able to see? In many species, animals are born blind, and thereafter develop the ability to see. So dogs are born blind, but normal environmental conditions enable them to develop eyesight as part of natural development. The same thing could be said about humans learning to walk. These are examples of the first class of things which can meaningfully be said to be genetically determined, even though the environment plays a huge role in the actual development (keep a baby chained to a bed without letting it up and it will never learn to walk).

Second, are lions naturally hunters? The answer is "yes" in any meaningful sense, but they're certainly not born knowing how to hunt. They have to pick it up from other lions. They don't consciously choose to learn how to hunt, but they'll end up knowing it by the time they're fully grown. An example of this is language in humans. We aren't born knowing English or German or whatever language we take as our primary language(s), but we learn it naturally as a part of normal development. The exact language you learn will be different, too, based on what you heard growing up, but the process of learning language is automatic. [1]

The question about whether people are "born" gay seems to me to be a choice between these two options. Is it genetically determined? Or do we pick it up as part of development?

Oh, and this is the word of someone who self-identifies as "gay," so you can trust it. :P

I understand you're thought process now but I think the mistake you're making is in assuming that it must be one or the other.
Although all animals do learn how to walk and see as we grow, that isn't an entirely circumstantial thing, we are born with a visual cortex that is already capable of reading visual information, the only thing we have to do is learn to understand what that information means. As for walking, I don't know if you've ever watched a calf being born but they don't need to see another animal walk before they are able to do it themselves. All of this stuff is hard wired from well before you're born.
Take for example the fact that someone who has been blind since birth will still smile when they're happy even though they've never seen someone else smile, they might not necessarily know what a smile is but they still do it. You don't actually have to learn this stuff.
I don't know how much of a bearing this has on an individuals sexuality but we have more then enough reasons to be able to say beyond reasonable doubt that you don't have to learn that either.

[1] You don't need to actively teach kids how to talk. Cultures in which infants and toddlers are expected to remain silent show the exact same degree of proficiency with speech as our Western cultures which encourage actively teaching language to children.

Seekster:

Ampersand:

Fine then i'll simplify it for you:
if you're a man, it's because you're born a man. If you're a woman it's because you're born a woman. If you're gay it's because you're born gay.

"if you're a man, it's because you're born a man. If you're a woman it's because you're born a woman. "

Thank you, now would you please explain that to the Transgendered people?

I'm sure that sounded clever in your head, but you do realize that it has no bearing on what we're actually talking about?

Ampersand:

I understand you're thought process now but I think the mistake you're making is in assuming that it must be one or the other.
Although all animals do learn how to walk and see as we grow, that isn't an entirely circumstantial thing, we are born with a visual cortex that is already capable of reading visual information, the only thing we have to do is learn to understand what that information means. As for walking, I don't know if you've ever watched a calf being born but they don't need to see another animal walk before they are able to do it themselves. All of this stuff is hard wired from well before you're born.
Take for example the fact that someone who has been blind since birth will still smile when they're happy even though they've never seen someone else smile, they might not necessarily know what a smile is but they still do it. You don't actually have to learn this stuff.
I don't know how much of a bearing this has on an individuals sexuality but we have more then enough reasons to be able to say beyond reasonable doubt that you don't have to learn that either.

No, I don't think I'm making that mistake. Granted, it's impossible to split all behaviors into categories that neatly, but what you're describing is quite similar to the first case I described, in which there is an incredibly strong inclination to develop a certain way. If we didn't have to learn sexuality, that's how it would happen: our brains would naturally develop a certain way because that's how they were programmed to develop given any normal environment, and no learning would be required except for self-exploration. In one sense, it is literally impossible to be born gay or straight because our brains haven't developed to that point, and it would be more correct to say we are born with a developmental program to become gay or straight. The question is more "are we hardwired to develop into our sexualities or are we hardwired to learn our sexualities to some degree?" There is pretty good evidence that we do learn at least some aspects of sexuality. What we find sexually attractive, for example, is often a product of culture rather than biology (though biology underlies all of that, of course). In addition, there have been plenty of cultures in the past where bisexuality was pretty standard, to some degree, and sexuality is a fairly complex psychological construction. It seems to me that it must be partially learned, though I also think it will be hardwired to some degree.

I chose to be gay. It's offensive to me to suggest that being a man who likes men is so awful that one wouldn't come to prefer to it as a natural circumstance, or even something so direct as choice. I'm willing to bet tons and tons of people were born gay, all you have to do is ask a couple. But I can personally attest to the mountain of dick I choose to suckle every day.

Seekster:
There are very few things the media wont touch, im not surprised they wont touch a study of how men react to gay porn. Incidentally whats the control group for a study like that?

Of course they touched it. It was actually quite widely (mis)reported. They merely left out what I would consider to be the far more interesting finding because the researchers in question didn't focus on it themselves, save for one brief acknowledgement. I believe from my reading that a similar study has also been repeated to include gay and bisexual men with the same results, albeit I can't seem to find the abstract right now.

In this case they used Hudson and Ricket's scale (which is a little outdated, another problem I have with the study) to measure how 'uncomfortable' the men reported themselves to be with homosexual activity, and divided the sample into two groups based on that response. It isn't really fair to call one a 'control group', but the sampling methods are pretty transparent (even if they're pretty flawed).

Seekster:
Ok rather than saying how ridiculous the above quoted part is I am going to ask...how do you know what homophobes want? Are you a homophobe?

Because I know what homophobia means.

Once you know that, then it's very obvious what homophobes want. Anyone who doesn't want it (consciously or subconsciously) would not be a homophobe.

Seekster:
Not the least of which being that a heterosexual male is obviously going to be repulsed at the thought of sex with a man in, I assume, the same way that a homosexual male is likewise going to be repulsed at the thought of sex with a female (which I do not get at all but whatever).

But why.

Seriously, I don't understand how you can be arguing on one hand for any possibility that homosexuality is not fixed at birth by the almighty power of genetics, and on the other hand come out with crap like this.

I feel 'repulsed' at the thought of having sex with most of my exes. That's clearly not something I've felt from birth as an overriding constant, it's the result of traumatic experiences and poorly repressed anger and guilt (okay, that makes me sound a little tragic, but never mind).

That disgust response you're talking about is exactly what I mean by homophobia. Why the hell do you think homophobes go to such extreme lengths to attack, belittle or murder completely harmless human beings? Because they have a rational dislike of homosexuals? If that was the case, why would a heterosexual man be thrown off a bridge and killed by strangers for having a 'girly' walk. Why would a teenage boy shoot an openly gay teenage boy in the back of the head only after having been playfully flirted with. Why would studies like this come out with the bizarre conclusions that they do.

It's simple. Homophobia is a phobia, it is an irrational fear of a phenomenon which is threatening to the heterosexual sense of self. Why would it be so threatening? What do you think is most likely?

On a not entirely unrelated note, why did you feel the need to put the bolded bit in there? It's kind of obvious from the rest of the text..

Seekster:
At the core of all these concerns is the issue of the family. Conventional wisdom tells us that a child is best raised by a family consisting of both a mother and a father (that is a strong female and male role-model). Single parents can compensate with some non-family related role model of the missing gender/sex but conventional wisdom still holds that the ideal situation for a child is to have both an attentive mother and father.

There's no evidence for this whatsoever.

What little evidence does exist actually suggests that children raised by gay parents are completely fine, and that any tension that occurs tends to be due to contact between the child and homophobic elements of the outside world.

Are we going to say that a child needs to be raised by one black and one white parent, so they have role models of both races?

Seekster:
Not something would be acceptable in public even for heterosexual couples.

Really?

For the record, I've 'passionately kissed' both men and women in public. People only stare at the former.. unless the woman is really hot.

I don't think so, no. A guy could like it in the butt just like how some girls do. But a girl isn't considered gay if she likes it. Come to think of it, are there any gay guys that DON'T take it in the butt or perform fellatio? Like gay platonic relationships? I've never heard of any to be honest. I think they're all about the penis.

If it's via chemical imbalance or a mental disorder, then yes.

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