Can people really be born gay?

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Yes, you can be.

I myself am a reliable source.

Imperator_DK:
How's this still going on?

Only professional genetic scientists will ever have any chance of answering the question, laymen have no ability to discern what might motivate homosexuality. Nor any real use for it.

The whole thing is up in the air, so until science comes up with a plausible theory whose basis is supported by sufficient empirical data - and whose hypothesis is subsequently put to the test against new empirical data - then it's really a free-for-all; nothing but exchanges of ignorance.

Not that it'd make much of a difference in the ethical debate on it if it was proven beyond all reasonable doubt to be genetic in nature. Gay rights supporters would continue their claim that homosexuality is entirely normal and natural, and that it might well serve positive evolutionary functions since it's also found in the animal kingdom. While homophobes would quickly adapt and find new arguments, such as labelling it nature's attempt to ensure that individuals who were already inherently degenerate and inferior did not breed or something.

In the end, the marketplace of idea(l)s would only relocate, while the selection of views offered on it - all under the radiant sun that is Freedom of Speech - would remain the same. It simply is irrelevant for laymen whether it's nature, nurture, or something else entirely.

I have to agree with you on this one; none of us (assuming there's no experts in the field here) have enough knowledge on the topic to really have a valid opinion on this.

I still can't believe this thread is going 0_o

ravensheart18:
No one was born with clinical depression and no one would choose it, but they get it anyway.

And yet there's a genetic component for that as well, so... people are born with an anlage for depression.

evilthecat:

Seekster:
Based on what you telling me, its sounds like "Queer Theory" isnt really even a theory in scientific terms at least.

It doesn't claim to be.

Also, which science? Technically I'm a scientist (it's in my degree title, I've done empirical research) and I use queer theory all the time.

Science =/= logical positivism, certainly not outside of the purely 'natural' sciences.

Seekster:
In any case it seems to be dealing with a hypothetical society that doesnt exist so I would still say its not very applicable to the real world.

Do we not use words in society?

Do those words not have assumed meaning with relevance and possible implications for the people who use them, or for others around them?

So how is discourse analysis not applicable to the society that exists?

Im not a scientist but doesnt a theory have to be testable?

The fact that society uses labels means that any view that ignores these labels is arguing for a hypothetical society.

Falconsgyre:

Seekster:

Based on what you telling me, its sounds like "Queer Theory" isnt really even a theory in scientific terms at least. In any case it seems to be dealing with a hypothetical society that doesnt exist so I would still say its not very applicable to the real world.

I don't buy most of the theories in social sciences, nor do I accept the majority of objections third-wave feminism and queer theory have against society. (I'm not exactly an expert on the subject, so you should probably take that with a grain of salt.) However, I still think it's useful to at least go over the concepts they bring up because they force you to defend and challenge your views. As evilthecat said, they're not really an attempt to explain the world. They're critiques of how most people see the world, and that serves a useful function as well.

Hmm I suppose, but honestly I dont really see a problem with the male-female dichotomy. Philosophically it makes more sense to see male and female as two halves of the same coin. Removing the labels and pretending like male and female are not different strikes me as being dishonest about the way the world is. Perhaps thats just my view though.

Very well, unless anyone as anything further to say I am done with my thoughts on the subject for now. I have enjoyed this discussion but there are other topics out there for me to spend more time on.

Seekster:
Hmm I suppose, but honestly I dont really see a problem with the male-female dichotomy. Philosophically it makes more sense to see male and female as two halves of the same coin. Removing the labels and pretending like male and female are not different strikes me as being dishonest about the way the world is. Perhaps thats just my view though.

I have a pretty huge problem with it, because there's a lot of people don't fit into it cleanly. And i don't like the implication that i'm somehow less of a man because i do some things that are "girly".

Pretending that men and women fit cleanly into two distinct genders with universal traits doesn't seem any more honest to me. It's sort of like pretending every voter in America is clearly either a Republican or Democrat.

Actually the more i think about it, the more apt an analogy that is. No one can deny that the American political process is built on a two-party system, but it's questionable whether that model is actually the most effective one for our society.

Seekster:
The fact that society uses labels means that any view that ignores these labels is arguing for a hypothetical society.

Once again, Queer theory does not 'ignore' those labels. If anything, it obsesses over them. As I keep trying to say, they're the only thing we have when it comes to human sexuality. They're the only thing which makes anyone 'gay' or 'straight' in the first place.

There is nothing which can be empirically demonstrated to be human sexuality beyond those labels, because there is no human in our society who cannot use them or the understandings which have grown up around them to one degree or another. 'Scientific' experiments use them as a sampling tool, disregarding the fact that a couple of hundred years ago they didn't even exist.

In other societies, different discourses and different labels exist yet perform exactly the same taxonomical function of subdividing human beings into categories. There is no universal taxonomy of human beings which is readily and 'naturally' apparent to everyone.

As for 'arguing for', how many times do I have to explain the word 'critical theory', the only thing being argued 'for' is the idea that the language we use is highly exclusive and could possibly be made less so over a very long period of time, not through a grandiose project of social engineering but through actually talking about and pointing out the inconsistencies of the language itself.

Seekster:
Hmm I suppose, but honestly I dont really see a problem with the male-female dichotomy. Philosophically it makes more sense to see male and female as two halves of the same coin. Removing the labels and pretending like male and female are not different strikes me as being dishonest about the way the world is. Perhaps thats just my view though.

That's something which is going to need significant qualification, because as it stands it's a tautology. 'Males and females are different because they are different'.

Like Cobra_ky, I find that idea extremely problematic.

Falconsgyre:
As evilthecat said, they're not really an attempt to explain the world. They're critiques of how most people see the world, and that serves a useful function as well.

I think it depends how you see the world.

If you see the world as purely composed of material phenomena, then it probably doesn't explain the world. If you see politics and language as a part of the world we live in and as an intrinsic part of the way humans understand those phenomena, (and as not something which is simply pre-programmed into the human brain by the almighty hand of evolution), then it should be very obvious that the world is not fully explained without understanding those things.

cobra_ky:

Seekster:
Hmm I suppose, but honestly I dont really see a problem with the male-female dichotomy. Philosophically it makes more sense to see male and female as two halves of the same coin. Removing the labels and pretending like male and female are not different strikes me as being dishonest about the way the world is. Perhaps thats just my view though.

I have a pretty huge problem with it, because there's a lot of people don't fit into it cleanly. And i don't like the implication that i'm somehow less of a man because i do some things that are "girly".

Pretending that men and women fit cleanly into two distinct genders with universal traits doesn't seem any more honest to me. It's sort of like pretending every voter in America is clearly either a Republican or Democrat.

Actually the more i think about it, the more apt an analogy that is. No one can deny that the American political process is built on a two-party system, but it's questionable whether that model is actually the most effective one for our society.

"And i don't like the implication that i'm somehow less of a man because i do some things that are "girly"."

Hey I am completely with you on that one. I am not exactly the picture of physical fitness.

"Pretending that men and women fit cleanly into two distinct genders with universal traits doesn't seem any more honest to me."

Oh heavens no that is not what I am saying. I am saying that men and women are different. I am not saying that there are certain traits that are exclusive to one or the other. There are traits that are normally associated with one or the other but I think it is healthy to balance these traits, dont be overly macho or overly sensitive for example.

Perhaps I should explain what I meant better but I am out of time for now so perhaps later.

Kaulen Fuhs:

Blablahb:

Kaulen Fuhs:
I seriously doubt a "gay" gene will ever be found.

If you had read the previous pages, you'd have seen it already has.

I seriously doubt it's as simple as that. A gene that determines whether or not you WILL be homosexual?

Were such a thing found, that would be the end of it, and there would be no discussion to have.

Actually there would be discussion. Some people would argue that since its genetic we shouldn't discriminate, and others would say "if you could inutero find a way to correct the gene that gives you cancer you would, so why not change the gay gene too"?

Fortunately I doubt they will find such a single gene.

Kendarik:

Kaulen Fuhs:

Blablahb:
If you had read the previous pages, you'd have seen it already has.

I seriously doubt it's as simple as that. A gene that determines whether or not you WILL be homosexual?

Were such a thing found, that would be the end of it, and there would be no discussion to have.

Actually there would be discussion. Some people would argue that since its genetic we shouldn't discriminate, and others would say "if you could inutero find a way to correct the gene that gives you cancer you would, so why not change the gay gene too"?

Fortunately I doubt they will find such a single gene.

You've set yourself up for disappointment, or setting them up for failure, by forcing them to find something that not even they have claimed they think they can find.

Because that's not how genetics works. There's not going to be 'the gay gene' or 'a gay gene'. And no geneticist is trying to convince you they can or will find one. It's laymen that don't understand genetics that think there's gonna be one, or it'll be that simple.

Finding out or proving that homosexuality is heavily influenced, mostly influenced or entirely influenced by genetics still doesn't mean there's gonna be a 'gay gene' to be found. By expecting them to do so you're artificially setting them for a fall.

It's a lot like creationists that go to a scientist and go "If evolution is real, show me a duck evolving into a man before my very eyes".

However, they have found evidence that prove that homosexuality is largely influenced by genetics. How influenced? They're not sure. But it IS influenced.

As for whether or not it being genetically influenced is going to 'help' or 'hurt' LBGT, that really doesn't matter a bit. It doesn't matter if it's politically correct or not. If it's genetically influenced, it just is. You don't learn things or do science to prove a political point. That's just dishonest.

It won't stop crazy assholes or homophobes from being crazy, assholes or homophobic. These guys will cast chicken bones out onto sawdust if they thought they could use the patterns produced to prove themselves right.

Kaulen Fuhs:
I seriously doubt it's as simple as that. A gene that determines whether or not you WILL be homosexual?
Were such a thing found, that would be the end of it, and there would be no discussion to have.

Yes, a gene that will determine homosexuality. It even procreates, because when the fetus is female, it has no influence on sexuality, but does cause more fertility than average (proven through statistics, not medical research, so the exact cause of that could vary) and when the fetus is male, he'll be born homosexual.

That is one of the proven explanations for homosexuality (links found on first or second page of this discussion. What all found causes have in common though, is that they're not something that can be changed in any way.

Damien Granz:
It doesn't matter if it's politically correct or not. If it's genetically influenced, it just is. You don't learn things or do science to prove a political point. That's just dishonest.

If what is genetically influenced?

Take a moment to remind yourself what you're actually measuring here, because it's not a clearly distinct phenomena.

How can something 'just be' if you can't even be clear on what it is? It's not like measuring whether someone has lobed or unlobed ears, it's entirely to do with the extent to which someone identifies or can be identified with a concept which has not even existed for most of human history and in most places around the world.

I don't see anyone looking for the genetic components which make someone socially identify as 'conservative', so why are we looking for the genetic components which make someone socially identify as 'gay'? Both carry certain behavioural associations, but ultimately both are extremely general social categories which only exist in human language.

I really don't understand what most of you think 'homosexuality' is, or how you imagine you can measure it.

evilthecat:

If you see the world as purely composed of material phenomena, then it probably doesn't explain the world. If you see politics and language as a part of the world we live in and as an intrinsic part of the way humans understand those phenomena, (and as not something which is simply pre-programmed into the human brain by the almighty hand of evolution), then it should be very obvious that the world is not fully explained without understanding those things.

Sure, but you can't fully explain human society through queer theory. At best, it would explain a few of the myriad views represented by being human. That's what I meant when I said they serve best as critiques; they can't in and of themselves do much to explain society, but they can provide an impetus to re-examine notions we have in order to improve them.

Skeleon:

ravensheart18:
No one was born with clinical depression and no one would choose it, but they get it anyway.

And yet there's a genetic component for that as well, so... people are born with an anlage for depression.

Depression isn't JUST caused by genetics. But now that you have made the connection, if we could fix the gene that causes depression we would, and we treat it with drugs now, so if that's the same as being gay to you then we should be chemically and genitically treating being gay. (I'm not arguing for that, just saying its a logical conclusion from that comparison)

Kendarik:
Depression isn't JUST caused by genetics.

Yah. That's why I said "component". To further specify, way back in this thread on page 3 I already stated the following:

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.

---

But now that you have made the connection, if we could fix the gene that causes depression we would, and we treat it with drugs now, so if that's the same as being gay to you then we should be chemically and genitically treating being gay. (I'm not arguing for that, just saying its a logical conclusion from that comparison)

I'm not the one who made the comparison originally, ravensheart18 did. Read his post if you need clarification on what I was responding to. I don't consider homosexuality to be an ailment that needs treating, I view it more as a norm variant, like having blue eyes instead of brown, although obviously with much larger ramifications.

Of course sexuality could be coded. Just because it's dormant until puberty doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That'd be like saying pubic hair isn't genetic, but a choice. Now, when we factor in a society whose sexual education (when any education occurs at all) is completely heterosexual in nature, is it any wonder we have confused people who need to "find themselves"? A lot of young people have homosexual urges; what they lack is the ability to process them.

On an unrelated note, I'd have much more epic facial hair if amount and hair type were chosen rather than coded into my DNA.

Kendarik:
Such over simplification. I remember hearing that garbage as a child too, never made sense to me then. Then I read what god actually said and found out he was a bit of a pro-sex feminist...

It would a lot of revision in order to portray the god of the Bible and the Torah as a feminist. There's a lot of biblical passage that makes it absolutely clear that, as far as the holy laws are concerned, women are chattel. God seeing intra-marital sex as positive doesn't make the same God who rewarded Lot for offering his daughters to be raped instead of angelic houseguests a feminist.

Unfortunately for the world, the question "Are you born gay?" is a construction of language designed to obscure reality. Most people take this as the choice/birth argument, where choice is a choice (of course they fail to define what the concept of 'choice' is) and 'birth' automatically means genetics. But its far more complicated than that.

Reality is that more of a pre or post environmental cause debate. Ultimately the true list of possible causes numbers at around 4 (a gross simplification by me, but much better than the current two.):
1. Post-Birth choice of sexual preference
2. Unconsciousness creation of sexual preference based on environmental stimuli (physiological or chemical and other)
3. Pre-birth genetics
4. Pre-birth environmental factors (e.g chemical contamination, bacterial or viral infection, poor womb conditions ect.)

The idea that there are genetic factors, while possible are incredibly unlikely. Homosexuals traditionally don't reproduce, meaning that any such gene would eventually be eliminated from the gene pool given enough time. As such its safe to say that a 'gay gene/s' do not exist, or if they do, they are a recent development on our evolutionary timeline. Considering that homosexual behavior has been well recorded in other animals, its safe to say that 2 and 4 seem to be the most likely possibilities.

Fraser Greenfield:
The idea that there are genetic factors, while possible are incredibly unlikely.

How fortunate then, that the existance of such has already been proven, as has been posted several times in this topic already.

That genetic trait also explains how homosexuality reproduces across generations, because woman with the genetic trait in question remain heterosexual and become more (statistically) fertile.

geK0:
Let me start off by stating that Id like to keep this thread as neutral as possible! I'd like not to see words like "bigot","homophobe", "fag", "queer" etc. tossed around (ie. no flaming, no debating over whether homosexuality is morally correct, that is not the purpose of this thread). Also, please no blaming religion for discrimination against homosexuals, there's other threads for that.

I see a lot of people claim that homosexuality is determined before birth and that there is no way of reversing it. Many people will dismiss claims contrary to this, saying " It's scientifically proven, it is not a choice, you are born that way, if you think otherwise you must be a homophobe.". It seems like one cannot even suggest that there are psychological or environmental factors to homosexuality without provoking such a response.

It doesn't seem likely to me that sexual orientation can be 'coded' into a person's mind at birth. I have heard many people cite studies supporting a 'gay gene', but the ones I have read seemed inconclusive and politically biased. It feels like something that people try to prove because they want it to be true.

I don't think the gay community needs this kind of justification. Does it really matter whether somebody is born gay or straight? There is nothing wrong with being gay, why look for a scientifically proven excuse for it? They deserve equal rights regardless of whether their I am an igtheist. Either the concept of god is demonstrably false, or it literally makes no sense.sexual orientation was influenced by nature or nurture.

I would like to see some studies supporting either side of this argument; If you can cite a reliable source with your post, I'd very much like to read it (I'm having a lot of difficulty finding non-biased studies on the internet)

Edit: Wikipedia is not a reliable source
Edit: just to make it clear THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS OR MORAL DISCUSSION, TAKE THAT SHIT ELSEWHERE!

I am dubious of any claim that states "such-and-such gene is responsible for this." It is my understanding that genes do not work in that manner. We can make sense of multiple alleles at a locus determining explicit traits in the phenotype--eye color, hair color, etc.--that are readily observable from birth. I would say that we have no real data that suggests being gay is a strictly genetic trait, or that it's completely environmental. I think that at best our "genes" can demonstrate a proclivity toward a particular behavior. If not, then how exactly would evolution decide among such traits? If they're completely determined, then a particular gene would either dominate or die off in a matter of generations! On the other hand, if they're completely environmental, then there would be no inheritance!

I think the best question from the scientific viewpoint is: under what conditions (both environmentally and genetically) is it most likely that a specific phenotype (in this case, homosexuality) will be realized?

I feel obliged to say that your opinion on the politics of homosexuality is spot on. The answer to the nature/nurture argument cannot have an effect on the morality of the gay marriage. Unless we're willing to deny the same write to people who wear eyeglasses.

Like Yahtzee. :D

I think, it's a combination of everything; genetics, psychology, how you were raised, the kind of person you are.

I don't think so. What does a newborn baby know of sexuality? Homosexuality is the sort of thing one stumbles upon around adolescence, at the earliest, and while genetics most likely plays a part, environmental factors affect the development of the mind as well, perhaps more so. The bigotry lies in presuming what those environmental factors must be, such as the distinctly Christian farce stating that homosexuals rape children, who then grow up to be homosexuals themselves, or that children raised by homosexuals will grow up to be homosexuals.

Like most vagaries of the human mind, homosexuality is not well understood, and since it does not apply to me, I do not concern myself with the details. The only reason I care about homosexuality at all is because it is a useful battleground against the loathsome practice of religious legislation.

Danny Ocean:
Why does this matter?

Why is this still an issue?

How about the USA starts living up to its mantra of Freedom. It's being thoroughly outdone in this respect than 'Nanny State' Britain and 'Socialist' Europe. Just let people self-determine like you're supposed to for goodness sake.

thats my point as well.. how exactly does this matter anymore?

iamthe1:

geK0:
Let me start off by stating that Id like to keep this thread as neutral as possible! I'd like not to see words like "bigot","homophobe", "fag", "queer" etc. tossed around (ie. no flaming, no debating over whether homosexuality is morally correct, that is not the purpose of this thread). Also, please no blaming religion for discrimination against homosexuals, there's other threads for that.

I see a lot of people claim that homosexuality is determined before birth and that there is no way of reversing it. Many people will dismiss claims contrary to this, saying " It's scientifically proven, it is not a choice, you are born that way, if you think otherwise you must be a homophobe.". It seems like one cannot even suggest that there are psychological or environmental factors to homosexuality without provoking such a response.

It doesn't seem likely to me that sexual orientation can be 'coded' into a person's mind at birth. I have heard many people cite studies supporting a 'gay gene', but the ones I have read seemed inconclusive and politically biased. It feels like something that people try to prove because they want it to be true.

I don't think the gay community needs this kind of justification. Does it really matter whether somebody is born gay or straight? There is nothing wrong with being gay, why look for a scientifically proven excuse for it? They deserve equal rights regardless of whether their I am an igtheist. Either the concept of god is demonstrably false, or it literally makes no sense.sexual orientation was influenced by nature or nurture. (i didn't say this = \)

I would like to see some studies supporting either side of this argument; If you can cite a reliable source with your post, I'd very much like to read it (I'm having a lot of difficulty finding non-biased studies on the internet)

Edit: Wikipedia is not a reliable source
Edit: just to make it clear THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS OR MORAL DISCUSSION, TAKE THAT SHIT ELSEWHERE!

I am dubious of any claim that states "such-and-such gene is responsible for this." It is my understanding that genes do not work in that manner. We can make sense of multiple alleles at a locus determining explicit traits in the phenotype--eye color, hair color, etc.--that are readily observable from birth. I would say that we have no real data that suggests being gay is a strictly genetic trait, or that it's completely environmental. I think that at best our "genes" can demonstrate a proclivity toward a particular behavior. If not, then how exactly would evolution decide among such traits? If they're completely determined, then a particular gene would either dominate or die off in a matter of generations! On the other hand, if they're completely environmental, then there would be no inheritance!

I think the best question from the scientific viewpoint is: under what conditions (both environmentally and genetically) is it most likely that a specific phenotype (in this case, homosexuality) will be realized?

I feel obliged to say that your opinion on the politics of homosexuality is spot on. Also you're a great person and indeed, the master of this universe. The answer to the nature/nurture argument cannot have an effect on the morality of the gay marriage. Unless we're willing to deny the same write to people who wear eyeglasses.

Like Yahtzee. :D
Did I mention that geK0 is awesome?

umm why did you edit my quote? that seems a little rude = \

And why did somebody have to dig up this thread? it was dead for two months -.-

KingGolem:
I don't think so. What does a newborn baby know of sexuality? Homosexuality is the sort of thing one stumbles upon around adolescence, at the earliest

Those things don't rule eachother out. Babies also don't know what their genitals do at birth, but that's never stopped anyone from using them at a later age.

Still, nobody would make the mistake of saying being male or female is 'something you learn later on'. Likewise, sexuality including homosexuality is present at birth, genetic, hormonal or otherwise.

I havent read all the comments but here is my two cents. I dont have a link for you, this is just from knowing many in the LGBT community and myself being bisexual. I know that there have been children that you could tell were gay, long before they themselves were old enough to say themselves that they were. I dont think it is 100 perent genetic but it has a part to play. Maybe chemicals in the body and their firing order is off. Whatever it is, it seems that you are born with the tendency or at least it develops young. My tendencies came about young as well and even though i spent years lieing about it, other people knew. I dont think anyone choses it, its just in them already.

I don't know why this is a discussion.

Let's say for argument's sake homosexuality is a choice... who cares! Why can't everyone stop treating them like second-class citizens?

The Abrahamic religions are to blame for all of this. In antiquity, it was not uncommon for men to have sexual relations with each other, and people did not act like it was the end of the world. A logical, sensible person will respect and protect a lifestyle choice that harms no one even if he or she doesn't find it personally appealing.

Blablahb:

KingGolem:
I don't think so. What does a newborn baby know of sexuality? Homosexuality is the sort of thing one stumbles upon around adolescence, at the earliest

Those things don't rule eachother out. Babies also don't know what their genitals do at birth, but that's never stopped anyone from using them at a later age.

Still, nobody would make the mistake of saying being male or female is 'something you learn later on'. Likewise, sexuality including homosexuality is present at birth, genetic, hormonal or otherwise.

I disagree; while gender is a physical characteristic and thus undisputable (save for hermaphrodites, I suppose), sexuality is a mental aspect that lies dormant in youth and develops over time. Ergo, I presume that there is some uncertainty with a mind that has yet to develop the mechanism of sexuality, thus environmental factors contribute as well as genetic ones. I should think it is possible for two genetically identical humans to develop disparate sexual preferences. Such is an implausible scenario, I think, but I cannot agree with the assumption that sexuality is hard-coded into one's DNA like gender is.

Brawndo:
I don't know why this is a discussion.

Let's say for argument's sake homosexuality is a choice... who cares! Why can't everyone stop treating them like second-class citizens?

The Abrahamic religions are to blame for all of this. In antiquity, it was not uncommon for men to have sexual relations with each other, and people did not act like it was the end of the world. A logical, sensible person will respect and protect a lifestyle choice that harms no one even if he or she doesn't find it personally appealing.

that was actually sort of the point of this thread. People get all bent out of shape when somebody suggests that there might be more to it than genetics, when really it shouldn't matter = \.

Of course I had to do the whole trying to sound smart on a political forum thing though.....

i agree that it is the fault of those religions. and I really do wish that they wouldnt be treated lke lesser humans. very well stated.

iamthe1:
I am dubious of any claim that states "such-and-such gene is responsible for this." It is my understanding that genes do not work in that manner. We can make sense of multiple alleles at a locus determining explicit traits in the phenotype--eye color, hair color, etc.--that are readily observable from birth. I would say that we have no real data that suggests being gay is a strictly genetic trait, or that it's completely environmental. I think that at best our "genes" can demonstrate a proclivity toward a particular behavior. If not, then how exactly would evolution decide among such traits? If they're completely determined, then a particular gene would either dominate or die off in a matter of generations! On the other hand, if they're completely environmental, then there would be no inheritance!

That's the thing, the so-called 'gay gene' is only suspected of resulting in a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality. The hypothesis is based on statistical extrapolation of a strong corelation between men having the gene in question and their being homosexual... around 80%, if memory serves, both for the gene's presence in homosexual men and the incidence of homoseuxality in men with the gene.

Ooh.. old post.

KingGolem:
I disagree; while gender is a physical characteristic and thus undisputable (save for hermaphrodites, I suppose), sexuality is a mental aspect that lies dormant in youth and develops over time.

Just to correct a common terminological misunderstanding.

Sex refers to the physical differences between different groups (classed as sexes).
Gender refers to the delineation of social categories (classed as genders) based on the appearance of physical differences, but also on a wide range of unrelated factors.

Gendering does not even have to a align with sex. A person with a penis can wear a dress and be interpreted at various stages of feminized (or even outright mistaken for a woman) because of it. Wearing a dress is not a sexed action, it's a gendered action. Cutting your hair short is not a sexed action, but it is a gendered action.

On sex, there are three universal ways of measuring human sex.

Chromosomal Sex - The possession or otherwise of a Y chromosome.
Morphological Sex - The configuration of the external genitalia.
Phenotypic Sex - The configuration of the endocrine system.

(There's also Gonadal Sex which is based on the type of tissue found in the gonads - the ovaries or testes, but that's only a specific part of phenotypic sex unless the subject is producing gametes, and not all people do).

The only one which is indisputable is the first, and that's not the one we use to determine sex. There can be enormous phenotypic and morphological differences between people of the same chromosomal sex. Indeed, people of one chromosomal sex can be of an entirely different morphological sex. This has no bearing on them except fertility.

There's no such thing as a human hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodites are creatures with two sets of reproductive organs, such as sea cucumbers, earthworms or most flowering plant species. Human reproductive organs grow from the same undifferentiated 'genital tuber'. Gonads can become either testes or ovaries, a phallus can become either a clitoris or a penis, the same piece of skin can become a scrotum or a set of labia. So yeah, humans only have one set of reproductive organs.

A doctor will always assign someone a sex, regardless of how inspecific their genitals look, noone ever has 'don't know' put on their birth certificate. However, the correct human term for someone who openly has inspecific genital development is 'intersexed'.

About 1% of us are visibly intersexed to some degree at birth. Most of us probably don't realise if we are, we just think of ourselves as having an unusually small penis or an oddly shaped scrotum or some such thing, and in most cases the doctors won't tell anyone or label it because it's assumed that it's better to live with an "imperfect" genital configuration than a question mark.

Blablahb:

Fraser Greenfield:
The idea that there are genetic factors, while possible are incredibly unlikely.

How fortunate then, that the existance of such has already been proven, as has been posted several times in this topic already.

That genetic trait also explains how homosexuality reproduces across generations, because woman with the genetic trait in question remain heterosexual and become more (statistically) fertile.

Proving a correlation exists, is hardly proof. The 'proven' phenomenon you are referring to is (I assume) a questionnaire given out to 98 homosexual and 100 heterosexual men in Italy by Dr Francesca Corna from the University of Padua. It did not take into account genetic make up, or even eliminate the possibly of the social environment of which it was these people were raised, as did a survey in the USA by on Dr. Bocklandt. There were no experiments to validate their theories, nor are their sample sizes big enough to be considered statistically viable.Please understand what an article says and don't just read what the author of such an article wants you to think.

KingGolem:
I disagree; while gender is a physical characteristic and thus undisputable (save for hermaphrodites, I suppose), sexuality is a mental aspect that lies dormant in youth and develops over time. Ergo, I presume that there is some uncertainty with a mind that has yet to develop the mechanism of sexuality, thus environmental factors contribute as well as genetic ones. I should think it is possible for two genetically identical humans to develop disparate sexual preferences. Such is an implausible scenario, I think, but I cannot agree with the assumption that sexuality is hard-coded into one's DNA like gender is.

Why would you make that kind of exception? Plenty of things are genetically directed that develop only later in life. Facial and pubic hair. Huntington's. Type 1 diabetes. Female breasts. Male pattern baldness. Etc.. I don't really follow your argument why, just because it is "dormant" as you put it, sexuality would not also be genetic.

As for my own position, I think it's primarily genetic but also affected by hormonal levels during pregnancy and whatnot, so I don't think sexuality is genetically predetermined (almost nothing is, most things are about influences, probabilities etc.) if you will, but it is strongly influenced by it. I guess I'd mostly disagree with you on the extent of the genetic influences in comparison to the others, not the principle of it.

It may be genetic, some people are born gay. It may also be caused by the way you grew up. It is, as is often the case with genetics, probably a mixture of both.

And those saying it is against human nature have a terrible grasp of history, cultures from all ages around the world have embraced homosexuality as normal. Our culture is not the first one to accept it, and we will certainly not be the last one.

Fraser Greenfield:
Proving a correlation exists, is hardly proof. The 'proven' phenomenon you are referring to is (I assume) a questionnaire given out to 98 homosexual and 100 heterosexual men in Italy by Dr Francesca Corna from the University of Padua. It did not take into account genetic make up, or even eliminate the possibly of the social environment of which it was these people were raised, as did a survey in the USA by on Dr. Bocklandt. There were no experiments to validate their theories, nor are their sample sizes big enough to be considered statistically viable.

Uhm, groups are statistically viable from 30 and up providing they are aselect, which they are if sexuality was the only reason for chosing. A group of a hundred is pretty large, lot of power in such a test.

And it wasn't the study I was refering to. See post nr 6 in this topic, among others.

Only Italian research I mentioned here was when I cited Camperio & Ciani.

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