Is it really a choice?

  • BCSwimmer

    Posts: 209

    Mar 22, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    I find time and again that many forums on here often bring up the question of how being gay is NOT a choice.

    I am of the opinion that sexuality, for most people, is fluid and while there may be genes that make someone more likely to be gay that environment also plays a large role in sexuality.

    In my opinion the best evidence for both sides of this argument (the nature vs. nuture role in sexuality) are the scientific studies that look at concordant sexuality amongst identical twins.

    A number of studies have been done over the years (which see, for example: http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5000455316) which showed that the concordance of sexuality amongst fraternal twins was higher than for the average sibling and that it was much higher still for identical twins.

    The kicker though is that the occurence in identical twins is not 100%. If sexuality was fully a matter of "being born that way" then the concordance of sexuality amongst identical (i.e. monozygotic) twins should be 100% We all know that if one monozygotic twin has blue eyes then the other will have blue eyes 100% of the time (as well as any other genetic trait). This alone suggests that homosexuality is not fully a genetic trait (Note I am not arguing that genetics doen't play some role).

    Since the rate of concordant sexuality in monozygotic twins is roughly 50-55% (it varies depending on the studies) this is a strong indicator that it is not genetics alone that determines sexuality.

    Why does this matter? In my opinion, since gay people are claiming equal rights since "we're born this way" if science can conclusively prove that it is not ALWAYS a choice then those that would deny us of our equal rights will use the argument that "you chose this" to justify denying equality.

    For that reason I think it is irrelevant if anyone of us was born this way or was predisposed and because of experiences in life chose (whether consciously or subconsciously) to be gay. We are entitled to equal rights because of our very being regardless of whether or not we "chose" our sexuality.

    Now, I am sure there are many guys on here who "know" they were born gay (and I believe many were) but your personal experience isn't the same as everyone elses. So I am less interested in anyone individual's personal experience than I am in your views of the matter in general.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 22, 2011 11:57 PM GMT
    My opinion is gay people choose about as easily as straights, which is not at all. Choice is reserved for Bisexuals; it's a special ability they have. icon_wink.gif

    -Doug

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 22, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    "cause baby I was born the way"..................



















    Haven't you heard Lady Gaga's new song!!! Like O.M.G!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 2:28 AM GMT
    I asked my genetics prof about this (she's completely accepting of the LBGT community).

    Honestly, there hasn't been enough unbiased studies to draw any significant conclusions.

    She is worried about it being genetic though--her worry is that if sexuality is conclusively determined by genetics then tests will be done on fetuses--gay babies might be aborted those who do not want a gay child. That was her concern at least.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 3:27 AM GMT
    BCSwimmer saidI find time and again that many forums on here often bring up the question of how being gay is NOT a choice...

    Many factors determine sexuality from conception to birth (and after) including uterine hormone levels. Identical twins, although basically clones, are never completely identical. Anything from moles, hair part, height, bone density and finger length to sexual orientation and eye color can vary in identical twins. It doesn't take parents very long (depending upon the "identicalness" of the twins) to tell them apart. One baby has a high-pitched cry, the other is fatter and quiet, for instance.

    Genetic variation is not the sole source of identity. Scientists are even finding out that profound environmental effects (prior to adolescence) can alter genetic expression in descendants.

    Even having a shifting sexual orientation is not outside of the boundary of normal human variation not explained by "choice". And for bisexuals who choose on a (let's say) weekly basis who their next partner is aren't choosing their bisexuality, they're choosing their companion.
  • swimjohn

    Posts: 252

    Mar 23, 2011 3:38 AM GMT
    conscienti1984 saidI asked my genetics prof about this (she's completely accepting of the LBGT community).

    Honestly, there hasn't been enough unbiased studies to draw any significant conclusions.

    She is worried about it being genetic though--her worry is that if sexuality is conclusively determined by genetics then tests will be done on fetuses--gay babies might be aborted those who do not want a gay child. That was her concern at least.


    I find it ironic that pro-life people would probably become pro-choice if they had the choice to abort their gay babies.
  • MisterStud123

    Posts: 15

    Mar 23, 2011 3:43 AM GMT
    Hey kids, we have a biochemist in the house. So I will go ahead and explain what determines sexuality.

    It is indeed true that genetics plays some role. It is indeed also true that the environment plays some role. Enter: the field of epigenetics.

    Guys, the field of genetics is a very complex thing to wrap your heads around. Genes don't have a one-to-one mapping to expression of traits. There is a whole host of chemical modifications that occur on the DNA itself and to the proteins called histones that associate tightly with DNA in the nucleus. This is where the "environment" factor comes into play. It is indeed true that environment has some effect, but it is the CHEMICAL environment of the female's uterus on the developing fetus that has major consequences on sexuality and NOT the external environment. So, yes, you were born that way, even though you may not have been conceived that way. The consensus within the scientific community is that the hormonal environment in the mother's womb is th determining factor when it comes to sexuality. This is why you can have identical twins who have different sexualites; the hormones alter the chemical environment and hence expression of their genes differently.

    Additionally, there are studies that show that the more older brothers a guy has, the more likely he is to be gay. Again this points to the chemical environment of the mother's womb. To a mother, a male fetus is a foreign body because it is genetically different (XY sex chromosomes as opposed to XX) than it's own tissues. The mother actually produces antibodies in response to having a male fetus, albeit these antibodies don't have much of an effect. With each successive male birth, the antibodies get better and better at doing their job. These chemical differences in the womb alone, might be the reason why that trend is seen with older brothers.
  • thirdoz

    Posts: 69

    Mar 23, 2011 4:03 AM GMT
    It isn't nature vs. nuture(environment) that make a trait, but how they work together to develop a trait. Some traits, like dentition size are largely genetic, because humans have a natural proclivity towards thicker enamel than some other primates, like gorillas. Height is largely determined by envioronment for most people. But even traits that are strongly genetically determined are still subject to the environment as development occurs. Plus you have to remember that you have phenotypes which follow mendel's rules of inheritence and expression, while others are polygeneic, others pleiotrophic, and others that are both, not to mention co-dominance of genes.
    BCSwimmerThe kicker though is that the occurence in identical twins is not 100%. If sexuality was fully a matter of "being born that way" then the concordance of sexuality amongst identical (i.e. monozygotic) twins should be 100% We all know that if one monozygotic twin has blue eyes then the other will have blue eyes 100% of the time (as well as any other genetic trait). This alone suggests that homosexuality is not fully a genetic trait (Note I am not arguing that genetics doen't play some role).

    That COULD be the case..just scrutinizing the study..It may also be different hormones the fetus is exposed too in the uterus (biochemical enviornment), one may have been exposed while the other wasn't. The amnion and chorion are mebranes sacs which surround and protect developing fetuses. It is possible for monochorionic (non-frateral identitcal) to be diamniotic, not in the same amniotic sac and exposed to differing hormone levels. Some fraternal birth order studies have shown that pre/natal hormones may play a part in sexuality. http://www.pnas.org/content/103/28/10771.long But yeah, it's clear that it's not completely genetically determined from this and other studies.
    Conscientious1984She is worried about it being genetic though--her worry is that if sexuality is conclusively determined by genetics then tests will be done on fetuses--gay babies might be aborted those who do not want a gay child. That was her concern at least.

    I'd be surprised if it was 100% genetic, but wouldn't be surprised if that happened. I wonder how confused the pro-lifers would be then?

    A lot of these studies are interesting in determining the origins of sexuality, but that only. The wider idea of trying to prove or disprove choice in sexuality makes the same amount of sense of trying to prove or disprove choice in height.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 4:05 AM GMT
    this thread makes my penis itch icon_neutral.gif

    I'm gonna scratch it okay?
  • MisterStud123

    Posts: 15

    Mar 23, 2011 4:07 AM GMT
    DONT SCRATCH IT. "Mendel's rules of inheritence and expression" say that your penis will become smaller after you scratch it after reading this thread.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    it was a choice for me...I woke up one day and decided, "hey, life isn't difficult enough for me, let's give gay a try" and it just happened to stick.

    On a more serious note, no one can judge us because no straight man has or ever could take a walk in our shoes and know what we go through. I always tell my straight friends they have it so easy because they can assume they have a chance with anyone of the opposite sex and can approach the person on it. If the guy (for women) or girl (for men) is gay, it's flattering, but not offensive. However, as gay men, we have to be careful because there are so many homophobes and while I'm not afraid to fight, I choose not to provoke ignorance. I prefer to know, but sometimes you just don't, so I let the "opportunity" pass. We all have our types, just like I tell my straight buddies, you don't dig every chick, therefore, I don't dig every guy.

    We chose to act on our impulses, but we did not CHOOSE to be attracted to men, though I wouldn't trade it, no matter how difficult it can be at times to control myself ;-) WE could walk around being untrue to ourselves to make society happen, but fuck that, when society pays my bills, I'll start "conforming" Adam and Steve ALL DAY!!!

    There's my two cents.
  • JockChefJim

    Posts: 373

    Mar 23, 2011 4:13 AM GMT
    MisterStud123 saidHey kids, we have a biochemist in the house. So I will go ahead and explain what determines sexuality.

    It is indeed true that genetics plays some role. It is indeed also true that the environment plays some role. Enter: the field of epigenetics.

    Guys, the field of genetics is a very complex thing to wrap your heads around. Genes don't have a one-to-one mapping to expression of traits. There is a whole host of chemical modifications that occur on the DNA itself and to the proteins called histones that associate tightly with DNA in the nucleus. This is where the "environment" factor comes into play. It is indeed true that environment has some effect, but it is the CHEMICAL environment of the female's uterus on the developing fetus that has major consequences on sexuality and NOT the external environment. So, yes, you were born that way, even though you may not have been conceived that way. The consensus within the scientific community is that the hormonal environment in the mother's womb is th determining factor when it comes to sexuality. This is why you can have identical twins who have different sexualites; the hormones alter the chemical environment and hence expression of their genes differently.

    Additionally, there are studies that show that the more older brothers a guy has, the more likely he is to be gay. Again this points to the chemical environment of the mother's womb. To a mother, a male fetus is a foreign body because it is genetically different (XY sex chromosomes as opposed to XX) than it's own tissues. The mother actually produces antibodies in response to having a male fetus, albeit these antibodies don't have much of an effect. With each successive male birth, the antibodies get better and better at doing their job. These chemical differences in the womb alone, might be the reason why that trend is seen with older brothers.


    So where do lesbians come from??? Too much HGTV while in the womb? icon_smile.gif
  • thirdoz

    Posts: 69

    Mar 23, 2011 4:14 AM GMT
    MisterStud123 saidDONT SCRATCH IT. "Mendel's rules of inheritence and expression" say that your penis will become smaller after you scratch it after reading this thread.


    draw him a punted square
  • MisterStud123

    Posts: 15

    Mar 23, 2011 4:24 AM GMT
    Can't draw him a PUNNET square. The alleles in question are linked to those alleles playing a role in the characteristic trait of his small brain.
  • andreseward

    Posts: 54

    Mar 23, 2011 4:30 AM GMT
    well, being gay is as much of a choice as is being straight.

    i like to think of one's sexual orientation as being very similar to one's dominant hand. as there is no one reason why one person might be left handed while the other is right handed but neither is better, just different. as well as there being multiple factors before birth/early development that determine whether or not someone uses their left or right hand. they are always able to change their behavior, but using their naturally dominant hand will always be the right way for them. just as gay or straight people can act outside of their natural sexual orientation, they will always have a certain orientation/lifestyle that they are more comfortable with. icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 4:35 AM GMT
    Its definitely not a choice!!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 5:02 AM GMT
    Coz baby I was born that way.






    I would rather kill myself than do the dirty deed with a women, we do still have choices, no matter how desperate thang may seem.


    Having Mormonism apart of my life from a young age, to of created the facade of being straight, with a wife and children, was never a choice for one! So I could not play the game and receive the benefits for doing so, as one is a pure homosexual, one of the real gays, and death would of been more preferable than having a wife, and it's benefits.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 5:08 AM GMT
    Fraternal birth order. The probability that a man has homosexual preference increases with the number of older brothers he has. Each older brother increases the odds by 1/3 – 1/2. This effect cannot have a genetic basis. Speculations for this effect focus on the mother progressively building antibodies against an unknown male protein, more so with each son.

    Otoacoustic emissions (OAE). Our ears actually make sounds, though they are too weak to hear by ear. They have a characteristic frequency, starting in early childhood. The right ear’s OAE is different from the left ear’s, and males differ from females. A UT researcher (Dennis McFadden) is finding that gay males have slightly different OAE frequencies than heterosexual men. The direction of the difference supports an overmasculinization of gay men.

    In 1991, Simon LeVay reported a search for sexual preference differences in the size (volume) of 4 brain nuclei in a brain region known as the anterior hypothalamus. Work on rodents had demonstrated that this brain region affected sexual behavior, and work on humans had already identified a male-female difference in tiny regions or ‘nuclei’ of the anterior hypothalamus. LeVay found a difference between heterosexual and gay men in one of these nuclei (#3); the size of INAH3 in gay men was similar to that of (heterosexual) females and smaller than that of heterosexual men.

    ---University of Texas

    They also found that male pheromones trigger a (hetero) female neural response in GAY men. If our neurology makes us enjoy male pheromones...then that's pretty biological no? icon_surprised.gif

    ----http://www.sensualism.com/gay/pheromones.html

    That's quite a lot of biological evidence imo.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 5:46 AM GMT
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Mar 23, 2011 5:56 AM GMT
    If 5 kids grew up in the same household, with the same parents, and they all had the same upbringing, and all of the kids were home schooled, yet 2 of the kids turned out to be gay and 3 of the kids turned out to be straight, why didn't all of them turn out to be straight or all of them turn out to be gay ?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 6:03 AM GMT
    lol if I had a choice, I would NOT be gay.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Mar 23, 2011 6:18 AM GMT
    The kicker though is that the occurence in identical twins is not 100%. If sexuality was fully a matter of "being born that way" then the concordance of sexuality amongst identical (i.e. monozygotic) twins should be 100% We all know that if one monozygotic twin has blue eyes then the other will have blue eyes 100% of the time (as well as any other genetic trait). This alone suggests that homosexuality is not fully a genetic trait (Note I am not arguing that genetics doen't play some role).

    Not all genetic traits have 100% penetrance between identical twins
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 6:20 AM GMT
    My personal belief is that all of the above: life experiences, genetics, environment, all shape the brain, and may create neural connections that simply cannot be undone.

    Many feel they were born that way, as I was, but I think that a person may have been predisposed to be gay as a child, and with life experiences, environment, they encourage the neuronal connections and somehow formulates a "gay" brain. In my opinion, it becomes past the point of no return. That may or may not be sad, but I don't think being gay is more a choice than not.

    I think many straight people may have been born with a genetic predisposition to be gay, but their experiences, etc did not encourage those brain connections. Just my scientific thoughts.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Mar 23, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    The only people who get to chose are bisexuals, and judgemental bisexuals make life a living hell for the rest of us, especially in the workplace.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 7:15 AM GMT
    luvitohateit saidlol if I had a choice, I would NOT be gay.


    Then find a women and become a bisexual, there are benefits to be had.....