Question for gay/lesbian MR members

Discussion in 'Community' started by themadchemist, Dec 9, 2003.

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  1. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #1
    Hi guys. This is a question that I've been wondering about for some time. When I talk to gay and lesbian friends, they usually tell me that their sexuality was definitely an innate trait. That makes sense to me, as we heterosexuals don't choose to be attracted to the opposite sex.

    But a few of my friends and I were talking about this the other day, and were wondering whether homosexuality is nature or nurture. Do you feel that there were formative events in your life that promoted your sexuality?

    If you do think it's genetic, then I was wondering about some lineage data. Are there others in your family who are homosexual?

    As many people as can answer this question, I think the more informative it would be...Let's not make this another debate over the so-called "ethical issue" of homosexuality. This is purely a question about its development, about whether it's genetic or a product of childhood experiences or, as I would imagine, a little bit of both.
     
  2. johnnowak macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I think its both, or at least there's a chance of it being either one of them if its not both.

    However I am fairly sure that homosexuality isn't really something that gets passed on... perhaps cause homosexuals tend not to have a lot of kids. ;-)
     
  3. afonso macrumors member

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    #3
    i agree... i'm gay and i've always known i was since i can remember... that i know of, no one else in my whole family is and nothing in my life i would consider helped me being gay...

    i have a great family, incredible parents, so never had a problem with it...
     
  4. themadchemist thread starter macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #4
    yeah, I was thinking that there might be genes whose recessive form cuased a tendency toward homosexuality...just a clarification of what I was thinking as far as 'genetic.'

    but please, I'm intrigued, continue.
     
  5. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

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    #5
    I think that the primary determinant is physiological and the secondary determinant is psychological. There are some homosexuals that deny their nature into adulthood and wind up miserable. In such cases the person attempts to be either heterosexual or nonsexual due to social pressure to conform. They may even marry and have children before they finally realize they are homosexual and accept it.

    In many but not all cases I believe that people have tendencies both ways and it is a matter of degrees. A person could be 99% interested in the opposite sex and 1% interested in the same sex or vice versa. Others are truly bisexual and would fall somewhere in the middle but not neccesarily 50%/50%. Again this would be determined primarily by the way they happen to be "hard wired" and secondarily by their psychological makeup.
     
  6. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #6
    i think 100% nature, as in it's definitively hard-wired one way or the other. however, there is a psychological aspect in that one can make themselves believe whatever they want, if they want it bad enough... and it is humanly possible for a gay person to act straight in taking a spouse and having kids... i've seen it plenty of times. but, the person will be miserable, and never truly love the person, in a romantic sense. it's a horrible thing to see, many cases end in painful divorce... or suicide. some gay people undoubtedly live their entire life this way, which is very sad for both them and their opposite-sex spouse.

    but, even if a gay person "decides" to be straight (or vice-versa, i suppose), they're still bound underneath by genetics.

    aversion therapy = hell beyond anything i can imagine. psychological torture. parents, if your child is gay, and you hate them and want them to commit suicide, send them to a shrink to "change".

    pnw
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    Why would anyone choose a life full of ridicule, lack of acceptance, threats of bodily harm, possible rejection by loved ones, and a lack of governmental recognition of your loving commitment? What possible gain is there to being gay in our society that would make people choose it over hetrosexuality? And at what age did you choose hetrosexuality over homosexuality? Those are my questions to those who say it is a choice.
     
  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #8
    I'm bi and I can tell you that I would not have chosen this for anything.

    As far as other members in my family, I couldn't tell you as I was adopted. My adoptive family didn't discuss s-e-x because it was dirty :D and good families had better topics of conversation.

    I've met a couple of men who got married to hide their sexuality and it just ended up hurting the family they started.

    I also can't imagine someone truly able to change.
     
  9. afonso macrumors member

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    #9
    dude, as a gay guy i've always wondered about bis...

    do you tend to prefer one gender over the other, or is it totally 50%?

    if you are in a relationship with someone from one gender, do you miss or feel the need to be with someone from the other gender?

    i'm just wondering cause that's what i would b afraid of if i were to be in a relationship with a bisexual guy...
     
  10. ColoJohnBoy macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

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    #10
    I'm pretty definite-damn-sure that it's nature. I grew up in a great home, great parents. My dad took me to ballgames, we played sports, etc. Also, I grew up in the Mormon church, where I was constantly reminded how wrong and evil homosexuality was. Yet I still turned out to be gay. I can't think of any incredibly formative event in my life that could have "made" me this way. I simply am, and that's that.
     
  11. afonso macrumors member

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  12. pooky macrumors 6502

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    #12
    To paraphrase Doug Futyuma (a well-known evolutionary biologist), most of the research on the topic coming out indicates that a person can choose his/her sexual behavior (that is, who you choose to have sex with), but cannot choose his/her sexual orientation (which gender a person is attracted to).

    Speaking from experience, it's quite easy to have sex with someone you're not particularly attracted to. It's even pretty easy to have sex with someone from the "wrong" gender. But it's very difficult, if not impossible, to change the type of person you're ultimately attracted to.
     
  13. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #13
    I agree with this post 100%.
     
  14. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #14
    Perhaps it takes a man of science to come up with such a simple, concise statement. Good quote, sums it up much better than i hinted at...

    Of course, our right-wing (i can't say Christian because not all Christians are bigots)(neither are all right-wingers tho) friends would have you believe that people *should* change their behaviour... it's amazing how worthless love is to some people. gay people spend years of their lives coming out, struggling with it, being rejected, all for the chance at love. and the church? screw love, just have what we define as 'normal' sex and you'll be good. the ex-gay fraud lives on.

    i'm getting off topic, aren't i? but i think we've well established that it's not a choice... and everyone believes that it's nature at least to some degree. i personally really don't think that psychological occurances could change this in a person, i don't care what the case... my aunt was raped when she was younger, by her brother sadly, and she swore off men then-- she attributes this as the reason for her lesbianism. i say that she was a lesbian before the rape, she had just not come to terms with it. or that she's not really a lesbian at all, just a traumatized heterosexual woman. rape does not change genetics, which again is what i think the difference is.

    pnw
     
  15. sethypoo macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Just to add to this thread, I have a friend who is gay, and he tells me over and over how he had what he calls a "formative event" that caused him to become attracted to the opposite sex.

    He says that when he was three years old two things happened to him: his parents divorced, his mother began to beat him, while saying his father divorced her because his father was "different."

    My friend later found out that his father was gay, and this, my friend says, made him so.
     
  16. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

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    #16
    I, too would vote nature. not only because of my own personal feelings and memories of confusion at a young age, but also from long conversations with friends who have come out at different times in their lives and with different experiences and backgrounds.
    a funny example is the movie "but im a cheerleader" when they talk about their "roots"...almost all of the examples given are normal childhood experiences, and it uses the humor of that to show how insane it is to try to pin down any cause...
    --carly
     
  17. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #17
    obviously i don't know your friend, so i should reserve comment... but, i'd say he's working hard to convince himself of this... personally, if i had an experience that i could attribute my homosexuality to, i wouldn't want to talk about it much at all.

    child abuse is a very scarring thing, and he could have easily sublimated the guilt he feels for being gay with the guilt of being abused as a child...

    on a sidenote, has he ever sought therapy? anger issues could form quite easily from a life-changing event like this... gotta keep mentally healthy... i was abused as a child as well, not by my parents, but it's left me with a lot of issues.

    pnw
     
  18. sethypoo macrumors 68000

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    #18
    As far as I know, he is still in therapy, and has been for about 2 years.

    He still persists on telling this story. I know that child abuse is a very, very scary thing, be it physical or mental/verbal. The point I was trying to make is that I believe nature is the number 1 cause of homosexuality, but at the same time, formative events can have an effect too.
     
  19. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #19
    You are asking for an empirical answer for a specific variant of one of the oldest debates about humanity - "nature vs. nurture."

    I'm straight so I can't give you an answer from experience other than to say the flip side of what many of the gay posters have said, I can't remember when I didn't feel this way. What does all this mean? It means that if sexual orientation is a product of "nurture" it is not a result that one has a choice to turn on or off. If it is a result of "nature" there is still no science that stands up to peer review that shows how this is so. The is no known "gay gene." If there was this debate would be settled.

    What is very clear is that homosexuality is a very normal part of the spectrum of human sexuality. Different cultures have accepted this or rejected this over the years, but there is no doubt that a certain percentage (what that percentage is, is hotly debated) of humanity has always been gay.

    In either case it makes little difference what the cause of our sexual orientation when considering what our response to differences should be. Whatever the reason, the stigma that society places on one orientation is a thing to be rejected, if equality has any meaning.
     
  20. pooky macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Actually, this is not true. Sorry to be a bit pigheaded, but quite simply there is a considerable amount of respectable, peer-reviewed scientific work showing that sexual orientation is genetically controlled. I don't have the studies in front of me, they're in the office, otherwise I'd give references. Now, there is no "gay gene," but genetics doesn't work that way. Most traits are associated with a bunch of genes that each has a small effect. Sexuality is no different. Research to-date has shown a large heritable component to sexual behavior independent of environment (or "nurture") AND it has identified several genetic "regions" (called QTLs) that are highly associated with homosexuality independent of environment and lineage. Basically, this means that people tend to pass their sexual orientation to their children (regardless of their chosen sexual behavior) and that unrelated homosexuals tend to share certain genetic traits. These two findings combined provide overwhelming evidence that the fundamental underpinnings of our sexual orientation are genetically determined. Which goes back to my original post - you can choose your sexual behavior, but at it's most basic level, sexual orientation is genetically determined. Why has this not been more widely reported? It's not popular news, so the media tends to ignore it for more sensationalist research.

    FYI, all of the above is also true with animals. Animals demonstrate homosexual behavior in the wild, and do so without any environmental stress. It is considered a normal part of their sexual development. Leave it to human "culture" to demonize it.
     
  21. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #21
    i didn't realize you asked about lineage originally. i have quite the family for that. This is entirely my mom's side... First, one of my grandma's brothers and sisters came out (big family), they've been out for 20+ years. then, nothing much, i come out in ... 1998? to them, suddenly all of my first cousins come out. swear to god. a couple of them apparently weren't serious, they went back to straight, and have stayed. a couple i've fallen out of touch with. two of my second cousins, that i'm aware of, are lesbians, and at least one more is gay (he's not out, but for a time he kept sleeping with my friends). i should note for continuity that my generation among first cousins is one generation up for my second, so my second cousins are my age.

    how's that for a lot of homo? ;) granted there are a lot of us, but still... our thanksgiving is like a GLBT rally :p

    pnw
     
  22. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    #22
    Being straight, I cannot answer from experience, but I have been told by church and family that homosexuality it a mortal sin against the flesh of God. I personally have a few homosexual friends, and I certainly do not find them to be detestable people (obviously we are all sinning due to our human nature, but that doesn't make anyone detestable), and some of them are the nicest sweetest people I know. I have decided that homosexuality as a life style is not inherently wrong, and is likely as others said some intricate combination of nature and nurture that totally depends on the person. However, I dislike the difference in sexual preference being compared to difference in races, as I do not feel that it is an accurate comparison by any means. I believe that homosexual marriages should fully be supported by the government in the same way that straight marriages are. If two people are in love they should have that love fully supported regardless of gender. However, I feel that homosexuality or bisexuality is sometimes used as an excuse to have numerous sexual partners, and this I do find to be appalling. I do believe in the sanctity and union that goes along with sexual intercourse should be preserved as well regardless of gender.

    Okay, sorry about going a little OT. In short, my vote is that nurture and nature combine in various degrees depending on the person. Also, I feel that everyone has at least some opposite tendencies regardless of how strongly they feel towards one gender. I would consider myself totally and completely heterosexual in every way, but I do have a male friend that I feel a deep bond with that I care about just as much, if not more than I care about some of my previous girlfriends.
     
  23. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #23
    stoid, that was a very deep post, thank you. i agree with you very much, and as to the race thing: it really shouldn't be compared to race, that's true, rather genetic traits like eye color, or hair color, or height, or anything else that transcends race. however racial oppression is much easier called to mind and does share some parallels, so it's used as a base of comparison sometimes. hard for many to imagine oppression against brunettes... it's just as absurd as discrimination against gay people.

    i also share your views on sex. sluttiness is just ...gross no matter what orientation. there are a lot of promiscuous gay people, and they apparently care nothing for shattering the stereotype that haunts the rest of us. unfortunately, they're very visible.

    anyway, like i said, i appreciate your post. sounds like you just don't see any good reason to be homophobic, which puts your critical thinking skills above that of many ;)

    pnw
     
  24. vniow macrumors G4

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    #24
    This is going to be a short post because there's only one thing I have to say about it and that is I don't care. If I keep trying to figure out why I'm different from the majority of the population I will further separate myself from the rest of the society that differs from myself. To me the question isn't why, its what are going to do about it. As far as I'm concerned, its not either nature or nurture, it simply is.
     
  25. Giaguara macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    paul, i guess it could be genetical. i'm female and i just have females, and well .. i dind't choose my sex but if i was born male i'd probably be a gay.

    well. what i was thinking, maybe it's the same thing than e.g. weird relations to food. my grandpa was an anorexic (5'9" and probably like 60 lb) .. my dad at one point was that, one other point overeating (still a problem?) .. my cousins, many are .. no wonder why i have a not'so-standard-relation to what i (don't) eat if all the relatives are like that. :rolleyes:

    i don't really know how much the genetics can do. and i dont trust the researches either. if suddenly lets say 20-50 % of your cousins have issues with food, from the other side (that you would consider not relates) suddenly you notice only 1 of all the cousins you ever had has made it to 40 years of life .. dunno if i should scare or what? i sure know i don't feel very comfortable with my mum, and if i was a guy i think i would either be a gay or something like ed gein .. oh wait. i cant imagine me killing anything bigger than a fly (that started it biting me) soooo i'd guess i were a gay if i was borh a guy.
     
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