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Sexual orientation - genetics vs. environment vs. choice


Off-Topic Discussions

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Searched but couldn't find a thread on this, and since I read a comment on it in another thread I wanted to respond to I thought it was best to start a thread on it.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
sexual orientation (which is genetic and nobody chooses it,for the record. Sexuality is less black and white than we think, and society influences how willing we are to indulge our various urges. But you don't choose attraction.)

This is hardly some undisputably proven thing. There's some evidence that environment affects it too, and from a personal experience, for me it has to be environmental to a large part because my sexuality shifts over time - and seem to match what kind of people I'm around at the time being.

When I was young and kind of afraid of girls, I was completely into boys, didn't even think about sex with girls at all. Then when I got older and got female friends I realized they were to a large degree far more tolerable and I grew a dislike for the male gender role - at the same time, I lost my interest in men more or less completely and was completely straight for several years. In the latest year, I've met a lot of guys that I respect and I've started to grow attracted to men again, not just those good guys I meet but also in general.

So, in effect, I could probably somewhat affect who I am attracted to, by choosing who I'm around. While you could simply say I'm bisexual, which isn't entirely incorrect, it's simplifying sexuality; when I was straight, I wasn't interested at all in men, and when I was gay, I wasn't interested at all in women. No interest at all. I identified myself as homo/heterosexual. Now I'm attracted to both (though mostly women) and I've also recently felt that I can be attracted to transpersons - before, I've never had interest in non-cis people.

So, while I don't think everybody can just choose who they're attracted to, I do think that both genetics and environment can affect it - for different people probably to a differing amount. If you are a person for whom the environment has a large effect, and if you're aware of that effect, I think you can probably somewhat affect who you're attracted to.


Some people's orientation can change over time. Some people can effectively "choose" their orientation. I think both groups are in quite a minority, however.

That said, I suppose it's possible for one's environment to affect their orientation, in a small minority of cases. I think there may be other factors in it as well.

Liberty's Edge

Could be any of the three, or a combination of all three.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Tales Subscriber

The causes only seem to matter to people who object to certain sexual orientations.

I don't think it is at all important.

Shadow Lodge

I can't see 95+ percent of a species, much less all species, choosing a heterosexual orientation without a pretty large basis in biology. Especially when you consider the evolutionary benefits of well... reproducing.


ciretose wrote:
Could be any of the three, or a combination of all three.
It may also involve other factors, although I have no idea what they might be.
GeraintElberion wrote:

The causes only seem to matter to people who object to certain sexual orientations.

I don't think it is at all important.

It can be useful for doctors and scientists in a number of fields.

It may not specifically matter too much for most here, knowing how and why of how the human mind works can be very useful.


Gereint: I agree that the causes aren't really important in their own, but it can still be interesting to discuss. I don't really have an issue with anyones sexuality as long as the person doesn't do something without consent, so that's not where I'm coming from at least.

Also, people still view sex, gender and sexuality in a very black and white way, and I do think increased spread of knowledge and understanding of these topics is good for everyone, but especially for those who don't conform to the norm.

BigNorseWolf: Do you have any source of 95+% of humans being heterosexual? I find it hard to believe there would be accurate statistics on that, and even harder to believe such a high number. Even if we use a simplistic hetero-bi-homo scale, I would think that the number of homo+bi would exceed that number by a fair bit.


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Given that identical twins do not always have the same sexual orientation, it's safe to say (except from a political perspective) that same-sex attraction is not 100% genetic.

But having a same-sex attracted twin does predict a significantly higher probability of being homosexual for the other twin, moreso if it's an identical twin. So it's probably safe also to say that it isn't 100% environmental either. I believe that holds even when the twins are raised apart (WWII gave us TONS of twin studies in its aftermath because of the deluge of DP---displaced persons).

Nearly every trait that is actually interesting seems to be this way---genetics supplies a predisposition but very rarely a hard coercion. Lots of people, for instance, are genetically predisposed to be easily addicted to alchohol. But many, if not most of them don't become so. There's plenty of room in the real world to attribute all three, genetics, environment, and choice, as working in conjunction or opposition to form the person.


Maybe once we figure this all out, we'll figure out how to change it.


I am pretty sure genetics have a huge effect on sexuality, but I think there can be a bit of fuzzyness on exactly where that leads.

For example, lets just look at the side effects of genetics controling sexual appetite. IE, genetics give you a lower or higher sex drive. This can actually cause side effects in the realm of sexual orientation. A heterosexual with a high sex drive stuck in a situation where their optimal choice in partner isn't available might choose a less optimal partner(specifically a non-optimal gender). Meanwhile, heterosexual with a low sex drive might choose to abstain over taking a less than optimal partner. High sex drive pushes you towards bi-sexuality("I'll take whatever I can get"). Low sex drive pushes you towards asexuality("Meh, I can live without it").

In theory, there could be no gene that directly controls sexual orientation, but rather a collection of genes that make someone much more likely to go a specific direction.

Personally, I think we are all genetically born bisexual(sex feels good no matter who you are with, newborn babies are known to masturbate), and normal society imprinting is supposed to push us towards heterosexuality for the good of the species. Of course, there are tons of way the imprinting can be screwed up(abuse, absent parents, etc). Finally, I believe that free will can override both nature and nurture, but overcoming 10+ years of imprinting through shear force of will can be extremely hard.


Meophist: Eh... Why? What would be the point of that?


Charender: Isn't "free will" kindofa... eh, either meaningless (as just another word for "has a cause that we can not determine") or lacks empirical evidence completely?

Shadow Lodge

stringburka wrote:
BigNorseWolf: Do you have any source of 95+% of humans being heterosexual? I find it hard to believe there would be accurate statistics on that, and even harder to believe such a high number. Even if we use a simplistic hetero-bi-homo scale, I would think that the number of homo+bi would exceed that number by a fair bit.

Wiki on the matter

The numbers are all over the place depending on what definition and criteria you use. Even the higher reliable estimates top out around 10% of homosexuality, and that's usually including one voluntary encounter or thought. The lower ones go down to 1% so I just said to heck with it and split the difference.

I've fixed flat tires and tuned an engine, that doesn't make me an auto mechanic. I don't think one time at band camp makes someone gay or bisexual.

I'm not really hung up on the number. Basically, anything significantly over 50% is showing some degree of influence other than choice. Given the universality of heterosexuality across cultures as well as the timing of taking an interest in the opposite sex correlating with sexual maturity biology is a perfect fit for an explanation.


stringburka wrote:
Meophist: Eh... Why? What would be the point of that?

Some people aren't comfortable with their sexual orientation(s), or it may create discomfort in other ways. Letting people be more comfortable isn't a bad goal.


My personal suspicion is that a certain percentage of people of genetically hard-coded to be homosexual, another, probably larger percentage either bisexual or able to adapt and another large percentage exclusively heterosexual.

Most of the bisexual/adaptable people find themselves fixed one way or another by subconscious experience or cultural conditioning. Some do not and identify as bisexual.
These are the cases where identical twins are not always the same orientation. This probably also (along with pretense and denial) explains cases where people have actually changed orientation.

So, yeah: genetic predisposition, fixed to one degree or another far below the level of conscious choice, except for the relatively small number poised somewhere in the middle.

I wouldn't be completely surprised if a more accepting attitude towards homosexuality led to more of those in the middle expressing as either homosexual or bisexual. In addition to less hiding or living in self-denial.

I'd also expect the percentages to be different for male and female since the evolutionary pressures would have been different.


BigNorseWolf wrote:


Wiki on the matter

The numbers are all over the place depending on what definition and criteria you use. Even the higher reliable estimates top out around 10% of homosexuality, and that's usually including one voluntary encounter or thought. The lower ones go down to 1% so I just said to heck with it and split the difference.

Huh! Interesting. The more you know.

Meophist wrote:
stringburka wrote:
Meophist: Eh... Why? What would be the point of that?
Some people aren't comfortable with their sexual orientation(s), or it may create discomfort in other ways. Letting people be more comfortable isn't a bad goal.

Well, you might be right. Regardless, I think most people who are uncomfortable with their sexuality might be so because of environmental reasons such as the heteronorm or outright homophobia, religion, or the like. In those cases I think it's better to change the environment and/or increase the person's self-respect instead of changing their personality/orientation.

Just like how a boobjob usually isn't a good solution to bad body confidence, I don't think it's a good idea to change people's sexual orientation. Especially not since it would probably be forced upon a lot of people out of social pressure.


stringburka wrote:

Well, you might be right. Regardless, I think most people who are uncomfortable with their sexuality might be so because of environmental reasons such as the heteronorm or outright homophobia, religion, or the like. In those cases I think it's better to change the environment and/or increase the person's self-respect instead of changing their personality/orientation.

Just like how a boobjob usually isn't a good solution to bad body confidence, I don't think it's a good idea to change people's sexual orientation. Especially not since it would probably be forced upon a lot of people out of social pressure.

That may be true. well, society probably needs to change before this happens. However...

You said your sexuality's been changing over time. Hasn't this caused you some discomfort? Additionally, if you plan on/are in/are getting into a relationship with another person, wouldn't it be awfully... inconvenient if your sexuality suddenly switched the other way? If you had control over your sexuality, then this wouldn't be a problem.

The problems with one's sexuality does not necessarily need to be societal.


Meophist wrote:
You said your sexuality's been changing over time. Hasn't this caused you some discomfort? Additionally, if you plan on/are in/are getting into a relationship with another person, wouldn't it be awfully... inconvenient if your sexuality suddenly switched the other way? If you had control over your sexuality, then this wouldn't be a problem.

1. Nope. Being gay when in junior high caused me a lot of discomfort because of the homophobia around, but being gay wasn't the issue for me, other's view of my sexuality was. Despite them not knowing.

2. I have a lot of different relations with all kinds of people, but if we are restricting it to relations where sexual attraction is relevant, I do have those. However, I have them with people that I know very well and love, so a. it's very unlikely that I'll stop being attracted to them since they are part of what defines my sexuality and b. even if I did, that doesn't mean I can't have a close relationship with them. But yes, it could be inconvenient.

While I do realize people are different, and that I as both polyamorous and having a fluid sexual orientation is in a small minority, I'm afraid that if it was possible to control sexual attraction completely, that might cause the heteronormative and homophobic structures to intensify it's attacks on LGBTQ people, because they could always refer to that "free will" b+@+#~~$. I think the risk is that it might cause far more damage than aid.

Contributor

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Social factors play pretty much zero influence here, though they can make someone suppress an orientation to whatever is socially expected, but upbringing doesn't alter brain structure.

It's some combination of genetics and (probably more-so) the effect of hormone flux on the developing brain in-utero. There are observable brain differences between hetero and homosexual members of a given sex, with bisexuals on a spectrum between both ends. Interestingly enough, similar masculinization/feminization of specific portions of the brain seem to be responsible for gendor dysphoria, albeit the development of that portion of the brain occurs at an earlier stage of gestation.

That's my professional opinion on the topic, based on the bulk of literature that's out there on pubmed.

Shadow Lodge

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I think the best way to think about it is vector table

If you didn't get to play one in high school physics, its basically a washer that gets pulled in all different directions by weights placed at various angles.

So for an individuals orientation, you have Culture, choice, and biology pulling in various directions with different strength depending on the individual. Any or all of the forces can be significant without necessarily being deterministic.


stringburka wrote:
Meophist wrote:
You said your sexuality's been changing over time. Hasn't this caused you some discomfort? Additionally, if you plan on/are in/are getting into a relationship with another person, wouldn't it be awfully... inconvenient if your sexuality suddenly switched the other way? If you had control over your sexuality, then this wouldn't be a problem.

1. Nope. Being gay when in junior high caused me a lot of discomfort because of the homophobia around, but being gay wasn't the issue for me, other's view of my sexuality was. Despite them not knowing.

2. I have a lot of different relations with all kinds of people, but if we are restricting it to relations where sexual attraction is relevant, I do have those. However, I have them with people that I know very well and love, so a. it's very unlikely that I'll stop being attracted to them since they are part of what defines my sexuality and b. even if I did, that doesn't mean I can't have a close relationship with them. But yes, it could be inconvenient.

While I do realize people are different, and that I as both polyamorous and having a fluid sexual orientation is in a small minority, I'm afraid that if it was possible to control sexual attraction completely, that might cause the heteronormative and homophobic structures to intensify it's attacks on LGBTQ people, because they could always refer to that "free will" b!$#$&#+. I think the risk is that it might cause far more damage than aid.

I understand that. I don't like it, but I understand that.

I think this "choice" thing is just an excuse. Some people are just going to cling onto whatever excuse they can find. It shouldn't matter if it's a choice or not. It shouldn't make a single difference. If you're gay, I don't care if you chose to be so or simply are so. I don't see why anybody should care. Whatever turns you on should be your own business.

Regardless...

Sexual orientation is hardly the entire story. There's also romantic orientation, that is, what you can be romantically attached to. Like sexual orientation, people can be heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, or something else. They appear to be independent values, but I don't really have anything concrete on that front. In either case, if your sexual orientation can change, there's no reason why your romantic orientation can't also change.

The idea that somebody else can define your sexuality sounds a bit weird to me.


A study was done on sheep that determined that there was something in the brain (pre-optic hypothalamus I think) that was smaller in homosexual sheep lending credence to genetic factors.

I'm gay myself. I've always been attracted to men even before I knew what sex was. I am the only gay person in my family. So, when anyone say's it a choice I can't help but laugh in their face.

From my personal experience It's doubtful it's related to how one was raised as I have both a heterosexual brother and sister. Additionally I come from a military background, so not being gay was far more encouraged by my society from ages 0-15. Alcoholism is more encouraged by military culture and I don't particularly care anything about drinking.

So, based on personal evidence I'm going to have to go with Genetic factors.


Meophist wrote:
I think this "choice" thing is just an excuse. Some people are just going to cling onto whatever excuse they can find. It shouldn't matter if it's a choice or not. It shouldn't make a single difference. If you're gay, I don't care if you chose to be so or simply are so. I don't see why anybody should care. Whatever turns you on should be your own business.

I agree completely. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people that do use that excuse.

Quote:
Sexual orientation is hardly the entire story. There's also romantic orientation, that is, what you can be romantically attached to. Like sexual orientation, people can be heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, or something else. They appear to be independent values, but I don't really have anything concrete on that front. In either case, if your sexual orientation can change, there's no reason why your romantic orientation can't also change.

Agreed. I didn't aknowledge it in my post since it was mostly based on personal experience, and my sexual and romantic orientations have always matched each other. In addition, there are asexual people (that may still be romantic).

Sexuality is so big and complex that defining ones sexuality "correctly" seems like a more or less pointless task.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
EWHM wrote:

....

Nearly every trait that is actually interesting seems to be this way---genetics supplies a predisposition but very rarely a hard coercion. Lots of people, for instance, are genetically predisposed to be easily addicted to alchohol. But many, if not most of them don't become so. There's plenty of room in the real world to attribute all three, genetics, environment, and choice, as working in conjunction or opposition to form the person.

There's an interesting correlation between genetics and QM. QM gives us the probabilities for certain events, and much of genetics seems to work the same way.

As a geneticist, I could code for green eyes and black hair, ultra-pale melanin, and above-standard height; and you'll get these attributes most of the time (almost always).

But other encoding, say, propensity for mathematics; for gymnastics; for kindness; for thoughtfulness--these are all encoding for rather than to.


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Meophist wrote:
Maybe once we figure this all out, we'll figure out how to change it.

It wasn't so long ago that being non-hetero was considered a mental illness; being trans is still listed in the DSM-IV. Finding a (epi)genetic marker would mean the potential for a real medical treatment that could actually suppress or change a person's sexual orientation. While a consenting adult should be allowed to do whatever they want, what about the minors whose parents/guardians are still being shipped off to sexual "re-education"/conversion camps/treatment centers? Or higher insurance premiums or employment discrimination because an individual happens to possess the "gay" gene/marker? Parents already screen their embryos for other medical conditions and defects... what stops them from screening out possible LGBTIQ children?

I'd rather humans not know what exactly causes LGBTIQ for at least another 20 years, so society has had a chance to grow more tolerable and accepting.


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Todd Stewart wrote:
It's some combination of genetics and (probably more-so) the effect of hormone flux on the developing brain in-utero. There are observable brain differences between hetero and homosexual members of a given sex, with bisexuals on a spectrum between both ends. Interestingly enough, similar masculinization/feminization of specific portions of the brain seem to be responsible for gendor dysphoria, albeit the development of that portion of the brain occurs at an earlier stage of gestation.

There have been studios that document that changes in environment can make lasting heritable epigenetic changes.

Also, it's also been documented that even in identical twins, one twin identifies as trans and feels compelled to transition to the opposite sex, while the other is perfectly happy as they are. See the Bowers twins and the Farley twins.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Meophist wrote:
...Sexual orientation is hardly the entire story. There's also romantic orientation, that is, what you can be romantically attached to. Like sexual orientation, people can be heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, or something else. They appear to be independent values, but I don't really have anything concrete on that front. In either case, if your sexual orientation can change, there's no reason why your romantic orientation can't also change.

Sure. I'm completely heterosexual in coital preference. Nonetheless, I have a massive mancrush for Neil DeGrasse Tyson and I still find Nicole Kidman to be pedestal-beautiful--this should color me biromantic.

My prudishness for seeing another man's penor is likely cultural, but without some significant neurochemical change, I don't reasonably see myself changing coital preference.

An interesting discussion might be had in trying to classify nonsexual romantic manifestations. My mancrush on Dr. Tyson has nothing to do with his physical appearance and everything to do with his general charisma and ginormous brain. I love the things he loves (physics, astronomy, science, math, et al) and I love the joy he expresses for those things. However, my hawt Tyson-love is not Platonic, since it does not impel me to a closer study and love of the Divine...unless...

If you argue that a love of natural philosophy (science and the underpinnings of the universe) is by default a love of the divine; and then you argue that every time I think of Tyson I then think of physics and experience a desire to think on physics, then maybe the love is Platonic.


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Definitive one way or another, I can't say. But I have a cool (in my opinion) anecdote.

I'm a big theater guy. All throughout highschool I did theater, and I'd like to continue doing it, at least in the community, throughout my life. Maybe that's why I'm in to Dungeons and Dragons and stuff. Anyways, that's not the point.

I went to go see a one-act festival at a local college (George Mason University, if anybody else went to see the Ten Minute Play Festival this year) and one of the plays brought up an interesting thing. Basically the premise was there were these two guys who had been best friends their entire lives. One of them was gay and one of them wasn't. The gay one was in love with the other one, but obviously it wasn't the other way around too. Anyway, to make a long story short, one of the biggest lines the heterosexual guy said was this: "I hate it when people say that being gay is a choice. Because, you know, I would choose to be gay with you, you know? I love you- like a brother."

It just got me thinking, is all. So yeah.

The Exchange

GeraintElberion wrote:

The causes only seem to matter to people who object to certain sexual orientations.

I don't think it is at all important.

Given it is a criminal offence in many African States to be of a certain Sexual Orientation - not as unimportant as you think.

1. Choice: Criminality invalidates your right to choose it.
2. Genetic: Corrected using Gene Therapy at birth and qualified as a genetic deficiency like Blonde Hair and blue eyes and white skin.
3. Environment: Being raised in an environment where it is acceptable is qualified as child abuse - and abused children often emulate their abusers in their own conduct and would be isolated to ensure it didn't continue to spread.

So yes There is still the possibility you could all wind up in a concentration camp outside New York City for your sexual orientation under the authority of a State who is weary of your freedoms.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I'd rather humans not know what exactly causes LGBTIQ for at least another 20 years, so society has had a chance to grow more tolerable and accepting.

I'm not too big on the idea of holding back scientific progress just because some may misuse it.

...Although I suppose it's rather likely that my selfishness and personal stake may be clouding my judgment on the matter.


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I'm all for holding back on scientific "progress" if it leads to negative things. I think science is good because it can make our lives better - when it doesn't, I don't think it is "progress" to do it. For example, I don't think we should research new biological weapons of mass destruction because of "scientific progress".

I think all scientific research should start with a question of "how can this knowledge benefit society and what are the risks with it".


I'm not sure how much I'm willing to sacrifice for it, but I want a cure.

It's selfish, and I hate it, but I don't want people's lack of basic kindness and respect to get in the way. I don't know how much longer I can deal with it and for that I curse my own weakness. I wish I were a strong enough person to not want it.

That said, it's not like wanting it is just going to make it happen so it's somewhat moot. Even if I were willing to sacrifice whatever, it doesn't lead to the answer automatically or even necessarily help.


Meophist,
I'm somewhat concerned by your though process here. Are you ok?


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Personally, all snark aside, I'm trying to figure out the "environment vs. choice" distinction.

Shadow Lodge

Hitdice wrote:
Personally, all snark aside, I'm trying to figure out the "environment vs. choice" distinction.

Everyone keeps expecting me to get a girlfriend.

Looks like way too much work to me.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Personally, all snark aside, I'm trying to figure out the "environment vs. choice" distinction.

Everyone keeps expecting me to get a girlfriend.

Looks like way too much work to me.

Or this.


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Lateral gene transmission is a pretty potent argument to Mother Evolution for keeping homosexuality in the gene pool. The presence of a few permanently non reproducing but economically contributing adults in the group improves survivability significantly for that group's offspring.

And no, not a choice. Ideologically I'd prefer to be bisexual. I really don't have any social hangups or inhibitions on the subject as I was raised in a very open and LGBT-friendly household. But I wasn't given any choices about my neural architecture, so how I'm wired is how I'm wired.

The capacity to love someone and be attracted to them regardless of their downstairs configuration is something I find personally admirable and would like to emulate. Except that I can't. I'm just not attracted, and there's nothing I can do to change that. I am boringly, politically incorrectly heterosexual. Which I'm fine with. But if I HAD a choice, I'd pick otherwise for political and ideological reasons.

Shadow Lodge

Hitdice wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Personally, all snark aside, I'm trying to figure out the "environment vs. choice" distinction.

Everyone keeps expecting me to get a girlfriend.

Looks like way too much work to me.

Or this.

Little from column A, little from column B

Shadow Lodge

Naja wrote:
Lateral gene transmission is a pretty potent argument to Mother Evolution for keeping homosexuality in the gene pool. The presence of a few permanently non reproducing but economically contributing adults in the group improves survivability significantly for that group's offspring.

I'm not a big fan of kin selection. I think its far more likely that there's a combination of genes that lead to an increase in reproductive success in moderation.


Do your homework. The Human Genome Project (comprising geniuses from Stanford and other major universities) concluded there is a "gay gene." According to them, it is carried by all of us, and whether it is "switched on" or not likely has to do with various conditions in the womb, ranging from diet to temperature.

On another note, competing studies in Europe and the US found that gay men responded to pictures of attractive men with the same autonomic, unconscious brain activity as did straight women. In other words, gay men are hardwired to be stimulated by men, and not women. Likewise, the study showed that gay women were not so much stimulated by women, as they were "repulsed," unconsciously, by men. Bisexuals of both genders actually registered autonomic arousal when viewing pictures of the opposite sex, meaning they were actually likely "born straight," but that in their case, environment at some point played a part in their sexuality, as did simple free will.

If somebody here is saying they have felt their orientation "change," then likely they are not gay. The change has to do with environment and personal comfort, experience, etc. They are simply straight people with open minds and wide ranging experiences. Truly gay people, as far as the medical evidence points, are indeed hardwired at birth. Born gay.

All of this stuff is free to look up on the internet, though you will find lots of people still unwilling to accept the science. I worked for Stanford for some time, and I recommend you search their website for these things. Also Harvard's and Johns-Hopkins'. And note that despite the opposition from evangelicals over the notion of a "gay gene," one high-profile church leader simultaneously denies it exists, and funds a program to find a way to eliminate it from the gene pool. I guess the proof of what he really believes is the pudding under the very expensive crust.

Shadow Lodge

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Bruunwald: citations needed for some rather specific claims.

edit: also I would be VERY very careful about trying to apply a biological tendency (which may be accurate for a population in general) to any specific individual.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Bruunwald: citations needed for some rather specific claims.

I cited this evidence from at least one reputable source a while ago

Here it is again:

Recent studies at Harvard (see NEJM 2011, #364 Feb) have shown a link between homosexuality in men and markers on chromosome Xq28. Xq28 is definitively recognized as the 'sex chromosome', and in gay men, 99% of those who participated in the study (over 4200 from across the US and the UK) showed a multipoint score of 4.0 where P equals 10-. This very strongly indicates that sexual preference for the same gender is at least 99% genetically influenced.

An older article from Science.


Meophist wrote:
I'm not sure how much I'm willing to sacrifice for it, but I want a cure.

A cure for WHAT? :|


Hitdice wrote:
Personally, all snark aside, I'm trying to figure out the "environment vs. choice" distinction.

Well, the distinction really depends on consciousness mostly, and whether it's "permanent" or not. Say that if you're exposed to the color blue when you're newborn you become gay (just as an example to simplify - I do not mean to make it seem that would have anything to do with it in reality), that's an environmental effect but something you can't affect at all.

Now, say that eating oranges make you gay (again, as an example). If you don't know about it, it's an environmental effect that you can't really control. If you DO know about it, you can affect your sexuality by eating/not eating the fruit. Or, if you could simply choose what people you are attracted to right of, that would be choice.

Now, it's all a little fuzzy anyway since what we choose (for anything!) is in turn determined by our genes and our environment.


Bruunwald wrote:
On another note, competing studies in Europe and the US found that gay men responded to pictures of attractive men with the same autonomic, unconscious brain activity as did straight women.

That doesn't really say anything as what is considered "attractive" is based on environmental factors (society's current standards).


Andrew Turner wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Bruunwald: citations needed for some rather specific claims.

I cited this evidence from at least one reputable source a while ago

Here it is again:

Recent studies at Harvard (see NEJM 2011, #364 Feb) have shown a link between homosexuality in men and markers on chromosome Xq28. Xq28 is definitively recognized as the 'sex chromosome', and in gay men, 99% of those who participated in the study (over 4200 from across the US and the UK) showed a multipoint score of 4.0 where P equals 10-. This very strongly indicates that sexual preference for the same gender is at least 99% genetically influenced.

An older article from Science.

There is at least one other factor which is a strong predictor of homosexuality. That is Fraternal Birth order. The more older brothers you have, the more likely you are to be gay.

Shadow Lodge

Andrew Turner

Well lets look at some of the claims

Xq 28 as the gene for homosexuality is an oxymoron, since the region contains a LOT of genes: The band contains three distinct regions, totaling about 8 Mb of genetic information (wiki)

There being a link (positive correlation) is a far cry from " Truly gay people, as far as the medical evidence points, are indeed hardwired at birth. Born gay." There were people with the genes who were gay and those who were not. There were those who are gay without the genes.

The link has been brought up and disputed before.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Andrew Turner

Well lets look at some of the claims

Xq 28 as the gene for homosexuality is an oxymoron, since the region contains a LOT of genes: The band contains three distinct regions, totaling about 8 Mb of genetic information (wiki)

There being a link (positive correlation) is a far cry from " Truly gay people, as far as the medical evidence points, are indeed hardwired at birth. Born gay." There were people with the genes who were gay and those who were not. There were those who are gay without the genes.

The link has been brought up and disputed before.

I only provide the published evidence.

I'm not trained to competently argue research conducted by professional geneticists published in worldwide peer-reviewed journals.

Also, I'm not sure where you're getting the emphasized articles (the), because they're not from my post or the NEJM or Science articles; and I'm not sure why you're quoting something I seemingly said, which I did not ("Truly gay people, as far as the medical evidence points, are indeed hardwired at birth. Born gay.").

Shadow Lodge

Andrew Turner wrote:

I only provide the published evidence.

I'm not trained to competently argue research conducted by professional geneticists published in worldwide peer-reviewed journals.

No but you should be able to tell the difference between whats actually in the research and what people SAY is in the research. There's usually an enormous gap in between them.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Andrew Turner wrote:

I only provide the published evidence.

I'm not trained to competently argue research conducted by professional geneticists published in worldwide peer-reviewed journals.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
No but you should be able to tell the difference between whats actually in the research and what people SAY is in the research. There's usually an enormous gap in between them.

I was not briefed on the articles, I read them myself.

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