Homosexuality on the whole has been receiving a lot of attention in recent years due to its struggle for equal marriage rights and the question whether or not same sex parents can give a child equal oportunity to grow up and carry a “normal” life. Even though this is currently the hot topic throughout the gay and lesbian communities, there still lies a question that no one has come to agree on. This concerns whether or not a person is really born gay and is biologically predisposed to be attracted to the same sex. There are many theories and opinions surrounding this troubling question. Some scientists claim that there is enough evidence to prove that one can undoubtably be born gay; however on the other side of the spectrum there are people in the gay/lesbian communities that argue that it was a personal choice and or that it just hit them later on in life. Then there are gays and lesbians that argue that they knew since a young age that they were gay and that they were just born this way. So can we come to a conclusion on this born gay issue after looking at the scientific evidence available or does this issue run deeper than the lab room?
Presently it is generally accepted that being gay is biologically determined and this has really helped shape societies acceptance and views of the homosexual/lesbian community. D'Emilio, the author of “Born Gay?” however points to the fact that there just aren’t enough conclusive studies to support the argument that being gay is 100% biological. Which in all honesty is true; not only is science lacking evidence but there are gay people who admit to having chosen this path. One of the arguments given by the feminist movement indicates that homosexuality is purely dictated by culture. Some feminists still presently reject evolutionary explanations for sexuality in favor for a cultural explanation that asserts “lesbianism was an option that any woman might pursue in her resistance to male supremacy and patriarchy.” This idea however didn’t represent the vast majority of the gay community who argued against the idea of sexuality being a “preference” or “orientation”. Orientation is the word we use today based of its connotation that one’s sexual preference isn’t chosen but rather decided for them at a young age. However interestingly enough there are some people on the other side of the spectrum that hold contempt against using the word orientation. It gives the impression that being “born gay” is a disease or some sort of genetic “disorder”. That can bring a long some negative societal connotation to the way we preceive people who were in fact gay since birth.
There are also people who take the apathetic stance on the entire issue. Who cares whether or not being gay is a choice or not; we live in a free democratic society were anyone should be able to freely do as they please as long as it’s not infringing on the rights of others. On one hand this appears to be a logical and seemingly accpeting resolution to this question of biological homosexuality. This idea however doesn't help make a strong case for those seeking equal rights for same sex marriage. These two issues are intertwined in some way because if you can truly prove that being gay is biological then you have yourself a much stronger argumenet for the acceptance of same sex marriages and homosexuality in general. However we have thrown the issue under the rug in an effort to just “agree to disagree”. No single answer can appease everyone and this is exactly why people have stopped focusing so much on the “born gay?” issue.
Evangelical christians would like to say otherwise; calling the act “immoral” and the destroyer of families. What these religious movements fail to see is that being gay is never an easy path to go down. These people face both mental and physical abuse and some experience it on a regular basis. I’m sure if being “gay” was a choice, then most would chose not to be. Why chose to be frowned upon by your family, or spat on by society? Granted this isn't always the experience of every single gay/lesbian individual, however it is quite prevelant and they face discrimination on a daily basis. Based on this fact, wouldn’t it be fair to say that: attraction is uncontrollable? The answer is a simple yes and it is one of the major arguements that “born gay” advocates like to argue. However this issue then opens up the flood gates for other people who claim to be bisexual as well.
One of the weaker arguments my research found was how science was being used in order to “let us off the hook”. In recent years, science has been trying to give explanations for why some people are criminals or grow up to become alcoholics; being gay was just another way science was trying to excuse gay people for their sexual orientation. This is clearly a weak argument based on the fact that science has no moral obligation to the gay community. It’s only concern is attempting to provide evidence through experimentation. Science has no reason to lie, and to go back in history in order to play on some of it’s ancient fallacies is also a considerably weak argument; “science claimed a hundred years ago when some practitioners argued that women’s wombs would shrink if they received a college education”.
For the last 20 years science has been only pointing to a biological explanation for ones sexual orientation, and although all the evidence can’t be considered 100% conclusive there will always be people who will argue for nurture over nature. Just based on the fact alone that there are people who only became gay later on in life proves that the born gay theory; even if proven to be true, doesn't apply to the entire gay/lesbian population. Therefore in this day and time, it can only be safe to conclude that one's sexual orientation can be both a result of nature or nuture. There is no single answer or theory that can be applied to every single gay/lesbian individual.
[ 1 ]. Born Gay?
[ 2 ]. Born Gay?