Is Homosexuality Genetic or a Choice?

Topics: Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, LGBT Pages: 7 (2673 words) Published: August 1, 2013
I have known Rachel since we were in third grade and she’s been a close friend for most of that time. When we were in high school she told me that she was a lesbian and that she had known since we were children. She has tried dating men but doesn’t feel the kind of attraction for them that she had and still has for women. In a conversation we had nearly two years ago she told me, “I’m almost jealous of you. Sometimes I wish I could be attracted to men, it would make my life so much easier.” That comment has stuck with me ever since. She does not have it easy as a lesbian in a society that looks down on her for being an openly gay woman. People make snide comments at her and for the longest time her mother absolutely refused to believe she was not straight, even going so far as to try setting her up with her friends sons hoping it would pull her out of her ‘gay phase’. Rachel is not the only homosexual person I know and the others have had similar experiences due to their choices to come out of the closet. One of them, Paul, was beaten up by a group of teenaged boys when they realized that he was, in their words, a fag. My friends choose to be open and out, but they did not and do not choose to be gay. In fact more often than not homosexuality is caused by genetic factors rather than it being a choice. According to some research there is a physical difference between the brains of homosexual men and women when compared to those of heterosexual men and women. “In 1991, a Salk Institute neuroscientist, Dr. Simon LeVay, found striking differences in the brain anatomy of gay and non-gay men” (Bernstein 34). If there is a detectable and common difference between the brains of straight and gay people then it is very possible that that is a determining factor in regard to sexuality. This research has been done more than once and has shown on multiple occasions that there are a variety of differences between them. “In straight men, the right hemisphere is about two percent larger than the left hemisphere, on average, whereas in straight women the two hemispheres are the same size. In gay people, it’s the reverse: gay men have symmetrical hemispheres, and lesbians have a larger right hemisphere” (“The Biology of Sexual Orientation”). The size is not the only difference between them. According to Dr. Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist well known for his research on the brain and sexuality, the levels of a certain group of cells in the hypothalamus known as INAH3 tend to be smaller in gay men than in straight men (“The Biology of Sexual Orientation”). Although his exact findings have not been replicated another group of scientists have found that the number of cells may be the same but the density in the brain of a gay man would be higher than that of a straight man (“The Biology of Sexual Orientation”). Humans are not the only mammals to exhibit homosexual behavior, in many species of animals it is far from unheard of for same gender sexual contact to occur. In animals such as the Black Swan of Australia it is not uncommon for two males to form a lifelong partnership in which they build a nest, raise offspring, and even live out the remainder of their lives alone when one of them dies. They do breed with females to produce eggs, but once she has laid them they chase her off and proceed to care for the eggs as if they were their own (“Black Swan”). That alone shows that “… homosexuality is a common and widespread phenomenon in the animal world. Not only short-lived sexual relationships, but even … partnerships that may last a lifetime” (“Against Nature?”). If homosexual behavior not only happens but is common among many species of animals, then what makes it unnatural for humans? On top of observations of gay swans in the wild, there have been studies done on domesticated sheep. Within this experiment the investigators tested the potentially gay rams by putting receptive females, receptive males, and other males in front of them to see...
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