nature or nurture : Gay & Black Glossary

nature or nurture
For many people whether gays are created by their genes or their upbringing is a major issue because parents want to know if they should feel guilty about having a gay child, or bigots want to reassurance they are justified in persecuting gays who out of spite choose to be gay. Closeted gays wish for a way they could become straight and thus avoid all the negativity toward them.

From my point of view it should not matter. It is of no more importance than left or right handedness. However, the jury is back on the question and it appears you are born gay, and there is nothing you can do to change that.

According to Polly Curtis, of The Guardian Newspaper here is the scoop:

Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sexual Orientation, by Qazi Rahman, a psychobiologist at the University of East London, and Glenn Wilson, a personality specialist from the University of London, reviews research from the last 15 years into why people are gay.

The evidence, they conclude, is that people are born with their sexuality defined, and it is not the result of their relationships with other people in their early life, as had been previously thought.

In 1990, the psychobiologist Simon LeVay published research that revealed differences in small parts of the brain between gay and straight men. Three years later, further research argued that there were chromosomal differences. Since then there has been an absolute explosion in research into the area, Dr Rahman said, but his is the first attempt to analyse it together.

There’s the classical gay man with a smothering mother and distant father idea — which comes from Freud’s oedipal complex theories. For most of us scientific psychologists, Freud’s theory is like astrology to a physicist. In other words it’s rubbish, he told EducationGuardian.co.uk.

Gay and straight men don’t differ in their relationships with their parents. Where they do it might be put down to the fact that if you’re a biologically gay boy, you are more likely to be feminine. You might well expect that fathers are not too happy. And mothers seek to protect.

He said there was no evidence that people could learn to be gay, for example children of gay parents are no more likely to be gay than their peers.

The researchers examined evidence from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, genetics, endocrinology and evolutionary biology, and concluded that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of genetics and hormonal activity in the womb — and that upbringing, childhood experience and personal choice have little or no influence.

They argue that the 2% to 4% of people in the population who are gay are born that way, and this proportion does not seem to vary across societies. While men tend to be either heterosexual or homosexual, with little evidence for true bisexuality, women show more mixed preferences.


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