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Fountain79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:22 PM
Original message
Where does being gay/straight come from?
What determines our sexual orientation? What makes us prefer one over the other? I like women, period, it's not a choice it's what I like. I am sure it's the same for a gay man or lesbian woman. What do you think defines our orientation?
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Wonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Ah, the old "nature vs nurture" debate
I think it's a bit of both, but more to do with nature than nurture.

On a related note, have you heard of the Kinsey Scale?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A570098
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FormerDem06 Donating Member (308 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
33. There is some interesting and repeated research
on conditions in the womb with regards to males and homosexuality. You can read about it here:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/200...


snip
===============================================
A boy's chances of growing up gay increase with the number of older brothers he has, and the Canadian researcher who spotted the trend a decade ago now believes he is closer to explaining why: It all starts in the womb.

Brock University psychologist Anthony Bogaert first reported in 1996 the startling finding that a boy's probability of growing up gay increases by about one-third with each older brother in his family. It's a subtle phenomenon -- nearly all boys even in large families still grow up straight -- but subsequent research has affirmed that the "fraternal birth order effect" is real.

Since that discovery, researchers have been trying to figure out what might explain it. The most likely answer, they thought, had something to do with how younger brothers are raised -- perhaps having many older brothers drives the youngest to adopt a different sex role.

But in a study released Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bogaert unearthed another surprise. The sexual orientation of younger brothers appears to be established before birth.

"These results provide evidence that a prenatal mechanism ... affects men's sexual orientation development,'' he wrote.
===============================================


snip
===============================================
The theory suggests that mothers during childbirth may develop antibodies to proteins made by their firstborn son's Y chromosome, and subsequent pregnancies may stir up those antibodies in an immune reaction that affects the development of a male fetus. "Whether this is really what is happening ... remains to be seen, but it is provocative hypothesis,'' said Breedlove.
===============================================
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Cronus Protagonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think it's completely irrelevant
You might as well ask where consciousness comes from.



Educate Your Local Freepers!
Flaunt Your Opinions With Buttons, Stickers and Magnets from BrainButtons.com
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kaygore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. God!
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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. nature
I am pretty sure it is nature. I read a study that said that the hormone level in the womb had a large influence.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Runs in families, too.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. Doesn't make one whit of difference - there's nothing wrong it...
The motivation for the very question is based on the implicit background assumtion that there is something wrong with it.

The anti-gay people are "supposed" to be on the nurture side, because they think homosexuality is gey peoples' own faults - and can be changed - a "lifestyle" they typically call it. In the background is the assumption that it is wrong to be gay - the only issue is who to blame.

Amazingly enough, pro-gay people fall for this idiotically slanted framing almost without exception. Pro-gay people are "supposed" to be on the nature side, because that absolves them of *responsibility* for being gay. Absolution - or even just avoiding blame - assumes that the situation is bad in the first place. After all, no one avoids blame for *good* things.

It would be nice if at some point pro-gay people would stop accepting the terms, the framing of the "gay debate", and reject the question itself as uninteresting.

But it hasn't happened for what - 50 years now? I won't hold my breath for them to smarten up anytime soon.
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Autonomy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. The question is very interesting.
I can't speak for the OP, but there's not necessarily such an assumption (that "there is something wrong with it"). Your dismissal of a legitimate scientific inquiry for the sake of political expediency appears not unlike the creationists' dismissal of evolutionary science. What you call "framing" belongs solely to the political sphere, and would only be applicable to questions of policy.

Now if you had said that the question does not belong on a message board because:

A) We're not going to so much as forward the discussion, much less solve it, here

and

B) Given A, it's too divisive a topic with too little potential for return

Then I would be somewhat in agreement with you. But what you said seems, frankly, like a disturbing attempt at an Inquistion-style stifling of a legitimate scientific inquiry.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Theoretical possibility != actuality.
Sure, it's theoretically possible for the question to be divorced from the pro-gay/anti-gay socio-political context, and treated SOLEY as a scientific question.

But that's not how the question exists in the ACTUAL world we live in. Similarly for Eugenics. There's a long history of discriminatory "science", which gets a bunch of support from the fresh-faced wide-eyed "But it's just science - don't stifle inquiry" crowd.

You tell me how many of these hits count as "just science" - unrelated to either the anti-gay or the pro-gay socio-political views:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=proof+homosexualit...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=proof+homosexu...


That's actuality.

Your remarks are not even in the ballpark of addressing what I said. I was talking about the ACTUAL world, where the question ACTUALLY exists. You're talking about a MERE theoretical possibility.
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Fountain79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. You misunderstand me...
I am not posing this question with the assumption that there is anything wrong with being gay. I am merely posing the question out of curiousity. Why do I like women where a gay man likes men? Just a question that was floating around in my mind and I thought I would ask it.
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PBass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I think it's a genetic trait, like being tall, red hair, freckles... (eom)
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
31. 14th Amendment jurisprudence is why we argue this way
Most traits protected under it are genetic. That is why it matters.
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Kiouni Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
11. both probably
i believe that nobody is completely one way or the other.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:27 AM
Response to Original message
12. A friend of mine discovered his gayness when he was living in Germany
The nearest bar to the place where he was renting a room was a gay bar.

YMMV.
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. I seriously doubt that has anything to do with it.
I'm a lesbian and I've hung out at the same straight bar for the last two years. I'm still not straight.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #19
32. I am quite sure it didn't
I already had an inkling he might be gay before he went overseas.
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lvx35 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:23 AM
Response to Original message
13. I don't buy the boolean gay/strait dichotomy.
I think in the right set and setting any of us would betray our sexual orientation...To demonstrate, simply consider the fact that there are some women who are more like men than many men. For instance am really "strait", but if I were forced to make a choice between a night with Ann Coulter and Johny Depp, I gotta say it would really be a tough call. :)
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w13rd0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. A tough call for you maybe...
...I'd sooner scrape myself against a cheese grater than spend a night with Ann Coulter.
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lvx35 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:36 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. hehehe! I think you're right! :) nt
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Luna_Chick Donating Member (287 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Wow, that's quite an interesting - and effective - description
Ouch!!!! But yeah, I'd have to go that route, too.
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w13rd0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
14. I believe it is a combination of the two...
....in a proportion which varies from individual to individual. For some, it's 70% nature, 30% nurture, and they are 90% straight and 10% gay. For another, it might be 50/50 and 50/50. Two intersecting parabolas that are also impacted by both societal standards of the time and perhaps even ecological factors. In other words, it's a fairly irrelevant question, and to "answer it" would serve no real purpose anyway. Are we going to engineer both a society and an ecology where one way or another is the standard for 99% of the population? Are we going to "cure" the "gay gene" with DNA therapy? Why not work toward a society where a person can be who they want to be and love whom they wish to love, insofar as it does not harm another?
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mockmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
18. I think that
since we are made up of chemicals and electrical impulses that all sorts of differences would be possible.
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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
20. well, let's see...first the sexual preference fairy comes down
and has a little deck of cards with different pictures on them (squares, circles, lines, triangles, wavy lines, stars) and randomly places a card under the pillows of children --and that determines a person's sexual orientation (such as gay, straight, or any place in between)

and having said that i would also say it begins with nature (in the genes).
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JohnnyLib Donating Member (197 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:09 AM
Response to Original message
21. "It comes from deep within"

was something I heard in a seminar long ago. Kind of like that response, because it moves the discussion to human differences in general.
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:30 AM
Response to Original message
22. You don't "prefer" one over the other, to begin with.
I prefer Coke or Pepsi but will drink either. Although you "like women, period", you don't PREFER them, right?
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:35 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. I certainly much prefer one to the other - speak for yourself.
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:53 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. So you are bisexual, but "prefer" one over the other?
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 03:05 AM by Bluebear
The point is the code word of "preference", as if sexual orientation is a taste. You are not born with 'preferences'.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:39 AM
Response to Original message
24. I saw something recently on 20/20 about that.
The common wisdom is that it's genetic. But they looked at identical twins and one was gay, the other not. There are many theories. One having to do with the conditions in the womb while the baby develops.

I think people are born gay or straight. And I hope someone proves it definitively so that we can put it to rest and be more accepting and understanding.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:51 AM
Response to Original message
25. The same place your hair color, eye color and hand dominance come from
You're born with it.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 06:04 AM
Response to Original message
27. i am Naturally Gay, baby!
i've fooled around with both sexes -- but i always knew i was gay.

and in my twenties -- had a rather lengthy affair with a woman who knew i was gay.

and i've fooled around with men who identify as straight -- not bi.

and i've had one play partner who was lesbian -- not bi -- and that play time was VERY gay.

but through it all -- i knew i was gay -- i love men.
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Akim Donating Member (352 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
28. Gay men are God's gift to straight men (they narrow the field). Discuss...
among yourselves.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
29. Seeing Jodie Foster in "Freaky Friday" made me gay
*giggle*
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
30. I don't think the answer is known.
There is, I believe, fairly solid evidence that genetic factors play a part in determining which, if either, gender one is going to be sexually attracted to; equally, it's clearly far from solely genetically determined - the number of people who change their mind one way or another proves that, for at least some people, it's a matter of choice or environment rather than solely genetics.

One possibility is that some people only have the potential to be sexually attracted to one gender or the other (although, given that most gay people "come out" at some stage after having experimented with heterosexual relationships, I suspect that relatively few people are completely unnattracted to their own gender), while others are potentially attracted to both and choose. I have no evidence for this whatsoever, though.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
34. You're born with it.
It's a mix of genetics and enviromental influences while in the womb.
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JitterbugPerfume Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
35. I am convinced
that it is hard wired into DNA

Not that there is anything wrong with experimenting , for those who are so inclined

I simply do not believe that ANYBODY should monitor uuuuh bedroom activity (or where ever) :evilgrin:
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