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Nobody Is Born Gay, Except Gay People
This debate doesn't effect gay rights
At least it shouldn't. If someone is honestly looking at whether someone chooses to be gay or not as the deciding factor as to whether they should be treated equally, then I have no respect for that person and their opinion should be disregarded.
Even if it were proven beyond any reasonable doubt that people choose to be gay, it doesn't change the fact that they should have equal protection under the law, since they are doing so under their own free will and is between consenting adults. It's really none of anyone's business to get in the way of their rights.
But that doesn't bring up anything about the science that is building behind the origins of homosexual behavior.
Let's start with an anecdotal story
I'm sure many of you remember when the first person you had a "crush" on and/or know someone that had a crush on someone else at a very young age. For me, it was in or around first grade. Well before puberty and before I even knew anything about that stuff..
I never made a conscious choice one day that I would pick a girl and have a crush on her, it just happened. Much in the same way that it happens today. I'm attracted to certain girls and not to others. And never a guy. And other people
With my gay friends, their story is very similar but in the opposite way. So it seems silly for me for anyone to think it's a choice, since for me, I could never choose to be attracted to a guy. Just like I could never choose to be attracted to every girl I see. For gay people, I feel like it's very much the same. They are attracted to the same sex in the same way that I'm attracted to the opposite sex.
But let's move away from my opinion and personal experience and onto the science.
Being Born Gay video
This is probably my favorite video regarding the topic. The narrator goes through a simple cartoon describing the various parts of the research that is available right now in relation to people being born gay. It explains it all in a simple and straightforward way.
If you don't read or look at anything else, look at this video.
Genes play a factor, but the extent is unknown
theguardian.com Ian Sample
"A region of the X chromosome called Xq28 had some impact on men's sexual behaviour – though scientists have no idea which of the many genes in the region are involved, nor how many lie elsewhere in the genome.
Another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8 also played a role in male sexual orientation – though again the precise mechanism is unclear."
The article Ian Sample wrote shows that they have been developments in understanding the genetic cause of why people are gay and where the genes for it may be. But human sexuality is extremely complex and is not set in stone. I believe sexual is best explained by the sexuality continuum, which can be found here. wikipedia.org/Heterosexual/homosexual-continuum
I believe this is the most accurate way to explain sexuality because of the wide range of sexuality that is present in people. Just with many things, it isn't black and white. There will never be a simple straightforward answer for something that is not uniform for everyone.
Further on in Ian Sample's article from theguardian.com he talks about a study performed by Dean Hamer.
"When Dean Hamer, a scientist at the US National Cancer Institute, investigated the family histories of more than 100 gay men and found homosexuality tended to be inherited. More than 10% of brothers of gay men were gay themselves, compared to around 3% of the general population. Uncles and male cousins on the mother's side had a greater than average chance of being gay, too.
The link with the mother's side of the family led Hamer to look more closely at the X chromosome. In follow-up work, he found that 33 out of 40 gay brothers inherited similar genetic markers on the Xq28 region of the X chromosome, suggesting key genes resided there."
What this older research shows is that there is a family hereditary link to homosexuality and it could be related to genetic markers. The video next to this is of Dan speaking about his research and what it all means.
One of the bits he talked about in his video was how there isn't one gene behind being gay, just like there isn't a gene for eye color. To me, this is the most logical conclusion because having one gene for something as complex as some person's sexuality would seem to contradict everything that is currently known about how genetics work.
I also like the comparison to eye color because of the complexity of the color of someone's eye and the inherit inability to choose the color of one's eye by natural means.
It also makes sense how it is more likely to be gay if you have gay relatives. It makes sense it much the same way that people are much more likely to be tall when they have tall relatives or short if the converse is true. Height being another thing that is not chosen or a lot of people would choose to be taller. Me being no exception to that.
Gay People Tend to be born later in families
pbs.org Richard Pillard
"Ray Blanchard and his colleagues at the Clarke Institute in Toronto recently analyzed thousands of families and found that gay men have a later birth order than straight. Specifically, the gay men had more older brothers but not more older sisters once the older brothers were taken into account."
There is no consensus as to why this is, but there are ideas that deal with how the woman's body interacts with the fetus as it develops in the womb. More research in this area could show how non-societal environmental factors can affect the sexuality of people.
A non-societal environmental factor is one that is from the environment, but not from society.
While society could affect the sexual nature someone has, there is much in the form of research that shows that non-societal factors are more impactful. But it would make sense that if someone had gay relatives, they could be more open to their own natural inclinations because of their family being more open to it.
Gay behavior in animals
"Homosexual behavior has been documented in over 450 different animal species worldwide."
"Homosexual behavior has been observed in 1,500 animal species."
The difference between the two quotes is the word "documented" or "observed." There will probably be more that are documented in the future due to the big difference between observed and documented in the two articles. But the number of documented from the article is nothing to scoff at.
And going with the documented number of 450 still raises a lot of questions about the nature of homosexual behavior. The number itself shows how this behavior is present naturally, so it would only make sense that there is natural cause to the behavior.
Not only a natural cause, but an evolutionary benefit that would cause the behavior to be as widespread as it seems to be. I believe that's where the research will lead and eventually show the connection between survival and homosexual behavior.
But for now, we can only see more of how alike we are to the other animals than different, since we are animals after all.
The lack of concrete research in this field and general is a problem with providing a certain claim of gay people being born rather than it being a choice, although, that's what any logical thought would lead one to think based on what research is available.
We will probably never know of a direct genetic cause to homosexuality, but I believe the most current research indicates that all signs point to a natural cause and evolutionary beneficial reason for homosexual sexual behavior.
But, even if by some miraculous and extremely improbably scenario where being gay is proven to only be a choice, it provides no legal or logical basis for the discrimination towards gay people. So, in a sense, this research is pointless on that front. But from the a more scientific aspect, it's beneficial to understand the origins and causes of sexuality.