Disclaimer: I should say I am not a psychologist or biologist, though I have a few college level courses in the prior which probably color my view. In addition, I am not sexually a homosexual and have no personal experience with that aspect of it, though it piques my intellectual interest. Also, I am European (this is apparently a synonym to many).
Question: Do you tend to support a psychological or a biological explanation to why some people are homosexuals? Do you have a "pure" or a "mixed" view of the two, and why?
My opinion: I tend to support the psychological explanation of sexuality due to it being more parsimonious. Being "born" a homosexual doesn't immediately ring clear as a biological explanation requires a number of a priori assumptions of future state of the social environment as one grows up. Two people of the same sex cannot biologically reproduce and thus face extinction. Becoming a homosexual through the psychosocial environment is to me a simpler explanation as this would imply it being either a learned behavior, which may account for homosexual couples having a higher probability of raising a homosexual child, or as a response to other environmental factors such as sexual competition.
I'll stop explaining here and rather see where the discussion goes off to.
(Two notes to add: I don't think homosexuality should be treated even if it is "treatable". It is no more a condition than preferring beer over vodka. Also, I tend to support a twin explanation of both inherited and environmental causes, though with the latter overwhelmingly more explanatory, i.e. 90%)
I go with the biological view because I took child development in University and we learned that certain hormones may or may not be triggered while the child is developing in the womb, ones that need to be triggered after the child has gained it's genitalia. The types of hormones produced are either testosterone or estrogen. Perhaps a male child did not recieve normal amounts of testosterone a typical male child would recieve during development. Or female's did not recieve normal amounts of estrogen a typical female child would recieve. I don't think it's learned because I am a bisexual female, and while I lean towards the males, I don't deny that love can occur with me and another woman. I don't think it matters whether this behavior is learned or biological anyway, because love is love. And no one ever said homosexual couples cannot have children. Many female couples have IVF, and males can have surrogate mothers. What is even more beautiful is homosexual couples who adopt. And when you said more homosexual couples have homosexual children, the textbook we recieved in Child Development actually reads there is no proof that this is true whatsoever. There have been studies done in attempt to figure this out, and there is NO EVIDENCE that homosexual couples produce homosexual children. So I am curious as to where you got that information since it's not true.
Definitely biological. Stephanie explained it, thank you Stephanie for reason, logic and science in this discussion - that is why some children are born with both genitalia. Explain how that is also 'choice'.
As a Mom, this was explained to me by a doctor.
It's all in the hormones dear. It is aberrational - the whole process of pregnancy is fraught with all sorts of outcomes. It is the heterosexuals who are producing gays. It is not learned - because of the aberration of hormones, one can also be born bi-sexual. Gays don't go through all the trauma and the threat of losing their families because of 'choice'.
The day that gays can come out of the closet without fear, not being bullied and committing suicide - will be a joyous day for humanity. If I had to adopt a child of mine, I would prefer it go to a gay couple - the children I have spoken to are the most balanced, progressive educationally, than the average middle class kid - and the children are not gay.
Abused children just turn out to be screwed up adults - but by no means does this influence their sexuality. They are either gay or hetero to start with.
The quicker we get over this frigging 'choice' claptrap, the better. I think people who think it is 'choice' are still being influenced by the religious morons who push this line of thinking, and the 'gays' can be turned into 'normal people' by a few wise words. There is a video on this site where gay kids are berated in the most violent of terms on this site, and would be enough to send any human being to the point of suicide. Watch the video and weep. If someone can post the video, everybody should watch it.
Suzanne - I'm an accountant, not a biologist or psychologist, so I only have the very weak stuff of anecdote and fairly hazy reading to inform me. I will take what the scientists say every time. But think they say that homsexuality is both inherited and acquired, right? And that seeing it in these purely digital terms is probably an unhelpful model. ie a spectrum would be better.
My foster brother was the straightest bloke imaginable at the age of 16. He had sex with every girl who was up for it (not a small number it seemed). He is now completely gay. Did he switch? I really cannot accept that he was repressed in some way as a teen: he just wasn't.
I think we need to see sexuality as fluid... My missus points out that, were we to go to college now, we might well try all sorts of things that 20 years were not really on the agenda. Being bi for eg, is perhaps more common now (don'know the stats so perhaps not) but, the point is: when we take cultural and religious repressive influences out of the equation, we might all find that we had a bit of lots of things in us that we would now find a bit shocking.
I entirely agree that choice has nothing to do with it. And it is just sick that religious freaks target gay people the way they do.
I still stick with the notion it's all in the hormones during pregnancy - this is very aberrational - and there are as many variations.
Some kids 'know' they are gay at eight or even younger, they just don't what it is. Some people find out they are bi- and don't know what to do with that. Some people are very sexual, some couldn't care less - and are only turned on when 'inspired'. There are a million variations on all of this - but I still say it is the biology - and everybody has a different level of sexuality.
I didn't know what a lesbian was until I was at least 30 - but know many gay men.
I am also going by the stories they told me - how young they were when they felt different to other people etc. One was six foot two inches of muscle, and yet another one was more feminine than me, not hard to do, by the way.
As far as your brother is concerned - nobody will ever know what was going on, 'cause who knows what was going on inside his head. Who knows how repressed or not repressed he was. Society has a funny way of disapproving without actually saying anything. I would be curious to know what was going on inside his head at the time.
I married, and had three children, and it turned out in the end, he is gay. Go figure. The only reason he didn't come out is because of his catholic family, and was trying to fit into society and the 'norm'. I would like to know the statistics on how often THAT happens. We are now divorced by the way.
There is another gay lad in the family. He just hasn't come out yet, and never will. A beautiful, talented, good human being. He goes to family functions with a girlfriend - who also probably won't come out as a lesbian. Very sad, and an absolute waste of time and life.
Ah, yes, sex and homosexuality is fluid, but it is still all about the hormones.
I've got a good friend whose marriage ha just ended - 13 years, 3 kids - because he too, is a repressed Catholic who could not admit to being gay. And then his wife found a gay magazine in his car. End of and so tragic. He has lost his best friend. She has lost 13 years (not entirely I realise) in a relationship she feels was dishonest. All terrible, and the RCC has a lot to answer for. Actually - understatements don't come bigger than that.
On your hormone assertion though - it's only as good as the science: I think that the science shows a genetic gay link (though not a simple one). But it's not the whole story. From what you propose, a person could be induced to change sexuality through an injection of 'gay' hormones. I wonder if it is that simple? We must know the answer to this though...the scientists must be clear I'm sure?
On your "I am also going by the stories they told me": well - that's anecdote too, and again, isn't really the stuff that should form our view of questions that science is well stuck into (as this one is). Anecdote, at best, can raise questions to established science...right?
Would be good to hear from some gay people who can handle our verbal fumblings!
Hi James - joke joyce - No no, I am not asserting 'gay' hormones' as such, just different levels of hormone injections that make 'all' of us different on many levels.
Some women are more female than others, some men are more male than others, with loads of different levels in between. The hormone levels influence the sex of the baby, and the brain of the baby. Some men have what I consider too much testosterone. My younger brother has many female qualities, more than me - we are both hetero.
My partner looks like a bully boy, but has never been in a fight. I know that I could get into a fight quicker than him. I know that I would stand my ground. This scenario has never happended to us by the way.
I don't know where this is taking me lol.
I agree, we need some gays to get us on the straight and narrow. But they would-could all have different opinions on this too. But it would be interesting.
Always willing to learn.
There was a comment somewhere, that a gay bloke was upset, sick of us talking about homosexuals. I think it would be like having a religious site, analysing us, and why we think and do the things that atheists think and do.
So I am getting sensitive about what gays are thinking about us discussing why they are the way they are.
I wonder what the religious discussions about atheists would cover???
I agree with your statement to a certain [and rather limited] degree. Homosexuality is purely biopsychological, my friend. There is no one side to this argument. Biology is ALWAYS a product of the environment, and environmental psychological stimuli may very well cause hormonal shifts in a person, which can lead to indefinite shifts in sexual preference and behavior. There have been many studies conducted on this which you can find on google scholar or any other scholarly search engine. The behavioral aspect of sexual dimorphism is in a constant state of disequilibrium. There is an entire chemical cocktail unique to both males and females that is constantly undergoing shifts during one's lifetime. Some of the factors that will affect a persons biology include but are not limited to active genes, sexual experiences, love interests, and social environment. Homosexuality is, however, quite natural and occurs rampantly throughout the mammalian kingdom. It is easy to find instances of homosexuality by going to a farm or spending some time in the woods. Animals love threesomes :) lol. I am currently studying biochemistry so, if you want any accessory scientific validity, I am only a click or three away!
For the most part I agree Dustin except when you use the word "preference", which does mean "to choice." So does the person "choice to be homosexual? Because if you say so from what I understand from your agruement and maybe I am understanding it wrong due to the persons environment which affects us homosexuals makes us homosexual. A question I have for you Dustin, if you see it as a "prefernce" so then I could change from being homosexual to being heterosexual? If you say yes I would disagree because I have gone through "Reparative Therapy" and it does not work. It seems for the most part from what I have read it is the religious groups that do "Reparative Therapy", it is very damaging espcially if the individual goes through it at a very young age. I was fortune to go through it in my late 20's and could see the bullshit of it.
I guess some people believe that 90% of us made the "right" choice to be heterosexual(?). That makes me giggle.
Admittedly English is not my mother tongue, but to me it seems rather obvious that the context in which Dustin used "preference" does not imply having a choice in the matter in the sense that you have disputatiously, but perhaps understandably so, interpreted it. In this context it can also mean orientation, a word that perhaps more clearly excludes the implication of being empowered to choose freely.