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Are people born gay? Show more Show less

Few scientific questions generate as much intrigue and political turmoil as the origins of sexual orientation. Is there a clear genetic or hormonal link to sexual orientation that indicates gay people are, in the words of Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"? Can we ever know if same-sex attraction is determined before birth? Is this a question that should even be asked?

Yes, people are born gay Show more Show less

Various studies have found a direct link between genetics and homosexuality.
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Xq28 is the gay gene

Scientists have been able to trace same-sex attraction to a single gene, Xq28.
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Context

In 1993, Dean Harmer, a geneticist at the National Cancer Institute in the US, published a paper revealing the discovery of a “gay gene”.

The Argument

Dean Harmer analysed the genetics of 114 homosexual men and their families. They observed that their maternal cousins and uncles had increased rates of same-sex orientation, but their fathers and paternal family did not. Harmer observed that the X chromosome Xq28 was more prominent in brothers who were both gay.[1] These findings were replicated by researchers at Northwestern University in 2014. The study looked at 409 pairs of homosexual twins and found a significant link between Xq28 and same-sex relationships.[2]

Counter arguments

For more than twenty years after the publication of Harmer’s study, research institutions and universities across the world attempted to replicate the findings to no avail. This would suggest that the original study and the subsequent Northwestern University study were outliers.[1] It is also highly unlikely that a single gene could cause a behavioural pattern as complex as same-sex attraction. Complex behavioural phenotypes usually stem from a large number of genes interacting and working together to build a behavioural pattern.

Framing

Premises

[P1] The Xq28 gene dictates same-sex attraction. [P2] People are either born with the gene or they are not. [P3] Therefore, people are born gay.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] A single gene cannot explain as complex a behavioural pattern as same-sex attraction.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://australiascience.tv/science-of-sexuality/
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/genomewide-scan-demonstrates-significant-linkage-for-male-sexual-orientation/864518601436C95563EA670C5F380343

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 12:35 UTC