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
Various studies have found a direct link between genetics and homosexuality.
The argument from epigenetics
The same genetic code can be expressed differently depending on chemical changes that take place before birth.
There are neurological differences between gay and straight people
Gay people have a different neurological structure to their heterosexual peers.
We can't choose our sexual orientation
We have a stake in our own development through free will and existential choice. If we can't choose our sexuality, it must be innate rather than developed.
Xq28 is the gay gene
Scientists have been able to trace same-sex attraction to a single gene, Xq28.
Homosexuality runs in families
The extended families of homosexuals tend to have multiple family members attracted to members of the same sex.
The fraternal birth effect
The more older brothers you have, the higher the likelihood of you being attracted to members of the same sex.
No, people are not born gay
To reduce sexual orientation to genetics or hormones reduces it to a binary outcome. Sexuality is not binary, it is fluid and no genetic explanation has been able to accomodate this.
Identical twins can have different sexual orientations
Two identical twins that share the same genetics can have different sexual orientations.
Same-sex attraction is a mental illness
Mental illnesses are developed, they are not innate. Homosexuality is a mental illness and is therefore not something we are born with.
Gay people have fewer offspring
The laws of evolution dictate that if sexual orientation was genetic, gay people would have died out already as they have far fewer offspring than heterosexuals.
Sexual orientation is not a binary outcome
Only things with binary outcomes can be reduced to genetics. Sexual orientation is not binary, it is fluid.
We don't know if people are born gay
No conclusive evidence has been found to settle the debate.
The word is still out on genetics
There has been no conclusive evidence either way.
What does gay even mean?
The terms 'gay', 'straight' and 'bisexual' don't even have clear meanings. If we can't define the terms, how can we trace their origins?
It doesn't matter if people are born gay
The question of whether people are born gay is unimportant and could be dangerous.
We are better off not knowing
The answer to the question will only have negative repercussions for the LGBTQ+ community.
You shouldn't get to define someone else’s homosexuality
The reasons someone is gay are highly personal. Nobody should be allowed to tell someone else why they are gay.
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 4 Feb 2020 at 17:51 UTC