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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Why they might not find a "sexual orientation " gene.      Home login  
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 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 1
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Why they might not find a "sexual orientation " gene.Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
There are a number of threads where people argue about sexual orientation, whether it's nature or nurture, and it often comes up that the recent advances in DNA mapping will decide the question.
I suggest that this is NOT going to be the case...that is, they will NOT find a piece of DNA that decides what kind of person you will find sexually attractive. This applies not ONLY to overall sexual orientation, but to many other aspects of attraction as well.
My expectation is based on the observation that even someone of DEFINITE hetero-sexual orientation, finds that SOME of the opposite sex are attractive, and others are not. Of greatest interest, is that it is VERY common that you will discover that two between two NEARLY IDENTICAL people of the sex you are attracted to, that you will find ONE extremely desirable, and find the other uninteresting.
I suggest that sexuality in general, and sexual orientation (which actually has MANY more categories than simply hetero, homo, bi, and neuter) in particular, will ultimately be found to be the result of the SUM of thousands of genetic factors. The sense of smell plays a part, as does vision, brain chemistry, diet, sustenance processing, nerve sensitivity, the ORDER of developmental growth, hair color, amount of hair, body types, energy levels, and on and on. Read how many different things people mention in their profiles, as desirable things they seek in a mate, and you can add to the list.
So, bottom line, anyone who argues that PROOF that sexual orientation is a choice or is established at conception, will NEVER find confirmation of their side in a single scientific genetic discovery.
 Crabby_McCrabberson
Joined: 8/11/2010
Msg: 2
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/23/2010 8:42:21 AM
Lay a dog on one table and a cat on another. Cut open their brains, spin their blood, examine and compare every cell in their little bodies... they are who they are, however they got that way.

I'd anticipate that even if a gene could be identified that makes a cat act like a cat, the cat-haters wouldn't suddenly accept cats just because it had been proved the cats were not intentionally less attentive or obedient than dogs. It's a bad example but the same thing would happen... schemes to manipulate the genes would immediately get underway.
 ItsMargo
Joined: 4/24/2007
Msg: 3
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/23/2010 12:17:09 PM
I have often wondered why it is important to some people to know whether sexual orientation was a choice or not. I suspect they merely want their bias confirmed.

A friend of mine told me he had no inkling he was gay until he hit puberty and the wrong underware section in the Sears catalogue did it for him.
 motown cowgirl
Joined: 6/30/2010
Msg: 4
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 4:52:20 AM
yes there are genetic predispositions for all kinds of behavior. it's easiest to see in canines. my terrier just will not herd sheep, but my border collie doesn't even have to be taught how to do it.

i'm more interested in why people want to find a genetic trigger or "cause" for sexual preference/behavior. i think motivations are always so much more interesting than mechanical parts. is it because they want to say, "well, if it's genetic then they really can't help that they're homosexual!" (as if it was something that needed helping). or, is it because they want to say, "well, if it's genetic then eventually, with a little genetic therapy we can fix that!" (as if it was something that needed to be fixed.) sounds a bit dr. mengele if you ask me.
 Crabby_McCrabberson
Joined: 8/11/2010
Msg: 5
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 6:29:45 AM
I discussed this with a fundamentalist friend. Since they believe the Bible condones one orientation, while considering another orientation an abomination, they have a stake in believing that it's a choice.

Me: Well what if it's proved that it's not a choice. Then God would be sending people to hell for being the way he made them?
She: It would be like alcoholism. You can be born with a predisposition and just not give in to it.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 6
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 7:12:47 AM

There are a number of threads where people argue about sexual orientation, whether it's nature or nurture, and it often comes up that the recent advances in DNA mapping will decide the question.
I suggest that this is NOT going to be the case...that is, they will NOT find a piece of DNA that decides what kind of person you will find sexually attractive. This applies not ONLY to overall sexual orientation, but to many other aspects of attraction as well.

I think what you've said boils down to homosexuality is due to a bunch of stuff and we'll never really pin down a cause to one or a few simple things. I think that is not the case and I don't think any researcher in the field thinks there's a gene for it nor even that DNA is going to be the answer. I also think that no one who does research in the field believes choice is part of the equation. It seems pretty clear that sexual orientation is determined during the time of gestation from hormonal levels in utero through possibly the time after birth when imprinting takes place. So neither of the two possibilities you mention is likely to be a major factor.

So, bottom line, anyone who argues that PROOF that sexual orientation is a choice or is established at conception, will NEVER find confirmation of their side in a single scientific genetic discovery.

Both of those are probably wrong. You actually ignored the most likely causes.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 7
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 7:58:58 AM

I suggest that this is NOT going to be the case...that is, they will NOT find a piece of DNA that decides what kind of person you will find sexually attractive. This applies not ONLY to overall sexual orientation, but to many other aspects of attraction as well.
I've seen a bit on that. There seem to be several genes that play a part in sexual orientation. None seem to be cast-in-stone either. So at best, it seems to me that you can say that there are multiple genetic factors, of which certain combinations increase the chances of having a particular sexual orientation, but not much more than that.

I'm sure that someone COULD do a study, to see which families have a higher than average rate of particular types of sexual orientation, and release the data. But I doubt that such data will be likely to be released in Western scientific circles, for fear that homophobic families will try to ensure their kids only date people with families who have a very high level of straight people in their family, and thus find they are supporting homophobic members of the "Religious Right". However, in anti-homosexual theocracies that support science, such as Iran, I think that such data could be very popular.

My expectation is based on the observation that even someone of DEFINITE hetero-sexual orientation, finds that SOME of the opposite sex are attractive, and others are not. Of greatest interest, is that it is VERY common that you will discover that two between two NEARLY IDENTICAL people of the sex you are attracted to, that you will find ONE extremely desirable, and find the other uninteresting.
True. But one can also observe that most people find the idea of sex with a family member repulsive, and yet there is a strong indicator that people generally are strongly attracted to people who closely resemble family members, particularly parents, in both looks and personality.

What is more, this tendency to find close family members repulsive, does not seem to be dependent on genetic factors, but on whether or not one has grown up with the person in a close family-style network. It's quite common for people who have grown up in a very close-knit mixed-gender group, that consists of many who are totally unrelated to them, to find that they are not attracted in the slightest to most of the members of their group, whether male or female. It's also quite common for GSA, Genetic Sexual Attraction, that is, to be extremely attracted to a member of your family, even to the point where you feel that you cannot stop yourself from engaging in such a relationship. But this is far more commonly found when those members have not grown up together. It's happened with quite a few fathers and daughters, and brothers and sisters, who have not grown up together, and then met as adults.

So what we think of a person as "attractive" or not due to familial taboos, is a lot more to do with how we perceive things, whether or not we "think" of people as family, rather than whether or not they are genetically related to us.

Yet, we find we are heavily attracted to the same looks in people, and even the same types of personality.

So a lot of sexuality is likely to be discovered to be psychologically based, far more than we would like to believe.

So, bottom line, anyone who argues that PROOF that sexual orientation is a choice or is established at conception, will NEVER find confirmation of their side in a single scientific genetic discovery.
I'm very interested in seeing if sexual orientation is a choice, as there are types of sexual orientations with undesirable side-effects. One type of sexual orientation is paedophilic, the desire to have a sexual attraction to children, and only children, generally irrespective of their gender. If sexual orientation was a choice, then paedophiles who have not yet acted on their sexual desires towards children, and who don't want to hurt children, could be given an opportunity to change their sexual orientation to something that they would be able to enjoy, without being incarcerated, chemically castrated, fire-bombed, or killed.

But it's definitely against Western social morals of this time, to even suggest that sexual orientation can be changed, as that is seen as opening a door-way to homophobic people's desires. So even if you DID find definite proof of that sexual orientation could be changed, I think that right now, the news would be likely to be suppressed.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 8
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 1:52:08 PM
Tanks for your response, scorpiomover. I am not a bioscientist, just an observer, so I only know what's been in the news. I am not aware of the studies you are talking about, so I can't respond to that. I do take some issue with a point or two of yours:
-with reference to the fairly strong revulsion between family members, knowledge of BIOLOGICAL causes of that are ALSO not in yet. That is, like sexual orientation, we have yet to have found definitive reasons for it, and as in your own examples, there are alternate, POSSIBLY biochemical, explanations possible for why SOME separated siblings might have been found to have hooked up sexually before knowing they were related. Again, my point is that there is as yet NO DEFINITIVE PROOF in either direction on this stuff.
And where does your claim that people tend to be strongly SEXUALLY attracted to others similar to their family members come from? I've never even seen a study that LOOKED INTO that area. There are TONS of myths and old sayings to that effect, including that old song about a guy looking for a gal "just like dear old mom," but as far as I know, that's ALL there is. No SCIENCE. I think you might be confusing SEXUAL attraction to FEELING COMFORTABLE with someone, or other areas of compatibility.
- when you talk about "choice" in the area of child molesters, I think you are out of the argument stream that I am on. I don't know what will be discovered about the causes of pedophilia either, but I can hardly believe that it's a "choice" either. My thinking there, is similar to my thought-experiments about other sexual orientations: IF it were purely a choice, then we would ALL find ourselves to be attracted sexually to children (or same sex in the case of homosexuality), and we would ALL have had to continually choose through our lives, not to act on the attraction. However, just as MOST of us have an actual REVULSION response to our family members, the vast majority of us feel NO sexual feelings at all around small children.
As with all of our inner urges, and as I believe I said in my OP, what we CHOOSE TO DO IN RESPONSE to those urges is up to us. If it is one day discovered that there IS a mostly biological reason for pedophilia, we will STILL as a society prohibit it, and penalize anyone who follows their urges in that area. Finding a biological cause MIGHT allow us to provide chemical treatment for those thus configured, so that we don't have to keep them in cages ( I have read that a certain amount of that is the case already, in that SOME child molesters have voluntarily chosen to be chemically castrated so that they will stop having the urges).
- Your suggestion of a study of families that have a "higher incidence of homosexuality" is, I think, not in line with how I suspect sexual orientation (and some other non-sexual things as well) works on a genetic level. The limits of learning about genetics by studying family heritage, is for things that are VERY STABLE, and are ALREADY LINKED to other genetic inheritances in those families. Thus we have long been able to study things like the inheritance of hair color and bone structure, as well as on CERTAIN inherited diseases. We have NOT been able to study things that are more subtle, nor have we been able to study things which result from COMMON genetic errors, which cause many and varied difficulties or even natural abilities in individuals, but are NOT passed on to other generations.
- Your desire to believe that sexual orientation is set at the moment of conception is ALSO not substantiated by any of the research I've seen, though I HAVE seen some of the old reports and studies that were MISINTERPRETED by the media to be saying this. There have also been many reports in the news in my lifetime which have temporarily been trumpeted as proving one side or another in the argument about sexual orientation, but so far, every single one has later been proved to either be based on mistakes, or to have been completely misreported in the news.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 9
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 5:10:22 PM
RE Msg: 9 by IgorFrankensteen:
Tanks for your response, scorpiomover. I am not a bioscientist, just an observer, so I only know what's been in the news.
Me too.

I do take some issue with a point or two of yours
That's all right. I knew that my comments would be controversial and would be bound to stir up some strong emotions. So I expected people to pick at my post.

And where does your claim that people tend to be strongly SEXUALLY attracted to others similar to their family members come from? I've never even seen a study that LOOKED INTO that area. There are TONS of myths and old sayings to that effect, including that old song about a guy looking for a gal "just like dear old mom," but as far as I know, that's ALL there is. No SCIENCE. I think you might be confusing SEXUAL attraction to FEELING COMFORTABLE with someone, or other areas of compatibility.
You are right in that I too have not specifically come across any studies on the subject.

However, I was a bit freaked when I realised something about a good friend of mine. She had got married to someone, who seemed quite unlike the guy you'd expect. I had gotten to know her parents ad his parents. I had always noticed a similarity between her appearance and her mother-in-law's appearance. But it suddenly occurred to me, that her personality was incredibly similar to her mother-in-law, and her husband's personality was very similar to her father's, in very eerie ways.

I decided to google it, just on the offchance. Turns out that studies have been done on this, and have found that one does have a preference for the looks of one's parents:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/love/attraction.shtml

- when you talk about "choice" in the area of child molesters, I think you are out of the argument stream that I am on. I don't know what will be discovered about the causes of pedophilia either, but I can hardly believe that it's a "choice" either.
Perhaps "choice" might not have been the best word. I was merely using it, as you were using it, in contrast to genetic selection. I was suggesting that although there could be genetic factors which increase the likelihood of paedophilia, there could be an additional subconscious psychological selection process as well, as well as a chemically-induced selection process. Both of these could then have the possibility of changing one's sexual orientation, if one so wished, via an understanding and re-framing of the unconscious psychological processes, and the addition of drugs that might affect the chemical selection process.

IF it were purely a choice, then we would ALL find ourselves to be attracted sexually to children (or same sex in the case of homosexuality), and we would ALL have had to continually choose through our lives, not to act on the attraction. However, just as MOST of us have an actual REVULSION response to our family members, the vast majority of us feel NO sexual feelings at all around small children.
True. However, it's also a choice on how to drive. Yet after a few years, you do it instinctively. For many drivers, such habits become so ingrained, that if one has a bad habit in driving, it can be really hard to re-train the mind, and can take much longer before it becomes as instinctive as one's other habits. The same is true about many skills, and many preferences. There are even cases of people who have a complete revulsion to vegetables, and feel physically sick just tasting one, even though there is nothing about them that is special other than those people live on a very odd diet 90% of the time.

There is much to suggest that what we assume is so natural as to be genetic, is in fact ingrained habit. It's how the mind learns. First, one is unconsciously incompetent, then one is consciously incompetent, then one is consciously competent, and then one becomes unconsciously competent.

What we consider "normal" for us sexually, may just be another ingrained habit for the most part.

But remember, I wasn't saying that it WAS definitely just choice. I was merely positing that it would be very advantageous for some people to have the choice as to whether or not they could get treatment to change their sexual orientation.

- Your suggestion of a study of families that have a "higher incidence of homosexuality" is, I think, not in line with how I suspect sexual orientation (and some other non-sexual things as well) works on a genetic level.
I was simply considering that we know that there are certain genes that increase the likelihood of homosexuality, and that other studies that focus on families with a high incidence of certain types of cancer, find that those families have a high incidence of a certain gene. It's therefore entirely possible that certain families have high incidences of a certain gene, that is associated with a higher than normal level of a certain sexual orientation, which suggests that in some families, certain sexual orientations would be more prevalent than in others.

It's also true that some families might have an average level of those genes. But the same would be true about some families with regards to cancer-related genes, and thus in such families, those cancers would be no more prevalent than in the average.

I was also saying this merely from the POV that it would be scientifically interesting, to see if certain sexual orientations might run in some families.

- Your desire to believe that sexual orientation is set at the moment of conception is ALSO not substantiated by any of the research I've seen, though I HAVE seen some of the old reports and studies that were MISINTERPRETED by the media to be saying this.
I never said it was, and I have believed that sexual orientation was not fixed at the moment of conception for decades. But perhaps you were misunderstanding what I wrote.

Anyway, I was expecting flak for writing this. I just wanted to overturn the stone, and see what was underneath.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 10
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 8:12:37 PM
"I was simply considering that we know that there are certain genes that increase the likelihood of homosexuality"
I'll DEFINITELY need a citation for this statement. I am CERTAIN that if such GENERAL AGREEMENT by the science community existed, that the anti-gay folks would be trumpeting it everywhere. Hence my suspicion that it is again, NOT factually supported.
To my knowledge THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HOMOSEXUALITY GENE, no way, no how. Not as is known yet, anyway. The great Genome Mapping project succeeded in CHEMICALLY MAPPING some complete human genomes, but did NOT map the FUNCTION of those DNA bits. Too many people actually thought they DID map out WHAT THE GENES ALL DID, but that's not what they were even TRYING to do. It's more that they were like explorers in a new uncharted land, who came back and told us where the ports and rivers were, but they had no idea about the fertility of the land, the climate, the wild animals, and natural resources.
Even KNOWN genetic markers that have been connected to diseases or other medical conditions, may have ADDITIONAL effects and functions that we have not identified.
 FoshFish
Joined: 4/30/2010
Msg: 11
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/24/2010 9:12:01 PM
"Why does the average person feel that it is necessary to pinpoint a single definitive cause? "

Because the average person, such as myself, may see this as a saviour for mankind.

Overpopulation is damaging the environment, our lives, the survival of our species and of those we share the planet with.

If we can find a single cause, and more imporantly, a single or complex but controllable cause, we can make a lot of babies grow up to be responsible, valuable members of society who live very fulfilling lives yet they don't reproduce.
 woobytoodsday
Joined: 12/13/2006
Msg: 12
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/25/2010 8:54:40 AM
Once upon a time, I dreamed that *when* science discovered the gene (or whatever) for gayness, that the problem of discrimination against gays would be solved: if they had no choice, then we couldn't discriminate. How I missed the fact that we KNOW that blackness is genetic, and we still discriminate against them escaped me, I dunno.

I DO know that in a reasonably long life and having known many, and having many gay friends, that never, not even one case of a gay male believing that he ever had one choice in the matter. I do know one gay woman who made a conscious decision to give men up because the were such bastards.

This is a fairly interesting compendium of some fairly recent studies on the subject: http://www.bluecorncomics.com/gays.htm

 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 13
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/25/2010 9:17:17 AM

I'm sure that someone COULD do a study, to see which families have a higher than average rate of particular types of sexual orientation, and release the data. But I doubt that such data will be likely to be released in Western scientific circles, for fear that homophobic families will try to ensure their kids only date people with families who have a very high level of straight people in their family, and thus find they are supporting homophobic members of the "Religious Right".

That study has been done more than once and contrary to your konspiracy theory, one was published in the American Psychological Association's journal, Developmental Psychology , S. Golombok, F. Tasker, 1996 Vol 12, No. 1, 3-11. They found that children of a lesbian parent were more likely to explore same sex relationships if raised in an environment where homosexuality was open and tolerated, but by age 22, were just as likely to identify as heterosexual as children raised by heterosexual parents. There are lots of other studies you can look up, as well. Scientific data is much more avaiable in ``western scientific circles'' than any other. I think that limits the influences of genes and family environment to a rather peripheral role, at best. You can look up references to S. Lavay regarding differences in brain structure between homosexual and heterosexual men.

The evidence for genetic influence comes from studies of twins, where it has been found that there is about a 50% correlation for identical twins and about a 20% correlation for fraternal twins. On the other hand, if the cause were entirely genetic, you would expect the correlation in identical twins to be much higher. However, the presence of a gene itself is not enough to determine a trait in an individual. Some traits (like Tay-Sachs) depend on both parents carrying a specific gene. Some genetic factors require genes to be ``turned on'' by some factor like hormone levels. This was first demonstrated by G. Dorne with rats by injecting pregnant female rats with testosterone and obtaining offspring with same sex orientation. The study has been repeated with other animals with the same results. It's quite possible that there is a gene for sexual orientation, but that how it is activated depends on exposure to hormones in utero.

As far as choice goes, I think you can safely rule that out. Prisoners who identify as heterosexual, for example, often engage in homosexual behaviour due to lack of available opposite sex partners, yet they do not ever identify themselves as homosexual and when released, revert to heterosexual behaviour. There is a wealth of literature on all of this that one can easily find using scholar.google.com. Although an exact explanation is still unknown, I think it's fairly straight forward to narrow things down quite a lot and conclude that the underlying cause is biological.
 printer2
Joined: 6/19/2007
Msg: 14
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/25/2010 7:38:57 PM
It's hiding.




 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 15
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/26/2010 8:15:00 AM
Is it genetic to be attracted to blondes that use locutions like etiology, or is it really environmental influences that are the multiple causative polygenic combination stiffening my manhood at the moment?

The specific evidence that we *need* is the kind of definitive once-and-for-all kind of science-y proof that Charleton Heston can carry down a mountain engraved on some stone tablets, d*mmit.

The best ideas don't really need "proof", that's boring, what they need is dramatic PR.

Then we'll have an excuse for ANY well-intentioned programmes, like compulsory sexual orientation assignments (sort of like detention, you do lines like grammar, "I want girls, You want girls, He wants girls, She wants girls, We want girls, They want girls, (S)he wants girls", etc.), or ensuring that our ratio of oil derrick roughnecks and fashion designers does not get out of whack.

We'll out those closeted Genes sooner or later, including the ones that make people dress in ways Prince would consider undignified.
 shakeitupbaby2012
Joined: 8/12/2010
Msg: 16
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/26/2010 9:01:45 AM
^^^maladaptive, adaptive behavior ;)
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 17
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/26/2010 1:39:14 PM
I agree with cheshirecatalyst...
There are over a third of species sexuality studied that exhibit homosexuality. For Bonobos it's a form of social bonding...and probably fun for them as well. Studies of other overpopulated species show the tendency toward homosexual behavior, perhaps as a means of population control and to mitigate the violence that grows out of competition for resources. With most primates exhibiting homosexuality, why would humans be any different? And if you must come from a religious perspective, why would a god create all those abominable species...just for hell fodder?

Had a call from a teacher friend last night. Another teen bully induced suicide for a kid thought to be a "homo". He was one of her students and she was mad as hell over the homophobic hate mongering. I think more important considerations that needs to be studied and resolved are the "bully gene" and the "fear of others different" gene that is causing increasing violence toward the innocent.

Compelling testimony by Joel Burns...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOnY4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject
 arwen52
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 18
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Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/29/2010 5:12:26 PM
No one who understands anything about genetics thinks that there would be a single gene. There are studies that suggest some genetic influence. Emphasis on the word "some."

As for those (heterosexuals) who insist it's a "choice," I challenge them to identify the day they sat down, weighed all the options, and decided to be heterosexual. For those of us whose orientation is not completely heterosexual, it is part of who we are. Why on earth would any person "choose" to be part of a despised minority and risk being ostracized, bullied, fired from their job, etc.? It doesn't make any sense.

I first realized I was bisexual when I was about 16 years old. Fortunately, I had not been exposed to a lot of homophobic propaganda and the first person I told - my high school boyfriend - treated it like it was no big deal so I never felt bad about it. It was never anything I "chose," it was a realization.


I do know one gay woman who made a conscious decision to give men up because the were such bastards.

Yeah, back in the early 70s I knew a bunch of feminists who were fed up with men and turned to women. Within 5-8 years, most of them were back with men because it was not really who they were.

I like this "manifesto" written by Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong:
http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com/2009/10/manifesto-from-our-friend-bishop-john.html

Thursday October 15, 2009
A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!

I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling" homosexual persons can be "cured." Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate "reparative therapy," as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality "deviant." I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that "we love the sinner but hate the sin." That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is "high-sounding, pious rhetoric." The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn't. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!" Time waits for no one.

I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a "new church," claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.

In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by "fair-minded" channels that seek to give "both sides" of this issue "equal time." I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude. I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world's population. I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan. My country and my church have both already spent too much time, energy and money trying to accommodate these backward points of view when they are no longer even tolerable.

I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church. "Don't ask, don't tell" will be dismantled as the policy of our armed forces. We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum. Equality under and before the law is a solemn promise conveyed to all our citizens in the Constitution itself. Can any of us imagine having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue, whether segregation should be dismantled, whether voting privileges should be offered to women? The time has come for politicians to stop hiding behind unjust laws that they themselves helped to enact, and to abandon that convenient shield of demanding a vote on the rights of full citizenship because they do not understand the difference between a constitutional democracy, which this nation has, and a "mobocracy," which this nation rejected when it adopted its constitution. We do not put the civil rights of a minority to the vote of a plebiscite.

I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church. No one should ever again be forced to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.

The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia. I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union. I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.

Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: "New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth." I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it. I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.

This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it.

– John Shelby Spong
 FoshFish
Joined: 4/30/2010
Msg: 19
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 10/29/2010 8:59:04 PM
As for those (heterosexuals) who insist it's a "choice," I challenge them to identify the day they sat down, weighed all the options, and decided to be heterosexual. For those of us whose orientation is not completely heterosexual, it is part of who we are. Why on earth would any person "choose" to be part of a despised minority and risk being ostracized, bullied, fired from their job, etc.? It doesn't make any sense.

Dear Arwen, I bow to your clear thoughts and to your plainly but forcefully put arguments. I don't argue your point, I am actually agreeing with you.

I especially agree with the first part of the above quote of yours, which I have been struggling to put into words, and you did that so smoothly, elegantly and seamlessly. I have been trying to say, if it's a choice, choose to be homosexual just for one day, and do it, force yourself, and come out of it on the other end with no puke in your socks. Gay people have the same potential experience when they try to choose to be straight. Completely perfect mirroring.

The second part of the quote is false, as far as arguments are concerned. "Pain"? Why would anyone choose social pain? It doesn't make any sense.

Yes, it can. Not always. Rebellion is one reason. Trying to be different, without rebelling, is another reason. To gain personal identity via joining a limited-enrolment group with sharp and high-contrast identity-limits, as a reason to do so. For empathy, a third reason. Believing it's the right thing to do, is another possible reason. To show solidarity with an oppressed minority is yet one more possible reason. It will put you into the kingdom of heaven, nth reason.

Interestingly these are the same reasons that make patriots, Christians (early or middle or new) or atheists and communists also stand by their convictions.

My only, but to me very important point with raising this exception to your reasoning is that we, whoever "we" are, must never become fanatic. A fanatic alone would only say a false reason or an invalid argument, and believe it is valid, and expect you to believe it too. A reasonable person, who I wish are on my side, ought not commit a fanatic's error. We must not use arguments that are logically not solid, even if emotionally they are convincing to some. If we do, we become fanatics, and our words become worth shhhhht.

So I beseech you to please be vigilant about your statements. Please don't use logically unsound arguments.

Thanks. I ask this coz I am on your side of the argument, although I am straight as a coffin nail. (But only in sexual orientation!!)
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 20
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History
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 11/12/2010 3:50:05 AM
RE Msg: 14 by abelian:

I'm sure that someone COULD do a study, to see which families have a higher than average rate of particular types of sexual orientation, and release the data. But I doubt that such data will be likely to be released in Western scientific circles, for fear that homophobic families will try to ensure their kids only date people with families who have a very high level of straight people in their family, and thus find they are supporting homophobic members of the "Religious Right".
That study has been done more than once and contrary to your konspiracy theory, one was published in the American Psychological Association's journal, Developmental Psychology , S. Golombok, F. Tasker, 1996 Vol 12, No. 1, 3-11. They found that children of a lesbian parent were more likely to explore same sex relationships if raised in an environment where homosexuality was open and tolerated, but by age 22, were just as likely to identify as heterosexual as children raised by heterosexual parents.
Did I write I was SURE that such data would not be released in Western scientific circles? I wrote: "I doubt".

Did I write which TYPES of families have a higher than average rate of particular types of sexual orientation? I wrote "which families", NOT which TYPES of families.

I KNEW that what I was writing would be likely to be picked on. So I chose my words carefully.

As my old teacher told us about exams, read what is written carefully, and then read it again, carefully, or you end up answering questions assuming things that you assumed were stated, but weren't.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 21
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History
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 11/16/2010 5:05:07 PM
Thanks arwen. I have also known plenty of women who fit the description:

"I do know one gay woman who made a conscious decision to give men up because the were such **stards.

Yeah, back in the early 70s I knew a bunch of feminists who were fed up with men and turned to women. Within 5-8 years, most of them were back with men because it was not really who they were. "
I had the chance opportunity to observe as several women I knew, went through stages of discovering their sexuality was NOT purely hetero. I found it very enlightening. One repeating thing I saw, with many of the women who ultimately DID devote themselves entirely to other women, was a period during which they CLAIMED that they had TURNED to other women because guys were such jerks.
A more accurate explanation, which most of them later subscribed to themselves, was that the REAL reason they found guys to all be "jerks," was that THEY WERE NOT ATTRACTED TO THEM TO BEGIN WITH. Since they were ALSO dealing with societal (and sometimes Family) pressure to FIND a mate, they lashed out, blaming GUYS, for their own sexual orientation. I heard a few male homosexuals claim something similar, but the women did it much more forthrightly, and so were more noticeable. Kind of a "chicken and egg" thing, I think.
That's one of the things to keep in mind when one tries to find supporting quotes for any argument: many people say something in bold typeface one day, and that gets remembered long after they completely change their minds.
 gentlemuse
Joined: 4/2/2010
Msg: 22
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 11/16/2010 7:58:49 PM
I'm pretty sure there has been significant scientific evidence and research that suggests that being gay isn't a choice, but much like your gender, is a series of subtle differences in the mind and body. Here is just one article http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/opinion/17iht-edpinker.html

Interestingly, they have found things that work like "switches" inside of your DNA that turn on and off different things inside our bodies. So though it may not be a gay gene per say it might b one of these switches. This discovery was determined after scientists studied a particular type of mental illness, I forget the specifics but you can find out more about it here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/dna-human-evolution.html

I think any rational person (free from religious/clouded-judgment or homophobia) would agree that being "gay" isn't a choice but rather a common biological anomaly which should be viewed as such and not as a disease, curse or moral condemnation. It isn't uncommon for animals to commit acts of homosexuality, and they have no reproduction purposes to doing so.
 jkzoo
Joined: 8/5/2010
Msg: 23
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History
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/1/2011 6:58:54 PM
It seems likely that it has a lot to do with epigenetics. So, they actually will probably tease it apart.
-jason
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 24
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History
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/2/2011 3:40:28 AM
^^^ my point exactly.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 25
Why they might not find a sexual orientation gene.
Posted: 2/3/2011 3:14:29 PM
This is not my field, but I do have an observation, Igor, based on what you said in the OP.


My expectation is based on the observation that even someone of DEFINITE hetero-sexual orientation, finds that SOME of the opposite sex are attractive, and others are not. Of greatest interest, is that it is VERY common that you will discover that two between two NEARLY IDENTICAL people of the sex you are attracted to, that you will find ONE extremely desirable, and find the other uninteresting.


It seems that you are saying a gene for homosexuality can't be found because heterosexuals find SOME of the opposite sex attractive and others are not. In addition, one person might not find two very similar people both attractive.

I might have read this incorrectly, so please tell me if I did.

If I read it correctly, I don't know what attraction from the point of view of looks--or other factors--have to do with which SEX a person is attracted.

A heterosexual is attracted to the person of the opposite sex: regardless of looks, etc., that remains the same.

A homosexual is attracted to same sex: regardless of looks, etc., that remains the same.

Bisexuals are attracted to both sexes.
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