General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Is one being homosexual genetic from birth or a cause of environmental influence?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21300 points ) February 25th, 2014

Based off an answer in this thread if one is born a homosexual it is because it was innate, or genetic, and if so where did they get it from, the mother, the father, a generation down? If it is part of the person no different than how eye color is determined, height, hair texture, etc. can it be found under a microscope like a gene or stream of DNA? If there is no ”gay gene”, is homosexuality due duo some environmental influence, exposure to a chemical, spores during pregnancy, plastics or some other toxin or carcinogen?

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42 Answers

Judi's avatar

When did you decide to be heterosexual?

hominid's avatar

Is this question specific to humans, or does it also address homosexuality found in other animals?

josie's avatar

In the current political climate, you will never get to hear an objective debate that it is a matter of choice.
The train already left the station on this one. Whatever anybody actually thinks, you have to say it’s genetic, or get in trouble.
I say it’s genetic.

dxs's avatar

I’m an expert in neither genetics or sociology, but I feel like most of sexuality is a result of upbringing. I’m not saying it is because a child inhaled some sort of toxic chemical, I’m saying that there may have been experiences in a child’s life that formed their sexuality. I don’t see how biology can account for all of the socially constructed aspects of sexuality.

hominid's avatar

@josie: “Whatever anybody actually thinks, you have to say it’s genetic, or get in trouble.”

Really? Either you are being paranoid or you live in the wrong part of the country. I live in the supposedly one of the most liberal states in the country (Massachusetts), where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004. I have never met anyone who has said that there is definitive proof that homosexuality is genetic.

What is usually said is there is likely a large genetic component, considering that we don’t consciously choose our sexuality, homosexuals are born to straight parents, it appears in other animals, etc.

Stop pretending that you’re being persecuted. It could be that homosexuality is 100% genetic, or a combination of genetics and environment. You are not going to “get into trouble” for discussing the available evidence. You’re an adult.

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DominicX's avatar

Don’t know. But I must applaud you for even considering an environmental cause (which does not necessarily have to be a toxin, but could be as simple as the way someone is raised) instead of falling into the trap of the “in-born vs. choice” false dichotomy that so many people do when speaking of homosexuality.

I am a homosexual. It showed up when I first started going through puberty, though as a young kid I was very effeminate and that gave my parents clues that I may end up being gay, even though it was all stereotypical action. Environmental factor—hard to say. Never knew any homosexuals growing up, no distant father, was never abused (these are common claims). Certainly not a choice. I know what I have and haven’t chosen in life. And a person can “believe” it’s a choice all they want and they will be wrong every single time. At least with my homosexuality they would be wrong; I can’t speak for all homosexuals.

augustlan's avatar

I equate innate sexual preference to something more like innate personality, rather than something explicitly genetic like hair and eye color or environmental like lead poisoning or the way you’re raised.

All three of my kids had definite personalities from birth, all different from each other. Those personalities still hold true, many years later. I don’t see that as genetic, per se, but it certainly wasn’t a choice or an environmental issue. While environmental factors may nudge a personality a bit, the one you’re born with is pretty darn strong. Innate personality just is, no matter where it comes from.

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ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s almost certainly genetic. People who don’t get this need to just deal with it. One gene is probably not the cause there are likely several that influence sexuality. Upbringing I feel has very little to do with it.

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hominid's avatar

@livelaughlove21: “Who cares?”

I think it is an interesting question – like all questions of about human behavior and biology. But the answer to the question should have no effect on the question of rights and discrimination. If we found out tomorrow either it was 100% genetic or completely environmental, we should proceed with progressing our understanding and acceptance of the wide spectrum of human sexuality, and move to protect the minority from the majority.

edit: I now realize, however, that your comment was likely directed at the unrelated comment above.

Blondesjon's avatar

Homosexuality is based entirely on gender preference when it comes to fucking.

It’s not a matter of who cares. It’s a matter of it being none of my business.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@hominid No, I was responding to the OP. Just my very broad way of saying what you said – people obviously care, but it shouldn’t matter either way. It should be accepted whether it’s personal choice, genetics, the environment, or all three.

The comment above mine was pretty unrelated to the topic, though. Care to explain what abstinence has to do with the choice vs. genes debate regarding homosexuality, @flo?

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Cruiser's avatar

You can read a peer reviewed study that postulates and offers in depth evidence that homosexuality is not from a genetic evolution.

Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development

“no convincing molecular genetic evidence has been found”

zenvelo's avatar

It is neither. Once again @Hypocrisy_Central has posed a question with two diverse viewpoints on a complicated matter.

It is pretty well understood that many traits are selected in utero, the fetus is awash in various hormones and differing levels can have differing results.

Consider that children of the same parents may have different orientation, even though genetically very similar. Consider that there is a spectrum of sexuality that runs from strictly homosexual to strictly heterosexual, and that most people fall somewhere in the vast region between those extremes.

If it were genetic, then you couldn’t explain bisexuals, or people who explore their sexuality. If it was all nurture, you couldn’t account for young children raised in very “traditional” role homes that demonstrate homosexual inclinations at a very early age.

The important point is, either we’re all God’s children, or none of us are.

If you believe in God, you know He doesn’t make mistakes. If you don’t believe in God, you don’t care either way, you just accept people for what they are.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m gay. I knew it when I was nine. I didn’t know what the name for it was then, because the era and place I grew up in didn’t allow us to talk about anything sexual. I have always been gay.

Can we talk about something else now? @Hypocrisy_Central, why are you obsessed with prurient notions of homosexuality?

This is all tedious.

I for one am sick of being the whipping boy! Why does the majority get to poke and prod me just to watch me react? Fuck off!

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I lost track of him, but the first friend who told me he was gay, was convinced to be. He was a very heavy child. When he was nine, a member of his family convinced him girls would never go for a fat guy. He scared the bejeezus out of the boy, and eventually seduced him. My friend never got the chance to have feelings on his own.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t understand why it matters. I guess for scientific curiousity I can understan why people are interested in the question, but when people want to know if it is something people are born with, if there is a genetic component to convince people that is why gay people should be accepted I don’t really understand it. Why can’t we just accept people for who they are and what is right for their own life.

My personal unscientific opinion is I think most people who are gay are born with that tendency. They just are gay, they know they are gay from a young age. Some of us see it if we have strong gaydar, we suspect even when the child is very young, 3 and 4 years old. I do think there are environmental influences that sometimes inhance the tendancy or dull it. I think early childhood experiences can influence people and they sexual orientation. They don’t have to be negative experiences.

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Aster's avatar

They are born that way just like some are born left handed. Nobody in his or her right mind who was being honest would choose to be gay with all the ridicule and scorn they have to endure. Sometimes to the point of suicide.
If I were gay I’d grab my high school female sweetheart, move to San Fran and keep to myself.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Judi When did you decide to be heterosexual?
That is partially the point; I didn’t. I always felt I should be with the female sex. I can say in high school there were some guys who were overly cute, but in my heart I knew it was not right to do anything sexually with them because even if they thought the same, they were not females. If they had looked in appearance to regular masculine males they would have never garnered a second thought. I have been very close to many male friends, some closer than any relationship with a female but we never considered being a couple or anything like that because we were wired to like boobs, vaginas, smooth silky legs, etc. That would have been the case if I were raised in the Castro. The only thing I can say came from the environment is how I viewed women sexually. If I were raised in the Cook Islands, or Micronesia where most females go topless because of the heat, I would not have been as gag a over boobs as here in the US because the culture view them differently there.

@hominid Is this question specific to humans, or does it also address homosexuality found in other animals?
Humans are who I am speaking of. What I have found is that for every scientist, zoologist, etc. that points to homosexual animals, I can find 5–8 that says there are no true homosexual animals, that animals may exhibit homosexual activity and be taken as homosexual traits but only because we, humans, choose to filter that behavior through our human perspective.

@dxs I’m an expert in neither genetics or sociology, but I feel like most of sexuality is a result of upbringing.
With that thought, it is part of what provoked the question. Some people believe how one is raised decides if one is gay or not; they chose to be or not. Therefore, gays should not adopt children because they will influence by their lifestyle the orientation of the child to be gay when she/he otherwise wouldn’t.

Others say let them, the child is born gay because of something they have since before they were born, that is why straight parents can have gay children or a gay child; in short, they did not choose and simply taking Sparky camping and signing him up for football will not ”boy him up”, and get him to forget about dolls?

@DominicX I am a homosexual. It showed up when I first started going through puberty, though as a young kid I was very effeminate and that gave my parents clues that I may end up being gay, even though it was all stereotypical action
Before you hit puberty did you have any recollection ”I am doing stuff that is more of what girls do”, or ”boys are supposed to like this but I do not care for it” thoughts? What were you doing that made your parents figure ”he is going to be gay”? What were those stereotypical things that gave them that impression?

@ARE_you_kidding_me It’s almost certainly genetic. People who don’t get this need to just deal with it.
Not being firm in either camp, I can see where it logically has to be genetic, but I can also see and somewhat understand why people who are gay do not want to believe it is. If it is, I can’t see why it would make a difference to be gay when one did not have a choice, be gay because society drove them to be gay, or they are gay because they chose to be gay.

@zenvelo It is neither.
If you have an idea, spill it.

It is pretty well understood that many traits are selected in utero, the fetus is awash in various hormones and differing levels can have differing results.
And that says what, that somehow a defect in the mother’s uterus cased the child to be gay, or a sociopath, a servant, a genius, etc. based on what hormones at what level they received?

If it were genetic, then you couldn’t explain bisexuals, or people who explore their sexuality
And bisexuality leads people to believe it is a choice, you can switch teams if you set your mind to it.

The important point is, either we’re all God’s children, or none of us are.
YES, that is a very important point, we should ALL remember and not just when dealing with sexual orientation. No matter what race, age, intelligence, or even crimes committed, ether against God, man, or both separates us from being children of God.

If you believe in God, you know He doesn’t make mistakes. If you don’t believe in God, you don’t care either way, you just accept people for what they are.
God doesn’t make mistakes but He doesn’t always prevent them either. As I said before, I accept gays, just as I accept other people, even some people gays reject, however, I don’t have to accept everything a person does to accept them.

@Hawaii_Jake …. why are you obsessed with prurient notions of homosexuality?
I have not even spoken of my ideas and beliefs of the condition of homosexuality, Not only would no one understand it, fire would rage through Fluther as of someone dropped a 5,000lb white phosphorous bomb on it. Besides, I do not want to have my flame-retardant sent back to the tailors.

I for one am sick of being the whipping boy!
Talk about paranoid, did I ever said you were my whipping boy, or did I ever address you personally or blatantly about your sexual orientation? Pull of the comment so I can examine it. If you find one, and it shows I blasted or maligned you because you are gay I WILL GIVE YOU AN OPEN APOLOGY right here in Fluther in front of everyone. The only one whipping you, is you; I am certainly not victimizing you.

@Jonesn4burgers I lost track of him, but the first friend who told me he was gay, was convinced to be. He was a very heavy child. When he was nine, a member of his family convinced him girls would never go for a fat guy. He scared the bejeezus out of the boy, and eventually seduced him.
If I follow you right we have a fat kid, who was convinced by an older relative that he would not have any affection from the opposite sex because he was fat, so rather than help the kid slim down, convinced him that if he wanted affection it had to come from the relative; some older male?

@Aster Nobody in his or her right mind who was being honest would choose to be gay with all the ridicule and scorn they have to endure. Sometimes to the point of suicide.
That would be an interesting question unto itself, but my flame-retardant suit has just been repaired. Those who feel it was not something they are born with but developed some other way are in conscious or unconscious denial, and why?

DominicX's avatar

@DominicX When I was really young, no, those thoughts didn’t enter my mind. When I got a little older, yes, I thought “this is for girls, but I don’t care because I like it too”. It was things like dressing up in my mom’s clothes, putting a flower in my hair, playing with my sister’s dollhouse and EasyBake oven, that kind of thing. My brothers never did any of that stuff.

hominid's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: “I can say in high school there were some guys who were overly cute, but in my heart I knew it was not right to do anything sexually with them because even if they thought the same, they were not females.”

And here we have an honest answer. People fall on different parts of the wide spectrum of human sexuality. @Hypocrisy_Central, you felt something and suppressed it. It’s ok to feel what you were feeling. But suppressing it can’t be healthy.

I can honestly say that I never had the experience of feeling desires that I had to suppress and reason them away. It seems that aside from your religious beliefs on this topic, you should have a unique perspective on the issue – and a healthy amount of compassion.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

DominicX When I was really young, no, those thoughts didn’t enter my mind. When I got a little older, yes, I thought “this is for girls, but I don’t care because I like it too”. It was things like dressing up in my mom’s clothes, putting a flower in my hair, playing with my sister’s dollhouse and EasyBake oven, that kind of thing.
Those are the stereotypical things we expect to hear. If you were in some refugee camp in Niger, or on some remote island were Easybake ovens and Barbies were far and few, if you had no cultural trappings that was supposed to be for girls and these for boys, how would you know you were gay? The things you mentioned to me, I could be wrong, boys and girls like because they are said to be for their particular sex. From a young age I had an interest in fashion design, which involves sewing, however, as much as sewing was seen as something for girls, my interest in it never made me feel gay just that culturally it was more acceptable for women than for men, just as I have known females interested in hunting and guns but were not lesbians. I guess what I am trying to fathom, if you took all of the ”girl trappings” out of the picture what would there be left that would have told you that you were gay?

@hominid And here we have an honest answer. People fall on different parts of the wide spectrum of human sexuality. @Hypocrisy_Central, you felt something and suppressed it. It’s ok to feel what you were feeling. But suppressing it can’t be healthy.
There was no suppression; it was logical clarity even before spiritual awakening came to life. I may have had a close friendly relationship with some of those boys but logically there would never be any love or long-term relationship if anything got physical. They would have grown older and not looked as effeminate, changed their appearance as to look less like girls, so logically I could not trick my mind into believing they were female, so I focused on the real thing.

Of what you posed, I could say every gay person is really straight but suppressing the desire to be straight to fit into a culture where they may feel more wanted and accepted. That it is OK for them to feel that way but to suppress their feelings to be straight is not healthy. See, it is easy to flip.

DominicX's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central You misunderstand me. That’s not what told me I was gay. Those were stereotypical things that made my parents think “maybe he will end up being gay”. I did not even know what “gay” was at that age. What told me I was gay was being sexually attracted to other boys at school when I started going through puberty, and not feeling that attraction to girls.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@DominicX OK, I got you now, thanks for making it clearer. ;-)

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Your response was one of the most hateful things I have ever read on Fluther.

You just said that being gay is a defect and that homosexuals are mistakes. Perhaps as a supposedly Bible following Christian you might follow the new Commandment as found in John 13:34— “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” And calling people defective or mistakes is as far from loving as one can get.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@zenvelo Thank you.

@Hypocrisy_Central Your continued string of questions about homosexuality is full of your opinions and thoughts on the matter. Stop lying. Your history here on Fluther speaks volumes. We LGBT people are your whipping boys. Halt your hateful questions and posts.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@@zenvelo You just said that being gay is a defect and that homosexuals are mistakes.
You don’t have anything to post, so I have nothing to debunk, so we will pass on all that.

@Hawaii_Jake Halt your hateful questions and posts.
So ANY question other than ”Yey, go gays” is hateful. Wow, man, wow……
Anyhow, if you have no idea or anything to add as to if homosexuality is crated by environment or innately there from birth, you will have to wait for the next hateful question ~~

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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central In my first post on this thread, I answered your question, but you obviously skipped over my answer and concentrated on the other part of my post.

I will answer your question again here: I have always been gay.

There. The debate is settled. Now, we can move on to more important topics like solving world hunger.

I doubt that will settle the question in your mind, because you are illogical and fail to see the simplicity and the ramifications of my honest answer.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I will answer your question again here: I have always been gay.
OK, then I will take it that you are on the side of the genetics fence, that even before you even realized it, you were gay, OK.

Now, we can move on to more important topics like solving world hunger.
Been there, done that, however, if you can’t get people to stop thinking of what they don’t have they are hardly going to think of what someone else doesn’t have. Some are too worried about what the government may do, that will allow small business to have more autonomy over their business. Others are worried if this politician is this or that or how they said what. Another group of people are too worried they can sit around smoking their medical weed. That is forgoing those who are so scared of genetically altered fruits and vegetables that can be grow crops 5 times larger than normal, that would go a long way to curing world hunger; but no one wants to hear that.

Ask that in a question, I will expand on what I just said.

flo's avatar

To answer the OP I don’t know but it makes no difference for all practical purposes.

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