General Question

Lovelocke's avatar

Gay is in the DNA? Hmm... What do you think?

Asked by Lovelocke (1607 points ) October 8th, 2008

So, I was watching this video someone forwarded to me today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWqmuT8enc4

Funny little tune, and during the big finale the guy says “It’s okay you were just born that way, and as they say, it’s in your DNA.”

…this reminds me of yet another story I was reading about the new “subgenre” of homosexuality making it’s way though colleges about girls who make out with girls for the purpose of attracting and turning men on. They call these types “Heteroflexible”.

Um. Anyway… I’ve heard it that “People who are gay, and not necessarily people who simply have sex with people of the same sex might have inherited it.”

Hmm. I don’t know. It’s tricky people so delicate on the issue, so before I break out into a big song and dance about how I’m not gay but I think gay people are awesome, I’ll just rephrase the question…

“Do you believe that being gay is in a person’s DNA?”

…with bonus points on speculation regarding what would happen if expectant mothers, who are now able to “Genetically Pick and Choose” their children’s features while they’re still in the womb, would be interested in implanting “The Gay” in their children?

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30 Answers

laureth's avatar

There is a definite pattern of differences in the brain structure of gay people, with gay men having brains more like straight women and lesbians like straight men. Whether or not it’s actually genetically based, it does seem like a difference that they can’t help, one way or the other.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7456588.stm

There also appear to be other things that can skew the balance toward homosexuality, such as having a super-fertile mom.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2008/06/18/are-highly-fertile-women-more-likely-to-have-gay-sons/

The thing about picking and choosing genes is the fear that more people would want to design a hetero kid. Just like blue eyes, blond hair, cancer-proof and perfect eyesight, there is a view that “hetero” is somehow more perfect. Sadly, I think that would make the world boring.

AstroChuck's avatar

I’m just wondering why you listed ”PS3” in the topics.

loser's avatar

So am I…

mabd's avatar

because PS3 is teh gheyyyyy

loser's avatar

I do think it’s in the DNA, BTW…

Emilyy's avatar

I think that DNA is a bit different from inheriting something. Clearly inheritance of a “gay gene” is not what happens, because plenty of straight people give birth to gay kids and gay people can have children (okay, yeah not with someone of the same sex but you know what I mean) who are straight as can be.

I’m no geneticist, so do I think being gay is in-born? Hell to the yeah. I don’t think anyone in my life who is gay could possibly be any other way but gay. It’s just as natural to them as it is to me being straight. Sure, “straight” some people may experiment now and then, and there may be some people who fall more in the middle of the sexuality spectrum than to one side or the other. No question about it. On that note, I think a big problem is how we feel this need to label people as gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual. I believe people can have a fluid sexuality and rather than be one thing or another, just love who they want to love, f*ck who they want to f*ck, and get on with their lives.

When a large number of gay people are still very unfortunately being persecuted, discriminated against, stigmatized, the targets of hate crimes (and have been throughout history), why would a person choose a gay lifestyle if they could help it? If Matthew Shepard could have chosen to be straight, he’d still be alive today.

What would be the benefit of implanting a “gay gene” or “straight gene” in your kids? If you choose straight, you avoid that unfortunate social stigma. If you choose gay, you could prevent your daughter’s teen pregnancy in advance by making her pre-disposed to loving vagina rather than penis. I’d rather just let nature/god/voodoo/fate/whatever take over.

CherryRed's avatar

No, I do not think being gay is in your DNA. I think it`s a purely nurture type of thing. Though I`ve met a lot of gay people, and they seem to have a lot of gay people in the family.

As for implanting the gay in my child, I would. I`m a big tom boy and I hate hanging around with chicks. Having a fag as a son would be awesome because I wouldn`t have to deal with his girlfriend. And I could take him to broadways and drags :D

mabd's avatar

Easy answer: there’s a 50% heritability for gayness. So if one identical twin is gay the other is 50% likely to be gay. That means its highly due to DNA (50% of the population is not gay, so sharing 100% of DNA with a gay person makes you much more likely to be gay) but clearly there are non-genetic influences as well. Randomness during developmental process? Differences in hormone exposures? Cultural upbringing, or subtle differences in childhood experiences? Who knows, these all could be influences. But clearly DNA has a big influence, and just as clearly, DNA is not the whole story.

PS I’m talking about male homosexuality

lefteh's avatar

I don’t know. How could you know?
All I know is that I didn’t choose to be queer. Would I change it if I could? Absolutely not. But I sure as hell didn’t choose it.

AstroChuck's avatar

lefteh, next time somebody asks you “Hey, how’d you get to be gay anyway?” tell them “Homosexuals are chosen first on talent, then interview. The swimsuit and evening gown competition pretty much gets rid of the rest of them.”

Lovelocke's avatar

Hoo boy. Here we go… in order, no less.

Laureth: Blond hair and blue eyes is totally hot. Although we may not in good taste agree with Adolf Hitler’s concept of the “Master Race”, I believe we can all agree that female Nazis with the whole blond hair, blue eye things is incredibly hot.

Proof of hot female Nazi supremacy (All are SAFE FOR WORK):
http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/img/yeagle-nazi-commandant-1024×768.jpg
http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/img/yeagle-nazi-bodyguard-1024×768.jpg
http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/img/yeagle-nazi-trooper-sketch-1024×768.jpg
http://home.frognet.net/~mcfadden/img/yeagle-nazi-commandant-sketch-1024×768.jpg

They can throw me into their love oven anytime… I hope I’m not alone on this one.

AstroChuck: PS3 was in the tags to weed out the “Captain Obvious” responses early on (and it worked).

Loser: See above.

Mabd: Seconded.

EmilyNathon: When I read “Hell to the yeah” my mind’s first reaction was to skip over the rest of your comment, might want to work on that. Going against my better judgment, I did pluck one gem from you… “Gay daughter = no teen pregnancy”. I have a deep fear of having daughters because of all of the unfortunate things I’ve done to “other people’s” daughters from the age of 18 until, well, presumably the rest of my life. I don’t want to have a daughter who drinks, smokes, and least of all gets pregnant easily. Don’t get me wrong, sex is great and I’d like my daughter have copious amounts of it… with as few men as possible. However, if I can convince my future wife to implant “the gay” into our daughters, then we can totally bypass the pregnancy scare altogether. Also, in a strange way, I suppose that could lead to some interesting father/daughter bonding since, it would seem, our experiences in life would be similar.

Cherry: Tomboys are hot. My girlfriend had this tomboy thing going on when I met her about three years ago, but as it turned out, she didn’t realize that short hair on a young woman is the signature of a “rainbow trout”. Once I illustrated this to her and showed her every conceivable instance of lesbians with short hair, she began to grow her hair long. We’ve been happy for… well, this will be our second Halloween together. Two years next mother’s day.

Mabd: That math is a bit flawed, I believe. You see, they claim that natural red-heads are going to be extinct sooner than later, due to “outbreeding”. I believe that “The Gay”, as it occurs in nature, is something that didn’t begin with 50% odds, perhaps something more along the lines of 5%. You have to consider the amount of people alive in history compared to the amount today, and so, to assume that as “family trees grew” so did “The Gay”, as it was spread from mother to son/daughter over and over, and those who manage to convince themselves to go straight for child-bearing purposes continue to spread it around.

—-“Spread it around”... let’s not take that to mean that “The Gay” is contagious like a disease, instead, let’s say it’s simply “Spreadable” like butter over toast. Hot, gay toast.—-

Lefteh: I take it you’re queer. Well done.

BONUS TOKENS: Everyone who generated a smart, useful answer gets a “Great Answer” from me, Lovelocke! Enjoy 5 points… of… whatever.

btko's avatar

I think it’s worth exploring.

I find some people get offended by the idea that homosexuality could be caused by genetics, and I’m not sure why they do. It doesn’t make it wrong or right if something is inherited from your ancestors. Maybe your ancestor was Alexander the Great or one of the many other homo/bi sexuals of the past.

MacBean's avatar

All I know is that life would be a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t have to deal with being trans and queer. But that’s just who I am. It wasn’t a choice and I can’t help it. And if my family and the way I was raised had anything to do with it, I’d be a boy-crazy pretty pretty princess. And that is most certainly not the case.

laureth's avatar

@CherryRed: I know a lot of families where they have brown eyes. Do you think that the number of brown-eyed people in that family similarly rules out a genetic factor, and implies a nurture element?

laureth's avatar

@lovelocke: For what it’s worth, my mom, who is a lesbian, got pregnant with me at age 18. I realize it’s on the later end of “teen,” but I think we’d still agree that she was a lesbian teen mother.

ckinyc's avatar

@emily: I am totally with you on the labeling part. Imagine there is no labels? You may say I am a dreamer…

maybe_KB's avatar

some like vegetables- some don’t
some like milk- some don’t
why is this?

Lovelocke's avatar

@latest wave of trivia & bumpersticker grade philosophy: Deep… Good thing I can swim.

maybe_KB's avatar

can you Love?

Emilyy's avatar

@laureth: You’re right. A lot of young lesbians can and do still get pregnant just like straight gals, for a number of reasons.

This reminds me of a story a friend told me recently. She went on a date with a woman who had recently come out to her husband (with whom she has four children). My friend said that when she did the math, it seemed as though after this woman came out to her husband (they didn’t separate or divorce right away), they became pregnant with their fourth child. The politics of sexuality and sex are really mind-boggling.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I don’t think it’s in the DNA, I think it has to do with environmental factors in the womb, more specifically an excess of the predominant opposite sex hormone in utero. I think intersexuality and homosexuality are linked in this way, in that too much testosterone in the womb for a female fetus (or estrogen for male) can lead to physiological changes and have a significant impact on the brain.

There has been research done to this effect with rats. They injected pregnant females with an excess of estrogen or testosterone and observed the offspring. The study found that females from a hypertestosterone womb environment and males from a hyperestrogen environment frequently exhibited homosexual behaviors. Males would attempt copulation with other males, the females were observed mounting other females.

wundayatta's avatar

When I was researching this for an earlier question, there seemed to be little doubt amongst scientists that genes play a big role in sexual preference.

loser's avatar

I seriously rule out the concept of gay being a choice, though.

thegodfather's avatar

Until there’s an empirical study that’s peer-reviewed that actually shows how homosexuality is in the DNA, this question is pointless to me, and can only be answered with speculative arguments. Psychological arguments won’t address the DNA issue, because insofar as an empirical study of the DNA is left out, psychology can’t involve DNA; it’s dealing with human behavior issues. So moral, religious, psychological arguments may address inherent gay behavior from birth but can’t answer whether it’s in DNA or not.

Lovelocke's avatar

I think my post had the word “Speculation” in it somewhere. So, let’s speculate :)

thegodfather's avatar

Well, then, to speculate…

I think a lot of people’s reactions to the gay community stem from their efforts to find some ethics. It’s very challenging to fit gays into society on moral grounds only because their lifestyle and what it’s based on appears to draw uniquely from so many different areas of human life. So, if one’s gay-ness appears in, and only in, DNA, assuming that homosexuality is completely tied to one’s genetics… Even still it’s a moral difficulty. One’s height is almost entirely determined by DNA. So a 7’+ man goes to Disneyland and finds that all of the rides can’t accommodate him (crude example, but illustrative nevertheless), so he sues Disney. Folks then have to decide if it’s morally wrong to not allow the man the same rights as other riders. And suddenly the question of height and one’s DNA has become a matter of rights.

Homosexuals, even if it were determined, are such because of DNA, are calling for their rights to be honored as human beings, though they clearly have a unique set of DNA, like the diversity in race, height, eye color, hair color, and other genetic factors. The morals on the one hand seem clear: they should definitely have all the same rights as any other human being. But on the other hand, this is a challenge because of the unique qualities of their situation. Just some of my preliminary thoughts as I speculate, no intention of actually mapping out what those morals should be or not.

Lovelocke's avatar

…Which is nice, but I have to draw another line for you.

A fat man eating at McDonald’s knows the risk, as does the 7’ man planning a costly trip to Disneyland, as does the motorcyclist who wears no protective gear, as does the robber who stands in front of a security camera with no mask on and short sleeve shirts exposing their many unique tattoos: These are people who “put themselves” on the spot in varying degrees, some more and less severe than others.

That said, if one has a genetic predisposition that would put them at a disadvantage, the tendency is steer that person away from unreasonable challenges. For instance, the likelihood of a blind person getting a job as a color corrector in the film industry is low. The likelihood of a paraplegic person taking up Thai Kickboxing is low. The likelihood of a 7-foot-tall man fitting in the tea cups in the toddler section at Disneyworld is also low.

One of those things doesn’t fit: That is, the plight of the seven foot tall man… he has the power to do other things that, for instance, a shorter person could not do, but instead he will either sue a company, who’s rides have been in service on average for over 30 years, because he can’t do what a child can. There is no moral question, there’s simply a judgment call on behalf of the man.

Now let’s take this line of thought and factor in “The Gay”. What happens if you were born gay, and in life, you felt as though you want to pursue the OPPOSITE sex… as unbelievable as it sounds, you would be completely free to do so. Whether or not you did is at your own discretion, as is the choice to catalog shop from Beverly Hills, hang a rainbow flag from your front door step, speak with a lisp and so on… today, the likelihood of you being mugged for being homosexual is far lower than the likelihood that you will join a million-man march in one of the major cities in the United States.

A person born with “The Gay” isn’t crippled, they’re not lacking something (other than a desire for vagina/mangina), and there’s no such thing as a “Straights Only” water fountain or a “Gays in the Back of the Bus” (tee hee) section. Gays, within obvious limitations (A paraplegic blind gay, for example), can do just about anything they want to do when they do it. It’s like saying “I was born with HAIR, I guess I can’t attend the State Fair” or something.

Gays have nothing “against” them in society, other than “They can’t be married” (in most places) and “They call us bad names”... to which I’m sure every black, hispanic, arab, indian, chinese, white… hell, EVERYONE has a few. At least the slurs for gays are based more on what they do rather than “what they are”... take me for example. I could be called a wetback, even though I was born in the United States and probably know more than the typical American… and there’s nothing I can do to change that… that’s just the color of my skin (also, not a handicap).

Anyway. Hopefully that spurs s’more chitty chat.

americanandfree's avatar

Bipolar is in the genes, does that count???

MissAnthrope's avatar

Lovelocke, I beg to differ. It’s more than just being called names or not being able to marry. Hate crimes, gay bashing, and how about generally being not accepted (shunned in some instances) and misunderstood because of something out of your control?

First, it’s demeaning and sometimes scary (Matthew Shephard). Secondly, it strikes me as somewhat arbitrary. It’s akin to shunning a section of the populace because they have blonde hair.

Lorenita's avatar

I don’t think I could choose to be a Lesbian, I would end up cheating with a man. So I think it’s not a choice, I belive you are just born that way and it’s just natural for gay people to fall in love with people who are the same sex.

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