Deliberations on the cause of homosexuality

11 May

Considering how much trouble some people have understanding that homosexuals are normal people, deliberating on the causes of homosexuality can be compared to navigating a minefield. In general there are three schools of thought to look at when considering the cause of homosexuality; nature, nurture, and all of the above. While all of the above may sound like a cop out, it is a theory which gains more and more ground everyday amongst many people as it seems to be a happy medium and the easiest most politically correct option.


For many years the argument has been made that homosexuality is an inborn trait which simply means it is present even before the doctor slaps your bottom after birth. One school of scientists claim this is valid and that although they have not yet located an actual “gay gene” they have located strong indicators which usually point out with great accuracy what people are gay. Primarily this is based upon studying brain scans of homosexuals and comparing them to heterosexuals. What they found is that gay men often have a brain scan which appears more in line with those of heterosexual women, and that lesbians often have scans that more closely match those of heterosexual men. Even when compared in a blind test this holds true in most cases although it is not 100% accurate.


The primary school of thought is that since the brain is influenced by the proportion of estrogen versus testosterone in a fetus’s developmental stages, it is quite possible that a hormonal balance could be the organic impetus for homosexuality. They further believe that there never will be the discovery of a “gay gene” because none exists and that it is in fact the brain scan which is the near definitive proof that homosexuality is inborn. Not all researchers agree this is true, but nearly all agree it may at least be a factor and does merit more attention.


The second school of thought is that homosexuality is the byproduct of environment. While this was a very popular theory for centuries, especially since the mid 1800’s until the last decade or so it is losing traction as being considered the sole cause. A major reason why nurture was a people theory for so long is that it was an easy answer. If a man was gay it was theorized he had an overbearing mother that emasculated him, held him too much as a baby, or even breastfed him too long. It was also a popular belief that if there was no strong male role model in the home the odds were a boy would grow up gay because he only had women to emulate. In a similar sense lesbians were thought to be the product of demanding fathers that actually wanted them to be boys and forced them to conform to that behavior.


This belief further grew as numerous myths began surrounding homosexuality. Some people believed that gay adults were people whom were molested as children by members of the opposite sex. Others believed that others were then indoctrinated into the homosexual culture by those abused children that became gay adults creating an endless cycle of “gay recruiting.” Other environmental factors were cited as well such as local customs, off the beaten path spiritual beliefs, health maladies brought on by living conditions, demonic possession, and far more assorted ideas than can be discussed or listed.Over time many of these theories were either fully disproved scientifically or socially dismissed for the most part, but some people continue to cling to them. In some cases some of the arguments in favor of nurture as an expiation are still being examined as real possibilities.

The third school of though is that homosexuality is a combination of both nature and nurture. This theory continues to gain steam as scientific advances in the study of homosexuality are made and increasingly difficult to refute. The most popular interpretation is that a person may be born with a predisposition towards homosexuality, but that it requires some impetus to trigger that behavior. Some feel once that trigger is pulled it becomes a matter of impulse control which some people can exercise and others cannot. A further reason this theory is popular is that it allows the average person to straddle the line between science and popular social belief, thus allowing them to offend the fewest amount of people possible from each school of thought.


Whatever theory you personally subscribe to in regards to what causes homosexuality it is irrefutable that it has existed so long as recorded history tells us and will continue long after we have all ceased to exchange carbon dioxide. So far as anyone knows each school of thought holds some potential for truth. As a gay person, I can say I never gave much thought as to why I’m gay, but rather as to why it matters to anyone but me.

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