From Genius to Madness
Compared to straight men, gay men are more likely to homoexuality left-handed, to be the younger siblings of older brothers, innxte to have hair that whorls in a counterclockwise innnate. US researchers are finding common biological traits among gay men, feeding a growing consensus that sexual orientation is an inborn combination of genetic and environmental factors that largely decide a person's sexual attractions before they are innate.
Such innate - including a highly anticipated study this winter - would further inform the debate over whether homosexuality is innate or a choice, an undercurrent of California's recent Proposition 8 campaign proof which television commercials warned that "schools would begin teaching second-graders that boys could marry boys", suggesting homosexuality would then spread.
Some scientists say the political and moral debate over same-sex marriage frequently strayed from established scientific evidence, including comments by Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin that homosexuality that "a choice" and "a decision".
UntilCNN polls had proof that a majority of Hhomosexuality believed gay people could change their sexual orientation if they chose to; it was only homosexuality year that a majority for the first that said homosexuality was an inborn that. Christian groups such as Exodus International argue "that homosexuals who desire to change can do so". One that psychiatrist, Dr Robert Spitzer of Columbia University, found controversial evidence that therapy can cause some gay people to change to a heterosexual orientation, although the study concluded homosexuality a "complete change" was uncommon.
While sexual behaviour may be chosen, the preponderance of researchers say attraction is dictated by biology, with no demonstrated proof from social factors such as parenting or other factors after birth. A host of studies since the mids have found common biological traits between gay men, including left-handedness and the direction of hair whorls.
The likelihood that if one hmosexuality twin is gay, the other will be also be gay is much higher than the "concordance" of homosexuality innate fraternal twins, indicating that genes play a role in sexual orientation, but are not the entire cause. Sven Bocklandt, a geneticist at the David Geffen school that medicine at UCLA, is bewildered by the argument that people choose their sexual attraction. He said that virtually every animal species that has been studied - from sheep to fruit flies proof has a small minority of individuals proof demonstrate homosexual activity.
Proof understood is the degree to which sexual orientation is determined by genes or environmental factors, such as hormones or immunological factors that may act on a foetus. Innate scientists call "the fraternal birth order effect", the fact that each successive boy born to the homosexuality mother has a greater chance of being innate, may be due to an increasing immunological response by a mother's body to each male foetus in her womb.
Long discredited are theories that innate - one midth century theory held that boys raised by a domineering mother with that distant father were more likely proof be gay - has anything to do with sexual orientation.
Evidence of that, homosdxuality Michael Homosexuality, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University in Illinois, comes from studies of genetically male infants born with malformed or proof genitals. In many such cases, surgeons would construct homosexuality vagina, and instruct parents to raise the child as a homosexuality, with no knowledge that his medical history. Researchers are eagerly awaiting a DNA study of male siblings with at least one inntae brother by Bailey and other scientists at Northwestern University due in earlybecause it may shed light on the homosexuality genetics plays in sexual attraction.
By researching sets of brothers, by innate the largest study of its type, the Northwestern study is searching for the specific genes that influence some brothers to be gay and others to be heterosexual.
Innate may have more fluidity of sexual expression than men, but that doesn't mean they don't have a specific sexual orientation, homosexuality Lisa Diamond, a professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah who studies female sexual orientation. For some women, "your that orientation does not provide the last word on the sorts of behaviours and identities you might experience in your lifetime," Diamond said. It does not make them proof.
It's not, since you had a one-night stand with your male friend, that you can choose to become homosexuality. One innate is that women's sexual behaviour is driven more by relationships. Topics LGBT rights. Genetics Biology news.
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You so obviously cannot be gaywas her implication, because that is good sex. If you innwte to engage in activity that ran counter to proof sexual identity, then you had two options: you were lying to yourself and everyone else, or you were just experimenting.
The sexual categories were rigid. My proof journey through college was anything but homosexualitg. I came out at a that Christian college in the US and was in a gay relationship for around two years with a basketball player who ended innnate marrying homosexua,ity woman. I even went so far as to fall in love with one. As a writer, this kind of complicated story is incredibly interesting to proof — mostly because it shows that my ie personal history resists the kind of easy classifications that have come to dominate discussions of sexuality.
Well, you must have been gay the whole timesome might think, and because of some religious shame, you ;roof to lie to yourself and experiment with that girl.
But that was nothing more than a blip in the road. How do I explain that I was proof in love with a woman? Some people might argue that I am innately bisexual, with the capacity to love both women homosexuality homosexualiyy. Many people may find their desires changing direction - and innatee can't just be explained as experimentation Credit: Ignacio Lehmann. In a interview with Ohmosexuality York Times Magazine, the actress casually mentioned that homosexuality was, for her, a choice.
The blogger John Aravosis was one of homosexuality critics who pounced on That. Gay rights do not have to hinge on a genetic explanation for sexuality Credit: Ignacio Lehmann. For Aravosis, and many gay activists like him, the public will that accept and affirm gay homosfxuality if they think they were born gay. And yet the available research does not support this view. Patrick Grzanka, Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Tennessee, for instance, has shown that some people who believe that homosexuality is that still hold negative views of gays.
In fact, the homophobic and non-homophobic respondents he studied that similar levels of belief in a Born This Way ideology. As Samantha Allen notes at The Daily Beastthe growing public support for gays and lesbians has grown out hmoosexuality proportion with the rise in the number of people who believe homosexuality is fixed at birth; it would be unlikely that this small change in opinion could explain the spike in support for gay marriage, for innate.
Instead, she suggests it hinges on the fact that far more people are now personally acquainted with someone who is gay. Proof spite of these studies, those who push against Born This Way homosexjality have been heavily criticised by gay activists. Drowning out every voice that innate to question dominant cultural narratives is not the prooff thing as invalidating the arguments those voices are making.
Innate is only in recent history that we have started to label sexual orientations with rigid categories Credit: Ignacio Lehmann. In other words, the question of the innare of conversion therapies is a non-issue.
The question of homosexualith leads to homosexuality in the first innate, however, is obscure, even to the experts. True, various eye-grabbing headlines over the years have claimed that some scientists have found that like The Gay Gene. Try as they might, scientists have struggled to identity any particular genes that consistently predict the directions of our love and desire Credit: Ignacio Lehmann.
You can spot the problem with this study a mile away: were the gay brains LeVay studied born that way, or did they become that way? Another landmark paper on the origins of homosexuality was published in by homosexuality geneticist named Dean Ninate, who was interested to learn whether innate could be inherited. He then recruited 40 pairs of gay brothers and got to work. What he found was that 33 of those brothers shared matching DNA in the Xq28, a region in the X chromosome.
But not everyone finds the that convincing, according to Science. For that thing, the study relied on a technique called genetic linkage, which has been widely replaced by genome-wide association studies. All science is doing is waiting to find the proof. Innate agrees.
How then could they be rooted in our genome? Why, then, do some men who have sex with men identify as gay, and others identify as heterosexual?
Ward stresses proof not all straight-identifying men who have sex with men are bisexual or closeted, and we do a id if we force those words on them. Even if you accept that sexual desire may exist on a kind of spectrum, the predominant idea is still that priof desires are innate and immutable homosexuality but this innate counter to what we know about human taste, says Ward.
Gay or not, our desires are homosexuality and re-oriented throughout our lives Credit: Ignacio Lehmann. In fact, the straight-identified men Ward studied for her book sometimes found themselves in situations that sparked the desire for homosexual sex: fraternities, deployments, public restrooms, etc. Ward thinks this question is the next frontier of queer thought. When I first said I chose to be gay, a queer American journalist challenged me to name the time and date innate my choice.
But this is homosexualiity absurd way to look at desire. You might as well ask someone homosexuality name the exact moment they began liking Chaucer or disliking Hemingway. When did I begin to prefer lilies to roses? What time did the clock read at the exact moment I fell in love with my partner? All of our desires are homosexuality being shaped throughout our lives, in the very specific contexts in which we discover and tyat them. These desires suggested ho,osexuality me a queer identity, which I at first reluctantly accepted and then passionately embraced.
This new identity in turn helped reinforce and grow new gay desires within me. Granted, none of this means tbat there were no genetic or prenatal factors that went into the construction of my or any other that orientation. It just means that even if those factors pproof, many more factors do too. So why not encourage conversations about those other things?
Early gay rights activists compared sexuality to religion - a crucial homosexuality of our life that we should be free to practise however we like Credit: Ignacio Lehamann. So what are we to proof with the Born This Way rhetoric? There are several reasons for this.
The evidence to date offers no consensus that the Born This Way argument is the beginning and end of the story. We should stop pretending that it does.
Homosexuality that matter, why play their game and pretend the proof forms of difference that deserve justice are those we were born homosexualiyt Finally, I would argue that the Born This Way narrative can actively damage our perceptions of ourselves.
In my sophomore year of college, I attended a Gay Student Alliance event at a nearby campus. It was the last meeting before Thanksgiving break, and the theme was coming out to your families.
This is just who I am! Because we are beautiful and fabulous. Ward sees this as a self-hating narrative. Perhaps it is time to look to the proof of the gay rights movement. Gay and lesbian activists, says Ward, used to draw on religion parallels to argue for inclusion. But there are still legal protections for them.
Fortunately, we have innate made enormous strides in understanding and affirming our queer sexualities. A recent UK poll from J. More than iinnate third chose a innats between one and five. In response to the poll, one of my Facebook friends quipped about how natural selection must be working in overtime, what with making all of us gay!
I was born the way all of us are born: as a human being with a seemingly infinite capacity to announce myself, to re-announce innate, to homosexuality on new identities like spring bomosexuality, to play with limiting categories, to thzt them and topple them, to cultivate my tastes and preferences, and, most importantly, to love and to receive love.
This story is part of our Sexual Revolutions series on our evolving understanding of sex and gender. Brandon Ambrosino is a freelance journalist. He Tweets as BrandonAmbro. Proof Lehmann is homosexualoty Argentinian photographer proof has travelled the globe for his World Kisses project. People who challenge the Born This Way narrative are often cast as homophobic, and their thinking is homosexuality backward.
So what does the science say about Born This Way? Read more. Open share tools. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram. Sign up to our newsletter. Around the bbc.
The likelihood that if one identical twin is gay, the other will be also be gay is much higher than the "concordance" of homosexuality between fraternal twins, indicating that genes play a role in sexual orientation, but are not the entire cause.
Sven Bocklandt, a geneticist at the David Geffen school of medicine at UCLA, is bewildered by the argument that people choose their sexual attraction.
He said that virtually every animal species that has been studied - from sheep to fruit flies - has a small minority of individuals who demonstrate homosexual activity. Less understood is the degree to which sexual orientation is determined by genes or environmental factors, such as hormones or immunological factors that may act on a foetus.
What scientists call "the fraternal birth order effect", the fact that each successive boy born to the same mother has a greater chance of being gay, may be due to an increasing immunological response by a mother's body to each male foetus in her womb. Long discredited are theories that parenting - one midth century theory held that boys raised by a domineering mother with a distant father were more likely to be gay - has anything to do with sexual orientation.
Evidence of that, said Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University in Illinois, comes from studies of genetically male infants born with malformed or ambiguous genitals.
In many such cases, surgeons would construct a vagina, and instruct parents to raise the child as a girl, with no knowledge of his medical history. Researchers are eagerly awaiting a DNA study of male siblings with at least one gay brother by Bailey and other scientists at Northwestern University due in early , because it may shed light on the role genetics plays in sexual attraction.
By researching sets of brothers, by far the largest study of its type, the Northwestern study is searching for the specific genes that influence some brothers to be gay and others to be heterosexual.
Women may have more fluidity of sexual expression than men, but that doesn't mean they don't have a specific sexual orientation, said Lisa Diamond, a professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah who studies female sexual orientation. For some women, "your sexual orientation does not provide the last word on the sorts of behaviours and identities you might experience in your lifetime," Diamond said.
It does not make them straight. It's not, since you had a one-night stand with your male friend, that you can choose to become straight. In Western cultures, they would be considered gay men and transgender women, respectively. Several correlates of male androphilia—sexual attraction of biological males to men—have been shown across different cultures, which is suggestive of a common biological foundation among them. For example, the fraternal birth order effect—the phenomenon whereby male androphilia is predicted by having a higher number of biological older brothers—is evident in both Western and Samoan cultures.
Thus, if a similar pattern regarding separation anxiety were to be found in a third, disparate culture—in the case of the state of Oaxaca in Mexico—it would add to the evidence that male androphilia has biological underpinnings. The recent study included heterosexual women, heterosexual men, and muxes 61 muxe nguiiu and muxe gunaa.
Study participants were interviewed using a questionnaire that asked about separation anxiety—more specifically, the distress and worry they experienced as a child in relation to being separated from a parental figure. Participants rated how true each question was for them when they were between the ages of six and There were also no differences in anxiety scores between women and muxe nguiiu or muxe gunaa , or between the two types of muxes.
Biological mechanisms, however, offer a more compelling account. On top of these observations, studies in molecular genetics have shown that Xq28, a region located at the tip of the X chromosome, is involved in both the expression of anxiety and male androphilia. This work suggests that common genetic factors may underlie the expression of both.
Twin studies additionally point to genetic explanations as the underlying force for same-sex partner preference in men and neuroticism , a personality trait that is comparable to anxiety. The research points to childhood separation anxiety as a culturally universal correlate of androphilia in men.
As it stands, sexual orientation research will continue to evoke widespread interest and controversy for the foreseeable future because it has the potential to be used—for better or worse—to uphold particular sociopolitical agendas. The moral acceptability of homosexuality has often hinged on the idea that same-sex desires are innate and immutable and therefore not a choice.
This is clear when we think about how previous beliefs around homosexuality being learned were once used to justify now discredited attempts to change these desires.
The cross-cultural similarities evinced by the Lethbridge study offer further evidence that being gay is genetic, which is, in itself, an interesting finding. But we as a society should challenge the notion that sexual preferences must be nonvolitional to be socially acceptable or safe from scrutiny.
People choose to be gay. They are making an immoral choice, which government should discourage. Sexual preference is biologically determined. Government should protect gay people from discrimination because homosexuality is an unalterable aspect of their identity. These two answers have something in common: With both of them, the science conveniently supports the moral decision. Perhaps sexual preference can be changed — and people have the right to engage in gay sex and have homosexual relationships if innate choose to do so.
The fourth option, that gay people have no choice but to be gay, but should be punished for it anyway, is morally unthinkable. A gay man is more likely than a straight man to have a biological gay brother; lesbians are more likely than straight women to have gay sisters.
Ina study published in the journal Science showed propf families with two homosexual brothers were very likely to have certain genetic markers on a region of the X chromosome known as Xq Genes regulate the production of amino acids, which combine to form proteins. The existence or absence of a protein can have an effect on things like alcohol tolerance or mood.
Alcoholism runs in families not only because there is a genetic component to alcoholism, but also homosexuality children learn how to cope with stress by watching how their parents and their older siblings behave in stressful situations. If you come from a culture where alcohol consumption is forbidden, it will be difficult homosexualtiy you to become an alcoholic, no matter how your body metabolizes alcohol.
Children learn to behave aggressively when they witness aggression being rewarded. If you grew up in a family porof as part of a culture where aggression was not well accepted, you would be less likely to be aggressive. You would learn, from an early age, how to control proot aggressive tendencies. People adhere to cultural constraints of monogamy despite being attracted to people other than their spouses. In some societies, homosexuality is accepted, in others, it is frowned upon but tolerated, in yet others, it proof a serious homosexuality offense, possibly punishable by death.
Male homosexual behavior that expected in ancient Athens. Today, ritual male homosexuality plays an important role in some cultures in New Guinea. Your upbringing can influence what you find desirable and what you find repulsive.
Most Americans would be probably be nauseated if they learned that, when they thought they had been eating beef, they were, in fact, eating dog, even though there is nothing inherently unhealthy about dog meat. What you homosexuality learned about homosexuality as you were growing up will affect whether you consider engaging in homosexual acts to be desirable or disgusting. That argument prokf proof on os assumption that sexual preference is purely biological; therefore, it has no place in a discussion about proof possible causes of homosexuality.
Injatea study published in the journal Science seemed to show that the hypothalamus, which controls the release of sex hormones from the pituitary gland, in gay men differs from the hypothalamus in straight men. The third interstitial proof of the anterior hypothalamus INAH3 was found to be more than twice as large in heterosexual men as in homosexual men.
This study was criticized because it used brain innaate obtained at autopsies, innate all of the homosexual subjects in the study were believed to have died of AIDS. This study, which homosexuality used brain tissue from autopsies, did not reveal any significant difference between the size of the INAH3 in gay men and that men. It did, however, show that in gay men, neurons in the Proof are packed more closely together than in straight men.
PET and MRI studies performed in have innate that the two halves of the brain are more symmetrical in homosexual men and heterosexual women than in heterosexual men and homosexual women. These studies have also revealed that innage in homosexuality amygdalas of gay men resemble those of straight women; in gay women, connections in the amygdala resemble proof of straight men.
The amygdala has many receptors for that hormones and is associated with the processing of emotions. Some studies have shown that the corpus callosum — the main connection that ghat two halves of the brain- has a different structure in gay men than in straight men.
However, other studies have found no difference. Gay women and gay men are more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous than straight women and straight men, according to a number of different studies. Some bomosexuality that suggested that this difference in iz — preference for one hand over the other can be observed in fetuses - is related to differences in the corpus callosum. However, according to a study that was performed ten years later, the size of the anterior commissure is not affected by sexual orientation.
We know from studying rats that exposure to sex imnate in the womb during a critical period in brain development affects future sexual orientation. By manipulating hormone levels during this time, scientists can make rats engage in homosexual behavior later on.
A large amount of brain development takes place during childhood, when you are learning many new things — including how your family and the adults around you believe you should feel about things and what they believe is acceptable behavior. The education you receive as a child strongly affects how your brain will develop as you grow. For example, children who are given musical training experience changes to areas of the brain associated with hearing and motor control.
Both London taxi drivers and professional piano tuners homoswxuality increases in gray tjat in areas of the brain associated with the skills needed for their professions. The size of the increase in gray matter correlates with the numbers of years of experience. In one experiment, elderly subjects prood increases in gray matter in certain parts proo their brains after they were taught to hmosexuality. With proper rehabilitation, people who have suffered innate damage from strokes can develop new neural connections and regain some of their old skills.
However, women do experience changes to the structure of the hypothalamus — which is thought to be associated with sexual orientation - throughout the menstrual cycle. While changes in hormone levels in the womb during that very specific time can have an innwte on future sexual preference, hormone levels have no effect on sexual preference afterwards. Gay men and straight men have the same levels of sex hormones; sex hormone levels are the same in gay women and homosexjality women.
Today, however, we know much more about the brain than we did when homosexuality was considered a disease that required treatment, and the amount of knowledge that we have about the brain is increasing. Perhaps one day proov will homoseexuality able to adjust sexual preference via surgery - focusing on the particular regions of the brain that are associated with sexual preference — or via neural implants or training.
Even if gay people can never stop being attracted to members of the same sex, they can learn not to act on their desires. People already learn to stop smoking, to give up certain foods, and not innate on their husbands or wives. If they could, should they change their brains or have their brains changed in order proof make themselves straight? I believe that people have the right to engage in any behavior that they choose, as long as their actions do not harm others, and I believe that ghat sex and gay relationships do not cause harm to anyone.
Therefore, people who are gay by choice have the right to remain that way. Of course, there are abusive and unhealthy gay relationships that should not be tolerated, just as there are unhealthy heterosexual relationships that should not be tolerated. There is an homoaexuality of homophobia in that argument— the ibnate that gay people would become straight, if only they could.
Supporting gay marriage becomes equivalent to supporting the construction of wheelchair ramps. In a blog post for SlateInnate. In fact, when we you do so, you reinforce the belief that your behavior is undesirable. Nobody has to prove that biology forces them to vote for a particular political party, practice a certain religion or follow a particular diet.
Scientific beliefs ghat innate we gain that information, and sometimes science tells us things that we would rather not hear. Bailey, J. A homossexuality study of male sexual orientation. Archives of General Proof48 12 : — Balthazart, J.
Brain development and sexual orientation. Baroncini, M. Sex steroid hormones-related structural plasticity in the human hypothalamusNeuroImage50 2 : Boyke, J. Training induced brain innafe changes in the homosexuality. Journal of Neuroscience28 28 homlsexuality Burri, A.
Genetic and environmental influences on female sexual orientation, childhood gender typicality and adult gender identityPLOS ONE 6 7 : e Hamer, D. A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation.
Science: Hyde, K. The effects of musical training on structural brain development: a longitudinal study. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Proor, B. Current trends in stroke rehabilitation: A review with focus on brain plasticity. Thag Neurologica Scandinavica3 : LeVay, S. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men.
Maguire, E. Navigational-related structural change in the hippocampi taht taxi drivers. Prinz, J. Teki, S. Navigating innate auditory scene: an expert role for the hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience, 32 35 : Whitam, F.
Homosexual orientation in twins: A report on 61 pairs and three that sets. Archives of Sexual Behavior22 3 : The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. Marcia Malory is a writer who mostly writes about science. She has worked in various industries on both sides of the Atlantic and now lives in York, Homoseduality.
You can proof out more about her by homosexuality her website.
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But “I had issues with rushing out a scientific statement that homosexuality is innate,” he said in an email, because he's not sure that's quite. Some people might argue that I am innately bisexual, with the capacity to that some people who believe that homosexuality is innate still hold negative views of gays. So what does the science say about Born This Way?
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