Are People Born Homosexual?

Posted: July 4, 2011 by Amy Hall in Do the Right Thing

This is a question that comes up a lot, so Alan wrote an article in response to it:

[Those who argue that homosexuals are born that way] sometimes punt to experience. They’ll say that homosexuals often report feeling different from their peers at a very early age, suggesting they were born that way. But personal experience is rarely an indicator of scientific truth and can’t count as evidence that homosexuality is biologically determined. So before you discuss the merits of the claim, remember that they shoulder the responsibility of providing evidence for their view.

With that tactic in mind, let’s look at three problems to this claim…

Read about those problems this week at STR Place.

  1. bobby says:

    i would guess and say yes because there wasnt a time in my life i choose to be straight so it must be the way people are born

  2. Sam Harper says:

    [i]But personal experience is rarely an indicator of scientific truth and can’t count as evidence that homosexuality is biologically determined.[/i]

    I don’t think I agree with that, at least not in this case. Nobody is in a better position to know whether or not he was gay at an early age than the person himself because the person himself is the only one who has private access to his own mental states. If it turns out he was gay for as long as he remembers, and he doesn’t remember ever choosing to be gay, then that strikes me as good justification for him thinking he was born that way. His own experience may not be sufficient for him to tell that ALL gay people were born that way, but his experience can still tell him that HE was probably born that way. And he may be justified in thinking he’s born that way even if he can’t prove it to anybody else.

    [i]If homosexuality is, as many pro-gay advocates state, as inescapable as eye color, then how do they explain former homosexuals?[/i]

    I have a theory about that myself. I know from my own personal experience (which I think counts for something) that I could not choose to be gay no matter what kind of motivation you gave me. If gay people were more esteemed in my society than straight people, and if I were offered a billion dollars, I could still not choose to be gay. I’ve read a lot of stories from gay people who don’t want to be gay. Many of these people have a great deal of motivation to be straight. They fear coming out of the closet. Sometimes, they commit suicide. But despite their motivations, they cannot seem to choose to be straight. So I suspect (though I can’t prove it) that these people are no different than me in the fact that they did not choose their sexuality, and they could not change their sexuality even if they wanted to.

    The number of people who DO seem to change their sexuality is small when compared to the number of gay people there are. But you can’t divide the whole world up into gay and straight. There are a significant number of people who are bi-sexual and can be attracted to either sex. What I suspect is that in the majority of these cases of people changing their sexuality, these are just bi-sexual people who at one time in their lives had a stronger preference for one gender and at another time in their lives had a stronger preference for the other gender. It would be kind of like food. You might crave nothing but pizza for a while and consider yourself a pizza fiend. But then you might decide you’d rather have a hamburger, and you lose all craving for pizza while you indulge your craving for hamburgers. This is just a theory of mine.

    But I agree with Alan that as far as morality is concerned, it doesn’t matter whether homosexuality is biologically determined or determined in some other way.

  3. Many years went by before I had any “sexual awareness” if you want to call it that. Does it make sense to say I was “born that way” when I’m referencing my experience years after my birth? Perhaps it’s good justification for thinking I born that way, as Sam said above, but it doesn’t mean I actually was.

  4. gene says:

    Why can’t both be true? Some are, and some choose.