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If I’m Gay, Then G-d Made Me That Way

The debate is running again about the nature of gays, whether they are gay because of nature or nurture.

I was prompted to write this post based on the recent blog debating whether the Boy Scouts of America should lift the ban against openly gay scouts and scout leaders. It quickly became obvious that the narrative was not about the BSA but whether homosexuality is a choice. As far as I am concerned, anything concerning gays, whether gay marriage, gay rights, etc; comes down to the basic question of what makes a human being prefer same sex over the opposite sex.

My first in depth experience with gays and the gay community came in the early 1970s while I was counseling young males and females in the San Francisco Bay Area. My psychotherapy practice was focused on the usual broad range of issues such as drug abuse and other psycho-emotional disorders that plague older adolescents and young adults. My formal training hadn’t particularly prepared me well for the gay client group and I was forced to become better informed and more deeply involved to make myself more effective. This period of time was long before the identification and the outbreak of the HIV pandemic and the focus was on the “gay lifestyle” and its impact on gay individuals.

Using certain psychological models that were based on emotional trauma and other events that created deviance, did not seem to answer the question of why these people were gay. Most had not had the experience of being sexually assaulted or seduced by a male at some time during their development. Many indicated to me that they had known from a very young age that they were attracted to members of the same sex. Almost universally they would indicate that if they were given a choice, “they would prefer to be just as everyone else”. This group was devastated by feelings of guilt, denial, poor self-esteem, poor image and extreme feelings of isolation.

The general group behavior was one of frequent visits to gay bars and bath houses, promiscuous sexual behavior, risky sexual behaviors (that later would prove to be fatal to so many), high incidence of suicide, and abnormally high abuse of alcohol and drugs.  

As I got to know the community it became obvious that this lifestyle was not driven by choice or some other psycho-emotional malady; but, by the lifestyle developed around individuals compelled by their sexual orientation and their attempts to compensate for their perceived social deviance. For those that had accepted their sexual orientation, they had no higher incidence of psychological disorders than the general population.

NATURE

In the last four decades or so, scientific evidence has clearly established that genetics and brain structure is deeply involved with a number of preferences and behaviors. Sexual orientation is just one of many that are determined in utero. It appears to be a combination of genetic propensity coupled with hormones flooding the fetus.

Certain brain structures have also been linked to sexual preference and perceptual systems, creating a fertile ground to be developed during human growth and development.

However, nature alone does fully explain homosexuality; the “lions share” certainly, but Nurture and the experiences encountered. The question still remains, how much is nature and how much is nurture? Scientific inquiry continues to work on this question and so far the results indicate that nature is the determining variable.

NURTURE

This is where the development of sexual orientation becomes dicier. Without knowing for sure the ratio between nature verses nurture, what triggers homosexual expression. Just as I indicated that my earlier experience couldn’t identify any one set of variable/variables, it is not clear what experiences in someone’s life that has the propensity for same sex orientation, causes the homosexual expression.

In the case of child abuse and child sexual abuse, it has been clearly established that children exposed to or are victims of child abuse have a much higher potential to be abusers themselves. However, most homosexuals were never subjected to homosexuality as children, yet were homosexual themselves when they reached adolescence or adulthood. Most homosexuals emerge out of normal homes and family arrangements. So it is fairly obvious that early same sex exposure is not a causality of the preference.  There have been studies of children raised by same sex couples, where exposure was part of the developmental experience, and there isn’t any higher rate of homosexuality in this group than the general population.

Do homosexuals emerge out of families who are more liberal and tolerant than normal? This doesn’t appear to be the case. The rate of homosexuality appears to transcend all types of families and social structures. Families that are the most traditional still have the same rate as any other family. Homosexuals who are of more liberal backgrounds seem to have fewer emotional problems than those that come out of traditional backgrounds. This would indicate that beliefs about sexual expression, moral and ethical beliefs and religious orientation has no significant impact on the rates of homosexuality and expression.

So what part does nurture play? At this point it is known to play a part, but what it is, is still an unknown.

SEXUAL EXPRESSION

True choice comes in the expression of sexuality. It doesn’t matter whether it is expressed in either a heterosexual or homosexual manner. Most parents attempt to discourage their children from engaging in sexual activity until they are mature enough, old enough to understand the consequences and under the right circumstances. Once someone reaches the age of majority, parents have little to say about the matter. As long as people are sexual beings, which most of us are; sexual expression should be allowed as long as it is done consensually and where no one is harmed.

Is homosexuality or heterosexuality a choice, obviously no, but expression is clearly a choice and orientation should be respected and not vilified.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Born Free February 13, 2013 at 01:15 AM
~cont.~ Bestiality. Genetic or not? Substitute the word 'Bi' through out senario #1 with the words 'Bestiality and or 'Sodomite' and or 'Sodomy'. If God supposedly created gay genes and bi-genes he surely must have created a bestiality gene then too for people. Right? If He did why though would He emphatically condemn the practice of sodomy as well as the practice of bi-sexuality as well as the practice of homosexuality if he created those genes? If as liberal doctrine of evolution has it that all life originated from a single micro organism that got here somehow after the big bang that would mean then that ALL species of life would be engaged also in homosexuality, bi-sexuality and sodomy and even forcing themselves on humans aka rape. Imagine being sodomized or raped by an algator, a whale or spider (mosquitos don't count). Only humans rape and sodomize animals. For who's benefit then did He condemn the practice of sodomy, man or beast, and, which species did he point to for being guilty of these aborations? Anyone ever hear of self control, even sexual self control? Too many people are preoccupied with their sexuality...beside's movies, music and sitcom's just turn on the Jerry Springer Show or look at the amounts of kids born out of marriage that are dependant on government assistance or look at gay parade's or the abortion statistics (3,000 per day in the U.S.). Fact: rape is an epiedemic in the U.S.. Fact: sexually transmitted AIDS ~ cont.~
Bottom Line February 13, 2013 at 04:18 AM
Since you brought it up, Lyle, how do you differentiate reality and myth. As Popper suggests ... there are no truths, only things that will yet be proven false. I suspect you are supporting Polygamy, and expecting benefits for the nuclear family are extended.
Lyle Ruble February 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM
@Born Free....With the question of bisexuality; it is perfectly reasonable to make the assumption that as far as sexual orientation is concerned that there is yet another biological condition of no sexual preference. This would be consistent with gene mutations. Pedophilia can also be traced to some kind of biological mutation, but society, rightly so, does not condone such expression because it violates values and laws that demand protection of children. Let me answer your questions with a question. You ask how many times must a person engage in a certain type of behavior before they are defined by the behavior. Let's take drug and alcohol use first. Does one time use make one a drug addict or alcoholic? Substance abuse addicts are defined as such when they are physically addicted or psychologically dependent. If someone tries tobacco one time are they defined as a smoker? To define oneself as committed to one sexual preference or another is pretty much defined by self identification and behavior. Experimentation is very much a part of the human experience. The rejection or acceptance of such experimentation is strongly impacted by culture, societal values, family expectations, etc. You're clearly mistaken about liberals and progressives pushing to lower the age for sexual consent. Again this is a cultural and societal issue. Why would some of the most religiously conservative groups have the lowest ages of sexual consent? ie; the age of consent in Utah is 14.
Lyle Ruble February 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM
@Bottom Line...Reality or more rightly stated Consensus Reality is differentiated through the process of reality testing. The process can be aided with scientific inquiry using the scientific method, but that too is limited in its application; some things don't lend themselves to scientific testing. I agree with Popper to a certain extent and there are no capital "T" truths, only smaller "t" truths. Truth is highly dependent on perception, values, biases, etc. I am not a supporter of polygamy in our culture. It is normal in other cultures. As family structures are concerned, I am a strong supporter of extended families. Because of the emphasis on the nuclear family, much of the functions, that in the past were provided by extended family members, are now contracted out. Economics is finally forcing people back into the more beneficial family structure of the extended family.
The Donny Show February 13, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Great comments Lyle. I LOVE how you take the chance to jump to the biggest conclusion you can. One thing I have learned.....we are most often guilty of what we accuse others of. Think about that manly man. Every day you have the CHOICE to have relations what whoever or whatever you want. You do what you choose to do.

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