Homosexuality: Nature or choice? (merged with Nature vs Nurture) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-16-2004, 08:57 AM
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I would call it bi.
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#2 Old 10-16-2004, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by borealis View Post

I would call it bi.

But she didn't...and it was *herself* she was talking about. That's what I mean. Maybe some are "born" that way. I think some *do* choose.

I gotta go with the President on this one...."I don't know".



But I do know this...when you have people representing that lifestyle who make it *look* like choosing, it lowers credibility of those who say it's innate.
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#3 Old 10-16-2004, 09:49 AM
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But I do know this...when you have people representing that lifestyle who make it *look* like choosing, it lowers credibility of those who say it's innate.



This is only a problem for people who see the world in black and white either/or terms. It's clear to me that some people choose to experiment with their sexuality, but that for most people sexuality is ultimately not a choice. I don't think it's essential to say it definitely is a choice or definitely isn't. For some people it is, but for most people it appears not to be. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have trouble with the gray areas. Not to mention the question of why it's a problem if it is a choice. Don't we have freedom of choice in this country as long as no one is harmed? Sorry if I'm getting a little off-topic here...
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#4 Old 10-16-2004, 10:33 AM
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Actually it depends on which gay person you talk to. What about people like Anne Heche? She said first she was "completely straight". Then she was Ellen's girlfriend and said she was "definitely not bisexual, definitely gay". But now she's renounced that period in her life and is "totally straight". She's not the only one who's made comments like that (some famous/ some not people, too). If you can swing back and forth from those two extremes and not miss a beat....most would call that *choosing*.



Well, yeah. I found Kerry's statement to be overly simplistic. Sexuality is quite a bit complex. But here is the basic problems:



1: If we interpret Heche as "choosing" that does not mean that it is not "innate" for some lesbigays.



2: The "born that way" is irrelevant to the debate at hand. No matter if it is choice, it would be a good idea to recognize the thousands of existing gay marriages out there (they exist, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.) No matter if it is a choice, a constitutional amendment on the issue is still a horrible idea.
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#5 Old 10-16-2004, 10:37 AM
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OT, on choosing -- I tend to think a lot of that is choosing what to identify as, rather than choosing your sexual orientation. I chose to identify as straight for a long time before coming out as bi. That doesn't mean I wasn't bi from the start.



I also believe that sexual orientation isn't necessarily a constant. Many people have said that they feel theirs has changed over time. That's not exactly choosing, either. Choice implies a conscious decision, rather than a natural change.
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#6 Old 10-16-2004, 10:40 AM
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I don't see what Anne Heche not being able to get her sexuality "straight" (Ha, I'm funny. ) has to do with this topic. This thread is not about whether or not homosexuality is a choice. Start another thread for that whopper.



But if you do want to argue that, well, mmmm....let's see. I'm the daugther of a prominently super-conservative republican, running for office, and I have the choice to be gay or not to be gay? WWMCD?



I think no choice was made. That would be very difficult to come out in that atmosphere and obviously is still difficult now. I'm thinking if we use Mary Cheney as an example of whether or not Mary Cheney had a choice, instead of using Anne Heche to decide whether Mary Cheney had a choice, we will come out with a more accurate conclusion.
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#7 Old 10-17-2004, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Annie View Post

Actually it depends on which gay person you talk to. What about people like Anne Heche? She said first she was "completely straight". Then she was Ellen's girlfriend and said she was "definitely not bisexual, definitely gay". But now she's renounced that period in her life and is "totally straight". She's not the only one who's made comments like that (some famous/ some not people, too). If you can swing back and forth from those two extremes and not miss a beat....most would call that *choosing*.



I know this is off-topic, so I won't pursue the matter beyond this one post - but, since it's been brought up . . .



Heche's answer to the issue of "is she gay or straight" is pretty much summed up by the quote: "You fall in love with a person, not a sex." She's also gone on record as saying: "I have been very clear to everybody that just because Im getting married does not mean I call myself a straight. Call me anything you wantI dont call me anything. The labelings about what makes you feel comfortable." And finally: "I have a right to love who I want to love. I understand many homosexuals believe it's not a choice, but I made a choice out of joy."



In other words, she's basically a bisexual woman, albeit one who seems to lean more towards the heterosexual end of the Kinsey scale; she's also a woman who dislikes categorization, hence the "I'm not gay straight or bi I just fall in love" attitude towards sexuality.



Heche has acted in bizarre fashion at some points in her life, but her attitude towards sexuality is, imo, enormously sane. It's also, unfortunately, a position still somewhat ahead of its time, living as we do in a world that likes to pigenohole people. Implying that choice with regard to sexual behavior automatically negates the value of declaring a specific sexual orientation confuses the issue at a basic level: the declaration of where one stands with regard to gay/straight/bi orientation is fundamentally a political act; the behavior one actually indulges in is a private matter. Conflating the political with the personal in public fashion is what puts Heche somewhat "ahead of her time," imo.



I think Kerry's reference to Cheney's daughter, and people's "outrage" with it (the scandals involving US occupation of Iraq, amongst numerous other blunders committed by the current administration, apparently not being nearly so problematic) involves the same issue: Did Kerry have the right to conflate, without permission from the party involved, the political with the personal in a public format? Since Mary Cheney's sexuality had already been invoked in the political arena, both by Ms. Cheney herself and by other members of her family, I personally can't see Kerry's remarks as erring in anything other than taste. And, since we're talking about the Republican party's desire to constitutionalize second-class citizenship for gays, that error, for me, dwindles to the point of nonexistence.



To quote from the article posted earlier in this thread by Thalia: "...Much of the gay population is incensed. At the media. Let's get one thing straight. It is not an insult to call a proudly public lesbian a lesbian. It's an insult to gasp when someone calls her a lesbian. That's how all the gays I have spoken to the past 24 hours perceived the press response. You're embarrassed for us. And it's infuriating." As a gay man, all I can say is: Exactly. Precisely. Absolutely.
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#8 Old 10-18-2004, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Annie View Post

It's totally relevant since the topic is "Barging into Mary Cheney's bedroom", and the reason we are "in" there stems from the debate question "Do you think some people are born gay?"



The topic of my original thread was 1) How people think MC personally feels about being made a poster child for the lesbian community. 2) The controversy surrounding Kerry's comment. I just didn't know how to accurately label my thread.



Obviously, threads take off from the original often, but if you really want to take on the choice, nature/nurture debate whatever, I think it belongs in its own thread. IMO.
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#9 Old 10-18-2004, 06:14 PM
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Those people who say, "it is a choice" so that they can then add "and an immoral one" must have chosen to be straight. That means that they can imagine themselves on the other side just as easily. I think those people must be bi.

I am straight. I didn't choose to be straight. I had a mad crush on the class clown in Kindergarten...WAY before I gave a sh*t about what anyone thought about my love life.

I didn't choose to like chocolate, either. I just do.

Sure I can experiment with other desserts, but deep down, I will always be a chocolate lover. If chocolate were girls, I'd be gay.
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#10 Old 10-18-2004, 09:03 PM
 
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Sorry..when I was splitting the thread, I missed Annie's post that sent us on this track:

https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...7&postcount=59

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#11 Old 10-18-2004, 10:24 PM
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The reason there is confusion is that people forget that Sexual Orientation is different from Sexual Identity.



I'm bisexual and always have been. That's my sexual orientation.

Currently I call myself gay. That's my sexual identity.

Up until 1999 my sexual identity was straight (even though I was lusting after guys).



You can certainly choose what to call yourself (your sexual identity), but I don't think you choose who you're attracted to (your sexual orientation). That doesn't really have anything to do with nature vs nuture, just about whether being gay is a choice or not.
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#12 Old 10-19-2004, 10:39 AM
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This thread is intended to address the issue of homosexuality and discuss whether it is a choice, or whether homosexuals are born gay/lesbian. There are also factors like the age old nature/nurture psychology debate which are pertinent here....So, not only if homosexuals CHOOSE homosexuality, but also, is it possible that societial/family influences MAKE someone homosexual? Or is it 100% biology? Just food for thought...

This has been something I've always wondered about, and I considered starting this thread several times. Now just seems like the right time for it.
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#13 Old 10-19-2004, 11:15 AM
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Isn't there another topic for this?



I think it is a mystake to consider these things as either/or. Neither psychologists nor biologists think about the complex interactions between gene and environment in an either/or manner. (The model I'm most fond if is Fausto-Sterling's dynamic systems model.)



Also, just because something is not clearly genetic, does not mean that it is a "choice." I don't have a gene for English grammar, pragmatics and vocabulary, but my fluency for English was nailed in early childhood.
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#14 Old 10-19-2004, 11:21 AM
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I don't know.



What I do know is that the only lesbians I've meet became lesians after a negative event with a men (domestic violence, sexual assault, nasty divorce, long trail of losers). They did not consider lesbianism until after these events.



The only gays I've met seemed to always be "gay". Their families all tell stories about how they knew "something" was different with them from an early age.



The 1 bi-sexual I've met said that they are just easy and want it both ways. I haven't met enough to determine if that's true or if he was just easy and wanting it both ways
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#15 Old 10-19-2004, 11:22 AM
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I am a mixed person. I believe that some people are 100% genetic, and then I think there are people who's life has led them 100% to homosexuality.



In the case of someone's life leading 100% to homosexuality, I believe it is normally a case of sexual abuse which confuses the person about their sexual fealings. Just to be clear, I also think that abuse can make a genetic homosexual confused, and direct them towards a heterosexual lifestyle.



However, I think the vast majority of homosexuals do have a genetic component. I also think less dramatic life events impact someones sexual orientation and preferences.



In other words, I think it is complicated. I can't really nail it down because I think everyone is different. I just know that it isn't a "choice". If a person is bisexual, obviously there is a choice in gender, but they did not choose to become bisexual.
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#16 Old 10-19-2004, 12:59 PM
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Old thread about this... here.
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#17 Old 10-19-2004, 01:01 PM
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Once again, kirk' has it right.

I would contend that choice very often plays the most minor role of the numerous, intertwined factors that give rise to sexual orientation. This has at least been the case in my own emergence as a heterosexual.



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#18 Old 10-19-2004, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebola View Post

Once again, kirk' has it right.

I would contend that choice very often plays the most minor role of the numerous, intertwined factors that give rise to sexual orientation. This has at least been the case in my own emergence as a heterosexual.



ebola

Agreed........with both.... T.
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#19 Old 10-19-2004, 02:51 PM
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With some men, you can tell they are gay, or probably gay by the sound of their voice.

How could that be a choice?
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#20 Old 10-19-2004, 02:54 PM
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With some men, you can tell they are gay, or probably gay by the sound of their voice.

How could that be a choice?





um... stereotype much?
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#21 Old 10-19-2004, 03:07 PM
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some people choose to "sound gay" in order to be identifiable as gay.
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#22 Old 10-19-2004, 03:12 PM
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There is some truth in most stereo types.
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#23 Old 10-19-2004, 03:43 PM
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Trust me, it's just for show.



I used to do a style of speaker's panels in which you asked a panel a bunch of questions, and then the audience votes on who is gay or not. Almost always, the straight girl is pegged as a lesbian, I'm pegged as exclusively homosexual, and one of the gay guys has just gotta be straight. You just can't tell.
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#24 Old 10-19-2004, 03:53 PM
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I have to go with nature. I didn't choose to be straight and my friends didn't choose to be gay. We are who we are.

As for societal/family influences, parents can raise 5 children the same way and only one may be gay. I find it hard to see the connection.
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#25 Old 10-19-2004, 03:58 PM
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Well, I can tell, but that's just because I'm psychic.



I also know where the secret "swish" dial is on gay men, but I'm not telling
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#26 Old 10-19-2004, 04:50 PM
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>>As for societal/family influences, parents can raise 5 children the same way and only one may be gay. I find it hard to see the connection.>>



A large problem with a great deal of psychological theory and research is that the family environment is assumed to be homogenous. Since the family is a dynamic system, each member interacting within that system will have a unique position and experience.



What more, the family does not constitute the totality of the "environment". We must also include interaction with peers, with the school system, the background framework of the culture's particular system of meaning, etc.



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#27 Old 10-19-2004, 06:10 PM
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At different times in my life, with different people I have known, I have thought both ways.

Now, I'm not sure.



Guess I go with the President here...."I don't know".



Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkjobsluder View Post

Well, I can tell, but that's just because I'm psychic.

Guess Kerry must be, too. He knows for sure.
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#28 Old 10-19-2004, 09:37 PM
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We just had an identical thread started yesterday on this topic... so I'm just going to requote exactly what I said in that thread.....



Quote:
The reason there is confusion is that people forget that Sexual Orientation is different from Sexual Identity.



I'm bisexual and always have been. That's my sexual orientation.

Currently I call myself gay. That's my sexual identity.

Up until 1999 my sexual identity was straight (even though I was lusting after guys).



You can certainly choose what to call yourself (your sexual identity), but I don't think you choose who you're attracted to (your sexual orientation).

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#29 Old 10-19-2004, 09:42 PM
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I'm sorry I started a thread about something that was already threaded.
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#30 Old 10-19-2004, 09:57 PM
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It seems most everyone is agreeing with each other in this thread, but I like was KP resaid as that's about what I would have said myself.



I do think some people have more of a choice than others (true bisexuals) as they can choose which sex they'd like to pair with, but even if they pair with one sex over the other, they're still bisexual and that preference won't go away. They have no choice in the matter.



(For instance, a person with a white parent and an Asian parent could choose to identify with whites or with Asians, but no matter who they chose to identify with, they'd still be multi-cultural.)
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