.

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.

Randy1949 February 12, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Then Nature made me that way, and I'm not particularly worried about what the Hebrews had to say in Leviticus.
Jack February 12, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Waits patiently for the DNA strand which affects SSA.....the apologists for SSA keep pointing to a genetic component, but where is it? Bueller?
Bob McBride February 12, 2013 at 07:15 PM
So then there are, in reality, two acceptable explanations as to why one could be gay. One of which is based, entirely, on a belief system rather than any scientific evidence. I'm not sure how that differs from the belief that the preference is learned or contracted or the result of exposure to this, that or the other thing. One belief, based purely on faith, is really no better than another based on...I guess you could call it faith of a sort. Maybe it would be best to leave G-d out of it altogether.
Jack February 12, 2013 at 07:21 PM
There is far more familial evidence as to the choice of SSA than scientific evidence. In fact, there is no scientific evidence as to the cause of SSA, and quite a bit of evidence as to the personality and background traits which cause someone to be cursed with SSA.
Jack February 12, 2013 at 07:31 PM
"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." False statement, an absolute lie.
Randy1949 February 12, 2013 at 07:40 PM
@jack -- Interesting choice of words, 'cursed'. Who freely chooses to be cursed? If you're asking about a so-called gay gene, that issue has become politicized enough to affect the science.
vocal local 1 February 12, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Lyle, Your base intro to the topic is very loose with unsubstantiated data. Thus, your conclusion: “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.” Is contradictory and yields an invalid conclusion. Invalid as there is absolutely no scientific proof that sexuality is nature/biological. What you did state factually is:” Certain brain structures have also been linked to sexual preference and perceptual systems.” The Key word here is LINKED. Linked does not mean confirmed it means as you are well aware that some of the data yields a casual relationship. When this happens as it consistently does when researchers attempt to tie sexuality to nature the tester is required to conduct more testing with strict controls to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Then the test has to be repeated with similar statistical results to be accepted. TO DATE: researchers have not been able to positively link sexual choice to any physiological anatomical body or brain part or gene or genetic sequence. Given, the prior until a physiological factor is definitely identified, sexuality should remain in the arena of learned behaviors just as creed/religion is learned. In contrast, one does not choose race.
Randy1949 February 12, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Given that religious creed is 'learned' and thus a choice, would that make it acceptable to discriminate on the basis of religion?
vocal local 1 February 12, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Bear with me Randy, I'm getting there. Lyle, Cont from above: Here is where I had the problem with the BSA. While at times the organization has been Christian today Christianity is not a prerequisite only a belief in God. Would the BSA deny membership to an atheist? If they did they would be acting against a learned behavior and would be consistent in denial of persons with character choices they found aberrant and not in conformance with desired group behaviors/goals such as sexuality. If we accept sexuality as a learned behavior and membership is not allowed on the basis of predetermined moral learned behaviors the group would have standing to deny membership. If we accept sexuality without concrete evidence which is what you and others of your opinion, as genetic or physiologically determined such as race, denial would be prejudicial. As a hetro sexual parent I don't want my children in contact and influenced sexually by homosexuals. Homosexuality is in my learned opinion perversion. We may demand our children refrain from sexual activity as a society until marriage. What we have is a conflict of nature and society. When the hormones are operational social values fall to the wayside historically. If you closely examine your own daughter I'm sure you will see where and why she failed to develop normal sexual preferences. Not attractive, not in the in crowd, too strict of parents, lack of opportunity for normal desired interaction with the opposite sex.
Randy1949 February 12, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Yes indeed, you got there. One thing, if you read carefully, Lyle's daughter is widowed with a child, indicating heterosexuality. She's merely friends with gay people. I would define myself as a rampant heterosexual, yet I'm friends with a number of gay and bisexual people in addition to some straight ones. They're good people regardless.
vocal local 1 February 12, 2013 at 09:33 PM
No, I don't think so Randy. Sounds more to me like she is involved in both worlds if she was Queen for the day and thats not the point either. Your right in that gay people have good values just like the rest of the world and at times more so. What I'm saying is sexuality is learned not genetic in any way or manner and legally that changes the outcomes. Alverno had a big problem with lesbians in the 80's both with the nuns and mainly in the Nursing department. I watch a gay instructor turn out a young girl who was totally in the dark about sex. She had to spend one afternoon in the nursery changing diapers as she didn't know the difference b/w a circumcised baby and one that was not having never changed a diaper before and no clue of the male anatomy. She was attractive with very strict parents who never allowed her to date in H.S. I'd say she was prey. By graduation she was gay with a different, more out going personality. I wonder what her parents think now?
CowDung February 12, 2013 at 09:41 PM
One doesn't have to be gay to be active and involved with the gay community, or to participate in a gay pride parade. If she was an active supporter for gay rights issues, it isn't surprising that she was honored as Queen for the day.
Luke February 12, 2013 at 10:55 PM
@Lyle I like you, but I don't "like like" you. .
Lyle Ruble February 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM
@Jack...I asked you to present your data from a verifiable scientific resources. Even you terminology of SSA indicates a predetermined bias. Your emphasis on "curing gays" is just wrong headed. Again what are your qualifications to call me a liar?
Jack February 12, 2013 at 11:52 PM
You are a liar Mr Ruble. There is no scientific evidence that has clearly established genetics and brain structure for the cause of SSA. That is a lie. Please post any peer reviewed evidence that disproves you are a liar.
Luke February 13, 2013 at 12:29 AM
@Jack I'm going to have to weigh in here and say that Lyle is pretty much right about the evidence to date. That doesn't mean that some preferences are not learned, but Lyle is correct in his general assessment concerning the evidence. We have to accept that along the way gene mutations that are not necessarily beneficial to perpetuation of the human race came about and persist. I am only the messenger.
Lyle Ruble February 13, 2013 at 12:36 AM
@vocal local 1....I didn't set out to write a scientific article. My disciplines don't include the neuro sciences, genetics or the biological sciences. However, I am an experienced researcher and I do know what I am reading and the implications. The research surrounding the biological causality is clear even though clear scientific evidence is not yet available in sufficient quantities to make it a certainty. This is not unusual as research continues to look into phenomena. Early on I too was a "Nuturist" and looked for explanations for behavioral phenomena and psychological states in the developmental process. Through my own experience it became obvious that there was biological components to human personality and behavior. Over time, the last five decades, more and more evidence has emerged that biology plays a prominent role in human behavior and development. I will agree that sexual expression in form and substance is primarily a learned behavior, but not sexual preference. When I received my sex therapy training at UCSF Medical School, we were able to alter sexual expression but not sexual preference. Patients did not come to us to change sexual preference but to help with relationship issues and sexual dysfunction. I have seen continued attempts to reprogram people's sexual orientation and almost without exception, they have all failed, only their expression changed. (continued)
Lyle Ruble February 13, 2013 at 12:43 AM
@local vocal 1 (continued)....If exposure was enough to turn someone gay, then my own children would have all turned gay since they were continually exposed to a wide diversity of lifestyles, including LGBTQ. Everyone of them are exclusively straight. Your concern for exposing children to gays is unfounded and is an unwarranted fear. The only way they would respond is if they already have a same sex orientation, and if they do, there's nothing you can do about it. It is what it is.
Randy1949 February 13, 2013 at 12:48 AM
If it were a matter of exposure, we'd all be straight, since we certainly get heterosexuality presented to us and constantly reinforced.
Mr Lundt February 13, 2013 at 12:49 AM
It is fascinating you feel the need to not spell out God...as if it were a curse word. I think that fact help people understand your perspective. I am not throwing out your entire this but its hard to ignore your inherent bias
Randy1949 February 13, 2013 at 12:53 AM
You could not be more wrong about that. It is a matter of religious respect for observant Jews not to spell out the full name of the Almighty.
Born Free February 13, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Clearly missing is the bi-factor. Freaks of nature? Bi's by default fall somewhere inbetween the all hetero' end point encounters and the all homo' end point encounters. TEST SENARIO #1 Bi-sexual. Genetic or not? How many encounters makes a bi a bi? 1 same sex encounter or more then 1? Next now, how many bi encounters then during a specific time period measures a bi being bi? For a 1 encounter 1 day only period of time or for only multiple encounters over a multiple day period of time or for multiple encounters for 1 day and onto infinitly period of time? In other words how many bi encounters does it take to be bi within what amount of time? Imagine trying to predict the behavior of that sexual gene if one has it in their head that sexuallity preferrence is based on genetic's. TEST SENARIO #2: Pedophilia. Genetic or not? Substitute the word 'Bi' through out senario #1 with the word 'Pedophile and or 'Pedophilia'. Coinsidently, with in the last week liberal Harvard realeased a study indicating that almost 90% of known pediphiles studied are GAY! I've been saying by simple logic for the last 5 years that, man on man, boy on boy and man on boy IS a gay issue, yet I don't have a college degree. Simply raise lower or remove the consenting age factor and voila. Don't for a second assume that liberals and gay's aren't working and spinning to lower the consenting age factor even for heterosexual consent. TEST SENARIO #3 ~ cont. ~
Luke February 13, 2013 at 12:59 AM
@Randy That isn't true either. There is a considerable change that comes about in populations of women that are in prison, for example. The issues involved are more complex than most people assume.
Born Free February 13, 2013 at 01:12 AM
~ cont.~ include's it's sexual freedom agenda charade can no longer be estimated financially nor estimated in cost of lives psycologically ruined and physically distroyed and or ruined in the U.S. anymore. Ultimately everything Jesus condemned was condemned for the benefit of human's. He created sex...He didn't condemn it...He prescribed boundries around it for our well being emotionally, physically and, AND financially. As He said, "He came to give life and so that we can have it more abundantly".
Born Free February 13, 2013 at 01:13 AM
~ cont. ~ is on the incline now in the U.S. among teenagers. I can't imagine how many teens now have contracted venereal warts, herpe's, clhamydia and various other STD's. Also, 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 too that animals have a lying gene and a hypocracy gene also. Of course (sarcasm) they do and it wont be long before they open up their own abortion clinics and deciding to take humans as marriage partners. (No sarcasm), it won't be long and liberals will be giving animals citizenship and all the benefits that go with that and Obamapetcare. Most people are smart enough to know that when it comes to special interest groups one only needs to be aware of the good ol' 'follow the money' test. The trail will lead to government handing out money and benefits to those groups. Sure enough, just yesterday the Pentagon said it's considering extending benefits to gay partners 'married' to gay service personel. If you didn't see that expense coming you've been on life support. FOLLOW THE MONEY!!! The damage to society caused by progressive socialist pooh-litical correctness that ~ cont.~
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.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something