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< Back to question Are people born gay? Show more Show less

Few scientific questions generate as much intrigue and political turmoil as the origins of sexual orientation. Is there a clear genetic or hormonal link to sexual orientation that indicates gay people are, in the words of Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"? Can we ever know if same-sex attraction is determined before birth? Is this a question that should even be asked?

No, people are not born gay Show more Show less

To reduce sexual orientation to genetics or hormones reduces it to a binary outcome. Sexuality is not binary, it is fluid and no genetic explanation has been able to accomodate this.
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Gay people have fewer offspring because of the genetics they pass on

The laws of evolution dictate that if sexual orientation was genetic, gay people would have died out. The genetics that they carry affects their children. If their children have the same genetics that make them gay, they have far fewer offspring than heterosexuals.
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Context

In order to be born gay, there would have to be something in our genetics that leads us to develop same-sex attraction. But gay people do not reproduce in large enough numbers to ensure the survival of the gene. Darwinian evolutionary principles suggest that if homosexuality was genetic, it would have died out long ago.

The Argument

Homosexuality is one of the sexual orientations that exists in the world. Homosexuality or being gay is having a sexual attraction to one’s own gender. Being gay has caused a lot of controversy for centuries because it’s believed to be a sin against certain religions or just unnatural. To combat that theory, people have claimed to have been born gay. This introduces the idea that homosexuality is genetic instead of a choice. However, the genes that make people gay are few. There are more straight people in the world than homosexuals.[1] This means that the homosexual gene is a mutation. Mutations are few and far between and only surface randomly. Often, mutations don’t succeed in a competitive environment. Since most people are straight, homosexuals would have no way of reproducing. Gay people would not be sexually interested in straight people just to continue their bloodline. They exclude their own reproduction through their sexual orientation. This means that the gene that encourages homosexuality would soon disappear.

Counter arguments

The rumored “gay gene” is known as Xq28. Xq28 is found on an X chromosome given by the mother’s gene. It’s believed to be what affects a male’s overall sexuality.[2] Because it comes from the mother, the gene does not rely on the homosexual sons. This breakthrough caused scientists to examine biological characteristics of the mothers. In Italy, a test that revealed that female relatives of homosexuals have 1.3 times more children than the average female.[3] This would explain why the number of gay people is not decreasing despite same-sex couples not having children. A test is yet to be conducted on fathers. But it could be inferred that lesbians gain the same or similar gene from their fathers. Another thing must be kept in mind. Humans carry the potential of having mutations every time a child is born. Genes have random sequences that serve no purpose in the body. Because of these extra random gene sequences, random mixtures can be made when having children. But these random mutations aren’t always activated. Not everyone that carries the Xq28 gene becomes gay. People have genes that aren’t activated all the time. That means that while gay couples can’t produce children on their own, the gene can still carry on through their siblings. If the mother of the gay individual carried the gene along with the father, their genes would spread to all their children. Even if only one of them becomes gay, the genes could be activated in their sibling’s children.

Premises

[P1] Homosexuality is a genetic mutation because there are more straight people than homosexual people. [P2] Homosexuals have no way of carrying on their genetics because they don’t plan to reproduce.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Xq28 is a gene found in all humans. [Rejecting P2] Mothers of homosexual men can pass their Xq28 gene to the homosexual male’s siblings, continuing the bloodline.

Proponents


References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sex-sexuality-and-romance/201607/how-many-straight-people-are-there
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/14/genes-influence-male-sexual-orientation-study
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15539346

This page was last edited on Monday, 22 Jun 2020 at 18:58 UTC

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