Friday, June 28, 2013

Is Homosexuality a Choice?

"You can't say gay couples shouldn't be married, after all, they are born that way." is one of the most common arguments for gay "marriage." The idea is if the public is convinced that homosexuality is innate  and not a choice, then the public as a whole will become more accepting of homosexuality and gay marriage. However, this argument has no scientific support and indeed, neurology may provide an explanation of how homosexuality is indeed a choice.

Hasn't it Been Proven to be Genetic?

The short answer is no--there has never been any biologic or genetic explanation for homosexuality. In fact, Colombia University professors Dr. Byrne and Parsons explain that there "Is no evidence at present to substantiate a biological theory. [T]he appeal of current biological explanations for sexual orientation may derive more from dissatisfaction with the present status of psychosocial explanations than from a substantiating body of experimental data." Quite simply, there is absolutely no experimental or observational evidence that homosexuality is genetic. In fact, there is much more evidence that it is due to psychological conditions or the persons own free will. This would indeed explain the large number of ex-gay persons who become heterosexual after a religious experience.

So, Why Are They Gay?

Although there are a number of theories, none of which have been tested, I personally hold one to be most likely: namely, that homosexuality is a result of a neural plastic connections favoring homosexual behavior being strengthened by active stimulus. This is simply a smarter way to say that when a person's reward centers in the brain are triggered during sexually deviant acts (such as homosexuality) a connection between homosexuality and rewards builds. Perhaps this short video can explain better than I the mechanism by which I purpose homosexuality is derived.

Simply replace the porn addiction with homosexuality and its a pretty concise and intuitive reason for homosexuality. However, what is most interesting about the video was the part at the end. Specifically when the narrator said that porn addiction can be overcome by actively blocking the stimulus. Which brings me to my final point.

Ex-Gays: Evidence Against Innate Homosexuality

There exists large populations of people who, having been homosexual for long periods of time, decide to no longer be homosexual. Many reasons exist for their wishing to leave the homosexual lifestyle, but the most prevalent ones are internal--not dictated by societal pressure as shown here. This includes spiritual as well as emotional reasons. Pretty simply, if homosexuality truly was innate, something one is born with like left handedness, then there should be virtually no people leaving homosexuality. However, large numbers of people do, which strongly indicates that heterosexuality is the default for all people.

Why It Matters

One of the ways that homosexual activists plan on integrating their perversion into the public and achieving their goal of marriage redefinition is by swaying public opinion. One of the easiest ways to do this is by constructing the image of an oppressed people who are unfairly treated due to no fault of their own. Simply put, they want to victimize themselves so the average American will emotionally support their agenda. However, this method can only work if it appears they have no control over their oppression, ie. born that way. By perpetuating the lie that homosexuality isn't a choice, their propaganda is strengthened and their goals are even nearer. So what, dear reader, may you do to stop this? Share the truth: simply explain why homosexuality is a choice and educate the public. In due time the truth shall surface and their foot shall slide; but we can help it along. 


  1. I think this is the wrong temptation itself a choice? Of course not--as Jesus Himself was tempted (but never gave in). So EVERYONE is tempted to do some wrong....and everyone's temptations are different. Is "orientation" (using the homosexual's term) chosen? NO! Neither is my own orientation, or "desire" to do or think wrong things heterosexually...or in any other wrong way. EVERYONE HAS A SIN-BASED ORIENTATION. Person's calling themselves "homosexual" are no differnt than anyone else (even if their temptations are different). What counts for them...AND DO YOU GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION? Just has a (fully heterosexual) lecher is looked down on who beds a different woman every too are people who give in to their temptation to SODOMY. So some special status of "orientation" is a everyone is "oriented" to sin in some way. What counts is do you give in to destructive/sinful desires/orientations....

    Thanks be to God that in Jesus Christ we can be forgiven...AND, empowered to live above our temptations (or "orientation") and we do not have to sin...IF we trust Christ Jesus.

    1. It is true enough that people are born with a natural disposition to sin; after all, that is human nature. However, this is not an excuse, as you said, for sinning since temptation and sin can be overcome by Jesus Christ in us. But the point I wanted to make is that homosexuality is a much more conscious and active choice than many people claim, which further strengthens the idea that it is a temptation that can be resisted.

    2. I don't have trouble with emphasizing that character is formed by the choices we make. My main point is that the idea of "orientation" is everyone has destructive desires--and we freely choose to follow them (sin) or not; therefore we culpable for how we live.

    3. I think I see your point; after all, ever person is tempted by different things. My temptation isn't homosexuality, but someone else's is. However, since any man who offends one point of the law is guilty of it all, the temptation for any sin (sexual or not) still exists and therefore the discussion of whether homosexuality is innate is moot because all have the free will to follow temptation (sin) or God (obedience.)

      When taken in a Christian context (as all matters should) the idea of an "orientation" is indeed a silly one.

  2. You confuse "congenital" with "genetic".

    For example, there is no evidence that "Thalidomide babies" have genetic anomalies - yet no-one could state that having phocomelia is a "choice".

    The only people who claim that homosexuality is a choice are those who are bisexual, have experienced same-sex attraction themselves, so think that everyone else must have to.

    This does not appear to be the case from studies using, inter alia, plethysmography. Some people are totally straight, with no objectively measurable sexual response to the same sex. Others totally gay, with no measurable sexual response to the opposite sex.

    Apparently, while genetics may slightly bias the odds, hormonal factors in the womb appear to be causal of sexual orientation.

    See :
    Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

    1. I thank you for your comment, but I'm afraid we differ on quite a few things.

      First, I very much understand what is meant by "genetic"--the idea that there exists a gene, a family of genes, or perhaps some epigenetic factor that predisposes a person (through some mechanism such as different development of the brain due to hormones) to homosexuality. This idea is one that is put forth by many leading gay rights activists and, surprisingly evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins. However, what people fail to realize is that a genetic origin for homosexuality would be selected against over time, meaning the trait would be replaced by the much more effective heterosexual orientation (since heterosexual individuals have a greater differential success at leaving offspring than homosexual)

      Second, I'm afraid your claim that the only people who say homosexuality is a choice are those who have felt same sex attractions is unfounded. The only people who claim this are people who may look at the present data and observations concerning homosexuality and derive the most plausible explanation from them. I actually find it confusing that you would try to inject such a subjective view into an otherwise objective response.

      Further, you point out that only a small subset of the population is either exclusively homosexual or heterosexual. This implies that you understand the Kinsey scale; in which case you can clearly see the evidence of gradual sexual deviancy progressing from the default heterosexual choice to the deviant homosexual. Since sexuality is fluid and preferences can be strengthened or weakened due to the neural plasticity of the brain, one would expect to find some sort of gradation of sexuality in transition between these two orientations.

      Finally your point that hormones during embryonic development influence the sexuality of the person is important and interesting. However, this implies something which simply isn't so: that the preference a person has whether for the same sex or different is permanent, it cannot be controlled through volition because the "wiring" of the brain favors a particular orientation. However, this would not explain people who have either been homosexual or heterosexual for many years and then changed orientation. I suspect you'll subscribe to the theory that it is due to societal pressure to coerce people into the heterosexual lifestyle. However, the reasons most people give for leaving homosexuality after extended periods of time are internal: to heal emotionally or spiritually.

      I thank you for your opinion, even though I may not agree.

    2. Courtesy, reason and respect for honest difference of opinion.

      I like it here. My thanks for your hospitality.

      Regarding genetic selection - evolution to select against homosexuality. The concept of "Kin Selection" answers that. Wiki has a good article on it, though as always, use it as a clue to find primary sources.

      Regarding neuro-plasticity and sexual orientation - there appears to be no significant effect on gender identity, and little effect on sexual orientation. The parts of the brain thought to be involved are not neuro-plastic - though other parts are. The record of failure to change orientation (as opposed to behaviour) would seem to support this.

      On the other hand, while we can show that most people don't change, we can't exclude the possibility that some do. The argument against "reparative therapy" is not that it doesn't work 100% of the time (though < 5%), it's that it damages so many who go through it.

      Assuming for the sake of argument that homosexuality is an "illness", any therapy that had a 2% cure rate, but left the majority objectively worse off, and with a substantial mortality rate, would be unethical - for any illness.

      Finally, I think we must make a distinction between action and attraction. Is a monk who takes a vow of celibacy "ex-straight"? No longer heterosexual? I think not.

      A conservative position is that there should be no sex outside marriage. A secular view would be that marriage has to therefore include same-sex relationships. It would usually tolerate sex after remarriage, be it from divorce or widowhood, but extreme positions may not.

      A common conservative religious view would usually forbid pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, and sex after divorce (it would usually allow remarriage after widowhood), but also same-sex marriage.

      Such strictures have been honoured more in the breech than the observance though. To single out one particular transgression, no worse than any other, while not saying a word about the rest is hypocrisy, and indicates there's more to it than moral belief.

    3. Thank you! I always try to be courteous and respectful to all people since its the most polite and civil way to have a meaningful discussion.

      You've brought up a number of interesting points that I would like to discuss. One of the points you bring up about people not always clearly self identifying as one gender or the other is interesting, but for the purposes here assume I'm referring to those who self identify as their natural gender.

      First, concerning the neural plasticity of the brain and sexuality: although there are some parts of the brain which are not as neural plastic as others, a number of the major brain centers responsible for one's sexual preferences and desires are. For example, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is the portion of the brain responsible for dopamine release at orgasm. This part of the brain, simply because it releases this neurotransmitter is subject to a high level of cortical remapping. Essentially, the brain becomes rewired to seek out the actions that lead to the release of dopamine which in some cases may be sexual deviancy such as homosexuality.

      Second, your point about reparative therapy is excellent and interesting: it is true that reparative therapy programs are largely ineffective or even detrimental to the people who enter them. Although I do not know exactly the methods employed by these programs, I would assume that they try a form of brain washing (ie alienation from family for a period of time, debasement of their values, constant punishment for undesirable behavior.) This is a truly ineffective, and I would argue unethical approach to the matter. The majority of people (77% according to a 2006 study) who leave homosexuality do so because of either spiritual or emotional reasons, and they do it in a relatively rapid period of time. This suggests that reparative therapy is not needed and indeed it does cause more harm than good.

      Next, I think the point you make about the difference between one's actions and attractions is interesting. I've heard some people say "It's not my choice who I like, but it is my choice who I date." There is a sort of depression that comes with perceived self denial (ie acting heterosexual when one self identifies as homosexual) However, people who self identify as homosexual do so because of the strengthening of neural connections that associate that behavior to reward. If a person does not receive active stimulation of these connections, then over time the association will weaken and the person will self identify and act in the same manner. However, the choice to either stimulate or fail to stimulate these connections remain the individuals, so the degree of homosexuality the person feels is determined by their actions, not the other way round. (This also introduces the idea of the Kinsey scale which categorizes a person's sexual preference on a continuum of behaviors instead of the binary homo/hetero)

      Finally, you make the point of hypocrisy of people who forbid homosexuality, but seem to tolerate other sexual sins. I am a Christian, and although I cannot speak for other religions, I know that this is a problem for many, although not all (such as myself) There are programs such as True Love Waits that encourage abstinence until marriage and forbid the breaking of God's commandments concerning this. The kind of "Hollywood values" such as extramarital sex, drunkenness, narcissism and self indulgence seem to have been accepted as normal by the majority of society and religious people as well. However, many Christians actively speak out about these sins and some groups such as Sherwood Pictures have created entire production companies releasing movies that encourage high moral standards, especially concerning sex. There is also the Christian group STOPP which aims to stop Planned Parenthood on the basis that it encourages extramarital sex and abortions.

  3. My area of interest is gender identity rather than sexual orientation. It's debatable - and debated - exactly how to define what sex someone is in a substantial minority of cases. In the USA, that "substantial minority" is in excess of five million people.

    Legally, it differs from state to state:
    Littleton v. Prange (9 S.W.3d 223 (Tex. App. 1999), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 872 (2000))
    “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

    The Congress of Indonesian Catholic Bishops has stated that someone who has 47,XXY chromosomes is "really" female, as "she has 2 X chromosomes".
    The USCCB has issued rulings in all cases before it though that people with 47,XXY chromosomes are "really" male, as they have a Y chromosome.

    Then there are cases like this:
    A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis. -- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism January 1, 2008 vol. 93 no. 1 182-189

    XY mothers while uncommon, are not that rare - but the daughters they give birth to are usually XX, hence this paper.

    Without a clear, consistent definition of what sex someone is, how can we define "same-sex" or "opposite-sex" attraction, let alone look at causality with any confidence?