Homosexuality Is Innate- It Isnt A Choice

Essay, Research Paper

Homosexuality is most simply defined as the tendency to be

sexually attracted to members of one?s own sex. On a more personal

level it is ?a feeling and a state of mind– it?s where most of your

emotional, social and physical needs are met,? (Gwinn, 3).

Homosexuality is innate, it is perfectly natural, and it is okay.

Homosexuality has been present in some form in nearly every

culture presently known. In some societies, it was practiced only in

secret, in others it was condoned or even encouraged. Ancient Greeks

saw the sexual relationship between older and younger men to be ideal.

The Greek poet Sappho was the first to write of wanting to be with

another woman in 580 BC. Spartan warriors had male companions whose

relationship was similar to marriage. In some New Guinea cultures,

adolescent boys must engage in homosexual sex with older boys, but are

expected to lead strictly heterosexual relationships later in life (Hunt, 15).

One of the least accepting attitudes toward homosexuality is

found in the Western world where beliefs were determined largely by

Judeo-Christian moral codes, which treat homosexuality as immoral or

sinful. During the earlier part of this century, homosexual behavior was

kept a secret. Homosexual acts were ?considered an abomination

punishable by death, and Christian tradition has carried forward this

condemnatory attitude? (Konner, 333). During World War II, gays were

among the victims of the concentration camps. American intolerance is

unusual; most cultures throughout the world have been much more


Even on the more primitive level, homosexuality is natural. In

many mammals, ?homosexual? activity is a common part of social

interaction. Female Rhesus monkeys mount each other to establish a

dominant rank in their troop?s class system. Cows perform similar actions

in order to coordinate their menstrual cycles and calve at the same time

(Gorman, 61).

When a gay man is asked why he thinks he is gay, he responds by

saying that he was born that way. This seems to be a common answer

among the homosexual community. Most homo- and bisexuals believe

their sexual preference was not a choice. ?If I could be heterosexual

tomorrow, I would be. It?s much easier. I would never choose a path

where I?d be discriminated against,? said David Lydon, partner of an

openly gay reverend. Unfortunately, some religious homosexuals cannot

accept their sexuality and they may end up depressed and suffering from

mental turmoil (Brecher, J1). Some gays undergo conversion therapy in

an effort to change themselves. Most of the time, these therapies are not

successful and often their patients incur more damage than good.

Many homosexuals go through some sort of anti-gay

discrimination, violence or abuse in their lifetimes. Some individuals fear

?coming out? because of how they see others being treated. ?People who

were openly gay were shunned. They didn?t have any friends. . . I didn?t

want to be ostracized like that,? Tony (last name withheld) recollected

about his high school (Gerboth, B1). Gay men and women have been

threatened or beaten in cities across the country. Homosexual employees

have been fired and gay-oriented businesses have been vandalized

(Deitel, H1).

This reaction against homosexuals is called homophobia.

Many psychologists believe that people become homophobic as an

unconscious reaction to one?s own fear of being homosexual. The

homophobia is further encouraged by religious beliefs, most specifically

Christianity, which, historically speaking, has seen sex to be strictly for

procreation. Another strong supporting factor is the view that homosexual

relationships undermine social and family structure. It is widely believed

that the gay male ?may [be seen] as a threat to the masculine identity of

some heterosexual males? (Landau, 19). Homosexuals who do not

endeavor to enter a heterosexual marriage present an unwelcome

challenge for some components of society. Most healthy families are seen

as having a mother, a father and a few children. Homosexual

relationships pose a problem for lawmakers as well. For example, legal

marriage is available almost exclusively for heterosexual couples. Gay

couples do not enjoy benefits of legal marriage, even if they are

companions for their entire adult lives. This inability to form a union in

God?s or their countries eyes leads many heterosexuals to view

homosexual relationships to be filled with infidelity. Simply put, gays and

lesbians ?defy conventionality, and as a result they are victimized?

(Landau, 21).

For many years, homosexuality was considered to be a mental

illness. Oftentimes they were encouraged to seek psychiatric help for

their ?disorder.? Individuals were helped to correct their so-called problem

behavior. During the last thirty years, however, research has proven

conclusively that homosexuality is not a pathological disorder. The most

important result of the research was the American Psychiatric Association?s

decision in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the list of mental

disorders in its diagnostic manual. Two years later, the American

Psychological Association passed a resolution that stated,

?Homosexuality, per se, implies no impairment in judgment, stability,

reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities? (Landau, 8). The

American Medical Association decided to ?support repeal of criminal laws

against acts by consenting adults? (Wisenberg, Growing Up Gay, G1).

Only limited research has been done on the possibility that

homosexuality is a choice. One such study by neuroscientist Simon LeVay

found that a region of the brain, INAH 3, is significantly smaller in gay

men than in heterosexual men. INAH 3 is a portion of the hypothalamus,

a cluster of brain cells that regulates body temperature, appetite, and

sexual urges, as well as other functions. This tiny section of the brain is

relatively the same size in homosexual men as it is in heterosexual

women, leading LeVay to conclude that it may control the sexual

preference of gay men. However, it has not yet been determined whether

the size of INAH 3 causes a man to be homosexual or vice versa (Mauch

and Zamichow, A1).

Another study by the National Cancer Institute linked male

homosexuality to a region of one chromosome. ?The scientific debate is

no longer about whether there are biological contributions to [sexual]

orientation, but whether they can be identified,? commented Dr. Angela

Pattatucci, a geneticist involved in the study. The Institute studied forty

pairs of gay brothers. Thirty three pairs had ?identical pieces of the end

tip of the X chromosome– the one inherited from the mother? (Brecher,


There are several theories that homosexuality is caused by a

hormonal imbalance before birth. Dr. Lee Ellis believes that ?stress during

pregnancy may alter the production of sex hormones in the mother,

changing the level of hormones reaching the brain of the fetus; if this

happens at a crucial time in development, sexual orientation can be

affected? (Painter, D4). Similarly, other research has shown that ?certain

hormonal influences on a developing fetus may predispose to brain

development of a feminine character.? The feminine brain may fix the

sexual orientation of the man toward other men (Morris, 327).

Other evidence, although not scientific, can be observed that

might show that homosexuals do not choose their sexual preference.

Homosexual men often have fewer masculine traits and interests than

heterosexual men. Lesbians, to some extent, are less feminine than

heterosexual women. Many homosexuals realized they are different at a

young age and most discover their preference by early adolescence.

The answer also lies in pure common sense; why would anyone

choose to be gay?

A deeper level of understanding can be reached if homosexuality

is proven to be innate. Homophobic violence may decrease and

acceptance among the heterosexual public may increase. It is important

for scientists to discover an explanation for homosexuality.

The debate over the innateness of homosexuality will continue until more

definitive research is found. In the meantime homosexuals will continue to

stand their ground and say what they have been saying all along; it isn?t a

choice. The real choice is whether or not one acts upon his homosexual

urges. On a final note, remember that sexuality is the last part of who a

person is.


Brecher, Elinor J. ?Why are some people gay?? Miami Herald, October 17, 1993, J1.

Deitel, Bob. ?Homophobia,? Courier-Journal, May 22, H1.

Gerboth, Betsy. ?Coping With Homosexuality,? Forum, July 31, 1988, B1.

Gorman, Christine. ?Are Gay Men Born That Way?? Time, September 9, 1991, 60-61.

Gwinn, Mary Ann. ??I Think I?m Gay,?? Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer, November 25,

1984, F1, F9.

Hunt, Morton. Gay; What Teenagers Should Know About Homosexuality and the AIDS

Crisis. New York, NY: Farrar/Straus/Giroux, 1987.

Konner, Melvin. ?Homosexuality,? Encyclopedia Americana, 1994, 333-334.

Landau, Elaine. Different Drummer; Homosexuality in America. New York, NY: Julian

Messner Co., 1986.

Mauch, Thomas H. II and Nora Zamichow. ?Study Ties Part of Brain to Men?s Sexual

Orientation,? Los Angeles Times, August 30, 1991, A1.

Morris, Lois B. The Columbia University College of Physician and Surgeons Complete

Home Guide to Mental Health. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 1992.

Painter, Kim. ?A Biological Theory for Sexual Preference,? USA Today, March 1,

1989, D4.

Wisenberg, Sandi. ?Growing Up Gay,? Miami Herald, October 16, 1983, G1, G6.


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