Born That Way

These kinds of “studies” drive me nuts:

“The idea there that sexual orientation is fluid, that people change as people grow,” Lawrence Mayer, a co-author of the report and a scholar-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University’s psychiatry department, as well as a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, told The Christian Post. “There are probably some people that identify as hetrosexual [sic] that then later on identified as homosexual, so it goes both ways. The importance there is the fluidity and flexibility that these things change in time.”

Of course there are many people for whom sexual orientation is “fluid.” They’re called (wait for it) “bi-sexuals.” They’re born that way. I was born straight, gays are born gay, and there are many people who are born “fluid.” It doesn’t mean that no one is born straight, or gay. I have no idea why this is such a hard concept for some people, including “scholars.”

[Wednesday-morning update]

I discussed this issue previously here:

My theory would explain why some of the most vociferous opponents of homosexuality often (more often than one might have guessed) turn out to be attracted to the same sex — they have a choice, and they feel morally superior to those upon whom they project their own bisexual orientation, and thus assume that people who don’t uphold their own standards of morality are merely weak-willed. These would also be the people who really could be counseled to go straight for religious reasons — they really had been influenced by their postbirth environment, and were capable of going the other way. So this might explain the twin conundrum as well. The twins who are both homosexual either were born homosexual or were born bi and both chose homosexuality. The ones where only one twin had that trait (as with the Collins brothers) were born bi, and made different choices. I know that if I were heterosexual with an identical twin, I would find it mind blowing to be told he was gay, because then I would be wondering why I wasn’t. But in Jason’s brother’s case, maybe he’s thinking: “Well, I decided to do the marriage-to-a-woman-and-have-kids thing, but I can see his point of view.”

I can’t see his point of view, but I’m willing to accept that it’s his point of view.

28 thoughts on “Born That Way”

  1. I was born straight, gays are born gay, and there are many people who are born “fluid.”

    Seriously? It’s all nature and no nurture? A sequence of genes determines orientation? Influences from birth have no effect?

    I would be shocked if it were as simple as that.

      1. Nonetheless, 16% of those reared by lesbians had homosexual or bisexual levels of same-sex attraction, while 0% of the children of heterosexuals did. That’s 16% compared to 0%. Additionally, 67% of the children from lesbian family backgrounds said that they had “previously considered, or thought it a future possibility, that they might experience same-gender attraction or have a same-gender sexual relationship or both” compared to 14% of children from heterosexual families. That’s 67% compared to 14%. And finally, 24% of the homosexually parented young adults had actually experienced one or more homosexual sexual relationships, while none of the young adults reared by heterosexuals had. That’s 24% compared to 0%. And finally, if you subtract 16% (the percentage of adult-children in this sample who are sexually attracted to members of their own sex) from 24% (the percentage of adult-children in this sample who actually engaged in a homosexual relationship) you have 8%. That means 8% of this sample of adult-children reared by lesbians had a homosexual relationship even though they weren’t sexually attracted to same-sex partners.

  2. That’s not what they’re saying, Rand.

    They’re saying it can change over time in a given person.

    (Bisexuals are not “changing from straight to gay or back”; they like both, more or less consistently.

    Fluidity is a different concept entirely.)

    Is it bullshit? Beats me.

    I do share Jim’s uncertainty that unlike almost everything else about our minds, sexual attraction is purely something set at birth – and I’m not nearly so confident that nobody ever changes from one to the other, though it certainly seems to be generally uncommon.

    1. Nothing in my post-natal environment taught me to like girls and be disgusted by the thought of doing it with a guy. It was very obvious to me at puberty. I assume the same is true of gays. These arguments are occurring among various degrees of bi-sexuals, who assume that everyone is like them.

      1. Nothing in my post-natal environment taught me to like girls and be disgusted by the thought of doing it with a guy.

        Really? Nothing at all? American culture in general and the Simberg family values in particular and everything else between birth and puberty didn’t influence you in the slightest?

        You basically claiming that if there was a mix up in the hospital and the Simbergs brought Milo Yiannopoulos home and the Yiannopouloses brought you home you would have both turned out to have the orientations you do currently.

        I’m not convinced.

        1. I have no idea what Milo is, and given his reputation for being a provocateur, I’d take whatever he told me with a grain of salt. However, I am quite confident that if the Simbergs had tried to raise me to be homosexual, they would have ended up profoundly disappointed.

          Are you claiming that if your parents had tried to raise you to be gay (assuming that you aren’t), they would have succeeded?

          1. I do think that there’s a strong possibility that seriously traumatic events in a child’s life (say form ages 0 to 15 or so) can have an effect on their orientation.

            I say this because children are very impressionable and deeply traumatic events have their effects.

          2. Are you claiming that if your parents had tried to raise you to be gay (assuming that you aren’t), they would have succeeded?

            I think if my parents had made different choices when raising me, such as buying me Barbie dolls instead of toy guns, an Easy bake Oven instead of Erector Sets and Tinker Toys, signing me up for Little League instead of ballet classes and a million other choices that parents (and society at large) make for their children, a different me would have emerged from the process, possibly one with a different orientation. Despite your protestations to the contrary, I think the same could be said of you and most everyone else.

            But let us suppose you are correct – DNA is destiny. Are you claiming that if someone subjected you to gene therapy (against your will, of course), altering your genetic code, you would begin to find men attractive and women repulsive?

          3. I didn’t say that DNA is destiny. There is some evidence that homosexuality can (also) be caused by the pre-natal environment. But to repeat, I am confident that there is no “training,” or “environment,” or “therapy” that could result in my getting off on guys. And yes, if I were raised in the manner you describe, I can imagine being warped (and later deeply resenting it), but not becoming gay.

      2. Are you sure that would be the case if from the age of two months you’d had no father, no brothers, three older sisters, and a hippy-dippy horoscoping mother who was Jonathan Harris’s sister?

  3. As with any continuum in nature, one’s place along it may change over time. That isn’t a difficult concept, and is more likely to be true than “Born that way, will die that way.”

  4. Well, if you take some of the modern leftist views seriously, granting them as valid, you could consider the prior norms as a largely successful attempt to impose order and stability on an inherently chaotic system that was producing far too many bad outcomes.

    There are lots of things we discourage to avoid social chaos or disharmony, such as not letting dogs poop on the neighbor’s lawn. The dog doesn’t care and the grass doesn’t mind, and people don’t generally complain if a wild animal poops on their lawn, but certain things cause personal frictions that show up down the line, plus the neighbor dog will leave fresh poop every day.

    With that in mind, you look at the places that birthed a lot of the current LGBT culture, such as San Francisco and Seattle with their anything goes culture and gay pride parades, and sure enough, there’s fresh poop absolutely everywhere.

    Jerry Seinfeld could have totally predicted that.

  5. If people are born gay someone needs to explain how such a perfect example of unfitness wasn’t wiped out before 10,000 years ago.

    1. Lack of offspring is not unfitness if it’s offset by enough greater increase in kin propagation.

      It’s also possible that the fitness cost of reducing the “error rate” nearer to zero has bad side effects in either lack of flexibility wrt environment or in terms of increasing other errors in, say, opposite sex siblings.

      1. Or something like sickle cell trait. One copy has definite benefits. Two copies cause other things.

      2. Thanks Andrew. I’d heard the first one before and have always been skeptical. First I’d heard the second one; that one seems to me far more plausible.

        1. Don’t have any serious evidence for that one, just speculation, kind of like a lot of the internet. Also the gay gene or gay tendencies gene may have in fact been helped by that in less gay friendly times those with it did often marry and have children if only out of social pressure. Which kind of makes me wonder if it does come with some benefits, will those actually decline in society overall now that those with the genetics often won’t have biological children?

  6. The study didn’t say people cannot be born gay. It said they looked and find little to no evidence for it.
    Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

  7. It seems to settled science, (as such things are reckoned) that humans who have been abused as children are more likely to turn around and become child-abusers than children who have escaped abuse. If the abuse is violent then the abused child (is more likely) grows up to be a violent abuser. A child who is sexually abused (measurably more likely to) becomes a sexual predator. The cycle of abuse is an established doctrine and those attempting to “break the cycle” — cure the mental affliction — are encouraged and considered heroic.

    It’s not clear to me how “abuse” is transmissible but “orientation” would never be.

    1. It wouldn’t surprise me if abuse led to a change in orientation – especially if it happened at an early age.

      1. Not sure who Rand is replying to but:

        I’m not speaking of the sexual orientation of the abuser.

        I’m speaking of the possible effect on a very young abused child.

        1. I’m sure that abuse, and sexual abuse could have devastating effects on a child. I don’t know why that would change their sexual orientation.

          1. Probably much the same way early sexual non-abusive experiences stay impact a person later in life. The body can be sexually stimulated even if someone doesn’t want it to. That doesn’t mean someone is gay but it could be very confusing.

          2. Well just imagine a young daughter being sexually abused by her father at an early age and for years, maybe even against her will when she’s older. And imagine that the daughter intuits this isn’t right.

            Perhaps a possibility will come to you.

          3. I can imagine that causing her to not want to have sex with men, and preferring sex with women (if at all). I can’t imagine it actually changing her sexual orientation (women have more of a tendency to be bi, for ev psych reasons).

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