Born Gay?

“I was born gay.”

A bold remark that brings changes to this current generation and shares more than just an assertive sense of independence, but a widely accepted belief. Understanding that the concept of homosexuality has been around for centuries and was regarded as a sin during the eighteenth century, its presence was radically more apparent by the 1940s as it was associated as a form of mental illness. Luckily, as homosexuals voice their opinions on the matter today, researchers begin to also side towards the idea that homosexuality is in fact not a lifestyle choice, but rather a genetic makeup. Yet, despite the desire for a natural explanation on homosexual orientation, research shows a surprising lack of evidence and proof on the matter. Therefore, homosexuality cannot be classified as biological and the origin of its sexual orientation is still to be determined.

Originally attempting to find the differences between a heterosexual and homosexual based on psychiatric matters through neurobiology, Roger Gorski, a neurobiologist at the University of Californi, thought he had found the answer. Basing his findings on a 1959 study by neuroendocrinologist, Charles Barraclough, who discovered that injecting female rats with testosterone made the rats unable to ovulate, and a 1965 study by Geoffrey Harris, a neuroendocrinologist at Oxford University, who found if newborn male rats were deprived of testosterone they would experience female-like ovulation; Gorski drew the conclusion that the brain was inherently female and the lack of exposure to the required masculinizing hormones to become male caused homosexuality. Of course assuming that homosexuals were males with a female mind lacking masculine hormones was a bit absurd for a scientific conclusion and through discoveries such as a second sexual dimorphism in a brain, Roger Gorski updated his analysis later in 1977 and continued to do so later on. Thus, from the early stages of studying homosexuality’s biological origin, this topic stumbled many researchers and the remained far from a possible conclusion.

Reflecting now on the studies done today, one term stands out among the rest and that is the “gay gene.” With a highly recognized study done on 37 pairs of twins, in which one was homosexual and the other was heterosexual, and another 10 pairs of twins in which both were homosexual; blood samples were taken for DNA testing. The resulting analysis of the study was the “gay gene” also known as the Xq28 marker on the X chromosome, which could be used to predict study participants’ sexual orientation with 70 percent accuracy. Understanding through Unit 2 course material that chromosomes are thread-like structures located in the nucleus of DNA cells within all of us, as the major function of a DNA is to encode the sequence of amino acid residues in proteins using the genetic code, it is reasonable to find Xq28 to be a genetic factor in determining one’s sexual orientation. Thus, with the study done by Dr. Tuck C. Ngun and his team at the University of California, this discovery was undeniably a significant leap towards biologically understanding a homosexual’s genetic makeup. Yet, on the contrary major problems still remain as this discovery does not explain the sudden mid-life switch from heterosexuality to homosexuality people experience or the 30 percent unpredictability of the gene. Therefore, as the origin of homosexuality continues today, researchers find themselves still quite far from the truth and are unable to draw a solid reasoning behind a homosexual orientation.

With many people today continuing to state that they were born homosexual, one truth speaks through that statement which is that no one truly knows why someone is heterosexual or homosexual. Simply trying to fix up a reasoning that best fits their interest, it is clear that despite such studies and claims, researchers are still exploring this mind boggling topic on whether homosexuality is truly a genetic make-up or not. Thus, until new discoveries have been found, homosexuality is not caused by a genetic makeup.

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About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

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