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Emmanuel Mashandudze

Business Intelligence, Tools and Process Specialist, Witwatersrand University

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Is being gay a choice, or genetic make up?

There are different points of view on sexual orientation. One says, "A person's sexual orientation is within the realm of choice except when raped or molested." From the several myths in the world, what makes a person gay? Are they born gay? Is it social upbringing that channels them to be gay? What do you think?


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  • Oct 23 2011: I think there is an aspect to the discussion that makes the conclusion of choice or not, moot. One implication by those who assert it is a choice is that choices do not deserve protection from persecution. However there are people in various places in the world who are in fact protected for their choices. If a person chooses in the US (for example) to convert from Christianity to Buddhism, they are protected against hate crimes for their choice. They are also protected against work discrimination for that choice. The energy spent to counter this and assert biology in my opinion becomes less important.

    It might be biology. It might be choice. Is this a crucial fact to find? If it was found a choice, what would you do with that information? If it were found to be biology, what would you do with that information?
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      Oct 23 2011: Bravo! Clean clear thinking!
      • Oct 23 2011: Thank you. :)
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          Oct 23 2011: Paula,
          Your comment is so wonderfully insightful! What does it matter, except as Emmanuel suggests to maybe seek enlightment on the subject.

          I have many gay friends, and we've had in-depth discussions about a lot of things, including sexuality. Many of my gay friends knew from the time they were teenagers that they were attracted to the same sex partner. Some were in heterosexual relationships and marriages for many years, some had children with an opposite sex partner, and after years of partnership or marriage decided they were attracted to a same sex relationship. I have friends who are bi-sexual, who have been in relationship with both sexes at different times. There are so many possibilities presented with our sexuality, and the one thing we really need to remember, no matter what a person's life story, is that we are all people, with feelings and choices.
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        Oct 23 2011: We only seeking enlightment on the domain, but strong points right there. Excellent.
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      Oct 23 2011: It is indeed important to recognize that the conclusion we come to should have no bearing on how we treat gay people in the end.
      • Oct 23 2011: How do we divorce ourselves from that though? If someone is begging the question, how do we prevent the 'therefore'?
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          Oct 23 2011: We do what you did, show that the conclusion that people want to get to cannot be reached either way. You defended that even if it was a choice it was still be worth protecting and defending. Those who want it to be a choice or genetic or this or that often want to find a way to repress it.

          edit: which I am of course assuming isn't anyone's position here of course!
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      Nov 9 2011: QUOTE: "It might be biology. It might be choice. Is this a crucial fact to find?"

      Given that Emmanuel's question is, "Is being gay a choice, or genetic make up?" then, yes, this is a crucial fact to find.

      And, the facts have been established.

      If you wish to take the discussion in another direction, then "the facts" may or may not be relevant but, then that is another conversation (for example, a conversation of tolerance, acceptance, and so on.)
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        Nov 10 2011: Craig,

        You really are not willing to let this one go are you?

        When you see someone going back and forth it proves the person is choosing to go back and forth - not that they are choosing their sexual orientation (they are not choosing what they LIKE, they are choosing how they act based on what they (already) like.) Or maybe they are just "checking things out" (like you did.)

        So someone who "goes back and forth" might be experimenting; or they could be a "3" on the Kinsey scale.

        He or she did not, and can not, choose to be a "3" - or a "6" or a "0."

        So someone might:

        - Try a guy. Not so bad. (Based on predetermined preferences.)

        - Try a girl. Not so good. (Based on predetermined preferences.)

        - Go back to guys. (Based on predetermined preferences.)

        That looks a lot like going "back and forth" and the outcome is determined by preference - which is predetermined.

        If the outcome is, "Hmmmm, I'm not so sure, lets try that again;" the cycle might continue a few times until a definite preference is established (that might happen if someone is, say, a "4" on the Kinsey scale.)

        The pattern of back and forth might continue "forever" if someone is a "3."

        QUOTE: "We do have free will and we can make choices. Its called being human.

        And you still cannot choose to be a gay, black woman. Its called being human.
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        Nov 10 2011: Craig, why would someone change back and forth?
        I had a brother that's my sister now.
        As adolescent he tried to be more man, overcompensate for his real feelings to do body building and do men things in an extreme way.
        As he got older he married two times which both were failures.

        I'm talking about the fifties and sixties when no one talked about these things and you had to find out everything for yourself.

        Then he got acquainted with friends that had similar problems which led to his acceptance and understanding of the situation. Yet he turned from he into she just after my father died because he couldn't confront him with that truth despite they had the worst relation you can imagine.

        He was over the age of forty as he started the operations and chose to live not with a man but with a woman so they had an lesbian relation. Now she’s singel and happy with that.

        What do you think was there anything to choose from?
        Denying and suppressing how thing really are led many people to suicide or a tormented life. Don't judge anyone until you've been in their shoes.

        Never judge, always love.
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        Nov 10 2011: This is no jump at all in our language but in English it may sound more like an ordeal.
        My intend was to have no opinion on what is or is not with anyone else.
        Everyone is as he or she is and it is not for me to say whether something is choice or faith.
        Things I cannot see like blue eyes I cannot know and all it can tell me is to know more of myself as the other has its own mystery.

        Some need drama, who am I to say?

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