Homosexuality: inborn, choice or impasse?
From the beginning, the human gender has been based on the physiological evidences which are the genitals. It is clearly understood that males have penis while females have vagina, and that in order to reproduce, opposite genders should procreate through sexual contact. This discipline has been indestructibly marked as human nature, and any deviation from this norm upsets the standards established by various social structures. However, the world is turning and people are changing, so as civilizations and cultures.
From the age old orientation of heterosexuality, the concept of homosexuality has emerged. There is no solid evidence that explains how homosexuality ever began; but in the history of mankind, biologically speaking, there are just two unquestionable, immutable genders. Homosexuality per se is a crucial and sensitive issue to be dealt with, but not without high importance. For so many years, homosexuals have been challenged and discriminated. Yet many have managed to progress and excel. Still, the commotion behind the cause of homosexuality remains a never-ending topic.
Whether homosexuality is innate to a person or a product of a tasteful choice has always been an issue for debate. Some experts say that alongside with external factors such as social, political and environmental, homosexuality is a choice. An individual chooses his or her sexuality depending on the situation his or her life revolves with. On the other hand, some experts also claim that being homosexual is inborn. In fact, numerous different studies have been conducted to support this argument. The opposing contention on homosexuality’s origin goes on an on, but has not been settled and will probably never be.
However, it continues to be a moot subject for discourse precisely because homosexuals are everywhere; and the fact that some people have low regards for the same sex preferences of homosexuals is undeniable. This paper intends to discuss the basis of both claims, i. e. homosexuality is either born or choice, as what experts has been reasoning about. But more than that, this paper aims to examine the strengths and even the weaknesses of these views about homosexuality. Is homosexuality like a birthmark that is tattooed on a person upon parturition or is it something acquired by an individual from his or her surroundings?
Does homosexuality manifest on a persona like a trait or is it a social category where people decide to belong to? Does this issue have to be a black or white perspective? Or could a gray be considered as a feasible explanation? This paper targets to give justifiably rational answers to these questions. The aim for procreation The rising of the sun in the east has been the natural phenomenon ever since the world began, just like the fact that opposite sexes attract in order to reproduce. Homosexuality or sexual orientation toward one’s own sex is like the rising of the sun in the west—unnatural and deviant.
The ultimate goal of human beings, which is to reproduce, is only met when two individuals of different sex unite. Homosexuality counters this rule. With same sex relationships, no reproduction can happen. The subject of reproduction is just among the many roots why the whole concept of homosexuality rouses critics and advocates. According to Stevi Jackson (1999), homosexuality exists in opposition to heterosexuality. Homosexuality defies the status quo and it is regarded as a category that existed in relation to heterosexuality, with which the former cannot be equal to (Jackson, 1999).
But more than its being a deviation from the norm, homosexuality addresses a political issue that until now requires thorough understanding. To further illustrate, people are born with free will, but that free will does not necessarily entitle people to resist nature and the universal rules. Whether people like it or not, nature and norm exist. Applying this in the concept of homosexuality, the very existence of homosexuals baffles the nature’s conventional flow. This is why homosexuals are also referred to as the Third Sex; albeit it is clearly accepted that when a baby is born, that little one is either a boy or a girl.
There are just two, not three, choices. Indeed, the question of whether homosexuality is inborn or matters of choice continues to raise confusion. Is it really immanent or is it chosen? On the other hand, is it possible that homosexuality is both inherent and chosen? Or could it be neither inborn nor chosen? Born versus Choice Some experts reason that sexual orientation is an immutable part of an individual just like race, gender and blood type (Jackson, 1999). When one is born, that person has no pre-approved traits or characteristics. He or she did not choose the life awaits him or her.
This is exactly what made proponents of this claim assert that homosexuality is something inherent. Among the explanations that sided this assertion would be the notion of Oedipal defence, wherein instead of opposite parent-child sexes, affection happens within same-sex due to vicissitudes (Harding, 2001). These unexpected changes, if triggered, might further result to a child’s homosexuality (Harding, 2001). The Oedipal defence is just one possible explanation. More adept studies have also been conducted to deduce homosexuality’s innateness.
For example, Simon LeVay’s concept of “gay brain,” which is a product of medical study (Velody & Williams, 1998). LeVay examined the disparity between the brains of two dead human males, one of which was a homosexual (Velody & Williams, 1998). It was figured out that between the two, the homosexual’s hypothalamus is smaller (Velody & Williams, 1998). This result brought researchers into considering that homosexuality has something to do with the natural anatomy of an individual (Velody & Williams, 1998). Apart from the “gay brain” account, there is also the ever present explanation on humans’ chromosome distribution.
The fact that mothers possess two X chromosomes, in which one is inherited by the offspring, can be a possible source of homosexuality among male children or the surfacing of their feminine attributes (Buchanan, Brock, Daniels & Wikler, 2000). These qualities plus other factors can eventually lead children to becoming homosexuals in the future. Although the above findings were obtained from academic methodologies and educated analyses, there is still no empirical evidence, not even a strong one, to prove that homosexuality is derived from genetics (Roughgarden, 2004).
It is important to find the correlation of genetics and homosexuality so as to substantiate the claim that homosexuality is intrinsically inherited. Stanton & Maier (2004) shared that even renown experts in this field, who conducted their own research to explicate this phenomenon, were not able to present any substantial proof that homosexuality is inborn and fixed. Meanwhile, the absence of evidence to verify that homosexuality is inborn strengthened the position regarding homosexuality as a sexual preference.
Stevi Jackson (1999) presented that homosexuality as a choice originated from the political lesbianism, wherein women opted to be homosexuals (lesbians) because they wanted to deviate from the norm. Initially, homosexuality, particularly lesbianism was politically driven due to women’s uproar against unequal and unfair treatment between men and women in the society (Lehr, 1999). Lehr (1999) further assessed that homosexuals and homosexuality were made possible by the social, political and ethnic movements to fight for equality among genders (Lehr, 1999).
However, more than just being a plain choice due to political awareness, homosexuality is also deemed as a socially pre-determined trait that evolves through different association and affiliation of the individual with his or her stimuli (Roughgarden, 2004). A person may not be born homosexual. But because of the surroundings where he or she develops his or her personality, a decision to become homosexual can be made. Making this choice cannot be perceived from a negative light primarily because individuals have free will. The pursuance of one’s free will is what Velody and Williams (1998) refers to as social constructionism.
Evidently, society is instrumental in shaping the way individuals envision themselves. This, of course, includes their sexual preferences. Outside interconnected forces affect the way people think and how they position themselves in their community. When people decide their sexuality based on these forces, then homosexuality clearly becomes a matter of choice. Either or Neither? The question whether homosexuality is inborn or chosen does not only concern critics and evaluators, but even the homosexuals themselves. They have contradicting views about their sexuality (Lehr, 1999).
This probably explains the inability of heterosexuals to pinpoint homosexuality’s basis. Some believe it is innate; some argue it is an option. But there are also experts that merge these two claims to come up with intelligible clarifications toward this dilemma. Evans (2002) presented the contrasting views on homosexuality’s nature, and it showed that siding with any of which is not really purely objective. Generally, normative heterosexuals view homosexuality as unnatural and against the norm. Expectedly, homosexuals argue that they are born that way and have no total control of their sexual preference.
Thus, there is no unnatural thing about their sexuality. The ‘born that way’ concept was backed with the reasoning that homosexuals cannot help it if they were aberrant (Evans, 2002). It is deemed acceptable than ‘homosexuality is a choice’ because asserting that homosexuality is an option further subjects these individuals in a pejorative stance. For some, the choice of being a homosexual is a decision created by anti-social individuals or “freaks (Evans, 2002). ” But of course, some still affirm that homosexuality is a choice.
However, it seems that whichever of these claims prevailed, the discussion would always go back to the age-old sensitive issue of gender discrimination. On the other hand, Jackson (1999) also asserted that nature versus option is a false contradiction about homosexuality. This implies that whether homosexuality is born or chosen cannot be answered straightforwardly. There would be no period, but only ellipsis to this issue. If that is the case, the question would have to be rephrased. Is it really possible that homosexuality is neither born nor chosen, or can it be both—a collision of two beliefs that supported each other?
Stanton & Maier (2004) explained that biological as well as psychological and social factors interact in different ways to help shape humans’ sexual orientation. These factors such as “family dynamics,” community affiliation or even “early sexual abuse” intermingle to cause homosexuality (Stanton & Maier, 2004). For instance, if a boy is reared in such a way that he is not able to show his masculinity because he is either enclosed in womanly surroundings or physically abused by elder male, he could develop a case of homosexuality.
It does not have to start immediately with the preference for same sex—that is probably why there are effeminates—but there is a very good chance that he would long for a dominant sex companion. In that case, male as well. Consequently, Buchanan et al. (2000) made a rational elucidation as to how homosexuality can be perceived. First of all, it is inevitable that homosexuality is not produced by genes. It is because genes do not directly yield phenotypes like intelligence quotient, height or sexual orientation (Buchanan et al. , 2000). Instead, genes produce chemicals (Buchanan et al. , 2000).
However, when manifested physiological attributions are treated differently by environmental forces; and that said treatment eventually resulted to same-sex preference, that is the time homosexuality can be attributed to genetics (Buchanan et al. , 2000). Buchanan et al. (2000) even gave an example about a freckled child whose freckles caused his parents to treat him in a special way, which eventually triggered his persona to become homosexual. On the other side, McKnight (1997) stressed that sexual preference can be brought about by the parents’ direct control or manipulation of their children.
Also, it is possible that homosexuals chose their sexuality because they were sexually deprived and deficient or just simply unfavored (McKngiht, 1997). This situation prompts an individual to seek for an outlet for his or her deprivation. McKnight (1997) further explained that homosexuality is a “social adjustment,” which is directly related to social development. Homosexuality can also serve as an outlet to pursue individualistic goals and socially-related aims (McKnight, 1997). Given that homosexuality is not biologically inherited, how did the ‘born that way’ believers react accordingly toward their own sexuality?
When a person wakes up in the morning realizing that he or she has a peculiar urge toward the same-sex, where did the individual have to look back? One lesbian interviewee revealed that her sexuality simply “exploded” without her being aware of it at all (Keetley & Pettegrew, 2002). If that was the case, how did it become a choice for this particular person at least? Stanton and Maier (2004) have a more profound elaboration on the root of homosexuality. First and foremost, the notion of homosexuality as something that is inborn should already be disregarded since such claim lacks merit (Stanton & Maier, 2004).
However, it does not necessarily follow that biology has nothing to do with an individual’s homosexuality. Roughgarden (2004) however, argued that hormones are directly affected by external factors, which, in return, impacts the individual’s “brain circuitry,” thus making homosexuality as something that traces it roots to genetics. Alternatively, Dr. Camille Paglia (cited in Stanton & Maier, 2004), a lesbian, remarked that homosexuality is never an “inborn trait,” but a social “adaptation” and a contest against the norm.
How individuals have adapted to homosexuality and why homosexuals challenge the norm is important to look at, but absolutely requires more in-depth analysis and better understanding of the issue. The consensus Upon critical analysis, it is clearly inevitable that homosexuality is not just a black or white issue. The cases presented definitely proved worthwhile and relevant to the issue. Nevertheless, upon breaking down the evidences to support each claim, it is lucid that neither of these claims can be solely embraced. One cannot completely argue that homosexuality is born without mentioning the societal forces.
Conversely, it seems unfeasible to avow that one’s sexual preference is exclusively decided on without any inner impetus coming along with the decision. Ken Plummer (1995) has a very thorough and comprehensible account that can summarize the issue of whether homosexuality is inherent or opted to. Plummer (1995) listed different stages of conversion a homosexual undergoes toward his or her sexuality. First in the list is the individual’s sexual sensitivity, which can be better understood by scanning his or her life experiences (Plummer, 1995).
The person’s life is unique; and it is safe to say that various factors like what have been previously mentioned in this paper shape a person’s total outlook in life. Upon doing such, the individual realizes the significance of his or her life experiences and becomes fully aware of his or her purpose (Plummer, 1995). The realization is so strong and logical that finally the individual will confront such situation or as what Plummer (1995) explained, the individual will “come to terms” until he or she finally accepts and embrace the chosen sexuality. From then on, a new persona is established.
The homosexual culture and the development of such identity support and supplement each other (Plummer, 1995). In other words, outside and inner influences coincide to mold a person’s sexual preference. Joan Roughgarden (2004) underscored that a person’s sexual orientation is cultivated akin to an individual’s characteristic that develops in early childhood such as speech accent and psychomotor development. If that is so, an individual has really no choice because he or she is born in an environment or culture that was pre-determined by other individuals.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION Both of the claims as to whether homosexuality is inborn or chosen are strong and reasonable, but not strong enough to stand alone individually. With the course of the discussion that was backed by academic analyses and researches, it is understandable that the issue does not have to be black or white. Is homosexuality inborn? Yes, if the person is born in a culture that promotes homosexuality. If a child is reared differently in such a way that he or she would develop gay traits and would later on have same-preference, then homosexuality is innate.
However, it definitely does not run through the genes, as there is no substantial evidence to support it. but try picturing a family with homosexual members. When a baby is added to that family, there is a very good chance that the baby will grow following the same sexual preference of his or her homosexual family members. Can it be attributed to genetics? Definitely not. But can it be concluded that that person is born to be homosexual? Yes, it can be possible. Children have no bearing to the life awaiting them until they are old enough to negotiate with the world.
And it is a clear fact that childhood development is the most important of all as everything embedded in childhood affects the individuals when they grow up. Consequently, the argument that homosexuality is chosen proved to be a strong point. Domestic relationship, peer factor, academic learning, social status, political awareness, psychological and emotional stability, among others—these are all the outside forces that impact the philosophy of an individual. Some of which may not directly affect the person, but nonetheless can trigger the way he or she thinks about his or her life and personal being.
With this analysis, it can be said that a gray area on homosexuality is plausible. The debate might go on and on, because homosexuality per se is a hot topic for debate and discourse. Nonetheless, the important thing is that there is a way to fully understand the issue as well as subjects or the homosexuals themselves. Finally, the most essential thing to point out about homosexuality is the humans’ nature to respect one another. Born or chosen, there is no excuse to treat homosexuals differently and without respect.
As Jackson (1999) put it, sexual preferences desisted as a significant factor in the way people manage their lives. In fact, gender information on resumes seemed odd already. The discussion about the nature of homosexuality will have a long way to go, but one thing is for sure: with an open and critical mind, the issue has already been resolved. REFERENCES Buchanan, A. , Brock, D. , Daniels, N. & Wikler, D. (2000). From Chance to Choice: Genetics & Justice. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Evans, K. (2002).
Negotiating the self: Identity, sexuality, and emotion in learning to teach. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Harding, C. (Ed. ). (2001). Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives. East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge. Jackson, S. (1999). Heterosexuality in Question. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Keetley, D. & Pettegrew, J. (Eds. ). (2002). Public women, public words: A documentary history of American feminism. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Lehr, V. (1999). Queer family values: debunking the myth of the nuclear family. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
McKnight, J. (1997). Straight Science? Homosexuality, Evolution and Adaptation. London: Routledge. Plummer, K. (1995). Telling sexual stories: power, change, and social worlds. London: Routledge. Roughgarden, J. (2004). Evolution’s rainbow: diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature and people. California: University of California Press. Stanton, G. & Maier, B. (2004). Marriage on trial: the case against same-sex marriage and parenting. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. Velody, I. & Williams, R. (1998). The Politics of Constructionism. London: Sage Publications Ltd.Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com