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Gay by nature: Part two

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  1. Jean-Paul Bentham 2 Dec 2009, 4:36pm

    Excellent research, Dr. Rahman; and excellent interview, Mr. Tippetts. I am very grateful to the both of you.

  2. Great interview on a very interesting topic. Thank you Dr. Rahman and Mr. Tippetts.

  3. Another very enlightening article, thanks when will we see part three?!!

  4. Always good to have an informed article.

  5. Bishop Ioan 2 Dec 2009, 5:47pm

    Great article. Unfortunately when I have tried to bring this up to reich-wing bigots, they always have a reason not to accept it. However, I’m glad to see this out there…it may chance some minds.

  6. Only other point, is that near the end of this part 2, the journalist says we have broken the savage rules of natural selection. However, in part 1, its pointed out that we are not breaking the rules, but that our existence, genetically as gay people is part of serving a wider purpose of the tranmission of many desirable genes down the generations, for empathy etc.

  7. I’d love to know who these people are who can detect sexual orientation within a couple of seconds. I assume this refers to general contexts, and not walking down Compton Street. My ‘gaydar’ is hopeless. I once had a very blokish colleague who bored me to death about football and was astonished to run into him with his boyfriend in a gay bar. I was obviously easily distracted from any subtle ‘gay signals’ by stereotypically ‘straight’ ones. In similar vein, a boy who subjected me to homophobic abuse at school snogged me in a gay bar a couple of years later to my utter (though quite pleased) amazement.
    Can these detection skills be learned? Or are they wired?

  8. Richard GS 2 Dec 2009, 9:38pm

    Given the profound, deeply established prejudice against homosexuality, why on earth would anyone choose it? The facts speak otherwise: it’s an aspect of human behavior that has always existed and will continue to do so. If it were something people could choose to do … well, you figure it out.

  9. I’m interested in how male bisexual responsiveness is measured. The research I’ve seen has involved measuring tumescence during exposure to explicit straight and gay porn, which is a deeply problematic method for all sorts of reasons (from what kind of porn is chosen by whom, to the fact that adrenaline rushes can cause hard-ons, and adrenaline rushes can be caused by seriously high levels of fear/revulsion as well as by lust, etc.). Brain scans would seem the way to go. I’d be interested in research that used brain scans, but of course they’re quite expensive, and cash is a big issue.

  10. Adrian Tippetts 3 Dec 2009, 10:43am

    George – the point i was making earlier was that, whether we are straight or gay, we spend our lives doing things that have absolutely nothing to do with prolonging the species (leisure, recreational sex, numerous aspirational goals etc).

  11. Phelim McIntyre 3 Dec 2009, 11:00am

    One of the cardinal rules of science is to tell the truth – Dr Rahman has broken this law. The born gay controversy has been created by the pro-gay media and the gay lobby, such as Rahman’s book, rather than the pro-change voice. People are not born gay and Rahman’s book actually shows that. People can change and even the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations recognise that. In private conversation last July, after we both appeared on the BBC Big Question, Prof Michael King of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and University College London admitted that there is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is inborn. To defend his position Rahman has misquoted science both in this article and in his book and should hang his head in shame.

  12. Philem – people are born gay, lesbian, bi and even hetero
    APA doesn’t respect the ex-gay movement BS you refer to
    Rahman has provided evidence and you refer to conversations you can’t prove

  13. Peter Silverman 3 Dec 2009, 12:40pm

    A Theory To Explain The Genetic Origin Of Homosexuality In Humans

    The homosexual gene has been described as an enigma. Any theory supporting its existence needs to explain how a gene that dramatically reduces the chance of its host reproducing can survive, let alone prosper, over the generations.

    However, if we postulate that the HS gene only switches itself on in, say, 1 in 10 cases, and the existence of homosexuals in a group gives it a survival advantage over competing groups, the enigma would be resolved.

    The switching on of the gene could be a random process intrinsic in the genes chemistry or it could be subject to an environmental trigger.

    The main issue is then to explain how the existence of homosexuals in a group provides it with a survival advantage. Before we address this we need to go over some well trodden ground and look at the human condition and the consequent reproductive strategies adopted by prehistoric men and women. The following points are relevant here :

    • Whereas a male can potentially impregnate large numbers of females, females can only produce approximately 1 child per year.

    • It takes15 or so years for children to mature to a state where they can survive without adult help.

    • Without the attributes of great speed of movement, protective armour or sharp claws and canines primitive man’s survival relied on his ability to work in close knit tribal groups both for hunting and for protection against predators.

    • A division of labour arose in which most of the women in any group would remain at the encampment nurturing the children while the mature males spent the day on the move hunting and gathering.

    • The women and children would depend on males returning and sharing food with them.

    • To ensure the survival of the maximum number of offspring a woman would therefore need to attract a mate to provide her with children and who would loyally return each day with food to sustain them to maturity. His reward would be that his genes would also be propagated in this process.

    • However where the opportunity arose it would pay the male to impregnate other females on the off chance that any resulting child might survive to maturity without his help.

    • This of course was a two edged sword and he therefore needed to be vigilant to ensure his own mate’s children were his.

    These strategies were not of course driven not by logic but through the evolution of feelings of love, sexual lust and sexual jealously. However, in communities which relied on co-operation these instincts could have made a potentially explosive cocktail. I believe that the presence of homosexuals in such groups provided the key to their cohesion and survival.

    To illustrate this let us imagine there are two competing tribes one in which the homosexual gene is prevalent (tribe A) and one in which is in not (tribe B).

    It is morning and in both camps groups of mature males are assembling to set out for a day’s hunting. Concern is expressed about the safety of those staying behind, mainly women and children. It is decided that some able bodied members of the tribe should remain behind to protect the women and children – but which ones?

    In tribe B a fight breaks out as none of the mature males trusts the others to guard the camp without impregnating their chosen mates.

    In tribe A it is agreed that the homosexual men and women in the group should remain behind. They are physically strong mature adults and the heterosexual males are confident that their mates would not be impregnated in their absence. The expedition sets off in an atmosphere of communal harmony.

    They return that evening and share the kill with all who assist them in the process of propagating their genes – their female mates, their children and the homosexual camp guardians.

    This theory which ascribes a specialist role to homosexuals in prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities also explains some of the familiar characteristics of homosexuals.

    • The distinctive physical and verbal mannerisms of male heterosexuals can be explained as being necessary to distinguish them from heterosexuals. This would have been vitally important to reassure the male heterosexuals that the right camp guardians have been appointed.

    • As male homosexuals were relieved of having to participate in the hunt with its need for extreme physical performance and fast reaction times, expensive brain capacity could, through natural selection, be reallocated elsewhere. How many male homosexual athletes can we think of? On the other hand, how many male homosexual actors and playwrights can we name? Could this brain capacity been re-allocated to what we now regard as artistic creativity?

    • It is well recognised that heterosexual women feel relaxed and comfortable with homosexual men. This is not surprising when they have had to share the domestic duties of the prehistoric camp for so many hundreds of thousands of years.

    Following the agricultural revolution and advent of village communities the homosexuals role as the guardian of the hunter-gatherer’s camp became redundant. Families could stay together during the day working in the fields or tending the herds. Social and religious mores and taboos developed to protect what we now call the sanctity of marriage. Homosexuality became an enigma.

    Peter Silverman MA MSc MRI
    18th March 2001

    20 Kingsend Ruislip Middlesex HA4 7DA
    01895 625770
    peter@petersilverman.com

  14. Adrian Tippetts 3 Dec 2009, 12:43pm

    Yes, Phelim, I saw bits of that broadcast. Interestingly, when you were asked about whether you had changed from gay to straight, you evaded the question by saying ‘I’m looking for a wife’.

    The real question is: are you sexually aroused by women? what do you think of at night? Straight people do not need to be constantly reminded they are straight, or constantly urged not to get aroused by members of their own sex. No scientific study has shown this to be even remotely possible.

    As for people changing, you indeed omit to say that the APA and every other reputable scientific and medical institution say that reparative therapy is ineffective and dangerous. Go and speak to people like Peterson Toscano, and the hundreds of people at sites like beyondexgay.com if you want to hear at first hand ther damage done by this.

    (**My full interview with Peterson Toscano, and the hell he went through, appears in Winq magazine, International edition, published 4 December)

  15. Phelim McIntyre – here’s info from the APA:

    APA PRESS RELEASE

    August 5, 2009
    Contact: Kim Mills
    INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS WORK, SAYS APA

    Practitioners Should Avoid Telling Clients They Can Change from Gay to Straight

    TORONTO—The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

    The “Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts” also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services “that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

    The approval, by APA’s governing Council of Representatives, came at APA’s annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called “reparative therapy,” or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

    “Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. “Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.” Glassgold added: “At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex.”

    It goes on to say:_ “Unfortunately, much of the research in the area of sexual orientation change contains serious design flaws,” Glassgold said. “Few studies could be considered methodologically sound and none systematically evaluated potential harms.”

    Hardly fans of changing people’s sexual orientation, are they?

  16. Will the Scouser 3 Dec 2009, 2:01pm

    I fully support the right of those who wish to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual (or vice versa, for that matter) to attempt to do so.

    I also fully support their right to know that there is no obligation on them, moral or otherwise, to make the attempt; that they need not do so in order to please anyone else or to conform to some ideology; and that their chances of success, if any, are extremely small. Only then can they be in a position reasonably to judge whether the game is worth the candle.

    It is only fair, also, that they should be warned of the possibility that they may in future years come bitterly to regret wasting part – possibly years – of their lives on what will in all probability turn out to be a wild-goose chase.

  17. I endorse what Will the Scouser says – whether or not sexual orientation can be changed(and the evidence is very poor), no-one should be under any moral or other obligation to attempt to do so. Not surprisingly in a homophobic culture, the entire agenda is about gays going straight, not the reverse.

  18. @Phelim

    I’ve read Born Gay and his book doesn’t lie. It may be wrong in postulating a theory that people are born gay. He does not state that all gay people are born gay just that he obtains measureable differences in cognition that are possibly the result of embryonic neurological development. You are playing with words – I suspect your conversation with Prof. King was more along the lines of “there is no consensus or solid proof of being gay as something inborn”. It is actually a lie, an untruth, a false statement, a perjury, by yourself to state there is “no evidence that homosexuality is inborn”. There is plenty of “evidence” – the only dispute is the consistency and credibility of the evidence, whether it is sampled correctly, methodologies used etc i.e. the normal things that apply to areas of new research. I say again, it is a lie when you state there is “no evidence”.

    Things have moved beyond controversy and the controversy is in your mind but not mine and that of many scientists and all the gay people I’ve ever known. The recent APA report quoted above concluded there is no credible evidence for change. Unlike NARTH, Nicolosi, Satinover and the other charlatans passing themselves off as experts on sexuality, the APA report deals in mainstream research. Not in self-published so-called science journals.

    I genuinely pity but until you stop lying there is no meeting of minds here.

  19. Will the Scouser 3 Dec 2009, 7:15pm

    I would like to add a couple of points.

    Firstly, it is untrue to say that there is no evidence that people are born gay, in the sense of being born with their sexual orientation already programmed. There is a great deal of evidence to this effect. Evidence is NOT the same as proof, of course, but that means that further investigation and research are called for, so that the conclusion to which the evidence seems at present to be pointing can be either confirmed or disproved. It does NOT mean that the evidence can legitimately be ignored.

    Secondly, it is clear that Phelim McIntyre’s concern is not solely with the objective, scientific facts of the matter. You have only to read, for example, his review of Jeremy Marks’s book “Exchanging the Truth of God for a Lie” on the amazon.co.uk website to realise that there is a strong religious ideology underlying his whole approach to the matter, and that he looks at the evidence through the filter of that ideology, to which he expects the facts to conform.

  20. Dr Clive Wheeler 3 Dec 2009, 11:56pm

    I have read with great interest these two articles. From personal experience I agree with the idea one is born to be gay – the reasons why I cannot begin to understand let alone explain. My own sexuality does not derive from an overpowering mother nor a distant father. Quite the reverse – I had a fantastic relationship with my father [gays out there dont get the wrong idea here] and with my mother [OK – Im unique]. That changed when I came out at age 55 having sublimated my innermost feelings for oh so many years and – like so may others of my and similar generations – sublimated them to societal and cultural demands to marry and eventually raise a family. As a growing child, adolescent and young man to outwardly exhibit what is now termed gay tendencies would have brought the wroth of not only my contempories, but also all of society, upon me forever and a day. Yet, I knew from around the age of 8 that I was very different to my male peers and also knew it was wrong to feel that I felt without even thinking about my feelings.
    So, one long marriage and one son produced in later life I ‘came out’ at 55 and havent really looked back since. I truely subujated everything about the possibility of me being homosexual for all those years before.
    Society has changed – well the law has certainly – society will take a few generations to catch up and internalise it. Though Im appreciative that younger generations, perhaps 2 or more after me, are far more accepting and liberated about such things.
    So today – I can be who I really am, who I have secretly wanted to be despite my own inital revultion due to the culture of the day in which I was brought up.
    Why do I readily accept that not only am I a homosexual but also that it has nothing to do with my parents or their parenting knowing that by openly advertising myself as being gay I open myself to all sorts of abuse both professionally and socially?
    Why? Because I have accepted that being homosexual is nothing to do with me – not my choice in any way [lets be honest here – who would willingly choose to be a homosecual even with the backing of the law today?]. I just AM and have always been so.
    I must share the relief and liberalisation of my innermost being that such an acceptance gave me. I’m more of a person, more of a man, in every which way possible since my happy acceptance and ‘coming out’. Much more so than my previous personal history could have indicated.
    In conclusion – was I born to be gay? YES. OH ABSOLUTELY SO!
    No tests here, no regimes to question, no empirical evidence based on a carefully selected control group etc. But the irrefutable evidence of one who has experienced it throughout their life.
    Dr Clive Wheeler
    PhD [Ed Psyc], MA [Ed], ADEP [Inst of Ed], BA Hons, Cert Ed, HND and OND [Engineering]

  21. ambisexual 4 Dec 2009, 11:53pm

    The infamous Bailey study that was prominently splashed in The New York Times actually found most males responding to stimuli from both sexes, but the pattern wasn’t close to equal, so they dismissed it. They also summarily threw out approximately one-third of study participants as non-responders, but didn’t conclude those people were asexual. Plethysmographs are not admissible in many courts. Clearly there are problems with such studies that belie the sweeping claims and generalisations that tend to be made. It says more about culture than biology; and experience itself likely modulates responsiveness to some degree. This doesn’t enter other potential problems of methodology, the quality of the participant pool, or, in the Bailey studies, his academic malfeasance. Discounting bisexuality flies in the face of historical, anthropological, and zoological evidence.

    Successful biological studies will combat homophobia slightly, but it will remain, and knowledge of biological factors will be used for testing and alteration/abortion. I’m interested in etiology, but have no misconception that it will be a saviour. Hate is irrational and our curiosity is quite apart from claiming that it will make a primary difference in stifling homophobia.

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