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Poll suggests almost half of Americans believe being gay is a choice

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  1. That’s a lot of mistakes in one article.

    “Fifty-three per cent said they said”

    “The poll surveyed American adults on December 9th and 9th”

    “Fifty-three per cent of respondents in this poll approved of the measure” which measure?

  2. And I bet half of them are black. (ie: they didn’t choose their skin colour) – However, I have seen many black people go incandescent when you use the comparison, and accuse you of comparing racism with ‘being a pervert’.

  3. 1 – Barry is right. The article is incoherent nonsense. Somebody please do some proof-reading.
    2 – RobN – I don’t normally agree with your posts, but your observation here is accurate. Ethnic minorities sometimes show grotesque double-standards about this.

  4. Jean-Paul Bentham 18 Dec 2009, 7:54pm

    Which means that more than half of the Americans surveyed (1,000 people, really, call that a survey?) believe being gay is natural.

  5. Mumbo Jumbo 18 Dec 2009, 7:59pm

    Riondo said:

    “Ethnic minorities sometimes show grotesque double-standards about this.”


    But this is beacuse of the higher level of church/mosque attendance in these groups and the particular brand of fundamentalist religion they are served up with.

    The sad thing is, having achieved their own equality, they are now unwittingly being set-up for their own re-marginalisation as the attitudes they get from their churches/mosques become simply unnaceptable in wider society.

  6. interesting that the amount who dont know any openly gay people mirrors those who think being gay is a choice.

  7. John(Derbyshire) 18 Dec 2009, 8:21pm

    The black people have the worse attitude towards us. They rant on about racism and equal rights- but certanly don`t want these rights passed on to gay people. Hypocrites-they fought for years against racial segregation-and now defend it against gays.

  8. Just to piggyback on Xaria’s comment: Yeah, I noticed that too–except I would frame it positively. It seems that if you have a close friend or relative that is gay that you believe being gay is natural. WHich means, we gotta make more friends in the straight world.

  9. Yeah, but this is coming from a country where 68% of the population think the earth is flat.

  10. That is the MOST poorly written article I’ve ever read ANYWHERE. It makes absolutely NO sense and it is chock full of typos and grammar mistakes.

    Jessica needs to take some courses in basic grammar and writing before being allowed to submit another train wreck like the one she posted here.

    Embarrassingly bad!

  11. I often find people define ‘being gay’ differently.
    On one definition, to be gay one must have feelings for someone of the same sex.
    On another, to be gay one must engage in same-sex sexual behaviour.

    On the second definition, I don’t think it’s disputable that choosing to behave in a certain way is a choice.

    On the first definition, of course it’s not a choice!

  12. Jean-Paul Bentham 18 Dec 2009, 9:31pm

    Mumbo Jumbo (5):

    Ingenious spin!

    Zeke (10):

    Picky, picky!

  13. That article was terribly written and completely incoherent.

  14. I must agree with those who complained about the terrible quality of this article, it makes no sense.

    Apart from the errors already noted by other readers, even the numbers don’t make much sense: “Marriage was more contentious” — than the unmentionable measure — “with 46 per cent opposed to full equality. Forty-three per cent were in favour while one per cent were unsure.” 46+43+1=???

    The article was posted at 6:18 on a friday evening. I’m guessing someone was in a hurry to get to the pub…

  15. In this case, “half of Americans” should read “half of the 1001 people stupid enough not to give the people coming towards them with a clipboard a wide birth”.

  16. I think I agree with Jasper there! The population of the USA is over 200 million. How can 1,000 seriously represent their opinions?

    Were none of that 1,000 actualy gay themselves? Just one question that jumped into my mind.

    However, if, by some chance, there IS some accuracy to the statistic, it suggests some educational campaigns need to be started in the USA.

    And I’m also wondering how a survey like this would work in the UK or other countries for that matter.

  17. My guess would be that the respondents who know personally someone who is gay, made up most of those in favour of gay marriage and that being gay is not a choice.

    However, perhaps the respondents should be pointed towards the overwhelming body of evidence which proves beyond any doubt that being gay is not a choice. Of course, many people are more comfortable living in a state of ignorance with their fingers in their ears shouting “la la la”, rather than objectively consider the factual evidence.

  18. Brian Burton 18 Dec 2009, 10:56pm

    I don’t belive in social or political polling, Let me see 200 Million people in the USA. Did they ask 100 million persons? If not, how can they say half of Americans belive being Gay is a choice. The result they have is as flawed as the phone-in polls on the BBC–Crap! Crap! Crap! They can shove It!!

  19. I have never had a television but just a few minutes ago, on “News at Ten” on B.B.C. Radio 4 it was reported that a Ugandan priest, a Rev. Kapia Ka-Oma (apologies; because I know I shall have spelt that name incorrectly) blames American Evangelists, that is the hugely influential American Christian Right, in Uganda, for the current call to execute homosexual persons there.

    If true, that says a lot, doesn’t it?

    Blackpool for me, again, this year, I think.


  20. Hmm, as pointed out 1001 people is a very small minority of Americans and it obviously depends on where in the country the survey was taken. People have as much control over being gay as they do over their eye colour or their ethnicity. It’s ridiculous to argue otherwise. Why would people go through so much stigma and persecusion – now and in the past – if sexuality was a choice?

  21. Zeke: Be warned: You can swear, cuss, be racist, sexist or homophobic as much as you like on here, (as long as you don’t say “sh!t”, “f_ck” or “Faggot”) – but you say one bad word about the editorial and they ban you.

    Trust me, I’ve been there.

  22. All I’d say is if gayness is a supposed choice, then why the hell bother dragging yourself through years of repression and denial when you could simply flip a switch in your head and decide not to be gay?
    Speaking for myself it took 8 years between having my first gay impulse and having the courage to actually act on that impulse, years wasted telling myself it was a passing fad and I would grow out of it or “I just haven’t met the right girl to straighten me out”. I absorbed the homophobic myths I grew up with in my reactionary environment like a sponge, and gayness being a choice and a bad choice at that was top of the list.
    If it was a genuine choice I would’ve chosen to be straight just to save myself a huge amount of hassle from my family and peers and feeling as if I was an introverted social pariah through my teens and early twenties.
    But contrary to what Stewart Cowan and co would have us believe, I can’t even think straight. And no Stewart… going through the motions of pretending you like girls doesn’t count.
    And NARTH is still discredited by every respectable psychiatric association.

  23. New Jersey girl 19 Dec 2009, 2:29am

    Of course being a Spitefilled hateful religious bigot Moron is a choice…I’m surprised the polsters don’t have a percentage for that!

  24. Jean-Paul Bentham 19 Dec 2009, 2:40am

    Keith (19):

    I know I’m running the risk of being blasted out of the water for not sticking to the subject, but Uganda is on everyone’s mind right now. After reading your post 19, I went and found this article that appeared in Pink last June, and it may be relevant to your comment, or at least offer an explanation as to why the archbishop took so much time re-acting to the recent headlines:

    “Church of Uganda insists on its anti gay stance
    Posted on July 6, 2008
    Filed Under Gay News Blog

    The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, His Grace Henry Luke Orombi has said that the Church of Uganda and its fellow members of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) held in Jerusalem recently have not broken away from the Anglican Union.

    A group of bishops opposed to the consecration of gay bishops in the Anglican Church met under GAFCON and resolved to form a new movement that does not lie under the authority of Canterbury, the seat of the Anglican Church.

    Orombi told journalists at a press conference in Kampala today that the group had not broken away from the Anglican Union, but had decided to take another direction from that of Canterbury.

    He says members who attended the GAFCON will have another meeting in Uganda next year to chart a way forward.

    The Archbishop says the group is opposed to the consecration of gay bishops and homosexuality as a whole, and can not go ahead to be under a leadership that promotes homosexuality which, according to Orombi, is against the will of God of sexual unions to be made up of only a man and woman.

    He says they have waited long enough for the Canterbury group to reform and come back to the anti-homosexual stance, but Canterbury, headed by Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams, is not showing signs of changing.

    But Dr. Williams, in a statement today, criticized the GAFCON group for taking a hasty decision to break ties with Canterbury and for being intolerant to those who don’t agree with them on homosexuality. Church of Uganda insists on its anti-gay stance.

    Wavah Broadcasting Company, Uganda.”

    As for the “Ugandan priest, a Rev. Kapia Ka-Oma”, I must say I have never heard of him but it has been recorded complete with color photos that Rick Warren did help to compose the proposed anti-gay laws in Uganda, regardless of how strongly Warren is now denying any implication in the matter.

    To make a link with the subject at hand, it sounds to me like almost half of those interviewed may very well have been followers of Warren, and most certainly xian fundamentalists.

    Finally, knowing what a stickler you are for the proper use of the English language, thank you for overlooking other people’s spelling errors.

  25. Simon Murphy 19 Dec 2009, 4:16am

    47% of Americans think that being gay is a choice?

    That means that 47% of Americans are stupid.

    How advanced is the education system in the US?

    Those figures suggest serious deficiencies.

  26. Jean-Paul Bentham 19 Dec 2009, 5:48am

    The Gay Liberation Movement started in America.

    When I think of our neighbors to the south, I think San Francisco, L.A. Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, and the list goes on and on and on, and I haven’t begun naming Gay American Heroes starting with the great Harry Hay and his Mattachine Society, 1948.

    Nobody who surveys 1,000 people (in the American Bible Belt, no doubt) will ever convince me that “almost half of Americans believe being gay is a choice”.

    The city of Houston in Texas, known as a shoot-em-up State, has just elected a Lesbian mayor, Anisse Parker, and Obama was most happy to see it.

    But and but, speaking of Obama, I do believe he will not have same-sex rights on his mind in 2010…unless…well, you know how “demonstrative” American gays can be…and they do best when encouraged by the UK’s LGBT community, not that I’m trying to tell y’all what to do. Who, me??

  27. Jean-Paul Bentham 19 Dec 2009, 7:36am

    But and but, I do not deny the existence of homophobia in the USA.

    Here, for example, is Jeff Johnson breaking new ground by talking about homophobia in the American Black Community, and how to cure it. A full audio clip is available:

    This could supplement Victoria’s post #20 where she said:

    “Hmm, as pointed out 1001 people is a very small minority of Americans and it obviously depends on where in the country the survey was taken.”

  28. Bishop Ioan 19 Dec 2009, 10:02am

    I hate to say it, but a large proportion of African Americans ARE homophobic. I chalk that up to the fact that most of them belong to fundamentalist religions.

    It is sad that people who suffered so much intolerance should now turn around and be intolerant of LGBTQ people. You’d think they’d have some empathy for LGBTQ people and their struggle, but sadly, such is not the case. It just proves that once a group is given full civil rights, some of them are only too happy to turn around and deny others their full civil rights.

  29. Jean-Paul Bentham 19 Dec 2009, 12:12pm

    True, but I believe some African Americans were homophobic long before they received full civil rights primarily because they were drawn into fundamental sects which go all the way back to the Pilgrims who were not only homophobic themselves, they were witch-hunters as well.

    Still, it’s not fair to generalize, however tempting it can be sometimes. We French Canadians are no better, really. Different history, that’s all.

  30. Always makes me laugh with polls how they’re supposed to speak for a nation when only 1.001 people were asked!

  31. I have criticised the article for being badly written and unclear, but I’m not necessarily criticising the poll. A lot of you are saying that 1,001 people are not enough to reach a conclusion on this issue but I think it can definitely give us an indication of a trend.

    Surveys such as this are generally not conducted in the street (so not in one specific place) and in order to be representative of the population have to be random, so probably taken over the phone or online over the whole population of the US. Obviously it’s only a trend, but it’s not as irrelevant as some of you are implying, as if the interviewer was standing on the corner of a neighbourhood in Bibleville. Tennessee, asking women between the ages of 70 and 72 as they leave their Baptist congregation.

    Frankly I am personally convinced that a lot of people in the US do in fact believe that homosexuality is a choice because this is an issue that, differently from Europe, does come out a lot in the US (both in the media and in general conversation). People hear this theory frequently and many subscribe to this belief. Overall, more people describe themselves as religious in the US than over here in Europe and the concept of homosexuality as a lifestyle is much discussed in religious circles.

    For those who want to know more about the actual survey than the article offers, more information is available in this PDF.

  32. One more thing I’d like to add.

    I think the choice to break down support for marriage equality and whether homosexuality is a choice by respondents’ own marriage status is not very meaningful. It might have been more revealing to break it down by people’s ages or educational level.

    In that case we would have seen very clear trends that are not as obvious in the poll as it is.

  33. I am told that millions of Americans believe that the Genesis account of the world’s beginnings is literally true and millions of others believe that they have been kidnapped by aliens. Perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised by anything people believe.

  34. How many of the 1001 people were hillbillies or rednecks?

  35. “The black people have the worse attitude towards us. They rant on about racism and equal rights- but certanly don`t want these rights passed on to gay people.”

    My black partner – and her family – would disagree. I wish commenters here would stop repeating such broad generalisations which can be really hurtful.

  36. Thank you, Sally T. AS if being gay and being black were mutually exclusive…

    Perhaps that’s why Blacks, (even those who are clearly for Gay rights), cannot see it in the same sense of the civil rights movement. For example, at no time were Gays denied the vote, nor schooling, nor housing nor decent health care. At no time were they enslaved. As a matter of fact, being part of the geneeral population, Gay people must have been part of the opression of Blacks, with Black men being raped along with the women. Linking racism with Gay rights will always bring up these kinds of distinctions.

  37. poor americans. it must be awful to not understand what people are telling them. they prefer to believe not what gay people are saying about their own life experiences but believe only what their dogmas tell them. This must be a real pain for people who come into contact with them. do they tell intelligent people that they choose to be intelligent. do they tell the poor they have chosen to be poor. I wonder if you asked them would they say they chose the person they fell in love with. i doubt it. they would say it happened naturally…

  38. Jean-Paul Bentham 19 Dec 2009, 9:26pm

    Interesting thread.

    valerio (32) has a good point when he says:

    “It might have been more revealing to break it down by people’s ages or educational level.”

    I would add ‘sexual orientation’. Str8 people, many of whom are not religious, have their lives to live and don’t necessarily know anything about the tremendous discoveries of 20th century psychology regarding sexual orientation. In fact, when asked a question out-of-blue about it, str8 persons are likely to impulsively denigrate homosexuality to avoid being associated with it any way. Human nature, and the question is highly personal so that the fortress mentality kicks in.

    Call me an optimist (although I do have a pretty graphic idea of the persecution of gays around the world), but I would like to see the results of surveys directed strictly at gays themselves, e.g., how do gays feel about themselves and what evidence do they have of homophobia in their own surroundings, and that would include, as valerio says, a general description of the surroundings. (see for comfort in these troubled times)

    Example, I am from a ‘lower-middle-class’ Acadian-Canadian background; I am a senior in a 20 year same-sex relationship living in a small city in Atlantic Canada, and the only homophobia I have ever clearly experienced came and continues to come from my kid sister who calls me “Miss” in public. Ask me how often I socialize with her! Yet, she is not a bad person; just misinformed and disinterested.

    Bottom line is that this survey reminds me of a telemarketing scheme except that I can’t see who would stand to make a profit from it.

  39. Well, I suppose it is a choice, for the straights at any rate. I’ve been with more straights than gay in my time.

  40. #38.

    I’d not have a kid sister like that for long if she were mine.

    She would be referring to herself as my ‘kid thithter’ and be calling me ‘Mith..’ in public in double quick order.


  41. Half of the US voted for Bush and half of them don’t believe in evolution. A half of them are idiots, so let’s not be surprised at the results of the poll.

  42. I totally agree that the human rights denied people of colour have not been imposed upon gay people (excluding the current and ongoing debate regarding marriage). However, there is one thing that many gay people have experienced which people on the receiving end of racism have not. And that is being denied membership in their own family. Family groups who are Black, Asian or Hispanic provide a support group for the new ones being born and on the verge of being castigated for who they are. Gay kids have to grow up (frequently remaining silent about the shame they feel being gay TO THEIR OWN FAMILY) and then when they are able to connect a few of the dots, go outside of that group for support.

    There are similarities for the victims of oppression, regardless of its form, and there are differences. It’s not a contest. It’s all deplorable, and we need to find ways for it to stop, not work out who’s been affected the worst.

  43. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Dec 2009, 12:25pm

    Quite realistic, Michael.

  44. Mumbo Jumbo 20 Dec 2009, 7:27pm

    Just to be clear, the US has aa population of 320 million and 1000 or so is a standard sample size for most opinion polls. In the hands of a decent poling company who ask the right questions and choose the sample to be representative of the population it will give an accuracy of plus or minus three per cent.

  45. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Dec 2009, 8:04pm

    And that is why stats are crap.

    Kinsey did a lot better than that before saying a word.

  46. Brian Burton 21 Dec 2009, 11:26am

    This syupid American poll is a waste of time!

  47. I don’t think that Pink News has any subeditors – American polls are not worth the paper they are written on.

  48. I don’t think they have any editors either.

  49. Erroll Clements 21 Dec 2009, 5:26pm

    The majority of Americans are the most hick backward bunch you could ever meet, they live in their own little world and don’t have much of a clue or care what is going on out good US of A ! Plus there is a huge amount of religious nuts, sadly the black angelical are the worst. Why would any sane man or woman just suddenly ‘decide’to be gay, and put up with a life time of abuse? Me thinks not, it’s not as if you just go to Wal-mart and they’re having a special on Gays, so you buy two for one? Yipeeeee!Mad fokkers !

  50. Well, who’s surprised? Americans are the first world’s most illiterate voters. What other nation of political gullibles in the first world would vote in a moronic inbred like GW Bush? Twice? Until a year ago I was embarrassed to live in the US compared to the more progressive Europe.

  51. Americans are stupid. Full Stop. End of Discussion. Thick as Pig Sh!t.

    Stop voting in Billionare oil or Lawyer idiots / actors for heavens sake.

    Your country is screwed….

    Go away. Stop buggering it up for the rest of on the planet.

    Just my opinion in working in Washington, New York and Dallas over 30 years.

  52. I do not think that a Nation of idiots would be the world leader in almost every field of human endeavour. Let’s be real, here.
    Why, even the concepts of Gay rights started in America.

  53. Michael speaks a lot of sense… I think it’s high time that gay people and black people realised that both homophobia and racism are wrong and that our two minority groups are not mutually exclusive.
    We may be picked on for different reasons but the repercussions can be just as devastating for both. A bit of empathy costs nothing.

  54. These are the same people who voted for george W and also believe in the”Rapture” ans think the planet is 6,000 years old. Most are from the midwest and as Joan Rivers said, in the USA intelligence gets dumber the further away from the Oceans you are!

  55. Being gay is no more a choice than choosing blood type. A person’s height, weight & coloring can be manipulated to represent something else, but one is born O+, AB-, what have you. They’re also born either straight or gay.

  56. theotherone 25 Dec 2009, 10:21pm

    so what if being Gay is a choice or pre destined?

    Wearing synthetic materials is a choice too. I’d not advise it but it’s a choice.

    I bet allot of the people from this (woefully small) survey who thought homosexuality was wrong wear synthetics…

  57. The human genome has been mapped. There is no “gay gene”. However, many people have sexual tendencies outside the norm. The question is, what does a society allow? Some want to be “tolerant” and say that we should allow everyone to marry but are then quick to judge a man that wants to marry multiple women or a father that wants to marry his daughter.

    Every person draws the line somewhere.

  58. Dan Filson 4 Feb 2011, 12:08am

    How does “On whether people chose to be gay, 34 per cent said it was something people were born with. Twenty per cent said they did not know.” amount to almost half of Americans believe being gay is a choice?????

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