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  1. Great article, David.

    I accept that Chris Birch’s explanation is feasible – others may be too – but he is likely to have explored this with his clinicians and those who know him, and this is the explanation he has come to. So, whilst it is interesting to discuss other potential explanations, it is not my place to say what is or what is not the facts with Chris.

    I think you have offered a really reasonable and balanced account of the various issues that have been explored (to date) in the investigation of orientation.

    As you rightly say it is a complex matter; for some it may have a psychological basis, others is may be genetic, others neurological, others inuterine, others perhaps different cryptogenic explanations and yet, others a combination.

    Many on both sides of the debate seek a clear answer, that sits orientation in a box – is it caused by x y or z – and it seems the reality of the answer is maybe, in some cases.

    1. You are gay because you chose to be gay when the time came to choose direction. Those of who are normal, and heterosexual did not have to choose what direction to take, as normality was and is the course for heterosexuals.

      Not back at work then Stu, funny that, as you don’t work.. well not as a paramedia….well certainly not a NHS one, as they have no one in emplyment with your name or image…

      1. I didn’t choose Aiden- I always knew- at first I couldn’t believe or accept it as all my school friends were lusting after girls!

      2. So there’s a choice but it’s not a choice for all? Is that what you’re saying? How are those who are given a choice selected?

      3. Aiden

        Firstly, you obviously don’t know the right person to speak to because I was on duty on Saturday and Sunday in my NHS uniform – one shift on the road and the other in the control room as clinical advisor.

        You can keep up with your dodgy rhetoric if you wish.

        However, I note you refuse to state which NHS organisations you have spoken to, let alone who you spoke to, when and what you asked – and how you persuaded them to breach Data Protection.

        The fact is you didnt you are lying and I dont care. You can live in your fantasty world.

        As for my being gay – no I didnt choose it, nor would I ever have chosen it given my background. I was born this way.

        You were chose to be a liar, bigot and to harm others.

        Fair play to you – but some day, you will face the consequences for your actions – and I so hope I am around to remind you of your hatred and wipe that smile right off your ugly face.

        1. Stu, you really shouldn’t rise to that idiot. He’s not worth it.

          1. Thanks Genes. I shall try not to!

        2. This mindless idiot is just harrassing you . . . tell him to P**s Off

          Actually I will do it for you . . . Aiden – P**s Off

          1. Thanks JohnK.

            Its good to get support. Aiden is just a bully (and he has to gall to call me one!) lol

            As far as I am concerned he can just fukc off, butno doubt he will continue with his little lies and games.

      4. I didn’t choose to be gay. I would never have stood up and said ‘yes please’ to vilification, threats of hurt, death and rape, abuse in pubs and on the streets in the name of ‘fun’ by their perpetrators, being refused jobs, being made a joke of by people who should know better and told to accept ‘it’s not you, you’re OK’. Really, who would choose that. Would you? My choice was simple – accept who I am.

      5. Religion is insanity in trolls. 17 Apr 2012, 8:01pm

        Aiden is a self hating closet case who is a delusional religious troll. That is all anyone needs to know about him apart from the fact that he is an utter bore.

        1. Whoever that is fabulous … bit pat on the back!

          He is a bore, he lies and uses lies that make him claim that he has commited an act of conspiracy to breach the data protection act.

          I rang my HR department yesterday morning and they said they would never disclose such information and will put a marker on my personnel file that no information about me is to be disclosed without contacting myself first. They feel it is important to protect me from harassing bullies – whoever they might be!

      6. Aiden, I take it you choose to be straight? And Stu, I’d be worried that this weirdo is stalking you. It seems from his comment that he has checked every paramedic just to prove to his lonely self that you are not one – with your name or IMAGE? WTF does that mean? Scary.

        1. @James E

          He’s just a bully that makes me laugh.

          I know what I do for a living, and so do my patients.

          He can lie all he likes.

        2. Actually if you read what he says, which is

          “You are gay because you chose to be gay when the time came to choose direction. Those of who are normal, and heterosexual did not have to choose what direction to take, as normality was and is the course for heterosexuals.”

          then he is basically saying heterosexuals don’t make any choice of direction as that’s the way they are but homosexuals do make a choice. Funny that eh?

          1. Religion is insanity in trolls. 17 Apr 2012, 11:56pm

            What is even funnier is that while Aiden is typing his endlessly boring sh 1 te he is likely wanking like crazy open mouthed over gay porn while dribbling down his chin. He’ll be on his knees begging Cheesus to make him straight as soon as he comes on his jimjams. Religious homophobe equals spanking the bishop watching gay porn in secret. It’s more than probable that dear Aiden would just love the bishop to spank him right back because he’s been such a naughty boy. The more he claims to be a spokesman for the ‘straight’ the surer it is he’s not.

    2. New Aussie 18 Apr 2012, 4:28am

      I don’t think anyone these days is seriously suggesting there are any gay people who are gay because of “psychological causes”. That particular area, after almost 150 years of extensive research, was categorically thrown out in the 1970s by the APA and later in the WHOs DSMIV. The article actually makes that clear.

      Psychological influences impact on the decision to come out, the way we approach relationships/sex and the many facets of the modern gay identity. But there is not one verifiable psychological cause for homosexuality itself.

      1. New Aussie 18 Apr 2012, 4:31am

        it might seem an unimportant distinction but remember that if there is a psychological cause then ipso facto there must be a psychotherapeutic means to correct it. Think about that.

  2. A problem arises when groups of people, usually religious, say there is just one acceptable sexual orientation and that all must conform to even when it is against their natural sexual orientation.

  3. Reed Braden 17 Apr 2012, 5:18pm

    Everything you are is simply a product of your brain. This article seems to yearn for more than that. You aren’t afforded more than your one brain, and everything that you are is contained within. Brain damage might feasibly make a person gay (although I think his particular story is a bit more of the “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” variety) but it also might make a person straight, or racist, or happy, or suicidal, or Buddhist (in the case of a formerly Christian friend of mine). It means nothing to the community, just a lot to the individual. What does it mean to the community? One more body on the dance floor. That’s it.

    1. “It means nothing to the community” Unfortunately it does seem to mean a lot to some “communities”, to the point of obsession.

  4. I think that it is human nature to seek answers to questions – without the intrepid, the curious, the questioning, we would all still be living in caves. I do think the question is a valid one.

    But I don’t trust the human race of today to seek answers in a credible, rational, ethical or legitimate manner. The day we can answer this question, we just won’t need to.

    1. True, Valksy

      I think too many people want one answer (ideally a simple one), when the reality is that issues of orientation are complex. There is no simple answer – some people (both some LGBT people and some of those who seek to harm us) may be disappointed with this; but it should not stop us from trying to understand as much as we can.

  5. This article would be even better if you included references! Would to be able to point to peer-reviewed stuff.

    From my own experience, I can remember thinking gay thoughts at a really young age and my mum said she thought I was gay at playschool.

    I had no concept of sex or sexuality, but there was something definitely there.

    I wonder if one can be born in a state that, depending on certain environmental factors in the very early years, homosexuality can occur. So you’d be predisposed to becoming gay: someone could have the same life experiences as you and not be gay and someone could be born the same as you and not be gay…but a mix of both biological AND environmental factors would result in some neurological event that leads to homosexuality.

    At any rate, the reason is irrelevant – we can’t change, we do no harm… Back off. :)

    1. I have always had the gut feeling that, on the whole, orientation is determined by biological influences – whether they be neurological, inuterine or whatever. However, I think its hard to deny that there can be environmental issues that impact on some/all of us at one point or another.

      1. Environmental issues in the form of societal pressure and homophobia has impacted greatly on many people, especially older people who remember reading court cases about the jailing of someone for same sex encounters in private-that’s one extreme, at the other extreme is the casual overheard homophobic remark you heard from adults. All of these things are bound to have a massive impact which sometimes resulted in homophobes as well as repressed neurotic LGBT.

        1. @Ray123

          Those sort of environmental influences certainly will be important or relevant in some people, to one extent or another. The impact could range from outright denial through various aspects of repression through to rejecting the environmental influence.

          I do think there can be positive environmental influences too including acceptance, support, friendship and many others. I have benefited from such influences that did not impact on my orientation but reinforced my understanding and acceptance of my being gay.

    2. David Waldock 17 Apr 2012, 6:00pm


      von Krafft-Ebing, R (1869) Psychopathia Sexualis

      Re: Scientificness of Freud, there are a number of books on the subject.

      On genetics:

      Burr, C (1996) A Seperate Creation: How Biology Makes Us Gay, New York, Bantam Press

      D’Alessio, V (1996) ‘Born to be gay?’ New Scientist (151:2049) 28 Sep 1996

      Hamer, D et al (1993) ‘A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation’, Science (261:5119) 321-327

      Horton, R (1995) ‘Is Homosexuality Inherited?’ Book Review of The Science of Desire: The Search for the Gay Gene and the Biology of Behaviour, New York Review of Books, vol XLII, 13 Jul 1995, 36-41

      LeVay, S (1996) Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, MIT Press

      1. you legend!! thanks :)

    3. David Waldock 17 Apr 2012, 6:08pm

      On foetal development:

      Blanchard, R & Bogaert, A (1996) ‘Homosexuality in men and number of older brothers’ American Journal of Psychiatry (153: 1) p27-31

      Barker, D.J.P. (1997). “Maternal Nutrition, Fetal Nutrition, and Disease in Later Life”. Nutrition, ’13’, pg. 807

      Williams, T J (2000) ‘Finger-length ratios and sexual orientation’ Nature (404) 455-456

      On neuroscience:

      Phineas Gage is well-documented, and details are on google!

      Sanders G, Wright M (October 1997). “Sexual orientation differences in cerebral asymmetry and in the performance of sexually dimorphic cognitive and motor tasks”. Archives of Sexual Behavior 26 (5): 463–80

      Savic I, Lindström P (July 2008). “PET and MRI show differences in cerebral asymmetry and functional connectivity between homo- and heterosexual subjects”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105 (27): 9403–8

      There are plenty of other references ;-)

      1. please can you help us by listing all that you know….wish to read them.

        1. Paddyswurds 17 Apr 2012, 7:57pm

          One assumes he just did idiot, or are you just being an intellectually bereft waste of space……

        2. David Waldock 17 Apr 2012, 8:07pm

          Literally, I could list tens of studies on this. Start with those and follow the references.

          If you’ve got access to Web of Science you could also look at citations as well.

  6. Jason Feather 17 Apr 2012, 5:53pm

    I think the issue of how being gay arises is less important than the fact that however you become gay for most people it’s innate, it’s fully a part of who you are. However I suspect research into what makes us gay will show us that sexuality for some is a lot more fluid than we suspect & a multitude of causes work in unison to create sexuality so the chances of anyone finding a way to change someone’s sexuality are remote. You only have to look to look to the animal world to see that homosexuality & the fluidity of sexuality is a normal important part of nature. If being gay were an aberration it wouldn’t be so prevalent in nature & humanity. Surely evolution would have done away with us if we didn’t have a purpose (in early tribal societies it would probably have been distribution of care of young). Gay people have as an important role to play in our society as heterosexual people, nature loves variety and she ain’t gonna stop mixing it up anytime soon.

  7. If there were no issues about being gay no one would be looking for anything. And I for one am sick to death of hearing that it’s “caused” by this that or the other. I don’t bloody well care. It’s all tripe.

    1. As a gay man I am interested to know the scientific facts that mark me as the same as others who are not gay and those that mark me as different.

      Being interested in developing my knowledge and understanding, surely is a good thing?

    2. It is a whole lot more interesting and less biased to investigate what causes human sexual orientation, any motivation to specifically go after homosexuality seems suspect to me.
      I imagine any legitimate research would be investigating sexual orientation generally anyway.
      Mono-zygotic twins are interesting when one is gay and the other straight, but even these so-called identical twins will have differences,

      “Scientists have offered a new explanation for the differences between identical twins. Epigenome refers to natural chemical modifications within a person’s genome (genetic material). As an article in the New York Times explains, they “act on a gene like a gas pedal or a brake, marking it for higher or lower activity

      “small epigenetic events before birth probably account for many of the minor differences in the appearance, personality and general health of young twins.”changes in their DNA sequence shown in Copy Number Variations where a gene occurs in multiple copies.

      1. The very reason it is interesting is because it is not clear what evolutionary mechanism is responsible for homosexuality despite it likely being prevalent in all human populations (and countless other species).

        I think the significant scientific interest in homosexuality in particular is more than justified considering.

        Yes, people may twist and interpret findings in a way to meet and justify various agenda but this is always the case with scientific research, however any true scientist who respects the scientific method should minimise the influence their personal opinion has on results.

        There is the potential for a lot of beneficial research in this field.

  8. Call me a skeptic, but I don’t trust Chris Birch. There is something entirely unfeasible about his story.

    If it is true, then it is an anomaly. Stroke has not been proven to cause radical personality changes.

    So I think- if anything- this should be seen as an exception to the rule (supposing we even grant it that status).

    Sexuality cannot be changed. It is an intrinsic part of all individuals. We are ‘born this way’, irrespective of whether one takes favour of the argument for a biological or the environmental stance (or both).

    1. Actually, there are quite a few cases in which stroke has caused radical personality change:

      I recall reading about at least one person who changed from gay to straight (without praying!)…

    2. Jamie

      I shall call you a skeptic ;-)

      It may well be a unique (or one of a small number of anomalies) that Chris Birch has had his orientation altered by the cerebral event.

      Its not true to state that stroke can not cause radical personality changes – there are many documented cases:
      (A New Zealand study which discusses the issue of brain injury (which stroke effectively is) on various aspects of a person including personality and notes numerous cases of significant personality and attitude changes).

      Many things can occur post cerebral event that are not usually possible, the brain is a complex organ that we do not understand in full. So, whilst you are correct to say that orientation can not be changed, and I would agree that no one can consciously change their sexuality; but cerebral event can change things we may not choose to alter including speech, cognition and perception (and yes, in rare cases, orientation).

  9. Christopher 17 Apr 2012, 6:44pm

    I’m the oldest of three farmboys. Raised Protestant in Ontario, Canada, progressive conservative, etc. Always musical and artistic, yet no more than my grandfather who paints or my great uncle who plays fiddle at square dances. I can rebuild a truck engine and shoe a horse.

    Women are great pals, but don’t turn me on. Give me a tall, muscular man, though… is it getting hot in here?

  10. jennifer partlow 17 Apr 2012, 7:33pm

    I think it is more likely that people are bisexual and just don’t realize it until something triggers their brain

    1. Hi Jennifer

      I know I am gay and not bisexual.

      I have always known this since I have been aware of issues of sexuality. I havent always accepted it, but I have always known it.

      I did try a girlfriend when I was suppressing it – but not for me!

      Your theory may be true of some people, but equally some may have a cerebral event which alters them in some way, and that could include their orientation due to changes in brain chemistry or physiology.

      If I had a cerebral event and determined post event that I was heterosexual, then that would not be due to any repression of my heterosexuality or any bisexuality, I can assure you!

    2. I absolutely hate the thought of fanny; it makes me feel quite poorly.

      I was searching for images of lips the other day. Don’t use google images for “lips close up” :(

      1. James,

        I have just had dinner and now feel quite nauseous – thanks! lol

    3. @Jennifer Partlow

      What “Emprical – Scientific” evidence do you have which supports your theory that all people are bisexual ?

      If you are going to say “Psychoanalysis and Freud’s theory of Polymorphous Perversity” . . . this is not “Emprical – Scientific” evidence.

    4. Yes, I think you have a point. It seems to me that more people are more likely to be bisexual than are either 100% straight or 100% gay.

      1. According to what survey?

        1. mistle_uke 24 Apr 2012, 1:40am

          Let’s say Kinsey?

  11. Curtis Johns 17 Apr 2012, 8:59pm

    Personally although I believe some some people are born gay and other cases are physiologically driven, I think it makes sense to believe in natural selection. The human body and mind are the most immensely complex and advanced things the earth has seen. Is it so unrealistic to believe that gay people are the product of our biology in order to prevent our species from massively overpopulating? Other species have unique abilities that they use in order to survive their environment or lifestyle. So as a young man raised in the modern world I choose to believe that we are all part of a greater biological design. And being gay is part of this same design to prevent our species from damaging itself.

  12. Ben Foster 17 Apr 2012, 9:08pm

    I worry about scientific research into what makes people gay because I wonder why some of the scientists want to find it. I can easily imagine them searching for the scientific ‘cure’ for being gay – gene therapy or something, and a queue of pregnant Christian women wanting to abort gay babies – the lesser of two evils!!! Or something like the scene in the third X-Men film. Substitute gay for mutant at the ‘cure centre’.

    1. Ben Foster 17 Apr 2012, 9:09pm

      Of course I could just be letting my imagination run riot! ;)

      1. I agree. I’m intrigued and would like to know, but not in order to change myself or others. However, I’ve always been wary about such investigations and their findings being used by those who see anything other than heterosexuality as a negative anomaly to be ‘dealt’ with.

      2. I thought that was kinda the point of the film, people that are born different, are ostracised by society they begin to fight for their rights and those that are “normal” develop a ‘cure’ for it whilst secretly they are different too and want it to change themself and in their head they believe that everyone else that is different want it too.

    2. You shouldn’t be afraid of new data. Even if it is contrary to your world view. I have always been sexually attracted to men, but haven’t been able to ever form an emotional connection with one. The spectrum is broad and multi dimensional. While those of use who prefer men for sex and women for relationships don’t have a name, we do exist and are evidence of an even bigger world than those on the pure gay-straight spectrum are willing to admit.

  13. So the stroke not only caused a change in his sexuality but also turned him quite effeminate…

    Call me a cynic but I think someone was overcompensating before the stroke…

    1. I don’t think he came across as very effeminate. Yes, he had a daft hairdo, but I’ve seen lots of straight male hairdressers with outlandish hairdos too. Other than that he certainly wasn’t camp or queeny at all.

      I totally believed his story. It seems extremely unlikely to me that he was gay before the stroke. Scientists know that strokes cause changes in the brain that affect personality traits. Whatever happened to him it seems as though the part of his brain killed off by the stroke must have been the part associated with heterosexual attraction and as his brain rewired to compensate it turned him gay.

      He seemed like a nice bloke, genuinely interested in understanding what had happened to him.

  14. I don’t think it matters why we’re gay.

    1. In one sense it doesnt matter, in another sense it is interesting to help us understand how everything fits together (if that makes sense?)

      1. Actually, it does make sense, Stu. The “accept it no matter what” is the argument the religious use – “its a sin, becuase god says so, and do not question god”.

        I want to know. Knowing doesn’t change what I am.

      2. If questions are constantly being asked why people are gay, but the question why people are heterosexual is always neglected . . . this is very telling

        1. The heteros consider themselves normal and other non-hetero people abnormal. Whenever a group of people can be singled out as different it makes it easier for the others to hate them. We as human beings should celebrate our diversity, not use it as a reason to hate. We do have far to go as a species, unfortunately.

    2. The human possibilities are quite limited basically to gay, bi or straight, asking why humans are any of those isn’t really a proper question at all but rather just an expression of being incapable of accepting the human condition.
      People can be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual because those three are the basic human possibilities, perhaps asexuality should be included as well.

  15. This is as relevant as whether I was conceived on a beach, in the back of a car, on a bed, or in a forest! The only interesting question for LGBT is: If science proved conclusively that ABC causes children to be gay and a treatment could be applied to avoid ABC, would you apply the treatment to your children?

    This calls into question whether it would be an improvement in life for the child and, collectively, for “society”. For society, gays are essential. For a specific individual, it’s not as clear-cut, although with marriage equality, other equal rights, and a developing gay youth esprit, the next decades could be a great time to be gay.

  16. Also…I think if we as a community start to question our sexuality we’re walking on dangerous ground and gives these religious fools something else to use against us!

    1. What happened to my previous answer?

  17. this is silly-the guy was gay before or at least bi and he came out, using the stroke as an excuse-dont be fooled…

  18. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Apr 2012, 1:23am

    “Comment: Why are we gay?”

    Comment: Why does it matter?

    It does not matter to me, as it is how and what I am.

    It only seems to matter to hypocritical bible bashers obsessed with others sex lives.

    My sister was born with Down’s Syndrome.

    Makes her no less a human, born upon this planet and entitled to fullfill her entire potential in the life that she lives and will have.

    As I see it, I have not got a problem. It is those continually whining that “gay” is a problem that have the issues.

    Why are they so insecure in themselves that they NEED to put down those not the same as them.

    It is they that need to be vilified and questioned as to their motives.

  19. Dave North 18 Apr 2012, 1:40am

    PS: Pink News:

    The image used on this story looks like some of the images I have seen of Iranian gays hanging from cranes.

    Please be more sensitive.

    1. Perhaps what you’re seeing is to do with Pareidolia because all I see I see what looks like a statue of a man with a big question mark on his shoulders.
      If I look at it with squint eyes it looks a bit like Abu Hamza’s arm raised against the sky.

    2. I agree all I see is a man with a question mark on his head.

      Not sure where you perceive it as a scaffold for hanging.

    3. Hi Dave it could be that seeing a similarity between the image above and these images of men being hung is a symptom of vicarious trauma. Its not good to look at these distressing images too much it can be very damaging to some people.

  20. I prefer Stonewall’s one liner, some people are gay, get over it.

    Why the constant need to get an explanation. I’m sure most of would say I always knew I was gay, I always fancied blokes. I don’t really want an analysis done of it all just an acceptance of it.

    It almost like getting a explanation of everyone’s unique personality.

  21. I find this aticle, and similar ones, very offensive.

    I am who I am (as someone once sang) and feel no need to speculate as to “why”. I certainly feel it is an impertinance or worse for other people speculate why I am ….. what are they implying? Odd? Queer? Not normal? Against nature? A bit mixed up? One that came out not quite right?

    The fact that very few people wonder why some people are born straight suggests that this apparent great interest in why I was born gay is because there is somethin wrong with it.

    I’m not sure this sort of pseudo-scientific theorising is any better than religion. And as for speculating as to whether “treatment”, were it possible, might or might not be allowed… its positively hitlerian.

    Can i ask that PN re-considers this article?

    1. David Waldock 18 Apr 2012, 6:51am


      I disagree that people aren’t wondering about why people are born straight. In fact, as I state in the article, some of the neurological structures are common between straight people and gay people.

      It’s relevant because of the comments people have made on the various stories on this subject. I think that the possibility that a neurological injury can make someone gay has raised a lot of legitimate fears in the various communities that this makes a “cure” more realistic. However, one of the aims of the piece was to demonstrate that being gay is too complex to reduce to a simplistic therapy, and as I genuinely don’t think that society would allow it.

      As for why we ask the question, I think it’s innate human curiosity. It’s natural to ask “why am I left-handed?”, “why do I like Star Trek?” and “why am I gay?” is a legitimate question. I thought a summary of some of the research might interest some of us. It does me ;-)


      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Apr 2012, 9:28am

        There is NOTHING to cure.

      2. The summary of the research is most interesting, but the Chris Birch story sounds like a hoax to me.

    2. “I am who I am (as someone once sang) and feel no need to speculate as to “why””

      I don’t see why you find this offensive. Why is a valid question. “Why” is the first question a scientist asks, and its the very reason we no longer believe the earth is the centre of the universe or the earth is flat. Why is the question religious people hate the most. There is no implication in this article that gay people are “odd” or “not normal”, where did you get that from?

      1. I think most reasonable people accept that being gay is not a choice and not changeable. In this respect those who say “get over it” are right (and I often join them in saying so).

        However, it still does not stop me wondering why I was born gay and my parents were not? Why most of my friends are straight? What causes the difference? As Will rightly says “why” is usually the first question a scientist asks (and others who investigate in their professional lives often have why as an early consideration).

        If we do not question, do not challenge (ourselves and our knowledge – as well as the propositions of others) then we stand still in our knowledge base and we miss opportunities to advance knowledge and ability (sometimes in areas we least expected). We also run the risk if we do not ask why of leaving those who base their knowledge on indoctrination, bad science, presumption or mere rhetoric unchallenged and allowing their (often preposterous) claims to go unchallenged.

    3. Benji. It’s not offensive. Everything he dates is well supported in various fields of research. I think you missed the point in any case.

      what he is saying, and with which I whole heartedly agree, is that being gay is likely to be experienced as unique and unchangable and thoughts of biological or inter uterine therapeutic or prophylactic intervention or not just extremely unlikely and workable but also unthinkable. It would be the very worst kind of eugenics to do so.

      Luckily we have a useful example of “enhanced embryonic masculinisation” – its called the Mountain Gorilla and he is hairy tyrant with a harem and the smallest penis of any great ape and he has a diet of leaves.

      No thanks.

      So sleep easy Benji.

  22. I’m not sure I really what to hear answers to this question. If you ask why, then it challenges someone to find somekind of answer and as we know there are a lot of people out there who would like to use that ammunition against us.

    I think perhaps for that reason this article is slightly offensive and scary to some. So many people want to “cure” us and it’s usually those people who are asking the question why are people gay. Most gay people accept that they are gay and don’t belive there is any reason for it.

    If I was religious I would have probably said God made me that way!

  23. Surely if they find out what makes us gay there is the real threat that some group or other could use this to identify us and God Forbid use the research to exterminate us. If it appreas to be a gene there is also the possibility that people may be able to identify gay children before birth and either terminate or cahnge the feotus. I am all for identifying what makes us gay but not at the cost that extremists could use it against us. Human history should have taught us that at least.

    1. David Waldock 18 Apr 2012, 10:24am


      I agree that’s a real fear, but as you know if you read the piece, I don’t think that’s plausible.


      1. David

        The piece was fantastic and facinating. I had never considered much of what was stated and always just thought I was born this way and no matter what anyone says I can’t change who I am. I don’t honestly think it is plausible as you say but in my experience the old ‘never say never’ springs to mind. I read and see every day how those in power and those with influence (be it misguided in the case of the church) seek to demonise homosexuality. The church has in the past rabble roused in order to exterminate those they see as ‘evil’. In theory they could then do this again to try to eliminate gays if say, a gene, was discovered that determined whether you are gay or not.

    2. See my post above.

      The point of the article is that we are of the same stuff as heterosexuals. Until
      They find a ‘cure’ for heterosexuality then there will be none for being gay either.

      To put it even more clearly, changing sexuality of any kind in any way, is attempting to change what it means to be human. It can’t be done. What evolution has taken 3 billion years to put in place will not be undone. (talk to me in another million years though).

    3. Does this mean we should not ask “why”? Just in case someone abuses the answer?

      Not in my opinion.

      1. Sorry Stu. I didn’t mean to imply we should not ask why. I merely fear that through the answer people might be able to identify us and persecute us. They already talk about messing with the genes of disabled babies in the womb so that they won’t be born disabled. There is the possibility that future parents could then do the same with gay babies before they are born. Can you imagine if ‘Christian’ parents are told that their baby is gay because they have identified, theoretically, the gay gene. Imagine then what these parents would do! Hitler murdered thousands of gays and in many countries the Governments still do the same. Imagine then if it was easier to identify gay people by ‘testing’ them if science has proven a way of determining if people are gay or not. What then?? As I said I am all for finding out why we are gay. Be this through our genes or through evolution. I just fear the outcome as there are many out there who would use it against us.

  24. Perhaps his family could try an exorcism to get their fat, beer swilling son Chris back.
    Obviously Chris’s soul must have left his body during the shock of his accident and a thin gay demon called Kris stepped in and took control of his body (lol)

    1. Ha.

      The takeaway message is that ….. He’s happier now than before!!! What a great marketing campaign…. ‘I tried straight, it wasn’t great. Now I’m gay, I’ll never stray”

      (sorry about the doggerel).

  25. It seems to me that scientists are more interested in ‘how’ a natural phenomena takes place, while philosophers are the ones who ask ‘why’.

    In that case, a scientist would want to know how it happens that some are born gay, not why.

    1. Jonpol

      Incidentally sorry not been in touch for ages … will drop you a line explaining!

      Surely a scientist is a kind of investigator, like pathologists, police officers, clinicians, customs officers, etc etc

      If so then WHY is merely one of a number of questions they will probably ask of every fact or piece of uncertain knowledge that they have – WHY WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY HOW.

      1. Oops replace second WHY with WHO ;-)

      2. I understand that from your point of view the question ‘why’ has more to do with motivation, and that’s ok, but you could just as easily ask ‘how’ is a person motivated and arrive at the same answer.

        Similarly, although David Waldok says:” I disagree that people aren’t wondering about why people are born straight.”, his research points to ‘how’ a person is gay, not ‘why’.

        Moreover, asking ‘why’ a person is gay is as essential as asking why a person is alive.

        For example, in our catholic catechism, the question was asked: Why are you alive?

        And the answer which (of course) was provided was : I am alive to know, love and adore God.

        Philosophically though, Jean-Paul Sartre believed that there was absolutely no reason for anyone to be alive, gay or not.

        In that sense, we ignore ‘why’ the universe exists, right?

        Maybe I’m quibbling, but I think we will never know why we are gay, unless we accept evolutionary biology’s explanation, and so nobody can blame us for over-population.

        1. … but we do have an idea of ‘how’ the universe works, and yes, it is fascinating stuff.

          Still, please have the last word… :)

          1. lol

            Not intending to have the last word

            I think Why can be viewed from many angles and perspectives.

            For example:
            Why am I alive?
            Clinically because my heart is beating, my electrolytes are in balance, I am breathing and my brain is functioning etc. I am being biologically sustained.
            But WHY am I alive? Philosophically, there could be a range of options that explain that.
            But WHY am I alive? someone repeatedly saying this could be alluding to some psychological reason
            etc etc

            The WHY can be important, equally so can the HOW WHEN WHERE WHAT and WHO

      3. Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible and to reduce biased interpretations of results, results which can be reproduced.

        Accordingly, to be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence.

        While questions regarding ‘who, what, when, where and how’ of phenomena can be measured and answered scientifically, the question ‘why’ regarding a phenomenon leads to metaphysics, doesn’t it, a discipline relying more on speculation or divine revelation than empirical evidence.

        To me, the case of Chris Birch represents as profound a change as described in the dogma of transubstantiation, and I personally feel I can take it or leave it.

        1. …as profound a change of nature… **

  26. Having watched the documentary on Chris Birch, as well as having a sister and mother who have both suffered strokes, and being bisexual myself, I just have a couple of things to say.

    Strokes can do strange things to brains and how they perform. When parts of the brain are destroyed, it compensates in other areas. What Reed Braden said is correct, your whole personality comes from your brain – it defines who you are, including your sexuality. Without it, you’re just a shell.

    People who are gay, bisexual or transgendered are born with the brain processes which determine this; someone who has a stroke simply has his brain processes re-tracked to bypass the area of damage, which results in the often drastic changes in personality and behaviour. It happens every day, where people who suffer a stroke and are fortunate enough to survive undergo fundamental changes in character. Why shouldn’t sexuality be affected when it is determined by the brain to begin with?

    My opinion.

    1. Wendy

      Absolutely, its entriely feasible that orientation could be altered by brain injury.

  27. Sam Maloney 18 Apr 2012, 9:03pm

    I think we should actually be happy to embrace Birch’s story, since it indicates that sexuality– at least in some cases– is related to physical differences in the brain, and is therefore as ‘natural’ as blue eyes or brown hair. Makes discrimination obviously ridiculous and unsupportable.

    Yet there’s something about the story I just don’t trust. There’s no way to prove that he wasn’t gay all along, and the traumatic event of his stroke finally gave him the strength to live that truth, as well as a convenient ‘excuse’ to his family and community for his sudden apparent change.

    Ultimately, sexuality is like the Mississippi River– there are a myriad of sources. I know that I’ve always been gay– I had a crush on Tarzan when I was four years old, long before I’d begun to wonder where babies came from or what this ‘sex’ stuff I heard of was all about…

    1. There is also no way to prove that the change can be reproduced.

      Stay tuned for Chris Birch’s next stroke…

      1. Sorry… I didn’t mean to wish a stroke on Chris Birch.

        But frankly, I think the whole story is a hoax.

  28. I really don’t care what’s the reason for me being gay. I just want people to leave me alone and grant me the same rights that everyone else has. Then we can move on with our lives and concentrate on matters that will eventually kill us if we don’t do something about it, like global warming and pollutions.


    1. Agreed. Gay rights are human rights; let’s just focus on that and not be distracted by metaphysics in the guise of scientific research.

  29. Chris Birch has the quintessential gay look so its hard to imagine he wasn’t just an in-denial homosexual all along.

    We need research into the effect of pheromones on brains as this may explain the high levels of homosexuality in boys schools and similar all male establishments.

  30. jeffrey Jennings 18 Apr 2012, 10:40pm

    Your heart has packed in, attempting to feign you’re not gay. When said, if they state further he is claiming so, with a damaged brain, they have more than completely disqualified their own thoughts within their profession. They need any payments to wage that? VERY BAD NEWS FOR THEM. (with any proof of wisdom, think they’d have shut right up).

  31. David Myers 19 Apr 2012, 7:21am

    It is also possible that this individual is a deeply repressed homosexual who up until his brain damage may have been successful in surpressing his natural homosexual inclinations. After his brain damage, the intricate defense system that he had previously used to deny his homosexuality, fails him and striped of his protective self-deception, he comes to realize his true nature. This is a completely possible explanation. It may be very difficult to determine which answer is reality.

  32. Even if sexuality was a choice, that still doesn’t give anyone a platform on which to condemn it.

  33. Leigh Hamilton 21 Apr 2012, 2:34pm

    Why are we gay?

    Because reasons.

  34. The most important thing is that everyone realizes it’s not a choice!

    I really don’t care why i’m gay. I’m happy with being gay! I could never imagine myself as a straight person… i love dudes and that’s what’s important to me!

    We are who we are!

  35. If David Waldock is still asking himself why he is gay, it appears that he would get a more satisfying answer from an astrologer than from a scientist.

    What we do know, at this point in time, is that neither brain damage nor other scientific theories can explain the reality of sexual orientation.

    While contemporary scientific research has lifted the burden of being who we are, I hope that we – along with the rest of humanity – naturally feel responsible for what we do.


  36. “it doesn’t provide an explanation about bisexuality”

    Thank-you for including this line. Far too many articles are written from the perspective of humans being 100% gay or 100% straight. I have a sneaking suspicion this isn’t the way we’re `wired` up to be.

    @jennifer partlow
    Personally I agree with this theory: humans are innately bisexual, but social conditioning determines where on the specrum we end up. But maybe this is what (religious) intolerants believe too – and their anti-gay broadcasting is intended to condition everyone the `correct` way?

    @Ben Foster: maybe the scientific research is exactly for this purpose? Imagine the profits if a pill could be produced that `cured` gay thoughts. It *must* be tempting to big pharma.

    @David Myers
    Well said :-)

    If scientists don’t find a cause for sexual orientation then the human race will not suffer in the slighest. If they do find a cause for sexual orientation then the outcome would be thoroughly unpleasant. So why continue

  37. It’s very simple. It’s natural population control.

  38. Well scientists have not excluded the idea that there may indeed be a gene that causes homosexuality or heterosexuality so there may be some scientific reason that individuals have a certain sexual orientation but I would say it’s just because I was born this way and leave it at that!

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