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LGBTQ+ Sexual Orientation - Newer Studies Suggest No Single 'Gay Gene,' Sexuality Still Fluid, Still Yet Unknown, Victory Laps Minimal


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So I remember being in the FFA before the PSF and getting roundly criticized for saying sexuality was a choice, not a 'born this way' issue. Of course, your usual suspects and pedants, et. al., told me I must be mistaken, that it was Neanderthal thinking to have issued such a shocking -- I'm shocked and clutching my pearls! - statement. I issued it back then not to argue against gay rights at the time, but to illustrate how the truly radical left in the '90s felt about choice with regard to sexuality. Told I was wrong, I looked up the article and found it and posted it.

Well, surprise folks, it's past 2019 and we've got this on our hands. This is more than one article. Research is showing that there is no 'gay gene' that people aren't 'born this way,' and that sexuality is a life choice among many others.

https://psyche.co/ideas/the-new-genomics-of-sexuality-moves-us-beyond-born-this-way

Edited by rockaction
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To add a bit more perspective, I found this from Nature:

”Ganna and his colleagues also used the analysis to estimate that up to 25% of sexual behaviour can be explained by genetics, with the rest influenced by environmental and cultural factors — a figure similar to the findings of smaller studies.

“This is a solid study,” says Melinda Mills, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who studies the genetic basis of reproductive behaviours.

But she cautions that the results may not be representative of the overall population — a limitation that the study authors acknowledge. The lion’s share of the genomes comes from the UK Biobankresearch programme and the consumer-genetics company 23andMe, based in Mountain View, California. The people who contribute their genetic and health information to those databases are predominantly of European ancestry and are on the older side. UK Biobank participants were between 40 and 70 years old when their data were collected, and the median age for people in 23andMe’s database is 51.

The study authors also point out that they followed convention for genetic analyses by dropping from their study people whose biological sex and self-identified gender did not match. As a result, the work doesn’t include sexual and gender minorities (the LGBTQ community) such as transgender people and intersex people.”

and

”This suggests that there are a lot of genes that influence sexual behaviour, many of which researchers haven’t found yet, says Ganna. An even larger sample size could help to identify those missing variants, he says.

But Ganna cautions that these SNPs can’t be used to reliably predict sexual preferences in any individual, because no single gene has a large effect on sexual behaviours.”

 

Nature article on the study

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5 minutes ago, The Football Freak said:

To add a bit more perspective, I found this from Nature:

For even more perspective about how the argument has been bandied about absolutely in pop culture and that part of consciousness that mixes with activist circles, I give you

Lady Gaga

I'd never read the lyrics before today. What a stupid little song!

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Very, very few of those who identify as LGBT+ say that their sexuality, sexual orientation or sexual identity was some sort of choice on their part - and if it was a choice they don't remember making it.

Edited by squistion
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7 minutes ago, squistion said:

Very, very few of those who identify as LGBT+ say that their sexuality, sexual orientation or sexual identity was some sort of choice on their part - and if it was a choice they don't remember making it.

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

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"It's genetic" and "It's a choice" aren't the only two possibilities.  Another possibility is that sexual orientation is caused entirely or partially by environmental factors -- those aren't genetic, but that's still consistent with sexual orientation being involuntary.

For example, suppose that exposure to lead tends to push people toward heterosexuality.  (This is obviously just a hypothetical -- I'm not saying that lead exposure actually matters).  Kids who grew up around lead paint and leaded gasoline might all grow up straight.  They don't have a "straight gene," but they would all say that their straightness is involuntary.  From their perspective, they were just born that way.  Now, technically, they weren't really born that way -- it was lead exposure in early childhood that made them straight.  But they might as well have been for all practical purposes.  

Then we get rid of lead-based paint and switch over unleaded gasoline, and all of the sudden we see a bunch more people identifying as gay.  It's not that a gay gene suddenly swept through the population.  It's just that an environmental factor changed that meaningfully affected people's sexual development.

IMO, this is one of those areas where nature-versus-nurture doesn't really matter much.  I definitely didn't choose my sexual orientation, and I take other people at their word that they didn't choose theirs either.  Whether that came from genes, or the environment, or social conditioning, or some combination of factors is sort of academic.

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Not sure how you can make the jump from "there is not a (singular) gay gene" to "there is no born this way"

From the study:

Quote

 

Our findings provide insights into the biological underpinnings of same-sex sexual behavior but also underscore the importance of resisting simplistic conclusions (Box 2)—because the behavioral phenotypes are complex, because our genetic insights are rudimentary, and because there is a long history of misusing genetic results for social purposes.

Box 2

Communication and interpretation.

The topic explored in this study is complex and intersects with sexuality, identity, and attraction and potentially has civil and political implications for sexual minority groups. Therefore, we have

Engaged with science communication teams,

Engaged with LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups nationally and within our local institutions, and

Tried to make clear the many limitations and nuances of our study and our phenotypes.

We wish to make it clear that our results overwhelmingly point toward the richness and diversity of human sexuality. Our results do not point toward a role for discrimination on the basis of sexual identity or attraction, nor do our results make any conclusive statements about the degree to which “nature” and “nurture” influence sexual preference.

 

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3 minutes ago, Cheese and Crackers said:

Not sure how you can make the jump from "there is not a (singular) gay gene" to "there is no born this way"

From the study:

Right, the simplistic conclusion would be that one is 'born this way.' You're catching on. Saying there is no 'born this way' is saying that not everything is able to be reduced to one thing. Don't let it hit you at warp speed!

Edited by rockaction
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Yeah, I see this is going to bring the usuals out from whatever break they were on to passionately defend and fall on swords for deterministic birth characteristics. I wonder what they'd say about other deterministic concepts?

One can only imagine.

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duh.

like all elements of personality - hyper/hypoactivity, depressiveness, autism, many others - sexuality is on a spectrum which will be proved to be largely based on hormonal infrastructure. i thought we were giving this to the gays - since its real close to being true, though not without exception - cuz there was no other way to make a logical stand against the hate and Puritanism

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5 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

duh.

like all elements of personality - hyper/hypoactivity, depressiveness, autism, many others - sexuality is on a spectrum which will be proved to be largely based on hormonal infrastructure. i thought we were giving this to the gays - since its real close to being true, though not without exception - cuz there was no other way to make a logical stand against the hate and Puritanism

I was personally giving it to them with reservations and then those reservations were met. I began really thinking about the dehumanizing element of the deterministic application of things and then Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and the rest of the pop culture bimbos and queens came along and starting browbeating everybody with it, so I did what us naturalists do. I rebelled at the thought. Just because a fact or thought can lead to repercussions nobody wants makes it no less a fact nor valid or sound thought.

Edited by rockaction
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Just now, timschochet said:

“Born this way” means to me that you can’t help it, if you can’t help it it’s not a choice. 

There is no way I could ever choose to be sexually attracted to another man. 

self-reporting, the most questionable way of gleaning information about one's self.

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2 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I was personally giving it to them with reservations and then those reservations were met. I began really thinking about the dehumanizing element of the deterministic application of things and then Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and the rest of the pop culture bimbos and queens came along and starting browbeating everybody with it, so I did what us naturalists do. I rebelled at the thought. Just because a fact or thought can lead to repercussions nobody wants makes it no less a fact nor valid or sound thought.

toothpaste is out of the tube, #####. cant put it back so just go brush, eh?

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So this argument seems to boil down to what it always was, a convenient way to elide the evangelicals and Catholics in our midst and to protect their minors in the world. That's all I want noted. I can make peace with it from there. Just don't lecture about intellectual courage nor rigorous facts in the future. Behind every activist shibboleth, a lie.

 

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6 minutes ago, Steve Tasker said:

Odd thread.  Congrats on the big win, I guess?

Thanks! It was an avalanche of squistion and pals. The heavies (the liberal lawyering set) came out to call bigotry. Thankfully, I was able to find the article from Time advocating for an inclusive culture that included gay/straight issues as a matter of choice rather than determinism. But before the citation, the howls.

The pained, anguished howls. 

I won't soon forget their gaping wounds.

Nah, it's one of these things you spend the entire day getting beat up on the internet over, you're sure it's the truth and that there was a strain of '90s activism that allowed for choice, and yet you get thirty people ganging up on you telling you you must be wrong.

See ya, suckers.

Edited by rockaction
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btw, the lack of a gay gene does not disqualify sexual preference as a physical imperative. we will eventually see that there are literally millions of hormonal imprints which are more than abiding beyond a reasonable doubt

Edited by wikkidpissah
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31 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Right, the simplistic conclusion would be that one is 'born this way.' You're catching on. Saying there is no 'born this way' is saying that not everything is able to be reduced to one thing. Don't let it hit you at warp speed!

Your point is tenuously being supported by what really amounts to a semantic argument.  While there may not be a “gay gene”, that does not mean that people choose their sexuality in the binary sense.  Some do I have no doubt.  But the vast majority make no conscious binary decision to choose women over men.  Or vice versa.  
 

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1 minute ago, zoonation said:

Your point is tenuously being supported by what really amounts to a semantic argument.  While there may not be a “gay gene”, that does not mean that people choose their sexuality in the binary sense.  Some do I have no doubt.  But the vast majority make no conscious binary decision to choose women over men.  Or vice versa.  
 

I dunno. I remember the simple days of five years ago when there most certainly was a gay gene and people were born with it.

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One of the many cases where science does not allign with science.  Arguing that sexuality was purely hardwired genetics was always a ridiculous assertion.  Of course it is a complex issue with numerous factors.  

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Why does matter if sexual orientation  is genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, cultural, environmental, etc?

Besides, I think it's pretty ironclad that sexual orientation is not a choice  and falls along a broad spectrum for 99% of the population.

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38 minutes ago, timschochet said:

“Born this way” means to me that you can’t help it, if you can’t help it it’s not a choice. 

There is no way I could ever choose to be sexually attracted to another man. 

I agree.  Nobody would choose to be gay.

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56 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

btw, the lack of a gay gene does not disqualify sexual choice as a physical imperative. we will eventually see that there are literally millions of hormonal imprints which are more than abiding beyond a reasonable doubt

Eggsackly.

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2 hours ago, The Football Freak said:

To add a bit more perspective, I found this from Nature:

”Ganna and his colleagues also used the analysis to estimate that up to 25% of sexual behaviour can be explained by genetics, with the rest influenced by environmental and cultural factors — a figure similar to the findings of smaller studies.

So........they're 25% born this way?

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4 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

For example, suppose that exposure to lead tends to push people toward heterosexuality.  (This is obviously just a hypothetical -- I'm not saying that lead exposure actually matters).  Kids who grew up around lead paint and leaded gasoline might all grow up straight.  They don't have a "straight gene," but they would all say that their straightness is involuntary.  From their perspective, they were just born that way.  Now, technically, they weren't really born that way -- it was lead exposure in early childhood that made them straight.  But they might as well have been for all practical purposes.

Yes, or the lead exposure could have occurred in the womb, so they were still literally born that way even if no genes were involved.

I think the most obvious thing in the world is that people don't get to choose whom they're sexually attracted to. If they could, first, nobody would be a pedophile. Second, more folks would choose to be attracted to ugly people instead of beautiful people so that they'd face less competition. Or, rather, the very concepts of "ugly" and "beautiful" wouldn't make sense in the context of sexual attractiveness.

That might well be a better world to live in, but it's not our world.

Some people are, of course, bisexual. To them, choosing between male or female partners may be like choosing a redhead versus a brunette. There may be a slight preference, but either will do.

Such people, drawing on their own experience, may think that everyone else is similar.

But for real, not everyone is bisexual.

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20 minutes ago, ekbeats said:

8-25.  To be precise.

They found it to be 8-25%, from what they’d uncovered, and suspect more is still undiscovered, as well as mentioning other pathways to homosexuality based on genetics that aren’t yet understood. The quotes I lifted from Nature, and the larger article itself, give a bit more detail on the 2019 study. And the points by the posters I mentioned, and those on a similar tangent, further expose the subtleties of the discussion.
 

This could be a pretty interesting discussion, if the “dunking” stops.

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18 minutes ago, The Football Freak said:

They found it to be 8-25%, from what they’d uncovered, and suspect more is still undiscovered, as well as mentioning other pathways to homosexuality based on genetics that aren’t yet understood. The quotes I lifted from Nature, and the larger article itself, give a bit more detail on the 2019 study. And the points by the posters I mentioned, and those on a similar tangent, further expose the subtleties of the discussion.
 

This could be a pretty interesting discussion, if the “dunking” stops.

I don’t see a lot of dunking in here.  My post was half joke and half just wanting to be accurate.  I for one am very surprised that Ganna didn’t find stronger genetic linkage.  I was actually hoping they’d find one.  But they didn’t.  And I hate to say it, but if people don’t want to get “dunked on” then don’t call people bigots and homophobes for having a different opinion on a valid debate.  That crap is still going on even in this thread.

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29 minutes ago, ekbeats said:

That shouldn't be news. We knew from the outset, by observing identical twins, that genes couldn't be 100% responsible for sexual preference. But they're more than 0% responsible because literally everything biologically interesting involves genes somehow.

If sexual preference is somewhere between 0% and 100% determined by genes, there can't be just one gene responsible. There have to be several. :math:

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I was dunking. And I misspoke. I've never thought about this as a raw "choice." Simply that the genetic factor isn't as prevalent as we thought. It's pretty clear that certain people, from birth, have sexual attractions to one sex that isn't environmental or learned. I think one would be remiss to counter accepted wisdom and observation regarding this. I don't think I've ever claimed it was a choice in my personal time, nor my own head, and was conflating the two sentiments colloquially in writing today. But 'born this way,' was a loaded phrase designed to cash in on the genetics and heritable nature of the attractions, so thus it came to be.

But I'm re-reading myself and it's not a 'choice' as fundamentalist preachers would have you understand it so that it could be followed by conversion therapy. That's not the road I'm going down.

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  • rockaction changed the title to LGBTQ+ Sexual Orientation - Newer Studies Suggest No Single 'Gay Gene,' Sexuality Still Fluid, Still Yet Unknown, Victory Laps Minimal

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