Why Gay?

Why Gay?

Why Gay? is a good question. I’ve asked my gay friends but they usually don’t have a good reply. Some say they were born gay, or God made them gay, or they just plain don’t know. Few offer scientific explanations.

If you search the Internet with the key words “scientific reasons for homosexuality,” you will discover three quarters of a million entries, well over half of them with a religious bias. Beware; this bias is often cleverly disguised under the banner of science.

I sampled over fifty of the most frequented sites, sorted out the religious ones from the scientific ones, but did not learn anything new. Radical religious folk believe being gay is a matter of choice, a bad choice. Some less radical religious folk and religious gays believe God made gay for some unknown reason. TV Pundits, editorial writers, and bloggers often confess ignorance. They claim the answer is still unresolved. Many medical scientists disagree with this cop out. Fair minded investigators offer several good theories as to why some animals display what humans call gay behavior.

They are:

1) Genetic – Mutations which naturally occur during cell duplication and recombination, might explain why some animals are gay. A combination of multiple genes might predispose someone to gay behavior. Hundreds of gay domestic and wild animals have been documented. They certainly do not choose to be gay or not. Choice as an explanation for homosexuality  should be totally discredited by the fact that animals show variable gender preference without choice being a factor.

2) Developmental (epigenetic) – Maternal hormones or other environmental factors effect the sequence of embryonic and fetal development, and thus influence the determination of the anatomical development of sexual organs and the development of a male or female brain. Epigenetic effects do not change the genetic structure of DNA but only the way it is expressed, possibly for several generations. It has been shown that birth sequence plays an epigenetic role by influencing the effect of a mother’s hormones on a seventh brother. A seventh brother has an increased chance of being gay.

3) Environmental – Childhood environmental factors may affect child’s sexual identification. It is believed that sexual preference may not be a matter of black or white, male or female, gay or straight, but may also exist in shades of grey, thus explaining a bisexual’s attraction to both genders and mixed reproductive anatomy. Animals, including humans, when deprived of their usual environment and access to the opposite sex, sometimes and temporarily express their sexuality with members of the same sex. Ask any farmer, zookeeper, prison warden, or zoologist. This is not considered homosexual

4) Combinations of several or all of the above possibilities may also be a valid explanation.

It should be noted that the prevailing fundamentalist belief that being gay is by choice or is God created for some unknown reason, is without any scientific evidence thus far.

I would not be surprised if other scientific theories are offered in the future. Changes, corrections, additions often occur in science. If they did not, humanity would still be in the dark ages of human development. The very science that fundamentalists decry is the reason we have survived on this fragile earth. Creationists (fundamentalists) have benefited from scientific progress at the same time they deny its explanations that conflict with their religious beliefs. It makes no sense to freethinkers unhindered by dogma and magical thinking.

In a 2006 Time Magazine poll people were asked what they would do if science were to disprove a particular religious belief. Nearly two-thirds (64%)of people said they would continue to hold to what their religion teaches rather than accept the contrary scientific finding. That is amazing. In a 2007 Gallup poll only fourteen percent of those who claim not to believe in evolution cite lack of evidence as the main reason underpinning their views. They disbelieved evolution because they were told to disbelieve. Nineteen percent of the people cited their belief in Jesus for their disbelief in evolution. Sixteen percent cited their belief in God or their religion for their non-acceptance of evolution. I have two pages of quotations from famous theologians and Creationist leaders, very few who are scientists, who claim they believe in science but only when it does not contradict the word of God as written and copied down by bronze age scribes.

As long as some religious people reject science in favor of their religious views they cannot be convinced that homosexuality has a natural scientific explanation and is not by choice. As long as religious leaders control the masses as they do, we all will continue to be threatened by bigots and radicals in our public schools, in our government, and in our personal lives.

The probable scientific reasons for homosexuality, as listed, are good evidence that homosexuality is a natural and normal occurrence, and nothing immoral or evil.

Authors note: I am not a scientist. I only know what I have read and experienced. I may be mistaken. I welcome your opinions if they are backed by science. I strongly encourage readers to treat homosexuals as normal fellow human beings, and give them the respect you demand for yourselves.


About cgosling

I am a retired medical/scientific illustrator and creator of patient teaching simulators, who has given up illustration to write about science, superstition, and secular humanism. I consider myself all of the following: atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker, skeptic, and nature lover. I have several published books but the mass of my writing is unpublished. I write children's fiction, poetry, essays, and several plays and radio theater shows, that are available as free downloads to be used on secular podcasts and meetings. They can be heard on Indy Freethought Radio or on YouTube “secularradiotheater”. I hope some of my writings will be of interest to like minded freethinkers who I cordially invite to respond. I am also a Darwin impersonator. I invite readers to listen to and use the Darwin script for secular purposes.
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3 Responses to Why Gay?

  1. Sean O'Brien says:

    I had an odd epiphany yesterday while standing in line to order lunch at a Hardee’s restaurant. They have a new add featuring the “god of hamburgers”. The cardboard sign pictured a buff (or is it beefy?) fellow wearing a bronze age costume, conjuring a hamburger with all the trimmings. What struck me about it is that depicting a god with a 3,000 year old sense of fashion isn’t the least bit odd. We almost always think of gods and their minions that way. That’s when a light went on about science and religion.

    What do the vast majority of people in Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures imagine when they think of their particular god and Heaven. Gods and their ethereal courts are depicted wearing robes of white linen or pure, white wool, reading from parchments and scrolls, sitting on stone or wooden thrones and eating feasts as they would have been prepared thousands of years ago. It isn’t odd that those who imagined these scenes and wrote those ancient scriptures depicted them that way because that was the level of technology at the time, the norm of social convention and the way rulers governed. What’s really odd is that we still refer to this ancient meme today. I doubt anyone today would buy into the idea of God or Allah using an iPad or an Android tablet, but why would a papyrus scroll make any more sense?

    I’ve read the Bible and the Koran. They certainly do try to explain the world of their time. But it’s the science of the time in which those ancient texts were written and not the science of the twenty-first century. I’ve also read the way Christian and Islamic apologists try to show that this is not the case. It makes as much sense as a god of hamburgers who looks like something out of the movie “The 300” standing in the middle of a 21st Century fast-food restaurant and magically whipping up a sandwich invented in the 20th Century. For the record, I ordered a Turkey burger.

    • cgosling says:

      I had not really thought of a deity in 21century garb using modern technology, eating modern food. The food of “the last supper” could have been bread without peanut butter, grapes with seeds, washed down with red wine, not white or rose, water might not be considered healthy back then as in many parts of the world today. They would have loved modern food as do all ancient cultures who come in contact with it. Love of a salty taste and a sweet taste have remained constant over the millennia. The ancient gods apparently stay ancient in speech and actions. And then I thought of George Burns in the movie “Oh God”. Other modern movie gods come to mind. I think some religious folk, Evangelicals and the like, would be upset with a modern god concept, but most liberal Christians probably would not. They would like it. On the other hand, Muslims would cut off your head if you proposed a modern Allah. A modern god would know all about science and evolution and that would create a conflict. Better they let god remain as ignorant of science as he is in the bible. A modern, science accepting god is an oxymoron. He would say, “Oh my god I don’t exist.”

  2. William says:

    Nice work 🙂

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