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.
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.