Do You Choose to be Homosexual?
Is it possible for one to choose his or her sexual orientation? Is one's sexual orientation something that can be changed, or is it a fixed attraction? These are a few questions, among many others that have been raised by researchers and religious organizations, as well as everyday people. Particularly, over the last decade there have been various debates over whether sexual orientation is based on genetic factors or whether it is a choice.
Most researchers find that homosexuality, like many others psychological conditions, is due to a combination of social, biological, or psychological factors (1). Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover believes influences including a postnatal environment have an impact on one's sexual orientation. Examples within this postnatal environment include cultural behavior as well as the behavior of one's parents and siblings (1). This is just one specification that one's sexual orientation is determined at a young age, and is a lifestyle that is not chosen. A statement issued by the American Psychological Association can support this observation. A spokesperson for the organization states that "...However, many scientists share the view that sexual orientation is shaped for most people at an early age through complex interactions of biological, psychological, and social factors" (1).
Richard Green, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted a study that compared effeminate and "masculine" boys (3). In this study, Green found that children who grow up to become homosexual often engage in "gender inappropriate play" in their early childhood. "Feminine" boys generally played four times as much with dolls and about a third as much with trucks than a "normal" or "masculine" boy (3). At the end of his study, Green concluded that 75% of emasculate boys grew up to be gay adults. He also found similar results among adult lesbians (3). Based on this study, one can further conclude that homosexuality is not a taught behavior, nor is it a copied behavior from other children in a family.
According to a study done by Simon LeVay, a former Associate Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and current Adjunct Professor of biology at the University of California, sexual orientation is based substantially on biological makeup. LeVay found that the brains of a group of gay men differed from those of straight men (2). Specifically, the nucleus of the hypothalamus, which triggers male-typical sex behavior, revealed a small, but significant difference in the clusters of neutrons of homosexual men as opposed to heterosexual men. It was also found that the nucleus looked more like that of a woman's, which amounts to approximately half the size of a heterosexual male (4). In addition, LeVay...