This is an article about homosexuality and genetics, which I why I decided to post it here rather than in the GLBTQI group. Part two will be published tomorrow. P.S.: Dr. Rahman is just beautiful, IMO. :) - DG

Gay by nature: Part one

What causes homosexuality? Can sexual orientation be changed? And are the brains of gay people different from those of straight people? Adrian Tippetts meets Dr Qazi Rahman, an assistant professor in Cognitive Biology from Queen Mary University London, to find out more.

While almost all scientists accept homosexuality has purely natural causes, the debate has been mired in confusion. There have been conflicting reports about the existence of ‘gay’ genes and their significance. Religious propagandists have tried to promote the myths that sexuality is changeable. And the mainstream media, more interested in causing controversy than holding rational debate, has done little to raise public understanding about the issue. For Dr Rahman, who heads QMUL’s Biological and Experimental Psychology Group, it is quite clear: you’re born gay, and that’s that.

I begin by asking him what aspects of biology are responsible for sexual orientation.

Read the rest here.

Tags: GLBTQI, gay, genetics, homosexual, homosexuality, lesbian, nature v. nurture, sexuality

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for your input. I'll post part 2 soon. If not today, then tomorrow.
I've read both parts as well, and frankly I am confused. I have a friend who is heterosexual, but who has a gay brother and sister. (Their father is a minister, a fact which makes me smile:) I wonder how complicated the genetic and environmental factors are in this and other human behavior characteristics.

I do believe that homosexuality is clearly a born trait, not something one becomes due entirely to experience. I agree entirely with Adriana that human sexual orientation is amazingly complex and trying to pin down any one component is not reasonable.

One of the most fascinating parts of the story is what role evolution plays in this and other traits that are not directly linked to individual survival and reproduction. With humans, there are so many traits exhibited by individuals that contribute to the survival of the species rather than the individual itself. Altruism, caring for non-related individuals, education of others' children, etc. What traits do homosexuals exhibit that would contribute to the survival of the species? (An open question, based on my own ignorance).
Homosexual selection: The power of same-sex liaisons

...The burning question is why same-sex behaviour would evolve at all when it runs counter to evolutionary principles. But does it? In fact there are many good reasons for same-sex sexual behaviour. What's more, Zuk and Bailey suggest that in a species where it is common, it is an important driving force in evolution.

Although terms such as homosexual, gay and transgender are commonly used by the mass media, and even by some ethologists, Bailey and Zuk believe you shouldn't extend these descriptors of human sexuality to animals. "It's not simply that they are burdened with the weight of social, moral and political implications, which can obscure objective scientific study," says Bailey. "The problem is that while we can observe the sexual behaviour of animals, we often have little inkling about what motivates it." Besides, as far as we know animals do not form sexual self-identities in the way humans do, he adds. That is why he and Zuk prefer to use the more objective term "same-sex sexual behaviour", which they define as behaviours found in two animals of the same sex that you would find in opposite-sex pairs during courtship, copulation or parenting.


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