The "Born This Way" argument has created a politically-charged atmosphere in the search for causes of homosexual behavior. The gay rights activists have, unfortunately, based their strategy on the claim that "homosexuality" (the exclusive sexual attraction to the same sex) is a genetically-determined trait. This is a desperate cry for rights, basically seeking "disabled" status for "gays." Contrast this "We Can't Help It" argument with the fight for racial rights, "We're The Same As You." Because of this atmosphere, sympathetic researchers very optimistically search for models to explain the confusingly "paradoxical" presence of such "gay genes." Sympathetic journalists jump at every opportunity to report on new evidence and bold conclusions, no matter how weak they may actually be. This is the reality of the dialogue between science and the public. In the public sphere, you must support the biological argument if you support gay rights, and naysayers are anti-gay bigots, but this is not how science works.
One benefit to this politically-charged environment is that religious conservative anti-gay bigots do the work for us and harshly criticize the studies that researchers and journalists are so optimistic about. Since, as we know, all naysayers are anti-gay bigots, gay rights activists probably would blindly dismiss these criticisms. But what makes arguments so great is that they are unaffected by political environments. If anyone is curious about what makes the evidence for biological origins of sexual orientation so flawed, religious conservative anti-gay bigots can be very useful tools. Decide for yourself if their criticisms are valid. Do keep in mind that they are religious conservative anti-gay bigots, so don't expect every criticism to seem valid.
Genetics and Homosexuality: Are People Born Gay? The Biological Bas...
"Born that way" theory
Some examples of criticisms:
The good news is that religious conservative anti-gay bigots are wasting their time. It doesn't matter whether sexual orientation is a valid construct or whether it has biological origins. Everyone deserves the freedom to love, pursuing any sex and gender of their desire (or choosing). In fact, by arguing against its biological origins, they are arguing for their own potential to be attracted to the same sex. They are unintentionally liberating themselves from the artificial limits of social-constructionist sexual orientation (shorter and simpler explanation) just by arguing for its existence. After all, it can only be restrictive if one is convinced one actually possesses a "real," essentialist sexual orientation.
I plan to post relevant criticisms and my own critiques of articles over time.
What else could they mean when they say they were "born this way"? Maybe I've been misunderstanding them this whole time.
"Any number of ... factors," or a factor? I guess I should rephrase it as biological origins.
@ Tenken: "It doesn't matter whether sexual orientation is a valid construct or whether it has genetic origins."
I agree because in my opinion it is not the inclusion of homosexual that has to be justified but the exclusion. Of course, there is no good moral justification for this exclusion.
@ The Nerd: "I'm not so sure that "born this way" and "genetic cause" are the same thing."
You are right about desiring a distinction. Genetic code does not always actualize the same way in each person. Also, pre-natal environment and psycho-development also play roles separate from genetics.
I've always held that it is a matter of both nature and nurture: that is, if nature plays a role (hormonal, whatever) so does, to a certain extent at least, nurture. I am researching the life of the American poet, Hart Crane. He was an only child and heard nothing kind from either parent, as they were too busy arguing. In fact, his parents divorced when he was quite young. He never liked or got along with his father (yes, I hear the aha! of the Freud disciples) and in Crane's childhood years received physical abuse from his father (one of the poems references whippings). He took his mother's side in all arguments until Hart figure out, too late in life to do anything about it, that his mother enjoyed manipulating him: she would write letters saying mom was ill and could you forget your poet's life and come to help, and when he ran into a mutual friend a few days later was told, "That's funny, she looked in the pique of health." Hart had it coming and going, so to speak: he drank himself almost to death, then jumped ship in the Atlantic on a Veracruz to New York voyage. Ironically, his most obviously homosexual poem is entitled "Voyages." (Crane loved sailors most of all.)
If you find some interesting stuff about Crane, I'd like to hear more.
I did a lot of research for a high schooler on Albert Camus on my free time (several biographies, essays on his essays, and reading his actual work). I bring this up because his real life relationship with his mother and the absence of his father played a major role in his work. It be interesting to do a nurture analysis of Camus as well.