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Jermonte Hatcher Malcolm Campbell English 1102 17 March 2014 Born This Way: Does Genetics or Society cause Homosexuality? Introduction Over the past decade, empowerment for the LGBTQ community has increased rapidly. Since the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996 under the Clinton Administration, 17 states have declared gay marriage as legal, approximately 150,000 gay couples have been married legally, and more recently in our federal government laws are being proposed stating that already-married gay couples can receive federal and legal benefits and services. With the empowerment of the LGBTQ community, many people question how these individuals define their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation defines the group of people in which one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling romantic relationships that are an essential component of personal identity for many people (American Psychological Association). Homosexuality can be defined as one of the many sexual orientations in which people can be intimately, emotionally, and physically attracted to another person who has the same sense of identity. This in turn refers to that person sharing the same attractions, related behaviors, and membership within the same community of the other person. According to current scientific and professional understanding, the core attractions that form the basis for adult sexual orientation typically emerge between middle childhood and early adolescence. These patterns of emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction may arise without any
Commented [AS1]: Where is this from? Commented [AS2R1]: Commented [AS3]: What current scientific and professional understanding?

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prior sexual experience. People can be celibate and still know their sexual orientation--be it lesbian, gay, bisexual, or heterosexual (American Psychological Association). Among many scientists, there are multiple reasons that an individual develops a type of orientation, which includes heterosexuality, bisexuality, gay, or lesbian orientations. Although much research has been done on the possible genetic, developmental, and social influences on sexual orientation, there have been no particular answers that have led researchers to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any direct, specific factors. There are two distinct justifications on how an individual determines themselves as being homosexual; nature and nurture. Nature in science means that you were born a specific way, while nurture means that the environment in some way had something to do with changing ones mindset. Research about this topic is still being done and attempts are still being made to create an understanding across the world. Most scientists today agree that there is supporting evidence including biological, environmental, and cognitive factors that influence a persons sexual orientation, but the more significant evidence suggests that there are indeed biological implications such as genes, that definitely play a role in this determination. As people continue to do research on such a controversial topic, the main question to begin with is what effects are included in deciding whether homosexuality is brought on by nature or nurture. Homosexuality used to be thought of as a mental disorder prior to and also in the late 20th Century. It wasnt until 1973, that the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association followed as well and declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1975. This was a result of the accumulated research done throughout the 19th and 20th centuries to see if how homosexuality was linked to the human mind and how can humans be thought of as having an attraction for any
Commented [AS5]: From where? Commented [AS4]: According to?

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other human other than the opposite sex, which is the normal way of living. Along with being homosexual, different people of the LGBT Community have different experiences regarding their sexual orientation. Some people know that they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual for a long time before they actually pursue relationships with other people. Some people engage in sexual activity (with same-sex and/or other sex partners) before even assigning a clear label to their sexual orientation. (American Psychological Association). Nurture Homosexuality for some people who do believe homosexuality should be frowned upon usually take on a role of stating or thinking that it is a choice. This can be described in a notion as homosexuality being caused in a nurturing way, nurture referring to all the environmental factors that may occur and come in connect with the body or mind after conception from the parents. This notion makes people believe that homosexuality is more for the nurture side because they do not believe you can be born gay. In my opinion and others for which I am sure, if you are not born gay, then you must have had a choice right? A lot of people probably tend lean more towards nurture due to the fact that people can get cancer or other genes that come already in the human body before they are born. There may be certain environmental factors such as bacteria or an illness or some kind to actually begin the process in which causes a trigger to deploy the actual cancer genes or disorder. According to Dr. Kevin Davies of University of London, and who has a doctorate in Genetics as well, Scientists have already linked some of these specific DNA variations with increased risk of common diseases and conditions, including cancer, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer's. Other snips affect the way people react toward certain drugs. Everyone carries between five and 50 genetic glitches that might predispose that person to a serious physical or mental illness (Davies).

Commented [AS6]: How was this research acquired? What studies or experiments were done, if any?

Commented [AS7]: Expand on your viewpoint

Commented [AS8]: Where was this information from?

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If all of this is indeed true, humans are not indeed born into the world hardwired but they do have different genes already programmed to do specific things whether they are good or bad things. If you have the trait or gene for something, it does not necessarily mean you are going to catch that disease. It is truly uncertain, it is just that you have the higher chance than another human being that has not traces or genes that are designated to give you a specific disease or disorder. The society we live in today suggest that there are not any reasons that a gay human being should be gay because there hasnt been a gay gene found yet, and if there has been, some people agree that the eradication of this gene is the best thing for society. Some people, but not all, deem homosexuality still to be a disorder or mental illness of some kind. Nurture is indeed the most common thought or idea that society believes to be the cause of homosexuality. In the United States, two particularly prominent influences fostering antihomosexual attitudes have been religious fundamentalism and heterosexism, the belief in the moral superiority of institutions and practices associated with heterosexuality. As adults, we all relate to the world based on a knowledge of who we are as individuals. There is a recognition of the self as an entity defined by our own individual sensations, thoughts, life experiences, and appearance. But we are not born with a knowledge of who we are, or what we are, because at birth we have no experience with being ourselves. The recognition of self is very important for survival because it allows the brain to become knowledgeable about the physical boundaries of the body that houses it and which it controls, and which it must protect and maintain in order to ensure its own survival. This process of recognition necessarily involves a child exploring every facet of its own body very early on in life, and becoming imprinted on all elements that are characteristic of itself. The inevitability of a child exploring its own body, coupled with this tendency for self-gratification, lead to a universal

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set of behaviors that have the potential to determine a childs sexuality (Gomes). We are not born gay according to many, and we are all born programmed mentally to be attracted to the opposite sex regardless of what has happened postnatal. With continued research and funding through major organizations, homosexuality can become less of a problem and society can live up to more of its potential. Nature Nature of course, is the process or belief that a certain genetic trait, type of personality, or way of life happens before the conception of the human body. To be clear, no one knows the effects that are included in determining which one is the correct term for how homosexuality is determined. The statements and research that I have come across seem to be more opinionated than factual. A great study and finding by Dr. Simon Lavay, can be identified as research for determining the sexual orientation though. According to Dr. Lavay, whom is a research scientist at Salk Institute, he knew he was already gay by the age of 12. During his research, Lavay studied over 40 brains. Lavay and his team of researchers concluded that the hypothalamus, which is a section of the brain, was in most cases, half the size in the homosexual men than the heterosexual men that he studied. This means that there are possible genetic reasons, biological really, that could play a part in the determination of homosexuality. He concluded overall that quite possibly, homosexual men have a physical, and biological trait that made them gay and therefore, being gay was in fact, not a choice and is a result of nature (Gallup, and Marcovitz). This could not have been a psychological reaction to ones environment, otherwise known as the nurture. Many other doctors have completed studies and has gained worldwide attention but no one, including the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric

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Association has deemed the cause of homosexuality to be directly linked to nature, which are in the likes of heterosexuals because that is normal of course for society. Among the psychological tests that were completed, there had been one notable test and based upon its findings, again, it had caused great controversy in the scientific world. Pillard and J. Michael Bailey, professors of psychology at Northwestern University, conducted in the early 1990s that found that homosexuality is largely biologically determined, not environmentally influenced (Cornuelle). These two University professors studied a select group, handpicked identical and fraternal twins to be exact. They also decided to use two brothers who were nonrelated and were adopted as well in their study. In an effort to prove if there was any genetic explanation for homosexuality, the professors found that if one identical twin was gay, 52 percent of the time the other was also. For the fraternal twin, it was only 22 percent and also for the nonrelated adopted brothers, the figure was only five percent. These findings have been debated and talked about for the coming decades and also were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (Cornuelle). The apparent impossibility of changing a persons sexual orientation in any way is an important argument against the role of society or environment on the development of homosexuality, and against the view that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice (Bao, and Swaab 214-26). Sexual Orientation such as homosexuality, are programmed into our brans during the early stages of life. There is no evidence that ones postnatal social environment plays a crucial role in gender identity or sexual orientation (Bao, and Swaab 214-26). Gender and orientation are considered to be preprogrammed into the brain or genes of an individual before birth. A great example would be case of David Reimer, who was a little boy that another researcher (last name Money) followed throughout life from an experimental view. David at

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the time was an 8-month-old boy, who lost his penis due to a mistake during a minor surgical procedure. He was then made into a female in which, the testicles were removed before he reached the age of 17 months in order to facilitate feminization (Bao, and Swaab 214-26). According to Moneys recordings, he was developing as a normal female, and as it turns out, Reimer never identified as female, and that he in fact resumed his life as a male when he was 14 years old. Shortly, after though, due to bullying and other environmental and social issues, Reimer committed suicide in 2004. This story illustrates the strength of the irreversible programming influence during the intrauterine period on gender identity (Bao, and Swaab 21426). Family studies indicate that the development of sexual orientation is largely a matter of genetics. It is, however, still unclear exactly which genes play such a role. A number of genetic studies have suggested a maternal transmission, in example, an X-linked inheritance. The Xchromosome has accumulated genes involved in sex, reproduction and cognition. A metaanalysis of four linkage studies suggested that Xq28 may indeed play an important role in male homosexuality (Bao, and Swaab 214-26). Given the complexity of the development of sexual orientation it is likely to involve many genes. A genome-wide linkage screening did indeed lead to the identification of a number of chromosomal regions and candidate genes that deserve more research and attention (Bao, and Swaab 214-26).

Conclusion The main question I had was to find out what effects are included in deciding whether homosexuality is brought on by nature or nurture. As I have already stated, as adults, we all relate to the world based on a knowledge of who we are as individuals. There is a recognition of

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the self as an entity defined by our own individual sensations, thoughts, life experiences, and appearance. But we are not born with a knowledge of who we are, or what we are, because at birth we have no experience with being ourselves. The recognition of self is very important for survival because it allows the brain to become knowledgeable about the physical boundaries of the body that houses it and which it controls, and which it must protect and maintain in order to ensure its own survival. Likewise with that opinion, there is no solid proof that postnatal development plays a role of any importance when it comes to directing sexual orientation. There are incidences where the X chromosome has multiple genes that do indeed affect the femininity or the specific androgens which are steroid hormones to decrease or increase in the human body. An increase or decrease of either of the two can determine whether a child inside a pregnant mothers body will become male or female. But more importantly, some different genes as well (researchers arent sure which ones) will affect the X chromosome in a way that makes the child have a greater than 50 percent chance of becoming homosexual or heterosexual. On the contrary, proof for the idea that homosexuality is caused by deficient upbringing, or that it is a lifestyle choice or an effect of social learning is also lacking. Therefore, it is to our opinion totally irrational that some people still forbid their children to play with homosexual friends for fear that homosexuality may be catching or learned (Bao, and Swaab 214-26). As we get more advanced into the future, scientists and researchers will continue to make more advanced studies and surely, there will be a more accurate answer as to which of the two ideas, nature or nurture, is the more correct answer. That in turn, will finally grant more serenity and give us more answers for the LGBTQ community and finally, give us more civil liberties that we deserve as human beings.
Commented [AS9]: So, your paper was written beautifully. You just need to remember to cite everything and show your viewpoint strongly.

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Works Cited "Answers to Your Questions For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality." Http://www.apa.org. The American Psychological Association, n.p. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. http://apa.org/topics/sexuality/orientation.aspx

Bao, Ai-Min, and Dick Swaab. "Sexual differentiation of the human brain: Relation to gender Identity, sexual orientation, and neuropsychiatric disorders." Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. 32.2 (2011): 214-26. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. http://www.sciencedirect.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/science/article/pii/S0091302211000252?np=y

Cornuelle, Kimberly. "BU Today." BU Today RSS. Boston University, 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. http://www.bu.edu/today/2010/nature-vs-nurture-the-biology-of-sexuality/

Davies, Kevin. "NOVA: Nature vs. Nurture Revisited." www. Pbs.org. N.p., 17 Apr. 2001. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/nature-versus-nurture-revisited.html

Friedman, Richard, and Jennifer Downey. Homosexuality. New England Journal of Medicine. (1994): 923-930. Web. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199410063311407

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Gallup, George, and Hal Marcovitz. "Chapter 2: Nature or Nurture." Teen's & Gay Issues (2005): N.pag. Points of View Reference Center. Database. 18 Mar 2014. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/pov/detail?vid=7&sid=86606875-489d-45dca0ad 7b5655470f05@sessionmgr4003& hid=4204&bdata=JnNpdGU9cG92LWxpdmU=

Gomes, Christopher. Sexual Orientation and Development: Link Between Childhood Gential Fixation & Homosexuality. True Nature: A Theory of Human Sexual Evolution. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Mar 2014. www.humansexualevolution.com/sexual-orientation-development.htm.