Is Gay Biological or Chosen?

Spartans by Degas (1834–1917).

[I promised this post a few days ago in the face of ongoing controversy]

Several conservative commentators in NZ have been strongly derided in public recently by so-called ‘right wing bloggers’ and the media for daring to suggest that gays “choose” to be so.  This view is accepted by them as “demented” and at variance with “science.”  There is a certain default setting in some media circles, that says gay = biological and that science has proven this (a bit like the Evolution mantra). THIS IS UNTRUE.

The Gene vs Choice (Biology vs Nurture) debate about homosexuality is very old and the science well-travelled. You can Google any number of academic studies to prove whatever case you want, it all depends on your criteria and how the ‘science’ was framed (many sex researchers are, for example, openly gay). What, for example, do you mean by “homosexual?” Active, celebate, cerebral, sodomite, occasional, experimenter, bi.?

But this point is clear: that homosexuality is cultural, and manifests disproportionately in some countries (mainly Western affluent urban centers) and has done so only in recent time, mainly the later 20th C. (Classical Greek homosexuality was something quite different, see below). That suggests to me homosexuality is something to do with human thought processes, fashion, and societal change rather than anything biological.  Otherwise it would be widely and fairly spread, through nations and time, which it patently and obviously is not.  Homosexuality is a social outcome of affluent free societies. As one of the great social theroists Jean Foucault, concluded,

“…homosexuality became because we made it so.”

Having looked at Kinsey and many other sexual academic studies, this is my conclusion in the context of a wide variety of evidence taken as a whole (not one isolated study) and looking at the history of man objectively (I’m an historian and classicist).

If you disagree with this, explain then how and why homosexuality has GROWN since the 1960s.  Is it a biological virus in the genes of recent babies?

Foucault said “homosexuality” appeared as a form of sexuality only “after it was transposed from the practice of sodomy into a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul.”

Initially the American Psychological Association ‘diagnosed’ homosexuality as a “disorder.”  The APA changed that largely as a result of Karen Hooker’s 1957 research for the National Institute of Mental Health.

Currently the APA states sexual orientation is not a choice, rather that “…it emerges from most people in early adolescence with no prior sexual experience” but many social theorists argue environmental upbringing influences sexual orientation and the scientific and academic communities are totally divided (as science always is).

IT CANNOT BE CONCLUDED GAYNESS IS BIOLOGICAL or ENVIRONMENTAL or that ‘science’ proves one or the other. Having an opinion on either side is therefore rational and valid (DPF at Kiwiblog and CS at Whaleoil take note).

Greek ‘homosexuality’

Same-sex relations was common in ancient Greek society, in fact the Dorian macho totalitarian Spartans (of, ironically enough, “300” now a gay cult movie, like Xena Warrior Princess is to lesbians)  institutionalised it. Greeks, especially the Corinthians (an affluent western urban centre) were especially known as a by-word for sexual excess (a worse sin in Greece than buggery). But it was all part of the Greek embrace of everything carnal, which in some areas was deeply religious (The Temple of Artemis of Ephesus was, for example, an open sewer of ritualised male and female prostitution). Same-sex was never classified as a separate sexuality or humaness, as being sought today (and most recently in NZ with various political machinations). Socrates was a famous bugger, and in part executed for it (“corrupting the youth of Athens”).  He was lampooned and pilloried in Aristophanes’ play The Clouds (“Don’t go in there, in the Thinkery [Socrates' school] …you’ll be infected with his buggery”).

Greek comedian playwright Aristophanes critiqued homosexuality in his Symposium, concluding it a desire by men to share a long-term fulfillment of the soul (‘looking for Dad’ syndrome; Freudian ‘Oedipal issues’) something akin to the 19th to early 20th C. conceptions of British boarding-house male adventure companionship (which was mostly Platonic, another Greek-ism). Aristophanes believed two souls longed for togetherness (a common yearning in our dislocated modern life) and that sex itself (or lust) was not sufficient to create homosexuality, but that the cultural environment allowed or prevented the relationship happening.

In conclusion: homosexuals are free to practice their sexuality in our open and pluralistic society.  Conservatives are free to disagree with political laws imposed on them based on assumptions (sexuality is a new species) with which they disagree, that will utterly change social norms and mores of some several hundred if not thousands, of years duration.  Whether or not gays choose to be so, or not, we all choose our politics and the society we want, and the current amendments to our life and culture is CHOSEN and being forced upon people who do not agree.  Isn’t that the more important choice or not?

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About coNZervative

A blog about politics, life, culture, literature, music and thought from Christchurch, New Zealand [NZ] (the home of 10,000 earthquakes since 4 Sept. 2010) built because of the bullying and cajoling of Liberal opinion-makers (journalism and Hollywood) against conservative-minded people who are as entitled to opinion and a perspective as anyone; and because Conservativism has served the world well. John Stringer is a New Zealander (Christchurch) in his 40s married to an American from Taco Bell; they have 5 adult children in 3 diff. countries. John is an ex-Anglican pastor, a teacher, published author (NZ), novelist (USA) and cartoonist (Aust, NZ), and has spent the last 25 years in NZ politics with the National party (he was a parliamentary candidate in 1999). There was a stint in London working for the British Conservative party as well, where he did media minding and campaign work with several Brit cabinet ministers, including Baroness Thatcher, Baroness Blatch, Michael Howard, Tom King, among others. He has an MA (classical studies, Victoria); is a graduate of the New York Film Academy; and has various awards for writing. His passions include British bulldogs, fly fishing, and history (Ancient and WWII). Winston Churchill was mainly a “Conservative” but also a “Liberal” MP between 1900-1964. A Member of Parliament for 64 years, he contested 21 parliamentary elections (for Oldham, Manchester North West, Dundee, and Epping/Woodford). Throughout his career Churchill stood for liberty. He believed in open debate and freedom of speech, and opposed any system or ideology that tried to dictate the way one should think. Churchill felt deeply that disagreements within the democratic system should not degenerate into personal animosities. RIDER: This site is not connected to nzconservative, a Catholic site, or NZ Conservative Party, although from time-to-time I share some of the views espoused by both groups and other sites I follow, as published; I am an independent thinker and blogger.
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3 Responses to Is Gay Biological or Chosen?

  1. Pingback: DNA or GAY (again) | coNZervative

  2. chiz says:

    Bizarre reasoning. The concept of sexual orientation, as distinct from sexual behaviour, was only developed in the 19th century so its not surprising that you don’t see explicit references to it using modern concepts. Nevertheless even the Greeks knew that some men preferred sex with other men, and we know of examples of Greek men partnering with men rather than women. So homosexuality existed back then and isn’t recent.

    • coNZervative says:

      Thanks M.C. for your comment. Ancient sexuality incl. same-sex relationships was totally different to how we frame modern homosexuality today, as a different form of human-ness, which was – and I was quoting a foremost behavioural scientists of the 20th C. Foucault – styled recently, especially in the later 20thC.

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