1. People & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Nature vs Nurture


Nature vs Nurture


What is the nature concept?
In relation to homosexuality, the nature concept explores the possibility of a specific gene or combination of genes present at the time of birth that genetically predispose people to homosexuality. In other words, some people are born gay.

What if people are born gay?
Gay advocates say proving there is a gay gene will provide "wider social acceptance and better protection against discrimination," as Neil Swidey writes in his article, "What Makes People Gay?" Proving that being gay is not a choice means that discrimination against gays becomes a matter of civil rights.


"You can't 'make' someone gay no more than you can 'make' someone straight. Of course environmental factors affect our sexuality. You just can't generalize these types of things. Ultimately what you end up doing is trying to figure out how to stop it-- like it's a disease or something--instead of trying to help people ACCEPT themselves for who they are and help nurture them into healthy relationships." (read more)



What is the nurture concept?
We're all influenced by our environment, but to what extent? The nurture concept of homosexuality argues that social, parental and environmental variables influence a person's homosexuality. A nurtured gay person is one that is "made" gay.

What if people are made gay?
For some time, the notion of an overbearing mother or an absent father or even sexual abuse were thought to be catalyst of future gay people. If the root of homosexuality does not lie within DNA, then the nurture concept implies people have a choice whether to be gay or not be gay. Many ex-gay reparative therapy groups believe that homosexuality can be reversed or "repaired". Some religious organizations also believe that the concept of Adam and Eve (or one man, one woman), provides an absolute explanation that homosexuality is unnatural.


"Might any of these factors (in the life of someone male) contribute towards giving him a gay disposition, or at least make him more inclined to seek the love of men? An alcoholic parent, mother or father; A cold parent, mother or father; Having been in a boys boarding school since about 12/13." (read more)


Can the origin of same gender loving feelings be absolute? Does it lay within the complexities of the beginning of man or the development of society?

If homosexuality is indeed a product of a special genome (I dare not say a flawed one), then will that lead to predetermination by expecting parents at the time the baby's sex is revealed? I envision some parents being excited to hear the sexual makeup of their fetus while others seek to "repair" the gay gene. Lawmakers would be obligated to protect gay people, just as any other group of individuals with a predetermined genetic makeup. The religious implications would be widespread and increase the growing list of religious organizations that welcome gay members.

The concept of a homemade gay person cannot be ignored either. Is there a consistent pattern between a person's parental or environmental influences and their sexuality? Does the explanation of homosexuality lie within Paul Ewald's theory that homosexuality is a virus or the reparative therapy model that a traumatic life situation planted the seed of choice? Some debate that homosexuality is not deserving of natural rights since it has not been proven that being gay is indeed the same as any other born characteristic.

Or, is it possible that being gay is a combination of both nature and nurture? Imagine a person that is born gay, but their same gender feelings are either perpetuated or (not perpetuated) by their environment. If this were indeed the case, homosexuality would only be an issue of if or when one comes out of the closet.

Either scenario, researchers will continue to hunt for the origin of homosexuality. Many avenues have been explored, from isolating DNA to observing gay animals, but as of yet, no one absolute explanation of homosexuality has been found. And even if it were, would society accept it?

Continue reading: Why is there a search for the origin of homosexuality?
  1. About.com
  2. People & Relationships
  3. Gay Life
  4. Gay Men's Health
  5. Issues
  6. Nature vs. Nurture
  7. Sexual Orientation - Nature vs. Nurture

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.