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An Investigation Homosexuality-Nature or Nuture?

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To what extent can different psychological explanations and factors account for HOMOSEXUALITY? Homosexuality - the term was first coined in the late 19th century by a German psychologist called Karoly Maria Benkert. The origin and implications of homosexuality have been debated for some time; politicians decide the legality of gay marriages, religious institutions the inclusion of gays in the church and companies, gays in the workplace. Many different theories regarding the root of homosexuality can be found, as far back as Ancient Greece. Aristophanes (448-380 BC) investigates homosexuality as a desire by men to 'share a long-term fulfilment of the soul' and it is well known that many men at this time engaged in same-sex relationships. But are homosexuals the result of learned behaviour from their environment or is it a characteristic they were born with, their biology and genetics? Public opinion differs (see Table 1) and current debates endures as both sides have the ability to create a scientific argument to support their cause. Table 1 - Public Opinion The Nature Concept The nature concept explores the possibility of a specific gene or combination of genes which are present in utero that predispose people to homosexuality. Gay advocates support this and claim that proving it will result in "wider social acceptance and better protection against discrimination" (Swidey, 2005). The discrimination against gays would become a matter of their human rights. It has been widely known for years that eye colour and hair colour are determined by specific genes. ...read more.


Figure 1 Hypothetical placement of the "gay gene," on the X chromosome. NCBI. Hamer chose 40 pairs of homosexual brothers and found that 33 of them shared a set of five markers on the long arm of the X chromosome. In the July 19, 1993 edition of Science, Hamer reported that the linkage translated to a "99.5% certainty that there is a gene (or genes) in this area of the X chromosome that predisposes a male to become a heterosexual" (Hamer et al., 1993). -4- The clear cause of sexual orientation research has shifted to biological causes and in just the last few months scientists in Vienna announced that they had isolated a master genetic switch for sexual orientation in the fruit fly; once 'flicked' the genetically altered males ignored overtures from the females and instead attempted to mate with other males! **(Gene paragraph here) Some claim that a specific gene causing homosexuality is unlikely as homosexuals cannot reproduce amongst themselves. But it is not uncommon for homosexual men to father children for many reasons; some attempt to overcome their homosexuality and produce offspring, other simply want to be fathers and bear children bcause of the desire to reproduce. Homosexuality does not prohibit a person from being an excellent parent. Another issue relative to a physiological cause is hormones which control and stimulate various functions of the body. There is speculation that a difference in hormones could be the cause for an erotic attraction to the same gender. ...read more.


Basically he believes homosexuality is a choice and a morally wrong one, perpetuated by a persons decision to act on it. An advocate of the Christian therapy for homosexuality he argues that no research has actually proved a genetic association to homosexuality. Conclusion Researchers on all sides of the debate agree that the link between a gene and a behaviour is not the same as cause and effect. A gene may increase the likelihood of a behaviour but it does not make people do things, which ultimately means that we still get to choose who we will be. **Add Bem's theories and table Guilt is perhaps one of the greatest reasons for the born or made debate. If born a homosexual then guilt is removed as it can be reduced to an issue such as the colour of ones hair or eyes. Others insist homosexuals make a lifestyle choice and that the heterosexual majority could then condemn the homosexual minority. . **Add penguin story Whatever your personal opinion the accumulating biological evidence is having an effect. In February Reverand Rob Schenck, a prominent evangelical leader in Washington DC stated that he believes homosexuality is not a choice but rather a disposition and that this conversion came about after he had spoken to genetic researchers and counsellors. His message? "If it is inevitable that this scientific evidence is coming we have to be prepared with a loving response. If we do not have one we will not have any credibility" Although an interesting debate it seems that no one theory or experiment gives a definitive answer ...read more.

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