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Nature vs nurture homosexuality statistics population

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W hat makes us lesbian or gay?

I don't know about you but I was born a baby, not a lesbian. At least I don't remember fancying the midwife. But scientists I have interviewed for my forthcoming book tell me that the brains of gay people look different from those of heterosexuals. There is even one theory about why gay men and lesbians are rubbish at following directionswhich would definitely explain me being unable to read a map.

However, there are those — medics, social constructionists, Nature vs nurture homosexuality statistics population feminists, postmodernists and, incongruously, rightwing anti-gay bigots — who believe that sexuality is nurture not nature. So who is right?

Almost 40 years since homosexuality was removed from the list of recognised mental disorders, scientists persist in searching for a "cause", refusing to consider whether sexuality and sexual desire could be social constructs, not biological or genetically determined. Such scientific studies span years. The history of these experiments is not a proud one. The Nazis specialised in them, with a view to eradicating homosexuality. Since then, there have been countless attempts to identify a "gay gene" or some simple, biological basis for being attracted to the same sex.

It is also argued that some of us only "realise" we are later in life, and others choose to live in the closet through fear or shame. The rest of us grow up feeling and appearing different from straight people, with gay men being a bit camp and liking Madonna and lesbians favouring KD Lang and power drills. Because we are hardwired to be gay, goes the theory, it is pointless for anyone to attempt to convert us to being straight.

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The topic often causes a huge stir, both within the community and in wider society. Last year, the journalist Patrick Strudwick argued in the Independent that the actor Cynthia Nixon played straight into the hands of the homophobes when she told the New York Times that she chose to be gay, stating: Either way, Strudwick's view is Nature vs nurture homosexuality statistics population dominant one in the west today.

I believe that we can be against homophobic aversion therapy and still argue against a gay gene, but my views on whether we are born that way could well change during the course of my research.

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At the moment, however, I suspect that rather than biology being destiny, our sexual preference is shaped by a combination of early experiences, peer pressure, opportunity, circumstances and fate.

Do the heterosexuals reading this ever wonder how they ended up straight, especially since so many of you will have had crushes on or even sexual contact with someone of the same sex at some stage? Why do the majority of the gay rights lobby get so nervous when some of us speak of being gay as a positive alternative Nature vs nurture homosexuality statistics population heterosexuality?

Is our sexuality really something genetically imposed on us that we have no control over? Why is so much effort put into locating a gay gene and not a paedophile gene?

Are we seen as even more dangerous than child abusers, or is it that it some of us have so little pride in who we are that we behave as though we are born with a kink in our nature? If we have been led to believe that we are powerless to determine our sexual orientation does that protect us from the bigots? How does it explain bisexuality?

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What about the " late bloomers "the Hasbians and Yestergays? I don't just want to rely on the differing opinions of the psychiatrists, biologists, psychologists and medics to look at this issue.

I want to hear from you. Have you always felt gay or lesbian? Or were you happily heterosexual until you fell in love with someone of the same sex, like Cynthia Nixon?

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