Whether gay people are nature versus nurture has been an ongoing debate for as long as I can remember. Personally, I never liked the framing of the issue. Gay people on one side insists that its nature in order to justify equal rights among other things; because being gay is in-born, i.e nature, equal rights should be according and many try so hard to find the “gay gene” to prove the opposition wrong.
Equally when some gay person says that theirs is a choice, everyone is up in arms to declare them lunatic and frauds. I think that they are afraid if choice is really true, their nature argument will disintegrate and with it their rights. As I say, its a framing issue, because gay people use this argument against the opposition, who are the first one to draw the sharp division of nature or nurture, many are not able to see beyond the dichotomy and fall into the trap set by the opposition.
Frankly, I never liked this nature argument, not because I don’t believe in it, but how it is being framed. The argument goes that a gay gene exists or gay people are by nature born this way, that is why gay people should not be criminalized. This is a rather dangerous argument because if scientists also find genes that make people steal or commit murder, would it be argued that in a similar vein, they should also be allowed to do what they do because its in the genes? Of course, this is rather extreme and stealing and murder causes and inflicts harm to others, but not being gay. But if we use the nature/gene argument, what would stop someone else from using the same argument for other tendencies that are in-born?
Actually, I believe one of the reasons why gay proponents use the nature argument so much is because the opposition camp class it as “unnatural” and as a choice. So the counter argument would be that it is not unnatural and also not a choice. Of course, to say that it is a choice is to imply that everyone at stage in their live actually gets to decide their sexual orientation. So to ask the question “If gay people choose to be gay, then when do straight people choose to be gay?” is quite enough to demolish the “choice” argument.
To my view, why should we care if its nature or nurture? We don’t criminalize people for choosing to play golf or choosing a religion. Even if being gay is a choice, why should we criminalize that choice? Because its unnatural? Is playing golf natural or taking up a religion for that matter. Which animals play golf or have religion?
For me, I would want to get away from the nature versus nurture debate because it just doesn’t make sense, neither does it really address the issue of equality and discrimination correctly. For example, black people has been discriminated by their colonial masters for so long, yet nobody disagree that they are born black and nobody argues that they choose to be black, yet discrimination laws still existed then. In a way, the nature argument supports discrimination and equal rights, but doesn’t guarantees it. Also just because something is nurture does it mean we should criminalize it? I really hate to see all these effort to find or not find the gay genes. Sure its nice to know, but I would rather have all the energy to education people and correct misconception and myths.
We are here and we are queer, we have been here since god knows when and will be here and will still be queer and it doesn’t matter to me if you think that I am a product of nature or nurture.
A discourse from Sam on ths: http://thinkingbetterthinkingmeta.blogspot.sg/2013/02/nature-nurture-bleah.html