Repeat a myth enough times and some people come to believe it – but that still does not make the myth true. Such is the case with the myth that when it comes to homosexuality people are made that way. It makes for a catchy line in a Lady Gaga song, but it doesn’t make it true.
Indeed, researchers have been digging for years to find some physical cause for one to be “homosexual,” – a so-called “gay gene” in the popular shorthand – but have been unable to do so. The evidence, in fact, counters that theory (some of the studies of identical twins, for example).
While there seems to be within humans a range of sexual inclinations/predispositions, the evidence indicates that a variety of environmental factors play the main role in determining whether one identifies oneself as homosexual. Those factors include where one is raised, the home life, the models one has (or lack), societal and peer pressure, and so on. Again, studies of identical twins provide some strong support for this. Medical, psychological, anthropological studies all support this.
The norm in nature is to engage in heterosexual activities. While there are individuals in a number of species that engage in homosexual activities, such activities are not the norm – they are not “normal” – and are often linked to environmental factors.
Beyond environmental factors, whether one chooses to engage in homosexual activities is in the end just that, a choice. All sexual activity is a choice. One can choose to be celibate. One can chose to marry and engage in sexual activities with one’s husband/wife. One can choose to engage in sexual activities with as many partners as possible (the playboy/playgirl). One can choose to engage in homosexual activities. But it’s a matter of conscious choice. Surely you are not arguing that the individual who identifies himself/herself as homosexual is somehow less able to control his/her sexual activities?
And, one’s sexual activities do not define who one is. Indeed, defining oneself by sexual activities limits who one is. I am not a heterosexual – I am a human being.
To use an example: In my family there are a number of individuals who are addicted to alcohol and nicotine, and, to a lesser degree, other drugs. There seems to be in the family a predisposition toward addiction. But environment plays a role in shaping whether one engages in that behavior – pressures in the family, role models, availability, and so on. Alcohol and tobacco were legal and readily available, unlike illegal drugs, so those are the addictive substances of choice among most of my family members who have become addicts. But in the end the individual chooses whether or not to consume. Being aware of the tendencies in my family, I have always been careful about where I choose to go, with whom I choose to associate, how I choose to deal with pressures and difficulties, and what I choose to consume. I limit how much I drink. I chose early on not to smoke.
Right now, society is promoting/reinforcing various myths about homosexuality. People believe these myths because they are popular and accepted, they are cool, and so on.
But that does not make those myths any more true.
Pax et bonum