HomosexualityThe origins of human sexuality and homosexuality in particular have puzzledphilosophers, theologians and ordinary people for thousands of years. In scattercultures, homosexuals have been regarded as a normal part of life, however, samesex attraction to most cultures have been treated as an unforgivable sin or aterrible crime. Many psychologists and psychiatrist had attempted to “treatand counsel” the homosexuals.
In our social norm, male attracts to female andfemale attracts to male. To everyone this is a natural and biological urge. However, there is a significant minority who attracts to their own sex. It’sabout five percent of the population in the world. There are many opposingviewpoints of whether it derives from variation in our genes or our physiology,from the intricacies of our personal history or from convergence of these? Is itfor that matter a choice rather than a compulsion? Chances are no one factor orstudy can alone explicate and clarify the human sexual orientation.
However,there are evidences that prove being gay is not a choice. The nature ofhomosexuality primarily comes from one’s biological sexual orientation and theenvironment is just a source to bring forth or repress the behavior Manyresearchers and scientists have long search for the distinguishable brainstructures, the biochemistry in the human brains to differentiate thedifferences to classify between the two obvious sexes we now have in oursociety, male and female. Such sex differentiation of the brain’s structure iscalled sexual dimorphism. . (LeVay/ Hamer 22) The first significant observationof sexual dimorphism performed in an animal laboratory.
Roger A. Gorski, aprofessor at University of California, Los Angeles, conducted an experiment onrats. In 1978, Gorski examined the rat’s hypothalamus, a region at the base ofits brain that is involved in instinctive behaviors and regulation ofmetabolism. He discovered there is a group on front of the hypothalamus isseveral times larger in millimeter of the male rats compared to the female rats.
The cell group is very small but it could be easily observed on a stained slicewhen being viewed under a microscope. More interestingly, Gorski’s findingapplied to the sexual orientation between males and females. That particulargroup of cell is known as the medial preoptic are has been involved in thesexual behaviors typically displayed in males. For instance, if there is a malerat has a injury medial preoptic area, he apparently couldn’t indifferent tosex with another female.
From the study of Gorski and his co-workers, we nowknow the androgen is the typical male hormone and the estrogen is the femalehormone played a major role in bring about dimorphism during the fetusdevelopment. (LeVay/Hamer 23) Another finding also involved with Gorski and hiscolleagues at U. C. L. A, especially with his student, Dr.
Laura S. Allen. Theyalso found the dimorphic structure in the human brain. A cell group named INAH3,shorten for the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus, in themedial preoptic region of the hypothalamus is about three times larger in menthat in women. (LeVay/Hamer 23) Animal studies make available a good deal ofevidence for biological basis of disease, but in this case, sexual orientation. Through a careful exploitation of hormone level on rats, Gorski as been able toproduce male rodents that demonstrate feminine behavior and injected into thefemale fetus that develop with the male fetus and it appear to be masculinebecause of the male testosterone.
They also look and act more like males. Inaddition, they are less attractive to male mice (Gorman 60) Related to Gorskiand Allen’s study, Simon LeVay, a British biologist and neurologist at SanDiego Salk Institute, who is also gay, performed another study for BiologicalStudies, in 1990. LeVay decided to check whether INAH3 or some other cell groupin the medial preoptic area varies in size with sexual orientation as well aswith sex. LeVay conducted an experiment on the hypothalamus in autopsy specimensfrom nineteen homosexual men, all of whom died of AIDS and sixteen heterosexualmen, six of whom had also died of complication of AIDS.
After encoding thespecimens to eliminate all the bias that could skew the outcome. LeVay carefullysliced the hypothalamus into serial slices. He measured their cross-sectionalareas and their thickness under a microscope. LeVay has concluded the sexuallydimorphic nucleus INAH3 were significantly larger than of female and smaller inmale homosexuals than in straight men and similar in size to the nucleus offemale. In some gay men, this group altogether nonexistent; this isstatistically proven in 1 in 1000 gay men. LeVay hypothesized that this is abiological factor and possibly genetically based has influenced in the brains ofhomosexuals to become feminized.
(LeVay/Hamer 25) William Byne, a psychiatristat Mount Sinai Medical Center decided to challenge and test LeVay’s finding. Byne compared the brains of nineteen heterosexual men and seven women and foundthe male nuclei were larger, as LeVay had initiated. Byne came up with severalarguments that other factors could also influenced the cause of homosexualitybut chosen not to publish his result until he can rule out all the possibilitiesthat could contradict his argument. He is also collecting numerous human brainsfor a comparison of gay and straight males. (Horgan 26) There are manyconservatives who disapprove of homosexuality and have the intense hostilitywith the concept of “gay gene” and have traditionally argued against it. Butthis is because those conservatives do not understand the implications that liebehind the gay gene.
Homosexuality is life left-handedness. It’s neitherchosen nor a psychological illness. Since the homosexuality exposed and became acontroversial issue in United States in the last three decades, manyconservatives argue, “Homosexuality is a chose lifestyle, like vegetarian. It’s a disease like schizophrenia.
” (Burr 22). But since scientists hadproven those are not completely cases of homosexuality and it clearly abiological development like and it does not correlate with any environmentfactors. Scientists has classified homosexuality is a trait. For every traitthey studied, clinicians and biologists often assemble a trait profile of thesum total they have gathered in their studies. The trait usually shows up in thepopulation as two “orientation”.
Ninety-two percent of the populationusually has the majority orientation and about eight percent has the minorityorientation. Either the two traits are non-pathological and chosen. The minorityorientation runs in the families has a name of “maternal effect” given bythe geneticists which men always receive it from their mother. If it isinheritable, as demonstrated by the fact those identical twins, whose arenaturally clones are far more likely to share the minority orientation thansiblings who are not twins. For example, handedness, right- handed holds themajority orientation in the populations that the left-handed holds the minorityorientation.
This theory could apply to the homosexuals and heterosexuals. Heterosexuality accounts roughly ninety-five percent of the population while thehomosexuality is the minority orientation, which holds the other five- percentof the population. Clearly family, social norms, friends, teacher or schooleducation can’t make you to become gay, which is a minority orientation. (Burr24) Dean H.
Hamer of National Cancer Institute studied the DNA from forty pairsof homosexual brothers and found thirty-three of them share genetic markers onthe X-chromosome in a region know as Xq28. X chromosome is one of the two sexdetermined chromosomes. It is always inherited from mothers. Genes are arrangedalong 46 chromosomes and each chromosome contains tiny coils of DNA,deoxyribonucleic acid, which carries the instruction to manufacture a particularbody substance. There was no such similar sharing in the same region amongheterosexual men.
Researchers have not yet compared the homosexuals’ geneticinformation to the other group. The finding does not explain all thehomosexuals; seven out of forty homosexual brothers did not have the commongenetic factor. The explanation for this is it might cause by other unknowngenetic influence. (LeVay/Hamer, 27-29). Since the DNA strand is long enough tocontain hundreds of genes.
Hamer’s team has not found the gene that makes somemen gay but the Xq28 is one of the possibilities of the gay gene (Begley,Sharon, Hager, Mary) If homosexuality is inherited and the male homosexual getsthe gay gene from the X-chromosome of his mother, then aren’t that twinbrothers and other siblings of the family have a good chance of beinggenetically influenced by that trait. Looking for linkage, Hamer has conducted arandom survey and a survey with families with gay brothers between the maternaland paternal relatives. The possibilities of maternal uncle and maternal cousinthrough aunt have the highest percentage of being gay. It’s from 7. 3 % to12. 9% compared to the paternal uncle and cousin through aunt of 3.
9% to 5. 4%. Why are most gay men relatives are gay on their mother’s side of the family?The possibility is a man has two chromosomes, X and Y. The Y chromosome is thesex chromosome and any traits that on the X chromosome pass to the child comemostly from his mother.
Chances are she had inherited those traits from her sideof the family. (Hamer/Copeland 111) In 1985, Richard C. Pillard and James D. Weinrich conducted the first modern study on the pattern of homosexuality runsin families.
“The random pooled data for men show that about 57% of identicaltwins, 24% of fraternal twins and 13% of brothers of gay men are also gay. Forwomen, 50% of the identical twin, 13% of sisters of the lesbians are alsolesbians. “(LeVay/Hamer 26) Data of homosexuality combined and analyzed, itshowed a good possibility of family clustering of sexual orientation becomesevident for both sexes. But others say this finding reveals another significantproblem with a “born gay” conclusion.
The argument against the dataindicating above is if homosexuality is inherited then identical twin brotherswho share 100% of their genes should have 100% chance of being gay instead of57%? The respond to this argument is in a gene there are two alleles. Forexample of Huntington’s disease, it comes in two alleles. One is to suppressthe gene and the other activates the disease. Therefore, the baby has a 50% to50% change of his identical twin brother will get the same “gay” trait. Another example is Type 1 diabetes; this disease has only 30% active, so inanother word, you could only have 30% chance of this gene will become activate. Therefore two identical brothers could have share the same gene for diabetes butone might develop it and one might not.
The activeness of the gay gene is only50%, for that reason, some twins do not share the same sexual orientation unlessthere is something that triggers those alleles to activate. There are traitsthat emerge at the different time of life, some at the beginning and others thatemerge later on in time. (Kangas 20) Another explanation is after the fertilizedegg separated into two individuals. The DNA sequence might have a few changesand that could lead to the personality as well as the sexual orientationdifferences. This has not been proven, but it could be one of the possibilitiesof why identical twins do not have 100% chance of being gay.
” Bailey andPillard say their research indicates that male sexual orientation is”substantially genetic”. Research on social factors has proven fruitless,with no evidence that parental behavior or even parent’s homosexuality affectsthe children’s sexual orientation. (Pillard 32) Applying the homosexuality tothe gene concept, New York psychiatrist Kenneth Paul Rosenberg believes that we,as people, should be more open-minded to the study of homosexuality because itcould help to fight for gay and lesbian rights in this society. Hopefully italso could decrease an escalating hate crime rate and the discrimination towardhomosexuals. (Horgan) Like any genetic research, finding the gene sequence istime consuming and expensive. The finding of Huntington’s disease took about adecade and cost millions of dollars.
What are the advantages of the study’soutcomes and who will be effects by it? Human sexual orientation is no ordinarytopic or study. It’s at the center of a fierce debate involving politics, thelaw, religion, ethics and the origins and meaning of human behavior. Many legalexperts felt the evidence for a genetic link to homosexuality would strengthensthe evidence for immutability and therefore cause tighter scrutiny of laws thatpermitted discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, employment, orparticipation in the political process. Others, though, argued that immutabilitywas a red herring and that the real issue was equal protection, not biology.
There were also ethical, medical and economic issues involved as well. Althoughscientists did not provide any test for the still hypothetical gay gene but weare heading in that direction. If such test were developed, might parents decideto screen the fetus for homosexuality, just as they do for Down syndrome andother genetic defects? Would some doctors regard homosexuality as a geneticdefect that should be cured and weeded out of the population? Would insurancecompanies charge men with the gay gene more on coverage or refuse to serve thembecause they have a higher risk of AIDS faced by gay men? These are questionsthat worried many people. “In addition, homosexuals are frequently the targetsof discrimination and violence. The treat of violence and discrimination is anobstacle to lesbian and gay people’s development.
In a 1989 national survey,5% of the gay men and 10% of the lesbians reported physical abuse and/orassault. . . 47% report some form of discrimination over their lifetime. Otherresearch has show similarly high rates of discrimination or violence towardhomosexuals” (Yahoo.
com, APA Q;A) Personally I do hope the genetic surgerywill reveal the true nature of homosexual and find the right loci of the gaygene in the near future. Optimistically with finding of the biologicalinfluences on the gay gene can help to eliminate the discrimination and theescalating hate crimes rate toward the homosexuals. Homosexuals are normalpeople like the heterosexuals. They have feelings and their sexual orientationof attracting the same sex is innate.
They have no control over this destiny. Counseling, therapy or the environment can’t change this so since we can’tconvert this then why don’t we accept this and give those homosexuals all therespects and rights that they deserve like any other heterosexuals. BibliographyAPA Public Communication. *http://www. apa. org/pubinfo/orient.
html. * ?Begley S. ; Hager M. (July 26, 1993) Newsweek. Vol. 122 Issue 4 Does DNA MakeSome Men Gay? P59 2/3p, 1c ? Burr C.
(Dec 16, 1996) Weekly Standard. SupposeThere Is a Gay Gene. . .
What Then? P 22-26 ? John, H. (Nov 95). ScientificAmerican, Vol. 273 Issue 5, Gay Genes, Revisited p26, 5/6p, 1c ? Kangas S. (1999) Homosexuality Is Biologically Determined.
Homosexuality: OpposingViewpoints. Mary E. Williams, Greenhaven Press. 17-21 ? Gorman, C. (Sept 9,1991) Time Magazine. Are Gay Men Born that Way? P 60-61 ? Pillard R.
(1999) TheCauses of Homosexuality Are Probably Genetic. Homosexuality: OpposingViewpoints. Mary E. Williams, Greenhaven Press. 27-34