Homosexuality has existed for many years. Majority of the time homosexuals get criticized and are viewed as sinners. People still don’t understand what homosexuality is, and what causes a person to be homosexual. Braverman (1973) in her book gives a description and definition of what homosexuality is. She mentions that homosexuality is an erotic preference for individuals of one’s own sex. Nowadays individuals who identify themselves as homosexuals call themselves gay (Bravermen, 1973). There are many stereotypes and myths about homosexuality. People believe that these individuals are homosexuals because they aren’t sure what their gender identity is. When in reality, gender identity is a whole different topic. Another myth or stereotype is that homosexuals are pedophiles, but there is no evidence or studies that support this claim. Homosexuals are normal humans just like everyone else, they are ordinary people with ordinary interests (Bravermen, 1973).
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Although it is hard to understand and really know how these individuals feel. There have been plenty of models that scientists have created. One of these models is Cass’s Model of Homosexual Identity Formation. This model is based on the assumptions that homosexuality is something that occurs between the individual and the environment (Kenneady & Oswalt, 2014). There are six stages to this model. The very first stage focuses on consciousness awareness, in which the individual notices his behavior and feelings are different from what society and the norm is. The second stage to this model is identity comparison. This is when the individual accepts he/she is homosexual and feels good to be identified as homosexual. In this stage the person can also deny his sexual preferences (Kenneady & Oswalt, 2014). The third stage is identity tolerance. This stage is when individuals start to look for others whose sexual preference is the same. This makes them have a higher self-esteem and create close relationships with people who they can identify with. The following stage is identity acceptance. This stage is when the individual has a more positive self-image of themselves. The next stage is identity pride; which explains how these individuals start feeling pride for their sexual preferences. At this stage individuals become more informed about homosexuality. The last stage is identity synthesis. This is when individuals are fully identified as homosexual, and they see it as an important part of their image. This is when they fully comprehend why they feel a certain way, and they start to feel good about themselves even though people might seem them as different (Kenneady & Oswalt, 2014). This model is one of many others that try to inform what homosexuals have to go through, and what their process is. Although it doesn’t explain why individuals are homosexuals it does provide beneficial information to understand them better.
Nowadays there has been many theories and studies that try to explain what causes individuals to feel sexually attracted by members of their own sex. There has been a lot of controversy on whether homosexuality is something individuals are born with, or something that they choose to be. There are studies that prove that sexual orientation is a choice, because these individuals change their sexual orientation. The biological side of this issue focuses more on explaining genetic differences in homosexuals and heterosexual men. Some of these experiments have focused on studying the brain, fraternal birth order research, genetic scanning, and many others.
There has been plenty of studies that focus on proving the biological side of homosexuality. Although the studies are scientific, there are a couple of problems that make the studies not one hundred percent reliable. One of those studies was done by Bogaert (2003). In this study they researched the relationship or correlation between body size, fraternal birth order, and sexual orientation (Bogaert, 2003). Their results showed that there is a relationship between late birth order and homosexuality in males. Which results in homosexual men having a bigger number of brothers than heterosexuals. The study didn’t find any significant correlation between sexual preferences and body weight. Although the study proved that fraternal birth order in biological brothers had a correlation with homosexuality, the study can be weakened because the results aren’t generalizable. The results of this study are only applicable to biological male brothers and cannot be applicable to biological sisters. The results show that males are the only ones that are affected by this phenomenon but not females. If the results of a study are not able to be generalizable to all the population then the study can present certain limitations, and it affects the accuracy and reliability of the results.
Another flaw in this study was found by Jones & Kwee (2018), they mention that the sample used was nonrepresentative. The sample of this study was enlisted from the Toronto Gay Pride Parade and other LGBT communities (Jones & Kwee, 2018). Nonrepresentative samples affects the study because this sample can cause many biases. One of those problems this sample caused is that later-born gay men was overrepresented because the sample they got was from a Gay Parade, which is obvious that these gay men have officially came out as homosexuals and are proud of their sexual orientation. (Jones & Kwee, 2018). This sample could have been overrepresenting the later-born gay men and underrepresenting the earlier-born gay men at the Parade. This can result in naturally exaggerating the fraternal birth order effect in this sample (Jones & Kwee, 2018). Although the results of the study proved that fraternal birth order research is correlated with homosexuality, the sample they used was biased because they only gathered their sample from the Toronto Gay Pride Parade. This makes the study questionable whether if the findings are accurate or not.
Gavrilets, Friberg, & Rice (2018) criticizes and gives many reasons why the Fraternal Birth Order Effect is not the main explanation of homosexuality. The FBOE focuses on explaining homosexuality by using the fraternal birth order. Although it has good evidence, the problem with this theory is that it can’t explain homosexuality in individuals that don’t have any older brothers (Gavrilets, et al., 2018). Another reason is that the FBOE can’t explain female homosexuality. There hasn’t been any evidence that shows that the FBOE theory also works for female homosexuality. Gavrilets et al. (2018) points out that the FBOE is inconsistent because there is a low concordance of sexual preferences in twins. Since these brothers are twins they should both be equally affected because they have the same genes and were developed in the same fetal environment (Gavrilets et al., 2018). Another reason why FBOE can’t be the explanation for homosexuality is because the researchers have made many predictions that have not been tested. Some of these predictions is that there is a higher number of homosexuals in more religious families, and that this will result in homosexuals having a larger number of offspring. Another prediction is that there will be a higher number of homosexuals in nonWestern societies where the families are usually large (Gavrilets et al., 2018). These predictions have not been tested, which makes the study run into some problems. Although the FBOE seemed to be in the right path to explain homosexuality, it still needs many things to work on before it’s findings can be generalizable to all the homosexual population.
Another study that points out the biological side of homosexuality was written by, Mustanski et al. (2005). This study is one of the first studies that reports a full genome scan of sexual orientation in men (Mustanski et al., 2005). The purpose of this study was to find if there is any correlation between genetics and sexual orientation in men. The sample of this study was gathered through advertisements. They utilized individuals from 146 families, 73 families were previously studied by other experimenters. The other 73 families were new families not previously tested (Mustanski et al., 2005). There are some sample biased found in this study because the samples were found through advertisements through local homophile publications. In these advertisements the researchers clearly stated that the purpose of the study was to look for genetic factors in homosexual men. Since the subjects recruited are volunteering themselves, they can influence the results because the subjects can be inclined to favor the study. This can be considered limitations to the study because the participants can intentionally affect the results, which will become a problem when trying to generalize the findings (Jones & Kwee, 2018).
Another aspect to have in mind is that the results of this study showed that there was no evidence of a linkage relationship in the Xq28 region to homosexuality. This is interesting because the original study that was done by Hamer (1993) found that the Xq28 region of the X chromosome was linked to homosexuality. This can cause the credibility of this study to be questionable because Mustanski et al. (2005) wasn’t able to replicate the previous findings.
Another problem with this study was that the media headlined that Mustanski et al. (2005) had found specific chromosomes (7, 8, and 10) to be linked to homosexuality. When in reality Mustanski et al. (2005) mentions that they found two regions for suggestive linkage and one region of near significance. They never stated that these chromosomes were one hundred percent linked to homosexuality. Overall, their findings weren’t proven to have statistical significance. Although this study showed some evidence, in the future there should be replications of this study to show that the findings are significantly important.
Another study that has taken place was written by Byne et al. (2001). This study focuses on human brain structure, and whether there is any good evidence that suggests that the brain has a relationship with sexual orientation. They examined the human hypothalamus and looked for any differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Their results showed that there was a difference in the interstitial nuclei of the human anterior hypothalamus (INAH1“4) in heterosexual men than women (Byne, et al., 2001). Although the researchers thought these results meant something important for their study, it didn’t. The differences in INAH1-4 didn’t mean that males had a bigger size or a denser neuron. It just meant that women have fewer neurons in that specific area (Jones & Kwee, 2018). The findings were not significant to the study because the difference in INAH1-4 wasn’t important.
The researchers also found that the INAH3 volume of homosexual males wasn’t much different from heterosexual males and heterosexual females. Which basically means that the differences in INAH3 were not statistically significant in comparing heterosexual males or females. Byne et al. (2001) states sexual orientation cannot be reliably predicted on the basis of INAH3 volume alone. Researchers concluded that even if they had found a significant difference between the INAH3 of homosexuals and heterosexuals, it wouldn’t have mattered, because they can’t predict that homosexuality has a correlation with INAH3. This is not enough evidence to make this type of statement. Later in the study, researchers found out that the nonsignificant difference they had found earlier in heterosexual and homosexual men was not attributable to numbers of neurons, because homosexual and heterosexual men were found to have comparable number of neurons (Jones & Kwee, 2018). This makes the study step on a limb because the findings they had made weren’t useful. Although the study doesn’t show any differences between homosexuals and heterosexual men, there is probably a difference, but this difference might not be the same as the one between males and females.
Another problem with this study was that Byne et al. (2001) mentions that if these differences exist, they don’t mean that they are proof of prenatal, or that they biologically determine sexual orientation. Although the differences in INAH3 might be caused by prenatal hormones, there is a chance that other differences might emerge later in the development and the neurons that survive become part of the circuit (Byne et al., 2001). This means that although there might be a difference in INAH3, it doesn’t mean that it’s something biological or something they are born with, because there are other variables that might influence this difference. Many of these differences can mean the result of learning and not necessarily something biological. Based on this study, it is obvious that there isn’t sufficient evidence to affirm that there is a relationship between brain structure and sexual orientation.
There have also been studies that explain homosexuality as a choice, and people decide their sexual preferences. These researchers believe that homosexuality is something people choose to be and not something they are born with. One of these researchers has made multiple studies on sexual preference and homosexuality. One of the many longitudinal studies by Diamond (2003) focuses on homosexual women who were interviewed three times in a 5-year period. The purpose of the study was to see if these women would relinquish their sexual identity in the 5-year period that the study took place. The aim of the study was also to see if by relinquishing their sexual identity they would have different histories, attractions, and behaviors (Diamond, 2003). There were 80 non-heterosexual women who participated in the study. They interviewed the participants before and after the 5-year process. The results of the study showed that over the 5-year period; one fourth of the women relinquished their lesbian or bisexual identities. Half of these women went back to being heterosexual, and the other half stopped labeling their sexual identity (Diamond, 2003). This study proves that homosexuality is a choice. If homosexuality was something that people are born with, they wouldn’t be able to change it whenever they felt like it. The study proves that these women changed their sexual identity because they had the choice to do it. They were able to do it because they are the ones that decide what sexual orientation they are better identified with.
Another study by Diamond (2000) also proves that homosexuality is something people have the choice to decide. This study is similar to the other study previously mentioned, but the difference is that it was only a 2-year period. There were 80 women who participated in this study. The researcher gathered the information via interviewing the subjects. The results of the study showed that although there was general stability in their sexual attraction, half of the women reported they had changed their sexual identity (Diamond, 200). This evidence demonstrates sexual identity is chosen and not biological. Warren (2014) in her article mentions that choice is the only thing that sets us apart from animals and plants. She explains that as humans we choose thousands of things. One of those choices is what sexual orientation people prefer. Humans are able to choose if they want to come out as gay or if they want to stay heterosexual. It doesn’t matter if a person is gay or straight, they still have the right to make choices (Warren, 2014). Both of the studies conducted by Diamond proved that these individuals can change their sexual orientation, and that homosexuality it’s not something biological.
Homosexuality - people's choice. (2019, Aug 07).
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