I should begin by stating I find the silly, circuitous nature vs nurture debate a large waste of time. Simply, I do not know why I am gay. What I think is most likely, is that sexual orientation is a combination of biology, genetics, and perhaps a set of cultural and familial variables which allow one to be more or less accepting of oneself, and then to follow through with life as an integrated sexual being, however that resonates for them.
If that reasoning sounds rather broad, it is done so intentionally. The data and science informing much of the discourse is still waiting to be published. Largely, because it is still waiting to be discovered. While there is great amount of reason to think on both the biologic and the genetic end that there are reasons for homosexuality, bisexuality, or heterosexuality, the reality today is completely speculative.
Therefore, I think a more important question is, why does it matter? Given the above, why the unwavering stance over an idea that must be seen as irrefutable, proving that sexual orientation is biologic in all cases, end of story. I’m really glad those who hold that stance had the complex factors of an integrated gay identity imparted to them in between breast feedings, but many of us have not self actualized at the higher pinnacles of Maslow’s needs framework yet.
While I am being somewhat lighthearted here, it is still a question that concerns me. Because what if everything that you have come to believe, everything that you view science with, and everything that to you exists as fact, what if one day you are proven wrong? What if one day, the research says that orientation has absolutely nothing to do with biology or genetics? What then? Because those that assert their biological construction with screeching vehemence, are also the ones who say “See, see we are just like you! Give us rights now.”
There is nothing more abhorrent than someone who nips at their oppressors heals attempting to garner inclusion. And frankly, there is nothing more dangerous than pinning issues of human rights and freedoms to biological determinants.
Frankly, I don’t know when, or if, we will find a causative factor to sexual orientation in human beings. From a purely physiological perspective, it would be a fascinating find. As to any other reason, specifically one to garner social currency through a line drawn along political and philosophical ideologies, it is as I said, a dangerous game. Because should biology be found to be irrelevant in creating orientation, continuing with the we-can’t-help-it narrative, will completely frame the argument for those who already wish to deny us rights.
Besides, that is also not accounting for what an identity of “gay” actually says about a specific individual. While I am sure some use the term gay to solely identify their sexual behavior, others, myself included, would argue that sexual behavior is only one specific aspect of several intersecting factors that ultimately define my identity and lived experience as a gay man.
Ironically, as a community of people who have yet to realize full inclusion in greater society, this debate provides us an opportunity to offer each other the same acceptance we hope society will extend to us. Because in the grand scheme, who the hell cares why I relate to men sexually and romantically? I do, and that’s my right. It is also my right, by virtue of this countries founding principles, to live a life unencumbered by bigoted belief and policy. The equal, human rights of all sexual orientations is the point. Whether we are born that way or we come to our orientation as a fully informed choice, it is no ones business but our own. Period.
The nature vs. nurture smoke screen is just that, a way of avoiding the issue of core human rights and freedoms.