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Johann

Why is it Offensive to Believe Homosexuality is (at least partially) a Choice?

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This thread is not about arguing whether or not homosexuality really is a choice or not? I'm asking why people are offending by the belief that it could be partly a choice. Almost every single innate human quality is explained in psychology as being a result of a complex combination of nature and nuturing. So, why is homosexuality any different?

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Yes, I think so (at least partially). I believe that I was nurtured in a way that encouraged heterosexual relationships.

But even if that wasn't the case, again, why is it offensive to suggest otherwise? When a gay person is upset by this question, it makes me think that they believe their homosexuality would be embarrassing or wrong if it was a choice. So, they feel the need to defend it by saying it isn't a choice at all, but rather somethign that they were born with and have no control over.

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homosexuality certainly can be a choice; after all many self-identified "straight" people have engaged in homosexual activities (and i don't mean watching Glee). the offensiveness of the idea that homosexuality is a "choice" is merely cultural in basis, as this was often a charge leveled by opponents of homosexual rights and homosexuals in general to demean them. and while, yes, sexuality is a deeply complicated and to-date poorly understood subject, it's no less "natural" for some people to have sexual or romantic urges towards people of their same sex.

Edited by Blackstar

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I don't really see how 'nurture' having a role means that it is a choice. Nurture could be considered anything that happens after birth, both physical and psychological, that influence the way a person ends up, and people have very little choice in the way such events impact their development. You wouldn't claim that someone suffering from PTSD as a result of some trauma (a nurture event) had chosen to be that way, so I don't see why it would really be any different for homosexuality being caused by a certain pattern of events during development.

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Yes, I think so (at least partially). I believe that I was nurtured in a way that encouraged heterosexual relationships.

But even if that wasn't the case, again, why is it offensive to suggest otherwise? When a gay person is upset by this question, it makes me think that they believe their homosexuality would be embarrassing or wrong if it was a choice. So, they feel the need to defend it by saying it isn't a choice at all, but rather somethign that they were born with and have no control over.

have you thought maybe they are offended by the idea they choose to be berated, beat up, and treated like 2nd class citizens?

Also, as to your first point of your nurturing, can you name a bunch of people who were encouraged to be into homosexual relationships? Don't forget, rarely does a homosexual child come from a homosexual household. In fact, I think most gay people I know had straight parents that encouraged straight relationships (some even told their "choice" of gay was wrong, an abomination against god, etc).

It's also offensive because most right wing christians believe homosexuality is something that can be cured/changed. If anything, the only real choice I see is coming out and acting on your impulses or staying in the closet and pretending you're straight.

I also disagree with blackstar's homosexual activities choice of "straight" men, those, at least to me, are people unsure or uncomfortable with their own sexuality (bi, bi-curious, gay, whatever it may be) and trying to live with it. Human beings are complex, our sexuality being a good example of such.

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I think it's offensive because of the context, and because it's wrong. (or if you believe it's not wrong, then the people who believe it is are probably offended by someone else telling them something about themselves that's not true).

But back to the context- I think most people who say it's a choice are saying that to support doing something negative or saying something negative about it.

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i don't think it is a choice. you can't help whom you're attracted to. and believe me, it would be a lot easier if you could! i've tried many times to just kind of ~go with the flow and have fun with guys, but i can't help that it just doesn't work for me. i've tried to make it my choice because i want to date people and i want to have fun, casual sex with people. i'm in my twenties and all my friends are running around dating this person or that person, but i can't do that because it's 3409583 times harder when you're not attracted to the majority of people who may be attracted to you. maybe it's also just me, but that's another issue.

by saying it's a choice means that you can truthfully go down either path. if you can choose the path you go down, it means that you don't have to be gay. probably 95% of gay people have tried to have relationships with the opposite sex and can tell you that that's not how it works. now, that doesn't mean that i or any other gay person don't like being gay, or that if we did have a choice we would choose to be straight. but the fact is that it just isn't a choice.

it's a weird thing for most straight people to think about because they never had to make that realization. if you go along with what most of society does, you don't have to say hey, that's not how i am. you can just be yourself without anyone asking any questions.

like other people have said, though, sexuality is a complex thing. even moreso for bisexual people. but i think the basic answer is "because that's just not what it is".

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i was just discussing the topic as i had experienced it. at the end i said, to answer the question, "because that's just not what it is". why is it offensive to say it's a choice? because it's just not a choice.... if you don't understand that, then you won't understand why it's offensive.

people use that excuse to say that we don't deserve equal rights. it's just a ridiculous stance to take because it's not a choice. and i describe why it's not a choice in my above post..... maybe i didn't do a great job of illustrating it, but i guess i'm just trying to share my experience.

sorry, i didn't realize there was a specific format i needed to take to contribute to the thread.....

Edited by Aemelia soporata.

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Ah, I see. I didn't realize that's what you were saying with the last line of the post.

I wasn't trying to be the Thread Police, and of course you can contribute however you'd like. I just figured you might have a perspective that was relevant to what Johann was asking so I figured I'd point that out.

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies everyone. As I reread what I originally posted, I realized that 'Choice' was definitely the wrong word from what I was actually asking. I really meant to ask strictly about the nature / nurturing thing.

So, is it equally offensive to suggest that homosexuality can be (in part) a result of a person with a particular predisposition coupled with the unique events that occur in that person's upbringing? Or, is the only non-offensive explanation that: "a person is born gay, and absolutely nothing could have ever contributed to that fact"?

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I think the overwhelming majority of people are born attracted to one sex or the other.

It's a choice only to the extent that you can (literally) choose to have romantic relationships with the same sex or the opposite sex.

Homosexuals can choose to be romantically involved with people of the opposite sex the same way I can choose to be romantically involved with a person of the same sex. It just wouldn't make much sense for me to do so, since I'm not attracted to people of the same sex.

So, technically it is a choice, but practically, it isn't.

Unrelated, and I think this is the wrong environment to be doing this, but I kind of reject the idea of bisexual people. I know they allegedly exist and that each of you probably knows 10 people who claim to be bisexual. But, I think that everyone is born predisposed towards finding one sex or the other attractive. I think people that claim they are bisexual are just confused, at best.

Edited by Jainn

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It's offensive because it is wrong yet people still try to root the cause of homosexuality as a choice or because of upbringing. There is nothing to suggest that nurturing can make people gay or straight.

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies everyone. As I reread what I originally posted, I realized that 'Choice' was definitely the wrong word from what I was actually asking. I really meant to ask strictly about the nature / nurturing thing.

So, is it equally offensive to suggest that homosexuality can be (in part) a result of a person with a particular predisposition coupled with the unique events that occur in that person's upbringing? Or, is the only non-offensive explanation that: "a person is born gay, and absolutely nothing could have ever contributed to that fact"?

i think that the difference that a certain upbringing may make is a person's ability to accept feelings he/she is having. if you grow up in an environment that doesn't support sexual freedom, you'll be less likely to a) come to the realization that you're gay and B) act on those feelings. i, unlike jainn, think that sexuality is not just black and white, but everyone falls somewhere on the spectrum somewhere. eg, if you're mostly straight but have some bisexual feelings, and you grow up in a strictly anti-gay household or culture, you may not ever act on your bisexuality. most people probably at least think about experimenting a little, even if they don't identify as bisexual. but certain environments can definitely smother that, i think.

so, i think you naturally may or may not have homosexual feelings, whether it's 100% or just a curiosity, but you could be nurtured in a way that makes it easier to come to terms with it and act on it.

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Unrelated, and I think this is the wrong environment to be doing this, but I kind of reject the idea of bisexual people. I know they allegedly exist and that each of you probably knows 10 people who claim to be bisexual. But, I think that everyone is born predisposed towards finding one sex or the other attractive. I think people that claim they are bisexual are just confused, at best.
is this cause Donnie used to say he's bi all the time, and you hate black guys?

But seriously, you reject the idea of bisexual people?

You think the people claiming to be are just confused?

Well, I'm glad we have your hard hitting research here

Kinsey, his scale, and bisexuals can just fuck right off

I am sorry, I should not take this thread off course,

I just find it really easy to make fun of what you said

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Unrelated, and I think this is the wrong environment to be doing this, but I kind of reject the idea of bisexual people. I know they allegedly exist and that each of you probably knows 10 people who claim to be bisexual. But, I think that everyone is born predisposed towards finding one sex or the other attractive. I think people that claim they are bisexual are just confused, at best.
is this cause Donnie used to say he's bi all the time, and you hate black guys?

But seriously, you reject the idea of bisexual people?

You think the people claiming to be are just confused?

Well, I'm glad we have your hard hitting research here

Kinsey, his scale, and bisexuals can just fuck right off

I am sorry, I should not take this thread off course,

I just find it really easy to make fun of what you said

Oh Phil. WHITE people, not Black people.

(I don't actually hate any group of people.)

I was speaking from my own experience, more than empirical fact, and I suppose I was limiting bisexuals to people who are equally attracted to men and women, both physically and emotionally. I haven't encountered anyone who is equally emotionally and physically attracted to both men and women, and could marry either and be happy. Everyone I've encountered has a preference. Obviously, by that logic, Eskimos don't exist, since I've never encountered one either.

I found this article interesting when I read it: http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all

An interesting excerpt:

In the experiment, psychologists at Northwestern University and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto used advertisements in gay and alternative newspapers to recruit 101 young adult men. Thirty-three of the men identified themselves as bisexual, 30 as straight and 38 as homosexual.

The researchers asked the men about their sexual desires and rated them on a scale from 0 to 6 on sexual orientation, with 0 to 1 indicating heterosexuality, and 5 to 6 indicating homosexuality. Bisexuality was measured by scores in the middle range.

Seated alone in a laboratory room, the men then watched a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.

Using a sensor to monitor sexual arousal, the researchers found what they expected: gay men showed arousal to images of men and little arousal to images of women, and heterosexual men showed arousal to women but not to men.

But the men in the study who described themselves as bisexual did not have patterns of arousal that were consistent with their stated attraction to men and to women. Instead, about three-quarters of the group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men; the rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals.

The study isn't conclusive, but that last paragraph in particular is compelling.

Just focusing on this board, does anyone on here fall under this classification? We have gay people and straight people. From what I remember, Aemelia Soporato used to like and date men, and has gotten to a point where she tries to be romantically involved with men, but can't, because she is attracted to women. Donnie I think used to like women, but now seems to identify almost exclusively with being gay (either of you please correct me if I'm mistaken - I don't want to put words in your mouths).

I've started to wonder if bisexuality is a transitional period between gay and straight.

I think I was also looking at it from a practical, legal rights perspective. Whereas homosexuals seem to have tangible rights that they can point to that are being violated (a right to legally marry), I'm struggling to think of what rights state or federal government is denying bisexual people. I suppose their right to marry the same sex if they wanted to? But that doesn't seem like a gross violation of their rights, since, unlike a homosexual person, they can have a happy and meaningful relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

Edited by Jainn

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So, is it equally offensive to suggest that homosexuality can be (in part) a result of a person with a particular predisposition coupled with the unique events that occur in that person's upbringing? Or, is the only non-offensive explanation that: "a person is born gay, and absolutely nothing could have ever contributed to that fact"?

I don't think it's ever so black and white, I feel like if people were "nurtured" free of any form of sexual guilt we would "naturally" do as we pleased. To me it's more obscene that people try to reduce people's sexual choices to an essence ("Oh he fucked the fat girl because he couldn't get with any of the hot ones" is another way people reduce people into sexual camps).

I do think it is natural for the female and the male to have a magnetic sexual response to each other, I also think it's natural for members of the same sex to consciously explore sexuality together, and I think it's more sane to think of the sexual appetite akin to our food appetite, and that is as something that perhaps the more we experienced the more cultured we would become, but that's a radical thought and will always be met with barriers of insecurity and with hierarchical/patriarchal-traditional judgment.

With that said, I would agree that human nature is also somewhat 'predictable' and it wouldn't be unfair to expect similar responses from people under similar environmental/social circumstances. All in all, everybody is just human.

Edited by Savitri

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I've started to wonder if bisexuality is a transitional period between gay and straight.

I don't think that's the case at all. I think the study is very interesting but fails to take into consideration identity bias. I could consider myself bisexual but the truth of the matter is that I would call myself "relaxed", while I find a more genuine attraction to women, perhaps this could be the result of a "nurtured"/"conditioned" upbringing, but at the same time there has been multiple times in my life where the energies of either gender are completely indistinguishable to me. (And I mean more so in an Animal Magnetism way, specially when dealing with an androgynous force created by focused male and female energy poured into a third ethereal being).

I also look at gender as being essentially a practical biological thing, but that even within such physical duality only one "spirit" exists, and that is, both the male and the female share in great part the same soul, and as such, exist in duality to fulfill in itself the one common purpose...

Now if my gnostic conclusion were to hold weight amongst the most materialist of scientists, we could discard the notion that male and female are separate species, or that our differences hold more spiritual/real weight than the inherent unity that is the tribe, and the oversoul.

Edited by Savitri

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I think it's more sane to think of the sexual appetite ***akin to our food appetite***, and that is as something that perhaps the more we experienced the more cultured we would become, but that's a radical thought and will always be met with barriers of insecurity and with hierarchical/patriarchal-traditional judgment.

I may never have said this before, but for once I strongly agree with you on something. In addition, the thought that our sexual desires are similar to our appetite for food is not something that would be condemned by traditional morality, as far as I can tell (and I say this as someone who, IMHO, is relatively well-versed in traditional morality). Our sexual desires are quite similar to our appetite for food. However, that brings an interesting thought. Wouldn't we all say that there are activities involving food that are immoral? Isn't it just flat out wrong to stuff yourself on rich food at every meal? Isn't it just flat out wrong to starve yourself in order to be thin and found attractive by others? I short, it seems that there is a way to indulge our appetite in a good and healthy manner yet there are ways to indulge that are inappropriate. Maybe - and this is not much of an argument but just a simple suggestion from the analogy - just maybe, there are inappropriate ways to gratify our sexual desires.

But back to the focus of the OP. If homosexuality is NOT a choice, then it holds no moral value at all. It could not be praiseworthy, nor could it be blameworthy. It would be completely amoral (not to be confused with immoral). I would suggest that those homosexuals who dislike hearing that homosexuality is a choice are hoping to maintain the thought that their sexuality is not the sort of thing that moral labels can be meaningfully attached to. I bet their offense comes because they fear that people will go from "it is a choice" to "it is wrong, stop it"; it seems that most who believe it is a choice will make exactly that step.

But more generally, I wonder, what the heck do we even mean when we say "homosexuality is a choice?" Do we mean that people freely choose to engage in the sexual behavior in which they engage? Do we mean that a person's choices impact and influence their desires and what they find attractive in other people? Do we mean people can choose to not be aroused when their body would otherwise be aroused? Do we mean people can choose to NOT do those activities that their impulses and desires would suggest they do? What exactly do we mean?

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Unrelated, and I think this is the wrong environment to be doing this, but I kind of reject the idea of bisexual people. I know they allegedly exist and that each of you probably knows 10 people who claim to be bisexual. But, I think that everyone is born predisposed towards finding one sex or the other attractive. I think people that claim they are bisexual are just confused, at best.

really? what is wrong with you? now you have a problem with race mixing and bisexuals? what else are you going to add to the list?

confused at best? how much more condescending could you be?

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I've started to wonder if bisexuality is a transitional period between gay and straight.

I don't think that's the case at all. I think the study is very interesting but fails to take into consideration identity bias. I could consider myself bisexual but the truth of the matter is that I would call myself "relaxed"

I'm not sure if I understood you correctly, but the point of the study was that although these people were identifying themselves as bisexual, their arousal patterns while viewing erotic images were inconsistent with how they were classifying themselves.

You state that you're relaxed, and so you're probably open to experimenting. But when push comes to shove, you don't have equal attraction (physically or emotionally) to men and women - you lean towards women. At least, going by your words.

while I find a more genuine attraction to women, perhaps this could be the result of a "nurtured"/"conditioned" upbringing

I'm a little uncomfortable with this, because going by this reasoning, one could argue that homosexuals are homosexual not because they were born that way, but because they were raised in a certain way. I don't really buy that (at least for the vast majority of people), and I think a lot of homosexuals would take issue with that idea.

Edited by Jainn

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Who said that people who identify as bisexual look at each gender with desiring eyes AT ALL TIMES? Maybe they usually want to fuck female oriented individuals and 10% feel like fucking male oriented individuals. It can really be as simple as that. Binaries don't exist, guy. I only have interest in having relations with female oriented individuals but I know a hot dude when I see one. Can you explain that, because that seems kinda gay for someone who would fall under the popular definition of straight.

edit: yes, I mad

Edited by spaghetti

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