You already know what most people will say.
Far right: Yes. It is a difficult choice, but can be overcome. There are bad things to being gay, but some people live with it the way geeks live with ridicule because of their strangeness that they could change.
Far left: No. You can't choose who you fall in love with. You're just born that way. Why would someone choose to be teased, rejected and alienated by society and their loved ones?
Well, to be fair to the right, some people, like geeks or weirdos, don't care about being teased or bullied or rejected because of the things they like. Even straight couples are willing to be teased or rejected because of their choice of a partner, but it's for love, right? Then again, is there really such a thing as true love at all?
Maybe it's just physical. Let's be honest, being gay or straight depends mostly on sex. If you fall in love with someone online then find out their not th gender you like, you probably wouldn't want to be with them the same way you did before.
For all we know, we do choose who we fall in love with. We make decisions about how to interperet our feelings, how to react to a person's actions or thoughts, when judging something they do or believe in, those are all little choices. Bu are they really what make us fall in love with people?
But it's true, if you want to love someone, why make it someone you're family or friends would reject you for? Why pick someone you can't have kids with or marry?(If that's what you want)
In Chrsitianity, the Bible says at least three times that being gay is wrong. But the only reason it would be wrong is if it's a choice, because sin is about disobeying God's will and rejecting the truth of his law and words. You can really only go against God's law by choosing to reject or go against it, like choosing to steal or choosing to ignore Jesus once you've heard the truth, or choosing not to even try to be a better person. So how can something be a sin if you don't choose to do it? (please no religious bashing from any sides in this discussion) Many christians who don't support being gay say that it's a hard thing to overcome but can be done, but how many gay people do they know that have actually stayed celibate or gone straight?
Main questions wiht this issue: Is it a choice? Can you choose who you fall in love with? Why or why not? If it is a choice, why would you choose to be gay at all?
EDIT: If you have anything directed specifically at me, the one posting this, I'm not going to read it. The discussion is mainly for other people who wanted to discuss it, and I lost track of the comments months ago anyway.
I'm going to go with "no".
...But that has consequences for free will, doesn't it?
Here's my rational:
Men and women share 22 chromosomes. Plus, both men and women have at least one X, some have another, others have a Y, still others have more exotic sets (fused chromosomes, aneuploidy, being a chimera, etc. [some of the more exotic configurations of chromosomes result in sterility]). Sexual organs develop from the same fetal tissues (the default phenotype is female)... but... the brain should be considered the most important sexual organ... and this is where it's harder to study.
If one considers that the architecture of the brain is genetic, and many genes are shared between men and women, then perhaps the biochemistry of a woman finding a man attractive is similar to the biochemistry of a man finding a woman attractive. I assure you, gene regulation is rarely a simple on/off switch... even methylation isn't 100%.
Case in point: Humans, interestingly, have a hardwired facial recognition system (http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1571/1764.full *Thatcher illusion, split brain experiments, etc.). It stands to reason that sexual attraction is hardwired as well, in a response to some genetic cue. It's difficult to fake sexual attraction in a physical way, but easy to verify genuine physical attraction (especially in men, but also for women).
An easy, scientific way to test this is to inhibit the frontal cortex (choice center) and give a self-paired group arousing stimuli. There's a humane way of inhibit sections of the brain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSFOmgxYZAo&feature=relmfu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1gMbY41X58&feature=results_main... Nova Science Now season 5 episode 3)... however... no one has done the experiment yet... and I fear for the ethics of what it would mean if you, or me, or anyone ran the experiment. I mean... why do people want to know if being gay is a choice?
I think that's a more interesting question: why do people want to know if being gay is a choice? And once they find out; what are they going to do with that knowledge? Also, if choosing becomes an option, through artificial (or any external) means; is it really a choice?
Genetics-> development and architectural of the brain as an organ-> hardwired face recognition-> sexy face thoughts-> sexual preference
Maybe face isn't what makes someone sexy... but it's one part. That is my thesis on the subject.
*if you can't get the article, message me, google the words "facial recognition apes", or take my word for it.
I'm going to ignore my inner neuroscience nazi and just accept the fact that you're pointing out a really good question which is why do people even want to know if it is a choice?
It probably has something to do with all those people attempting to 'cure gayness'. Praying the gay away follows from aversion therapy which follows from even worse torture which follows from even worse mistreatment.
If being gay is not a choice and is completely natural (which uhm, it is) then people have no excuse other than bigotry (usually backed up by religious reference) to obsessively focus on 'the gay issue'. I mean really, who cares. I wouldn't even be talking about it if I didn't know there were bigots making a big stink about it.
So why the bigotry? The religion? OK so why is the bigotry in the religion? Chicken and egg? What causes bigotry?
Religious zeal has a lot of causes, I suggest http://www.youtube.com/user/QualiaSoup 's channel if you want a serious discussion of "why religious fervor?", from a philosophical foundation work (note to others: he is unapologetically atheistic... but never makes ad hominem attacks, and his logic is... very attractive and accessible).
The reason people obsess is complicated, but it likely has to do with their own desire to work through their own issues. Sadly, many homophobic people are actually afraid of their own sexuality. Self-hate isn't the only cause. I know many gay men with tragic love lives... it would be great if I could help them, but sadly, love is messy - not just between heterosexuals. Were I religious, and differently-guided, I might think I was going to help them, and reduce their suffering, by making them not gay in a religious context. In that frame, I would be trying to reduce suck (pun?) in the world... I mean, how awesome would it be if everyone could be in a healthy, socially acceptable relationship?... but I would be misguided, I believe.
My segues were poor.
To link the ideas I should have said; being human comes with architectural components - the same between sexes. Sexual attraction is a similar mechanism between the sexes. As many things overlap between the sexes, so might women being attracted to men, in the same way men are attracted to men (when not 100% heterosexual) - hence "gayness" is possibly a function of normal (and not chosen human sexuality, on the whole) sexuality. No one chooses to be biological, therefore no one chooses to have biological urges. Basically, free will is limited by the framework of our physical reality. The degrees of freedom one possesses does not include the biological attraction one possesses. How the attraction manifests itself is a limited freedom, constrained by social queues. The freedom, or ability to choose, is not there in most instances. One is not free from their physical self, and I think that sexual orientation is due to a physical brain and body. Discord between body and mind may lead to denial, or "correction" (for instance transgendered people are not "correct" they simply "are", and what they are - happens to be conflicted; a mind of a female in the body of a male or vice versa. Gender identity is independent from sexual preference, but the idea of a mind being stubborn is the same... but the body is also stubborn - a man may have bodily reactions to another man, for instance, even if there is cognitive dissonance. Also, the cognitive dissonance not a choice.)
Choices may be limited, but, with introspection, we can make choices that make us more (or less) satisfied.
And if, for instance, a gay man chooses to be unsatisfied and not actualize his sexual preference - that is his choice.
To force him to "choose" to be unsatisfied is tantamount to choosing for him to be unhappy... forcing anyone into any position is usually an untenable position.
But the identity was not itself the choice in the first place. Actualization is the choice.
all i have to say: if people don't choose to be straight, then people don't choose to be gay
that's just a generalization that i think can be applied in many cases. of course, you can always choose to live in denial of what you are, but that's different. you'd still be gay and that can't change with your thoughts
if people don't choose to be straight, then people don't choose to be gay
Doesn't work. See Abero
Nothing against homosexuality but I hate that response and when I imagine the people who are asking it beaming at their computer screens with their self satisfied smiles thrusting the corner of their egotistical lips skyward I get a little bit annoyed.
It doesn't prove anything. You don't have to consciously make a choice to have made that choice. I am alive. Every time I walk past a bottle of pills begging me with their desperate tears to swallow them I, in a sense, make the choice to continue living just by not shoving them all down my throat in an instant and then sprinting out into traffic just to make sure the job gets done. However, despite arguably making the choice to continue living every second of my life I can't really point to a time where I decided that suicide wasn't in my self-interest. I'm sure at this stage in my life it isn't but I never really decided that. In fact, the only time I think about suicide is when I start to think it might be in my self-interest. When I become happier I don't decide I was wrong, I just stop thinking about it.
On another note I also wear clothes everyday because thats what I was taught to do. I don't even think about it, I just put my clothes on before stepping outside. On some level I must be making the choice every single day but I don't even realize it because thats the way I was raised. Its so normal to wear clothes I never consciously consider the other option.
I'm not saying homosexuality is a choice, I'm saying that the stupid rhetorical question you asked is sitting in the corner smacking its head against the walls and vomiting it's horrible rainbow colored bile all over itself for a reason.
From a scientifical point of view, homosexuality appears to be nothing but a hormonal change that causes an individual to be attracted to the same sex. Evolutionarily, homosexuality is not compatible as a homosexual couple is obviously not able to produce offspring by any natural means. However, society can't simply shun homosexuals because they truly love someone of the same sex in the same way a heterosexual couple loves each other. Just because the Bible does not believe individuals should maintain homosexual relations does not mean we should use a single Christian belief (not to mention one that some Christians don't believe in themselves) as an argument to avoid making gay marriage legal. I believe that homosexual people are born that way, and there is absolutely no reason why they should be discriminated for a purely physical thing. Instead, homosexuals should be respected and allowed to love whomever they want. I've met homosexual couples who love and support each other just like any heterosexual couple would--there is no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to marry and form a family like any other couple can.
wow a lot has already been said!!
But here is my point: there is an underlying negative consequence in the ``being homosexual is not a choice argument`` from a pragmatist perspective.
First off, I`m all for individuals having relationships with the same sex. And this belief stems from my understanding of sexuality and gender, but that is another argument for another day. For this ``is homosexuality a choice or not a choice`` argument I think we have to be considerate about how our positions can be used in a negative way. I think we should look beyond the biological perspective.
I don`t like the homosexuality is not a choice argument because it does not remove the negative connotation associated with being gay. It starts with this fundamental assumption:``nobody chooses to be gay, love is love.`` (Or if you like the biological explanation: hormonal changes are the cause!)
This response does not really explain anything and can be twisted and lead to this type of apologetic response: ``why would anyone chose to be gay, being gay is awful, why would anyone choose to be bullied, etc, etc.`` It asks for acceptance, but it is not really an empowering argument. The pragmatist in me wants a way of arguing in favor for the freedom to express sexual preference (and practice it) without individuals falling into these apologetic type responses. We should be able to say, it`s okay to be gay and to choose it!
Listen im only eleven but im pretty mature and i know bieng gay is not a choice i mean really people should know this stuff your born gay you don't have a choice. My friend fabian said that when you are really young you make the choice but when you are really young you dont even know what gay means
Being gay is not a choice. You are born to either be attracted to men or women. Also, I have never seen once in the Bible where it says being gay is wrong. God loves everyone, remember, no matter how different they are.
I agree 100%
I like to think about it this way: If being gay was really a choice, would we even need to have this debate? People like a simple answer to explain homosexuality, but it obviously isn't that simple, and when the simple is ruled out, we are left with only complicated solutions which many people don't like or want to accept.
Stupid truth, always resisting simplicity.
Indeed, people like simple answers when it isn't simple. Simple answers like "of course it isn't a choice". All evidence to suggest that homosexuality is determined at birth is so far partial and insubstantial. There are genetic elements, but it's clear that its not 100% genetic, and there are other chemical and many other potential causes. However, the possibility is still open that subconscious choices and actions are part of the equation. So please don't go suggesting that it's complicated and then produce a simple answer.