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Biological Factors Contribute Significantly To Sexual Identity And Object Choice

1746 words - 7 pages

Genetics and Biological Factors Contribute Significantly to Sexual Identity and Object Choice

The issue of sexual identity and object choice is widely debated among the American public. While the scientific community offers strong support for genetic and biological influences, much of the American public would argue that homosexuality is a choice made by the individual, not a genetic predisposition. I would have to agree with the opinion that genetics and other biological factors contribute significantly to sexual identity and object choice. The scientific evidence, which includes many extensive studies and years of research, overwhelmingly suggests that our genetics, in combination with ...view middle of the document...

Other studies have looked directly at genes and chromosomes in an attempt to isolate the so-called 'gay gene', or the specific gene or allele that affects or controls sexual preference. Scientists have isolated specific alleles in the X chromosome that may be linked to sexual preference. Two separate studies of gay siblings showed that 50-67% of gay siblings shared this same allele, suggesting that this alteration of the X chromosome may be linked to sexual preference (Stella).
Further research has suggested that specific alleles are passed hereditarily through the X chromosome, from a male to a female. These studies have shown that the X chromosome contains something that directly affects our sexuality. Research has shown that many homosexuals have larger families, and scientists theorize that this is due to a specific gene in women. This gene enables women to be more fertile, but also causes men to have higher rates of homosexuality (Kunzig).
Other studies of gay men have examined the effect genes have on the release of our hormones. The data suggests that our genes release certain level of hormones (testosterone in men and estrogen in women), and that these hormones can give us an insight into sexual preference. Research of a gene that times the release of testosterone in male fetuses has suggested that this gene may contribute significantly to homosexuality. Researcher Dr. Robert Kunzig explains, "Itmay be that the brains of gay men don't feel the full effects of testosterone at the right time during fetal development and so are insufficiently masculinized" (Kunzig, Pg. 3). Homosexual men have also been shown to have hormone levels similar to straight women, and homosexual women have been shown to have hormone levels similar to straight men (Kunzig). Similar examinations of the brains of gay men and women have shown comparable results; the brains of gay men resemble the brains of straight women, and the brains of gay women resemble the brains of straight men. Scientists have pinpointed both the suprachiasmatic nucleus and the anterior commisure as areas of the brain that are different in gay men and women. Examinations of these brain areas show that the anterior commisure is much smaller and the suprachiasmatic nucleus is much larger in gay men, suggesting that neurotransmitters and neurons play a large role in deciding our sexual preferences (Hofman, Allen).
The largest argument against all of this research is that sexual identity is not ingrained into us through our genetics, but rather is a conscious decision made by the person. Many religious organizations hold the belief that homosexuality is a sinful decision, and can be reversed with prayer, counseling or other means. Some religious groups use radical hormone therapy (injecting gay men with testosterone and gay women with estrogen), and even surgery in an attempt to change a person's sexual preference. These treatments have been shown to change the sexual behavior of the...

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