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Why do lots of people think that people choose to be gay?

  1. Jul 22, 2014 #1
    It's obvious to people that people don't choose to be black, white, asian or have blond hair. Why is it not so obvious to people that people don't choose to be gay? It's it because gayness is not a visible thing? You can't look at someone and immediately know that they are gay.
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  3. Jul 22, 2014 #2


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    Choose to be gay? I believe it was most clearly explained by the cultural anthropologist Todd Goldman[1] in his two seminal works regarding phase II of the transitional phases from sexual ambiguity(I), to a misogyny/misandry phase(II), and finally to gender selective period(III).

    It is the transition from phase II to phase III which confuses most people into believing that a choice was made.

    These are of course generalizations, as I've met people who defy all manner of attempted classification.

    [1] Actually, he was an accountant. But... meh....
  4. Jul 24, 2014 #3
    1) Because it fits their ideology?
    2) Something inside mind - not visible in a way that would immediately prove otherwise
    3) Actually, sexual orientation that's not 0 or 1, but a wide spectrum. A bisexual can be even used to prove that they are "right". (Anyway, I was personally shocked, after seeing stats how big fluctuation there is between homo- and bi- if you study the same sample after a few years. There must be plenty of evidence if you cherry pick it properly :D )
  5. Jul 24, 2014 #4


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    Religious people believe all kinds of nonsense with absolutely no evidence of any kind. Believing that homosexuality is a conscious choice is just one of many such things.
  6. Jul 24, 2014 #5
    Not a big mystery

    Most people can't stand people who are different from them.
    This goes double for those who haven't got much schooling, like conservatives/evangelicals.
    Narrow-mindedness is cured with education, on average, the more educated you are, the less bigoted you will be. Exceptions do occur, both kinds: highly educated people can be very bigoted, and non-educated people can be very broadminded.

    So, these people cling bitterly to the notion that gayness is a choice to avoid having to deal with the reality and fact that gays are a natural occurring phenomenon, far more frequent that lefthandedness or red hair.
  7. Jul 24, 2014 #6
    I'd be careful with that "religious". In my country during communism, all such people who were openly homesexual, were being shown as evidence of decadence and moral corruption of capitalist West.
  8. Jul 24, 2014 #7


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    If you replace the word "religious people" with "religious and/or extremely ideological people" (and communism is an ideology) then phinds' comments are still valid.
  9. Jul 24, 2014 #8


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    There's a lot of speculation going on about theology and people’s attitudes, but very little evidence based discussion. In fact the whole question could be re-asked as "What makes anyone do anything?" We don't know why people think other people choose to be gay. I'm sure there are a myriad of reasons.

    How about we just talk about what makes people gay: I read this a while back, seems like it is a possible factor in sexual preference

    So after thinking about this some, is there any evidence that proves homosexuality is not a choice in some instances? There are plenty of examples of homosexualality that seem to arise for convenience or gain rather than a locked in sexual orientation at birth: Gay for pay, prison populations, ship populations, ect. Are these groups homosexuals? It would seem to me that we need to lay some actual ground work for this discussion.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  10. Aug 1, 2014 #9
    The number of people who think homosexuality is a choice shrinks every day. I think it's because the topic is being discussed openly. When something is kept hidden or is forbidden to be discussed, it takes on a sinister quality.

    Reasonable people, who are thankfully the majority, can see that very few people would choose a lifestyle that invites persecution and danger. Being social animals, we want friendship and camaraderie, especially from our families.
  11. Aug 3, 2014 #10


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    I did not LIMIT such inanity to religious people. As StatGuy2000 correctly pointed out, any group that substitutes belief for fact is subject to this kind of nonsense.
  12. Aug 4, 2014 #11


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    You are confusing homosexual behaviour with homosexuality. One is a sexual orientation and identity, the other is not. In sociology and epidemiology people who engage in homosexual behaviour but are not themselves homosexual are referred to as men who have sex with men.
  13. Aug 5, 2014 #12


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    Thanks Ryan, I didn't know there was distinction.

    Anyway, another question:

    Here is the huffpost piece on this: Here

    So does the "we don't choose to be gay" line really help or hinder gay rights?
  14. Aug 5, 2014 #13
    I think you read that wrong. According to that article, the MSM term is meant to cover any man who has sex with other men, for whatever reason. This would include any gay men who are sexually active with other men. It would not include gay men who are not sexually active with other men. It's a label for the behavior as opposed to the emotional/psychological predisposition.
  15. Aug 6, 2014 #14


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    I worded it poorly, gay men can also be refered to as MSM if sexually active. My main point was that there is a difference between behaviour and orientation.
  16. Aug 6, 2014 #15


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    I disagree with a lot of this article. Sexuality isn't a choice and the recognition of that has helped the gay rights movement. You can choose to try and live differently sure, and for some people that might work (potentially because sexuality isn't trinary [hetero/bi/homo] like is usually thought but a spectrum) but that doesn't change the fact you develop with the sexuality you have without conscious effort.

    As for posing some hypothetical where science can alter sexuality, that impacts in no way on LGBT rights and culture now.
  17. Aug 6, 2014 #16
    The distinction is important, but my expectation would be that the majority of MSM would self identify as gay.
  18. Sep 10, 2014 #17
    To say that people think others choose to be gay, would imply that everyone makes that choice and some choose gay and others do not.
    I am not gay, but I did not choose to be not gay, So I would assume people who are gay did not make any 'choice' either.
    If it does not matter to you, and you want to address it, you have to ask yourself why you want to make that division?
    It is like I simply cannot understand race discrimination, there is only one race of humans, the human race.

    It is simply beyond me (and I don't think I am that stupid) that people want to use physical attributes to promote their own agendas and ideals.
    its like gay marriage, are they forcing you to marry into the same sex? I don't think so, so what really does it have to do with you, or your morals or ethics,
  19. Oct 19, 2014 #18


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    My only "proof" that homosexuality is not a conscious choice is knowing a two people from a very young age (one male, one female) both expressed to me when we were all under the age of 15 they were not attracted to the opposite gender. I had never been raised to believe it was ever wrong morally, so it never mattered. And why should it? It's really none of anyone's business who we are attracted to and love.
  20. Oct 20, 2014 #19
    I've asked people why they think that and I never got a clear answer. Just got "it just is". And I'd say "could you choose to be attracted to a man if you wanted?" And they just say something like "that's disgusting"... It's kind of an impossible argument, they wouldn't "choose" it because they find the thought unpleasant.. but I argue they find the thought unpleasant and therefore they can't choose it. Even if some day we could show people brain scans of new born babies and say "look, there it is, that bit there, this is a gay baby" some people would still believe it's a choice.

    I think the real issue, and here is where i say something from actual psychology so the thread doesn't get closed, is that the belief that being gay is wrong is very important to some people.
    These same people, because we live in 2014, also believe that it is wrong to hate someone for something they can't control.
    These two conflicting cognitions cause cognitive dissonance.
    Therefore they create a new cognition to resolve this dissonance, i.e. that being gay is a choice.

    Motivated reasoning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivated_reasoning
    There is a much more fitting term for exactly what I am talking about it but I forget.. argh.. The triangle.. kung fu panda.. argh.. damn you brain!
  21. Oct 25, 2014 #20
    I think people tend to choose to be LGBT because of the pressure put on them by religion to have more and more and more children that the person really doesn't want to have to begin with. The person then becomes LGBT to get back at the religion hoping that the thought of the nastiness of someone being LGBT will drive the religious person trying to make them conceive children for said religion mad and crazy. LGBT is basically life's way of telling religion that you don't force humans to conceive for your self centered and greedy maligned desires.
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