A fascinating blog piece by Iain Dale repeating an article in Attitude Magazine which explains far more by what it doesn’t say then by what it does.
The blog begins with this encouraging title.
ATTITUDE COLUMN: ARE YOU BORN GAY OR IS IT A ‘LIFESTYLE CHOICE?’
That’s a good start, sets us up nicely for a in-depth discussion of what the root of homosexuality is. Is it something you are born with, something that develops in your life or something that you simply choose to do? So let’s dive in for the evidence that Iain is going to present.
I’ve always known I was gay. Well, when I say always, I mean I knew I was different to other boys almost from the age of 7 or 8. I have absolutely no doubt that I was born gay, yet I find it bizarre that some find that difficult to accept. There are still misguided souls who believe that people choose to be gay.
That’s it. That’s the sum total of proof that Iain presents us in his piece as to whether he was or wasn’t born gay. He believes that he was born gay so therefore he must have been born gay. No debate as to what his feeling different at 7 or 8 was caused by. No exploration of the different theories of emotional and environmental development or biology, no discussion around whether his feeling different from other boys was the trigger for developing homosexuality at puberty OR an expression of him already being intrinsically homosexual. There is no grappling with the various theories around genetics, hormonal and other influences in the womb, no examination of the multiple twin-studies on the subject which explore the variances in genetic / non-genetic components of homosexuality and their wide variability across the sexes. Gosh, we could at least have explored the male sibling evidence which is a brilliant text book example of how the same empirical evidence can be interpreted in both a nature and nurture way.
Iain Dale is one of my absolute favourite political commentators and journalists. On so many things I am in exactly the same camp as him. I have been an avid follower of his blog and web projects and broadcasting career for many years. I value Iain Dale’s work immensely. But this is just poor. It is simply amateur to argue that something is a certain thing just because you believe it to be so. I would so loved to have seen a really good piece by Iain in Attitude magazine on this very subject, but instead what we got (amidst some utterly valid points on societal acceptance and homophobia) was a bold, non-evidenced assertion and then no more engagement with the core issue that the title suggested the piece was about.
And yes Iain, I would happily come and discuss the issue on LBC 97.3 with you any afternoon you wanted.