Mutable? Undisputable?

A very interesting little web-reference has been causing a stir in the post-gay blogosphere today (Alan and Warren, are you reading this? What do I owe you for that little linguistic plug?). Exodus have the best comment so have a look there at some point.

Here’s the teeny-weeny phrases from the GLSEN website that has been causing all the fuss:

Sexual Orientation: Orientation is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics and hormones, as well as unknown environmental factors.

Sexual Identity: Our sexual behavior and how we define ourselves (identity) can be chosen.

Blimey. Now I do like the one on sexual orientation in particular because we’re all STILL waiting for that killer scientific paper that’s going to show us that there’s a gay gene or a gay hormone. Perhaps GLSEN would like to produce it for us, and while we’re waiting I suggest a slight amendment to help them make their dictionary a bit more accurate:

Sexual Orientation: Orientation is influenced by a variety of factors, possibly including genetics and hormones, as well as unknown biological and environmental factors.

Sexual Identity: Our sexual behavior and how we define ourselves (identity) can be chosen.

I think we can all agree that that’s a pretty good summary of where the scientific discussion is actually up to. Now if GLSEN had the guts to amend their defintions page to that kind of scientifically accurate summary you might even get me joining up.

Nothing yet on this from XGW. It can only be a matter of time though…

2 Comments on “Mutable? Undisputable?

  1. Hey Peter —

    Just saw you got some attention over at exgaywatch. Looked like everyone was in the mood to nitpick and talk past each other… and like you were greatly outnumbered. If you’re ever in a position where you’d like a Side A ally to point out when people aren’t being quite fair, let me know.

    Is there a question about whether sexual orientation is influenced by genetics? I didn’t think that was still an open question. And have there been studies on possible environmental causes of homosexuality?

    Hope you’re doing well! It was nice to see your name, even if the circumstances left something to be desired. ;-)

    Matt

  2. Hey Matt!! Nice to see you again. Picking up your point on genetics, it’s almost a closed question in the “we don’t think so” sense. Hamer’s findings on Xq28 have now been shown to be false and nobody else has come up with anything. Given that we’ve mapped the human genome pretty well I think more and more people are coming to the conclusion that we may never find a gay gene because it probably doesn’t exist.

    As for studies on psychology, the article I mentioned by Throckmorton cites numorous studies of populations that report shifts in their reported sexual orientation. It’s well worth a read (even if it is on the NARTH website).

    And no, some of the side A people there weren’t fighting fair! But it got to a point where I was trying to sustain to many conversations on one thread and where the points I was making weren’t being addressed but sidestepped.

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