Gay, Straight, and the Reasons Why

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gay Pride Rainbow Flag Gay Pride Rainbow Flag (marlith/flickr)

What tendencies are we born with? What is a choice? And does it make you feel better or worse to know that certain things – ranging from weight to our intelligence — are one or the other?

Think, for example of sexual orientation. A lot of people have a lot invested in whether we’re born gay or whether it’s a choice. Is it one or the other? Does it even matter?

We’re joined by two people today who’ve spent much of their professional careers investigating this question. They’ve looked closely at gay and straight men and women, and at their families.

Dr. Simon LeVay is a neuroscientist and author of “Gay, Straight, and the Reasons Why.”

Dr. Richard Pillard is a psychiatrist with the Boston University School of Medicine. He is gay, as are several of his siblings. His father was also gay.


Comments [2]


Interesting on Angel's comment. I didn't hear this segment, but John, your friends are saying they could easily be gay or straight and they just happened to "choose" to be gay? Or are they mostly bisexual and can choose whether to be with someone of the same OR opposite sex? Or is it a "choice" as in "I could 'choose' to be out, or I could spend my life pretending I'm straight"?

I daresay most of my friends would say they didn't "choose" to be interested in people of the same sex (or of both) any more than I can honestly say I "chose" to be interested in people of the opposite sex.

And in a world where people have to hide their sexual orientation lest they lose jobs, friends, or even their lives, where people kill themselves because of harassment or are killed/injured by others, who are told they are disgusting and going to hell...who would "choose" to be gay any more than someone would "choose" to be black in 1950s Alabama?

Oct. 23 2010 12:10 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

When John said that many of his gay friends believed theirs was a life choice and not a results of their genes, Dr. Richard Pillard disagreed. Could it be Pillard is biased because he is gay and does not want to accept anything other than the "genetic predisposition" theory? What about people who switch between gay and straight and is happy either way?

Oct. 22 2010 10:11 AM

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