New Poll Shows America Still Can’t Decide If Gays Are Born Gay

2013-12-27-homosexual_1746767cOne week after a Gallup poll showed America’s increasingly positive attitude toward same-sex marriage on the rise, additional statistics from the latest Values and Beliefs poll show we’re still torn when it comes to ‘nature vs. nurture.’

According to Gallup’s latest results, posted on Wednesday, 37 percent of Americans “believe people become gay as a result of factors such as their upbringing and environment,” while 42 percent are siding with Lady Gaga — people are born gay, y’all.

What’s surprising is that people in the “born gay” camp are on the decline, if these stats are to be taken literally. The same poll conducted in 2013 showed that 47 percent of those participating believed people were born gay, which is a a full 5 percent drop that “halted the trend” of “born gay” beliefs on the rise for the first time since 2001. (For reference, the poll is based on a random sample of 1,028 adults age 18 and over.)

The poll also notes that “those with college educations, whites, females, liberals, Democrats, high-income earners, and those who seldom or never attend church are the most likely to believe that being gay or lesbian is something people are born with.”

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  • Black Pegasus

    I find that there are a contingent of people (both gay and straight) who will always insist that being gay is a CHOICE.

    Almost all of these people have an agenda of course, and more than half of them are less educated and/or religious nut cases. I don’t remember the day when I woke up and decided I wanted to taste a D!ck in my mouth. And I’m sure those heterosexual clowns in those polls can’t recall their dates of proclamation either.

    Why? Because it was never our choice to begin with!

  • edonngoblue

    I think that the last line says it all…

    The poll also notes that “those with college educations, whites, females, liberals, Democrats, high-income earners, and those who seldom or never attend church are the most likely to believe that being gay or lesbian is something people are born with.”

    Intelligent people are indeed smarter, who would have thought that?!

  • etseq

    Wait for the Queer Theory crowd to rush the comment section claiming that we choose to be gay. Hint – take some real college courses next time…

  • KDub

    Who cares? People who claim to know one way or the other are just laughable anyway. I highly doubt it’s as b/w as nature or nurture. I’ve personally known gay people that were pretty good arguments for one side or the other. Maybe we’re all born with bi potential and just wind up going one way or the other for whatever reason. I’m sure the majority of people today will agree that sexual orientation isn’t a choice. People that get hung up on the why/how are usually nothing but tightly-wound nutcases that just like to argue.

  • vive

    It really doesn’t matter if we are born gay or not, It is stupid to base any argument for gay rights on that, as opposed to arguments based on freedom of choice to live as we want. The logical conclusion of the born this way argument, for example, would be that women should not have the right to abortions because they can choose not to have one, or that we should not have freedom of speech because we can choose to shut up.

  • jokehb

    I find it impossible to understand that inteligent people cannot see that sexual preference is a psychological evolution. we are born with the capacity to have sex with either gender and retain that capacity all our lives but a preference evolves as we mature and that is what we pursue.We have no control over that evolution and therefore do not have a choice anymore than heterosexuals do. The proof that generalized capacity exists is shown in prisons and other circumstances where people are isolated and the object of their preference is not available. Men and women regularly have sex with their own gender in those circumstances but when released immediately return to their preference.Gay men who have been subjected to “retraining” referred to as curing have availed themselves of the general capacity only subsequently discovering the “cure” failed.
    The number of straight men who engage in gay pornography for Pay is the ultimate proof.

  • David Colman

    I have been gay my entire conscious life. I can remember being very, very little — 2or 3 — and thinking (or feeling) that Superman was really, really…. attractive. I can’t imagine a life where I would not be gay because it is as part of me as being from Wisconsin, tall, fair-skinned and let’s just say somewhat intelligent. These things have all been with me my entire life and they will always be.

    But since I could be a big fat liar — you know, plugged into the gay agenda for world domination and a day when marriage will finally be defined only as a bond between 10 leather-clad men and a stick of butter, people don’t pay heed to such arguments

    What I always wonder is, will they listen to logic?

    If it were a choice, I (and a lot of gay people) would probably have chosen to be straight because people just tend to make choices that help them get along with their peers and families and co-workers. You think most gay people want to be the odd man out? To be passed over for promotions? To suffer through everything from stupid, moldy jokes and well-intentioned but painful gaffes? To have your self-image as a sexual being be so denigrated that you feel like a disgusting, diseased outcast? Have your value as a person be so systematically rejected that suicide sounds like a step up? Be so different that, say, in a high school locker room, you might just as well paint a target on your face? If that were a choice that 1 out of every 12 or 13 people made, it would be a pretty bizarre one.

    And of course, if being gay is a choice, then being straight is a choice. So are all these people that think being gay is a choice actually tempted to become gay? I wish the poll would go back and ask that question.

    So, like any logical being, I am pro-life — not pro-choice.

  • DickieJohnson

    Well, guys, I’m definately in the “born that way” camp. My first sexual memory: at 4, I talked a 6 Y/o into showin me his “thang”, which was intact, and I’ve had an obsession/fetish ever since, no traing, conditioning, or indoctrination fo me, ever.

  • ChgoReason

    Of course you were born gay. to suggest that gays make a choice is suggesting that there is a salacious and devious intent on the part of the gay person. Our nature is so embedded into who we are as gay men, that the gay male brain is wired differently than that of our straight counterparts. And more similar to that of heterosexual women. We just gotta educate people, one damn hetero at a time :)

  • Throbert McGee

    The poll itself is kinda stupid for presenting “nature versus nurture” as a stark, mutually exclusive dichotomy. (At least the Gallup pollsters didn’t phrase it in terms of “genes versus choice,” which is laughably ignorant.)

    The poll also notes that “those with college educations, whites, females, liberals, Democrats, high-income earners, and those who seldom or never attend church are the most likely to believe that being gay or lesbian is something people are born with.”

    Umm… could it be that “gays are born that way” simply happens to be Received Divine Wisdom in some liberal circles, and not so much that liberals are better read than conservatives on the actual science of sexual orientation?

    I mean, scientists who seriously study this question are nearly unanimous in agreeing that orientation is well-developed and more or less “hard wired” even before a child is old enough for kindergarten –yet most of these scientists are not dogmatic as to whether the CAUSE of this early hard-wiring is more nature or more nurture or an even mix of both. Repeat: “Nature or nurture” is an unsettled question among scientists, even though scientists agree that being gay isn’t a “choice.”

    For that matter, suppose for the sake of argument that pregnant women who come down with the flu in the 2nd-4th months of pregnancy are more likely to have homosexual children, because the flu throws their uterine hormones out of whack. Would this hypothetical scenario be an example of “nature” or “environment” causing homosexuality??

    The biochemical brain-effects of abnormal hormone levels would certainly seem to be “nature,” yet the flu virus that caused the abnormal hormone levels is part of the mother’s environment. Also, things that happen to the fetus in the womb aren’t “nature” in quite the same sense that the child’s own genes are “nature.” Similarly, uterine effects are in some sense “nurture,” though of course they’re not “nurture” in the sense that “being raised in an inner-city ‘food desert'” is “nurture.”

  • ChgoReason

    Also, this article is pretty interesting in explaining the specific brain differences in heterosexual, homosexual, male, and female brains. It’s an oldie (’94), but it still holds water.

  • Throbert McGee

    I mean, scientists who seriously study this question are nearly unanimous in agreeing that orientation is well-developed and more or less “hard wired” even before a child is old enough for kindergarten

    Even Joseph Nicolosi of NARTH agrees with this part!

    (Of course, Nicolosi claims that people who were “hard wired” for homosexuality because daddy wasn’t around when a kid was 1 to 3 years old can choose to become un-homosexual as adults by giving NARTH lots of money for several years of therapy sessions — something few other scientists would endorse!)

  • msandy

    I’m not saying either way is right or wrong but where do bisexual people come into this? Are they choosing to like both sexes or are they born that way?

  • Tony Johnston

    I’m really not sure either TBH. It’s a mistake to think that nurture means choice because we don’t choose our environments or how we’re raised. I also think it’s wrong to group belief in nurture with intolerance. Don’t know if trans counts for this, but there’s an interesting MTV True Life called “I’m Passing As Someone I’m Not” where a young male to female is passing as a woman (not telling the guys she dates). I’m just gonna refer to her as a him for the purpose of explaining his upbringing, and then I’ll switch back. His mom always wanted a little girl, so she basically raised him as a girl from the start (hair, dresses, toys, etc.). It’s kinda hard to believe that her upbringing/nurture had absolutely no influence when she was pretty much raised to be trans from childhood.

    @DickieJohnson: Lots of boys that grow up to become heterosexual men married with kids did the same thing you described doing in your childhood. Same sex interaction isn’t uncommon with kids, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that they’re homosexual.

  • etseq

    And here we have the ex-gay and closet case apologists out in force. Whenever someone tells me “same sex interaction does not indicate they are homosexual” I know I’m dealing with a self-loather…

  • etseq

    This Throbert punk is a long time anti-gay troll…

  • mjwatts

    I never know how to feel about the “born this way” argument. On one hand, I believe it, I would probably choose to be straight if I could, it just seems easier.

    But, on the other hand, I don’t like that the “born this way” argument seems to imply that straight people need to tolerate us because we can’t help it, as opposed to accepting us because we can live our lives however we damn please.

  • DuMaurier

    In other contexts, we’ve been debating “nature vs nurture” forever and probably always will (Were Shakespeare and Mozart’s genius inborn or acquired? Etc etc)

    What I can’t figure out is who decided the alternatives come down to “born that way” or “choice”? Even if sexual orientation were 100% environmental it still wouldn’t be “chosen”. You don’t need an advanced specialized degree to see that. The dumbest homophobe on the planet knows (even if he won’t admit it) that he never “chose” who or what to be attracted to, it was always just THERE, wherever it came from.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    People aren’t born Catholics, and yet, that identity is legally protected when one converts to a religion with which they identify. I was born this way, as far back as I can remember. This is my true self, my identity. To be anything other than what I am would be a lie. It’s as sound an identity as anyone else’s. When a person is straight, does anyone ask if they chose that or is it just accepted as their identity? I’ll be glad when a few decades have passed and these notions will be put to rest.

  • Mikah

    If being Gay is a choice then what the fuck is being straight? In order to choose to be straight you’d have to be the opposite of straight,so you can make the conscious decision to be heterosexual.You can’t make a choice without options,so in conclusion all straight people were once Gay.The end.

  • etseq

    As long as we live in a hetersoexist, homoppobic society, the concept of choice is meaningless…

  • seerketje

    @edonngoblue: Yep, that is very true. Religious morons mostly seem to think it’s a choice, LOL! (exceptions excluded)

  • DickieJohnson

    @Tony Johnston: Yes, I understand that, but, my same-sex activity has continued, unbroken, for 60 yrs, at this point. My appreciation of, and lust for, handsome males, remains unabated, although my tastes now run to silver-daddies!

  • James Hart

    @KDub: It’s probably not black or white, but some shade of gray. People may have a biological predisposition towards either heterosexuality or homosexuality (nature), but a person’s environment (nurture) may also play a part. Who knows, who really cares?

  • crowebobby

    We don’t even get to “choose” what kind of ice cream we like: we taste one and it tastes good to us; we taste a different one and it doesn’t taste good. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with the one that doesn’t taste good to us since it tastes good to millions of other people. We can choose the flavor we want, but we can’t choose which one is going to taste good to us. Overly simplistic? Yes, but true all the same.

  • vive

    I find the statement many gay people make that nobody would choose to be gay highly suspect and indicative of ubresolved self-loathing. I would certainly choose to be gay. I would find a conformist hereronormative childrearing-oriented life extremely boring and would never want it.

  • vive

    I also don’t get the investment of many gay organizations in the “born this way” idea.

    Why? Did r*cism disappear when people had the revelation that black people are born that way? Did anti-semitism melt away when people realized that Jews did not choose to be born Jewish? I would venture that the exact opposite is true.

    Sooner or later people are going to wise up to the fact that the “science” brought up to support the argument (such as le Vay’s work) is extremely weak and is riddled with bad assumptions, misogyny, and insulting stereotypes. A much more secure basis for gay rights would be based on the idea that diversity is good and should be respected and celebrated whatever the reason for it, not the dangerous idea that gay people can only be respected if it is inborn like some genetic disease. I find the whole movement in this direction quite insulting.

  • etseq

    Vive is a perfect example of the moral bankruptcy of queer theory – its a virulent form of moralism that masquerades as critique. It’s all about accusations of self-loathing and cheap shots at scientists from people who have no understanding of the scientific method. For all its pretense about “social” or “cultural” constructions, it systematically downplays homophobia and heterosexism by embracing some pseudo-libertarian idealism of “free will”

    As a states earlier, as long as there is structural discrimination against gays, the very concept of “choice” is an illusion. Screaming about internalized homophobia is like blaming the victim rather than addressing the factors that inhibit the very possibility of a “choice” Just because some queen on an internet comb box claims they “chose” to be gay, doesn’t make it so. It all becomes a game about who is the better “gay”

  • etseq

    “conformist hereronormative childrearing-oriented life extremely boring” is a perfect example of the word salad of a Michael Warner wannabe. This is a prime example of the repercussions of structural homophobia that is missed by the “queers” – this poor misfit has so internalized their abjectivity that they think it is a point of pride.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    etseq, In order for you to recognize these problems in others, they must first resonate within you. Enough with “The Boys in the Band” obnoxiousness. And as for choice being meaningful or meaningless, the choice is to be out and honest about ourselves, not hidden under a veil for the comfort of others.

  • etseq

    @1EqualityUSA: But the “choice” you are describing is entirely different from that of the queer theorists. They ignore structural forces because it aligns with their libertarian conception of free will and it allows them to masquerade as radicals when in fact the post-structuralism they embrace leads inexorably back to the closet.

  • etseq

    @1EqualityUSA: Religion is sui generis in the US – it is protected by the 1st amendment and not independently by the 5th/14th amendments heightened scrutiny. You are comparing apples and oranges.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    If that’s the truth to which you ascribe, word salad or not, your closet of academia is just another form of cloak. Putting down vive does not make your point accessible, it just reminds me of a saying my dad would say, which is, “Put me among fools and I shall be King.” Mercy first, especially if the point you are making is for the benefit of others. Fluffing your newly educated feathers is not teaching, it is a point lost amid insults.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    In applying the California Constitution’s equal protection clause, on the ground that there is a question as to whether this characteristic is or is not “immutable.” Although noted in Sail’er Inn, supra, 5 Cal.3d 1, that generally a person’s gender is viewed as an immutable trait (id. at p. 18), immutability is not invariably required in order for a characteristic to be considered a suspect classification for equal protection purposes. California cases establish that a person’s religion is a suspect classification for equal protection purposes (see, e.g., Owens v. City of Signal Hill (1984) 154 Cal.App.3d 123, 128; Williams v. Kapilow & Son, Inc. (1980) 105 Cal.App.3d 156, 161-162), and one’s religion, of course, is not immutable but is a matter over which an individual has control. (See also Raffaelli v. Committee of Bar Examiners (1972) 7 Cal.3d 288, 292 [alienage treated as a suspect classification notwithstanding circumstance that alien can become a citizen].)
    Because a person’s sexual orientation is so integral an aspect of one’s identity, it is
    not appropriate to require a person to repudiate or change his or her sexual
    orientation in order to avoid discriminatory treatment.
    Read the decision here:
    Clearly, immutability is not the issue here, the central issue here is equal protection under the constitution.

  • Billy Budd

    I have the FINAL WORD on this subject. I have a twin brother who has the same genetic content that I have. We are identical twins. I am gay, he is stright.

    Homosexuality cannot be explained by genetics alone. Genetics certainly have a role in determining if a person will be gay or not. Some people have a higher PROBABILITY of being gay than others. But it is the phenotype, the environmental, upbringing, educational factors, brought up by a person’s early experiences, will ultimately determine if he or she will be gay or not.

    There are scientific studies focused on pairs of identical twins, and it was shown that although genetics does increase the PROBABILITY of both twins having the same sexual orientation, that influence is LIMITED and not a rule. The phenotype will ultimately determine the direction of a person’s sexuality.

  • Billy Budd

    I also want to add that sexual orientation has NOTHING to do with CHOICE. Our appetites are, by definition, spontaneous. We do NOT choose our tastes. Sexual desire is a NATURAL inclination, and is completely independent of a person’s intentions. You cannot choose to be straight and you cannot choose to be gay. Anyone who affirms that it is a choice is a stupid, ignorant bigot.

  • etseq

    @1EqualityUSA: California is one state out of 50 and has a very different equal protection jurisprudence than most states or the federal constitution but even California, “soft” immutability is still a requirement, which vitiates any substantial “choice” I litigate in the federal system and know the law fairly well – you are out of your league.

  • etseq

    @Billy Budd: You are lumping shared and non-shared “environment” together – most biologists consider prenatal hormones an environmental factor.

  • msandy

    This isn’t a debate of nature vs nurture. That is just an excuse people use to discriminate. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we accept people as who they are now.

  • Billy Budd

    @etseq: My twin brother had the same prenatal hormones as I did , and he is straight.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Oh etseq, etseq, Mr. et sequentia, I’m positive you would be “out of your league” in my chosen profession. What an unpleasant squirt you are. Perhaps a bout at charm school would have taken the jagged edge off of you, as you certainly didn’t learn much from your parents. (Does the apple not fall far from the tree?) As for the legal eagles needed to defend equality, Roberta Kaplan, Ted Olson, and David Boise are doing quite nicely, and, an added bonus, they don’t need to be nasty and sarcastic whilst winning their cases. What a shame that your immaturity robs you of the opportunity to make a difference, even in casual conversation. Good luck to you in your career and life. Equality is inevitable.

  • etseq

    @Billy Budd: Not necessarily – twins can have different levels of exposure depending on their rates of absorption or different umbilical configurations. Also, since both you and your twin shared the same post-natal shared environment, by your logic, it couldn’t have been “environment” vs genetics.

  • etseq

    @1EqualityUSA: Well that was a pissy way f admitting defeat. If you can’t argue logically, then you default to insults and emotional appeals. We will win equality but your plan of taking your toys and running home to mommy when you lose an argument isn’t going to be the way equality is achieved. You need to learn some humility…

  • Billy Budd

    @etseq: We had different educations given by the same mother and father, and we had different groups of friends. PLease cite a scientific paper regarding different umbilical configurations. I am skeptical.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    As in my first, second, and last post to you, the conversation has been about your style of communication. As for, “humility,” this is another case of your recognizing problems in others that are familiar to you. You always need to be right and with that, growth stops. Education cannot fix this, it starts with realizing that you, “need to learn some humility.” Who can tell you anything at all, Mr. etseq, as even your moniker suggests a sequentiality that borders on tedious.

  • etseq

    @Billy Budd: So what environmental influence made you gay then? I don’t believe you…

  • etseq

    @1EqualityUSA: blah, blah, blah…we will never reach equality if we have to depend on your logical skills…stick with internet comments bud and let the rest of us do the real work…

  • alexmokum

    “The US won the Vietnam war”, “Israel is a muslim state”, “Fidel Castro is a singer”… no surprise you can’t make up your mind, see

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