This video (highlighted by Sully) is a fascinating piece by National Geographic that explores the possible explanations for why one identical twin can turn out straight while the other turns out gay:

One thing that irks me about the start of the piece is how it refers to the “controversial question” of “Are people born gay?“.

I suppose that it’s accurate to describe it as a “controversial” question, but only in the category of controversial questions like “Did humans evolve from monkeys” or “Is the Earth more than 6,000 years old?”.

The only reason the “controversy” exists is because nuts peddle religion-inspired nonsense that seeks to refute all scientific evidence to the contrary.

The only true “controversy” in scientific circles on this question is what specific combination of biological factors (e.g., genetics, hormonal levels in the womb, epigenetics, etc.) come together to produce The Gay.

There is no serious debate as to whether being gay is a product of a volitional choice after birth.

Anyway, that’s it for my rant. Very good video otherwise :).

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  1. @kalypsodore says:

    Though I've always known that sexual preference is something we're born with, I've also wondered what causes one identical twin to be born gay while the other is born straight. I know a pair of twins like this and I'm really pleased that science is beginning to find the answers. Thanks for the post.

    • Metavirus says:

      you're welcome! most of the science seems to point to a complex combination of factors that influence testosterone production and its subtle influence on the fetal brain. it appears to be a complex interrelationship between hormones, brain development, genetics and epigenetics, and isn't easily reducible to some easy flip-switch explanation (e.g. "Gene X is either active or inactive")

  2. schu says:

    It should not matter in the United States whether sexual preferences are genetic or choice, the constitution does not outlaw, ban or even mention a restriction on the rights of gay individuals. What we are fighting here is custom and religious bigotry.

  3. John Galway says:

    It’s so confusing to me that otherwise intelligent people view the Dillard and Bailey studies as confirmation that sexual orientation is ONLY genetic. If the results of the studies -- a correlation of only 52% -- are viewed without bias, the only possible conclusion is that homosexuality is not genetic. Equally true is that -- when it comes to civil rights and general goodwill on the part of “society” toward homosexuals -- it should not matter at all whether sexual preferences are determined by genetics or by choice. However, it is equally true that extending legal recognition of “marriage” to same sex civil unions -- since marriage has always been associated with procreation and the inevitable cultural repercussions of Evolution -- is nonsensical and inappropriate; akin to giving everyone on the Little League team the same trophy.

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