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Is being gay hereditary?

29 replies

QueenEagle · 19/02/2007 23:56

Some years ago, it was big news that a "gay gene" from the mother was responsible for your kids being gay. I didn't think it was true at the time.

But I wonder if it might be true now. dd's uncle is gay, and I have always had leanings that way but never really acknowledged them til recently. dd is currently openly experimenting with a same sex relationship and today ds2 said he wants to be a girl.

So it got me thinking....are you born with your sexuality fixed or is it your environment? In my household it seems very likely that I might be attending at least a couple civil partnerships in the future!

What's your view?

OP posts:
fortyplus · 19/02/2007 23:58

I used to want to be a boy but I'm convinced I'm straight! Unless I'm a gay man trapped in a woman's body, maybe?

QueenEagle · 20/02/2007 00:01

ds2 is 10 and made me lol today. He said he wanted t obe a girl because they get to choose so many nice things to wear and to have a choice of wearing trousers or a skirt would be fab!! I told him he could weara skirt if he wants to, perhaps just not to school

OP posts:
fortyplus · 20/02/2007 00:01

I have a friend who is one of three - both her brother and her sister are gay but she's straight. That doesn't really prove anything, does it?
Most gay people I've known over the years have said that they knew from a very early age - as young as six.
I wonder if we will ever know why? There must be a root cause if they know at such a young age ie before puberty.

hester · 20/02/2007 00:01

I have no idea, QE. My family is also bursting at the seams with deviants of all sorts - I'm just a respectable pillar-of-the-community lesbian mother in comparison to them - but I couldn't say whether it is nature or nurture.

But aren't your kids lucky to have you as their mum.

hester · 20/02/2007 00:03

Fortyplus, I think gay men usually say they 'knew' at an early age. In my experience this is not nearly so true for women. Speaking personally, I was flabbergasted when I finally had to admit to myself that this was a phase I didn't seem to be growing out of.

And I'd still kill to have George Clooney's baby.

QueenEagle · 20/02/2007 00:05

Thanks hester!

Just idly thinking about it really after reading bubble99's thread about whether her own mum might be gay and was thinking about it from the other way round.

OP posts:
Bubble99 · 20/02/2007 00:05

QE. You've contributed to my other thread this evening, so you'll know some of my history.

I went through a 'gay thing' in my late 20's and 'experimented.' I'm now, I think, firmly hetero, but maybe maternal genes do play a part.

QueenEagle · 20/02/2007 00:12

It's weird because I was always propositioned by gay girls when I was a teenager and I always insisted that I was straight. I had a liaison not very long ago and I wish I hadn't let it go. Not that I would change being with dh atm but if I were ever to come out I would probably be in my early 40's so there is probably something in what hester says.

OP posts:
Lua · 20/02/2007 00:21

Probably just nature and coincidence....
you can read some
or a whole thesis here

fortyplus · 20/02/2007 21:03

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Monkeytrousers · 20/02/2007 21:09

There is some evidence supporting it. There is a current study underway at Newcastle Uni, been going for a few years now I think. It's known as the 'Gaynome Project'.

But there isn't 'a' gene for anything.

DominiConnor · 20/02/2007 21:20

We know that "gay" behaviour is to be found in the mammals and birds that we have taken the trouble to observe.
Fish for obvious reasons don't really "do" gay.

Therefore it inevitably has a strong genetic component, but unlikely to be a single "gay gene", again because it is in so many highly diverse species.

Biologists seem merely see it as an adaption to social conditions, rather than "male budgies trapped in female budgie bodies". For humans it seems to me a construction that help people rationalise it, since they feel it is something to rationalise, rather than a result of a few hundred million years of evolution.
A large % of our behaviour is pre-programmed.
I don't mean we are robots, but to an extent if we have free will it is in a supermarket of responses to situations, that we've have acquired over evolution and personal experience.
I don't mean any offence, but I see gay people as those who like the smell of the bakery section and hang around there, whereas I prefer freshly killed meat. Neither is "better", and neither is a perfectly free choice. Very few people actually jump over the deli counter and start making something new.

mytwopenceworth · 20/02/2007 21:24

i guess if you think about it, the point of all creatures, basically, is to live, breed, perpetuate the species, pass on your genes ..... you know? so from that point of view it is 'supposed' to be male + female in order for that to happen. taking that point of view, it would make sense that to enable that to happen we are designed to find the opposite sex attractive in order to be motivated to reproduce (and thats why sex feels nice too!). so if that's the case, it would make sense then that something can go awry genetically that can mix that up. probably in many different ways. male brain in female body, female brain in male body, too much or too little of the wrong hormone, loads of stuff. possibly a tweaked gene, so yes, i think it's very possible there's a 'gay gene'.

hester · 20/02/2007 22:31

DominiConnor, I like your style

DominiConnor · 20/02/2007 22:58

The reason I am dismissive of a simple gay gene, as part of the "gay is a genetic defect" view is that homosexuality seems to actually help get animal genes reproduced.
That's obviously not obvious
Competition for females is tough. Animals get damaged, and the effort detracts from stuff like avoiding predatgors and feeding. Thus a process by which you give it up for a while and "act female", which we see in many animals is sipmly taking a breather.
This has resonance in human gay behaviour. We see that gay men often find it easier to form relationships with women. Hmmm. We see also that gay men are can be aggressively "anti" bisexual men, but have no problem with straight men or women.
Basically gay behavious can be modelled as an under the radar attack. Remember "surival of the fittest" doesn't have to mean beating other males to death, the only things that counts is getting the sperm to the egg.

Lesbianism may be slightly different. One set of theories follows the fact that women have orgasms, which is very rare.
It's possible that gay sex of both kinds is a bonding ritual akin to picking each others fleas, but more fun. Unlike (say) horses pregnant women are vulnerable and it's hard to see a lone 8month preg woman doing much hunter/gathering on her own. It's possible that women bonded this way in self supporting groups where interaction with men was not the norm compared to sex with other women. As you may guess feminists (they still exist in academia) really like this model, but to be fair it fits the known data very well.

Or it could simply be that God has a dirty sense of humour.

hester · 20/02/2007 23:13

That's really interesting, DC.

Fubsy · 21/02/2007 19:12

Why dont fish do gay? Is it because some of them can change from one sex to the other anyway?

ELF1981 · 21/02/2007 20:40

Can I make a grand theory that everybody is "a little bit bi-sexual with a leaning more towards one type than another"?

I honestly dont think there are many people who can say they have never had a thought about the same sex, even if it were a split second thought they have pushed out of their head.

Growing up I had equal amounts of fantasies about men and women.

Whoooosh · 21/02/2007 20:45

I find this fascinating to be honest.
Before I met dp,I only ever wanted to be "loved"-and I automatically leaned towards the male sex and had some fantastic relationships.
However,since meeting dp,I have never been more "content" (she changes the loo roll when it needs it,and does the washing when is needs to be done }
I never inagined being with a woman for the rest of my life but I think this is it-interestingly,my aunt,on my father's side is also gay how/does that fit?

Monkeytrousers · 21/02/2007 21:47

Some species can yes Fubsy

Hallgerda · 22/02/2007 07:53

Fubsy, I think DC's point (correct me if I'm wrong, DC) is that fish don't exactly do sex. The female lays unfertilized eggs then the male squirts sperm around them. (It all works nicely as they live in water.)

Fubsy · 22/02/2007 19:44

AAh, I get it!


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Whoooosh · 22/02/2007 19:51

Oh to be a fish eh?

Fubsy · 22/02/2007 20:04

And you get to take it in turns - if youre one of the ones that can change. I heard chickens can do that under duress!

Whoooosh · 22/02/2007 20:05

Well maybe that's me after all?

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