"Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law."
Homosexuality: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate
In my personal opinion, I believe that sexual orientation is the sole result of nature. Now, while I do not believe it is possible for a person to change his or her sexual orientation like a switch of a pocketbook, I do believe that one’s sexual orientation may evolve throughout the years. What I mean by that is I feel that while you may be born sexually attracted to one gender, throughout your lifetime, you may feel a change in your natural attraction to a gender different to what you have been attracted to in the past. I believe that gender and sexual orientation are confusing concepts for some individuals. I know of many individuals who feel that they are neither male, nor female- regardless of their external genitalia. I also know of many individuals who identify with the LGBTQIA community. I, myself, am lesbian. How did I know? I guess I knew by that instinct in my gut. I just knew that while every little boy in my first grade class was afraid of getting cooties, I was busy being a little too interested in one of the girls in my class. And while all the little girls and boys were dating in middle school, I knew that I was too afraid to date my best friend, Victoria. So I didn't date at all. I always knew that I was attracted to the same sex and it was not a choice. There wasn't anyone in either the home or close environment that nurtured me into this orientation. The only person that I knew that identified herself as being within the LGBTQIA community was my Aunt, and she “came out” well after I knew that I already had those feelings.
My belief is that while you may be sexually attracted to an individual of the same gender, nurture may only come into play when you decide whether or not to be an active homosexual. This means that you may be sexually attracted to someone of the same gender by nature, but may not actively pursue that attraction because of the way you were nurtured. Think of it this way- if you were raised to believe that what you were feeling was an act of Satan, damning you to burn in hell for eternity, I’m sure most would be reluctant to come out to their families. If you were raised to believe that you are loved unconditionally then you may feel that you are able to harness those feelings and actually pursue your homosexual attractions. But again, sexual orientation is not a choice. I’m sure heterosexuals did not decide or choose to be heterosexual. I did not choose to be made fun of in the locker rooms. Or to be spat on. Or for the boys in my high school to try to harass me because they thought they could make me into a “real” woman. Who would choose that abuse? What was a choice was my ignorant decision to try to become a heterosexual, which of course, did not make a difference. I am who I am and I had to accept that. I do not believe it is possible for a person to change his or her sexual orientation if they wanted to. People who say they have been able to change their sexual orientation are repressing/ignoring their true desire for those of that gender.
I believe psychology has certainly evolved as a science. At first, homosexuality was treated as a mental disease or defect. According to the article, California Bans “Gay Cure” Therapy, there were “camps” that included many inhumane sources of “treatment” for this “disease,” such as shock therapy. Now, “camps” of these sorts are banned in some states. California was the first in the nation to ban these types of psychotherapy camps. (The Associated Press 2011) This definitely shows how psychology has evolved, and civilization as a whole. Psychology, I think, has definitely matured in terms of understanding that homosexuals are just like everyone else. There is nothing diseased about homosexuals. There is a video I saw in Pearson Ed called Straightening Out Homosexuals. It is a video that talks about Exodus, a Christian church that tries to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals by being involved in "courses" that instructs them on how to change their orientation. In this video, I believe that the people who graduated the “courses” did so because they repressed their natural attraction to the same gender. Those same people could have also been bisexual, or on the Kinsey scale (a scale measuring the hetero and homosexual episodes in a persons life) they could have been primarily homosexual, but still had a secondary attraction to the opposite sex.
To really identify whether or not sexual orientation is determined by nature or nurture, I’d suggest that we conduct an experiment. One experiment could be to do every physical test known to man on 1,200 homosexuals and 1,200 heterosexuals. If you find that there is something above or below the heterosexual test ranges, then you will know that there is a physical determinant of homosexuality. Another experiment could involve gathering 600 individuals. These individuals should be newborns without an immediate history of homosexuality or bisexuality. Three-hundred individuals should be placed in an environment that does not condone homosexuality and the other 300 should be in an area that is primarily homosexual. The majority outcome of these children would dictate whether or not it was their environment, but that could also be a coincidence as well. The truth is, I do not think that anyone can accurately measure the cause of homosexuality. There may be correlations, or similarities, or assumptions, but I do not think there can be factual, concrete evidence that states an individual is homosexual.
My family sees this issue as, well, not an issue (for the most part). The family members that are most important to me understand that I am lesbian and they love me just the same. Other family members do not fully accept that part of me, but try not to express it. My community seems to now accept me for who I am (or pretend they do but in their heart of hearts they may not). Of course, I've been made fun of, considered inferior to my rightful counterparts and harassed, but all in all, once I began to accept myself, others began to do the same.