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The Gaga Myth

According to top selling music artist Lady Gaga …

“Rejoice and love yourself today 
‘Cause baby, you were born this way 
No matter gay, straight or bi 
Lesbian, transgendered life …”

Those are a section of the lyrics from the popular song Born this Way.

Unfortunately there are no black and white answers on the question of whether people are born with a particular sexual orientation. Christians tend to assume that people are born straight, since that is the sexuality that is supported in the Bible. GLBT people tend to assume that they were not born straight, since their sexual inclinations often feel inherent rather than consciously chosen, and because attempts to become purely heterosexually attracted often prove futile. Scientific consensus seems to be that sexual orientation is not entirely genetic, but that there is a genetic influence.

jasonI came across an article about twin studies recently, which got me thinking. In the twin studies, identical twins are studied to see whether the twins always have matching sexual orientations. Such twins have matching genes, and look very much alike, so you would think that if homosexuality is inborn then if one of the identical twins is gay, the other would be also, right? Well differing studies have produced differing results, but at most the sexual orientations only matched around half the time. More conservative findings found concordance of homosexual orientation in less than 10% of those studied. Google for the terms “twin studies homosexual” and you will find relevant studies fairly easily. Of course these studies are not simple, and one of the complications is that apparently even identical twins are not 100% identical. But surely if sexual orientation is inborn, you would expect a concordance between identical twins to be much higher than 50%, right?

Im not claiming that homosexuals can choose to be straight – psychologists tell us that that would usually be unrealistic. But reflecting on the twin studies just clarified in my mind that Lady Gaga must be incorrect.

5 Comments on “The Gaga Myth”

  1. Boo says:

    You do realize there are other influences on biology that just genes, don’t you? You’re ignoring epigenetics and prenatal hormonal influences, among other things. If you’re serious about being balanced you really should do better research.

    • stasisonline says:

      Thanks for your comment, Boo. You sound like you know more about biology than I do – I know very little. Perhaps I should have stated that in my post.
      But whether epigenetics and prenatal hormonal influences have impact on sexuality, if the twins are “identical” with both coming from the same womb and sharing the same gestational period, then if sexual orientation is inbuilt, wouldnt you expect the twins to usually share the same sexual orientation?

      • Tapman says:

        Twin studies actually confirm a genetic component. Googling twin studies gives a lot of results and if you rely on conclusions drawn from non-scietific minds you will get lost. Boo is right, epigenetics is answering a lot of questions.

        My advice – spend some time at a primary school and you will see that kids are born Gay without the need to confuse yourself with science 🙂 Is it really so hard to believe?

      • stasisonline says:

        Thanks Tapman. Yes, Ive read that twin studies suggest a genetic component. As I wrote in my post, scientific consensus seems to be that sexual orientation is not entirely genetic, but that there is a genetic influence.

        I also agree that you can see in some children of primary school age some signs that are characteristic of homosexual orientation.

        In regards to confusing ourselves with science, Im wary of the potential for obfuscation in this. I recognise that there are elements of science that can be very complex, but I also tend to believe that most elements of science are understandable by the common person if they want to take the time to understand it. The conclusions that I have read on the internet about twin studies, seem easy to grasp. IE that sexual orientation is not entirely genetically determined, but that there is a genetic influence, and that for around half or more of the identical twins in the studies, when one is gay, the identical twin is not. As I wrote to Boo, given that identical twins are identical in so many ways, if sexual orientation is inbuilt, it’s really odd that for most identical twins when one is same-sex attracted, the other twin is not. That finding, suggests to me that Gaga overstates her case by claiming that people are simply born that way, as though it is hardwired.

        I find your question about whether the concept of people being born gay, is hard to believe, to be intriguing. It seems to me that you are advocating belief in a position that goes beyond what scientific consensus would support. It seems to me that scientific consensus states that people are born with some inbuilt influences that may combine with other factors that result in homosexual attraction. That’s not as black and white as simply being born into homosexual attraction. What I find intriguing is that you call yourself a Christian. We know that the Bible depicts gay sex as sinful. Based on what the Bible says about homosexual sex, Bible-followers find it odd and unlikely that some people are born with an unchangeable homosexual disposition. We also know that when faced with a choice between embracing what the Bible says, and what scientists say, some people go with what the scientists say. You though, appear to have turned your back on what the Bible says on the topic, AND you also place your faith beyond scientific consensus. And on top of that, you express dismay that people may struggle to believe the concept of people being born gay. So what intrigues me most, is that if you are so easily dismayed by people’s ideologies conforming with the Bible, IE if Christian notions are so foreign to you, why do you call yourself a Christian?

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