Essay, Research Paper: Homosexuality


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The origins of human sexuality and homosexuality in particular have puzzled
philosophers, theologians and ordinary people for thousands of years. In scatter
cultures, homosexuals have been regarded as a normal part of life, however, same
sex attraction to most cultures have been treated as an unforgivable sin or a
terrible crime. Many psychologists and psychiatrist had attempted to “treat
and counsel” the homosexuals. In our social norm, male attracts to female and
female attracts to male. To everyone this is a natural and biological urge.
However, there is a significant minority who attracts to their own sex. It’s
about five percent of the population in the world. There are many opposing
viewpoints of whether it derives from variation in our genes or our physiology,
from the intricacies of our personal history or from convergence of these? Is it
for that matter a choice rather than a compulsion? Chances are no one factor or
study can alone explicate and clarify the human sexual orientation. However,
there are evidences that prove being gay is not a choice. The nature of
homosexuality primarily comes from one’s biological sexual orientation and the
environment is just a source to bring forth or repress the behavior Many
researchers and scientists have long search for the distinguishable brain
structures, the biochemistry in the human brains to differentiate the
differences to classify between the two obvious sexes we now have in our
society, male and female. Such sex differentiation of the brain’s structure is
called sexual dimorphism. . (LeVay/ Hamer 22) The first significant observation
of sexual dimorphism performed in an animal laboratory. Roger A. Gorski, a
professor at University of California, Los Angeles, conducted an experiment on
rats. In 1978, Gorski examined the rat’s hypothalamus, a region at the base of
its brain that is involved in instinctive behaviors and regulation of
metabolism. He discovered there is a group on front of the hypothalamus is
several times larger in millimeter of the male rats compared to the female rats.
The cell group is very small but it could be easily observed on a stained slice
when being viewed under a microscope. More interestingly, Gorski’s finding
applied to the sexual orientation between males and females. That particular
group of cell is known as the medial preoptic are has been involved in the
sexual behaviors typically displayed in males. For instance, if there is a male
rat has a injury medial preoptic area, he apparently couldn’t indifferent to
sex with another female. From the study of Gorski and his co-workers, we now
know the androgen is the typical male hormone and the estrogen is the female
hormone played a major role in bring about dimorphism during the fetus
development. (LeVay/Hamer 23) Another finding also involved with Gorski and his
colleagues at U.C.L.A, especially with his student, Dr. Laura S. Allen. They
also found the dimorphic structure in the human brain. A cell group named INAH3,
shorten for the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus, in the
medial preoptic region of the hypothalamus is about three times larger in men
that in women. (LeVay/Hamer 23) Animal studies make available a good deal of
evidence for biological basis of disease, but in this case, sexual orientation.
Through a careful exploitation of hormone level on rats, Gorski as been able to
produce male rodents that demonstrate feminine behavior and injected into the
female fetus that develop with the male fetus and it appear to be masculine
because of the male testosterone. They also look and act more like males. In
addition, they are less attractive to male mice (Gorman 60) Related to Gorski
and Allen’s study, Simon LeVay, a British biologist and neurologist at San
Diego Salk Institute, who is also gay, performed another study for Biological
Studies, in 1990. LeVay decided to check whether INAH3 or some other cell group
in the medial preoptic area varies in size with sexual orientation as well as
with sex. LeVay conducted an experiment on the hypothalamus in autopsy specimens
from nineteen homosexual men, all of whom died of AIDS and sixteen heterosexual
men, six of whom had also died of complication of AIDS. After encoding the
specimens to eliminate all the bias that could skew the outcome. LeVay carefully
sliced the hypothalamus into serial slices. He measured their cross-sectional
areas and their thickness under a microscope. LeVay has concluded the sexually
dimorphic nucleus INAH3 were significantly larger than of female and smaller in
male homosexuals than in straight men and similar in size to the nucleus of
female. In some gay men, this group altogether nonexistent; this is
statistically proven in 1 in 1000 gay men. LeVay hypothesized that this is a
biological factor and possibly genetically based has influenced in the brains of
homosexuals to become feminized. (LeVay/Hamer 25) William Byne, a psychiatrist
at Mount Sinai Medical Center decided to challenge and test LeVay’s finding.
Byne compared the brains of nineteen heterosexual men and seven women and found
the male nuclei were larger, as LeVay had initiated. Byne came up with several
arguments that other factors could also influenced the cause of homosexuality
but chosen not to publish his result until he can rule out all the possibilities
that could contradict his argument. He is also collecting numerous human brains
for a comparison of gay and straight males. (Horgan 26) There are many
conservatives who disapprove of homosexuality and have the intense hostility
with the concept of “gay gene” and have traditionally argued against it. But
this is because those conservatives do not understand the implications that lie
behind the gay gene. Homosexuality is life left-handedness. It’s neither
chosen nor a psychological illness. Since the homosexuality exposed and became a
controversial issue in United States in the last three decades, many
conservatives argue, “Homosexuality is a chose lifestyle, like vegetarian.
It’s a disease like schizophrenia.” (Burr 22). But since scientists had
proven those are not completely cases of homosexuality and it clearly a
biological development like and it does not correlate with any environment
factors. Scientists has classified homosexuality is a trait. For every trait
they studied, clinicians and biologists often assemble a trait profile of the
sum total they have gathered in their studies. The trait usually shows up in the
population as two “orientation”. Ninety-two percent of the population
usually has the majority orientation and about eight percent has the minority
orientation. Either the two traits are non-pathological and chosen. The minority
orientation runs in the families has a name of “maternal effect” given by
the geneticists which men always receive it from their mother. If it is
inheritable, as demonstrated by the fact those identical twins, whose are
naturally clones are far more likely to share the minority orientation than
siblings who are not twins. For example, handedness, right- handed holds the
majority orientation in the populations that the left-handed holds the minority
orientation. This theory could apply to the homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Heterosexuality accounts roughly ninety-five percent of the population while the
homosexuality is the minority orientation, which holds the other five- percent
of the population. Clearly family, social norms, friends, teacher or school
education can’t make you to become gay, which is a minority orientation. (Burr
24) Dean H. Hamer of National Cancer Institute studied the DNA from forty pairs
of homosexual brothers and found thirty-three of them share genetic markers on
the X-chromosome in a region know as Xq28. X chromosome is one of the two sex
determined chromosomes. It is always inherited from mothers. Genes are arranged
along 46 chromosomes and each chromosome contains tiny coils of DNA,
deoxyribonucleic acid, which carries the instruction to manufacture a particular
body substance. There was no such similar sharing in the same region among
heterosexual men. Researchers have not yet compared the homosexuals’ genetic
information to the other group. The finding does not explain all the
homosexuals; seven out of forty homosexual brothers did not have the common
genetic factor. The explanation for this is it might cause by other unknown
genetic influence. (LeVay/Hamer, 27-29). Since the DNA strand is long enough to
contain hundreds of genes. Hamer’s team has not found the gene that makes some
men gay but the Xq28 is one of the possibilities of the gay gene (Begley,
Sharon, Hager, Mary) If homosexuality is inherited and the male homosexual gets
the gay gene from the X-chromosome of his mother, then aren’t that twin
brothers and other siblings of the family have a good chance of being
genetically influenced by that trait. Looking for linkage, Hamer has conducted a
random survey and a survey with families with gay brothers between the maternal
and paternal relatives. The possibilities of maternal uncle and maternal cousin
through aunt have the highest percentage of being gay. It’s from 7.3 % to
12.9% compared to the paternal uncle and cousin through aunt of 3.9% to 5.4%.
Why are most gay men relatives are gay on their mother’s side of the family?
The possibility is a man has two chromosomes, X and Y. The Y chromosome is the
sex chromosome and any traits that on the X chromosome pass to the child come
mostly from his mother. Chances are she had inherited those traits from her side
of the family. (Hamer/Copeland 111) In 1985, Richard C. Pillard and James D.
Weinrich conducted the first modern study on the pattern of homosexuality runs
in families. “The random pooled data for men show that about 57% of identical
twins, 24% of fraternal twins and 13% of brothers of gay men are also gay. For
women, 50% of the identical twin, 13% of sisters of the lesbians are also
lesbians.”(LeVay/Hamer 26) Data of homosexuality combined and analyzed, it
showed a good possibility of family clustering of sexual orientation becomes
evident for both sexes. But others say this finding reveals another significant
problem with a “born gay” conclusion. The argument against the data
indicating above is if homosexuality is inherited then identical twin brothers
who share 100% of their genes should have 100% chance of being gay instead of
57%? The respond to this argument is in a gene there are two alleles. For
example of Huntington’s disease, it comes in two alleles. One is to suppress
the gene and the other activates the disease. Therefore, the baby has a 50% to
50% change of his identical twin brother will get the same “gay” trait.
Another example is Type 1 diabetes; this disease has only 30% active, so in
another word, you could only have 30% chance of this gene will become activate.
Therefore two identical brothers could have share the same gene for diabetes but
one might develop it and one might not. The activeness of the gay gene is only
50%, for that reason, some twins do not share the same sexual orientation unless
there is something that triggers those alleles to activate. There are traits
that emerge at the different time of life, some at the beginning and others that
emerge later on in time. (Kangas 20) Another explanation is after the fertilized
egg separated into two individuals. The DNA sequence might have a few changes
and that could lead to the personality as well as the sexual orientation
differences. This has not been proven, but it could be one of the possibilities
of why identical twins do not have 100% chance of being gay. “ Bailey and
Pillard say their research indicates that male sexual orientation is
“substantially genetic”. Research on social factors has proven fruitless,
with no evidence that parental behavior or even parent’s homosexuality affects
the children’s sexual orientation. (Pillard 32) Applying the homosexuality to
the gene concept, New York psychiatrist Kenneth Paul Rosenberg believes that we,
as people, should be more open-minded to the study of homosexuality because it
could help to fight for gay and lesbian rights in this society. Hopefully it
also could decrease an escalating hate crime rate and the discrimination toward
homosexuals.(Horgan) Like any genetic research, finding the gene sequence is
time consuming and expensive. The finding of Huntington’s disease took about a
decade and cost millions of dollars. What are the advantages of the study’s
outcomes and who will be effects by it? Human sexual orientation is no ordinary
topic or study. It’s at the center of a fierce debate involving politics, the
law, religion, ethics and the origins and meaning of human behavior. Many legal
experts felt the evidence for a genetic link to homosexuality would strengthens
the evidence for immutability and therefore cause tighter scrutiny of laws that
permitted discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, employment, or
participation in the political process. Others, though, argued that immutability
was a red herring and that the real issue was equal protection, not biology.
There were also ethical, medical and economic issues involved as well. Although
scientists did not provide any test for the still hypothetical gay gene but we
are heading in that direction. If such test were developed, might parents decide
to screen the fetus for homosexuality, just as they do for Down syndrome and
other genetic defects? Would some doctors regard homosexuality as a genetic
defect that should be cured and weeded out of the population? Would insurance
companies charge men with the gay gene more on coverage or refuse to serve them
because they have a higher risk of AIDS faced by gay men? These are questions
that worried many people. “In addition, homosexuals are frequently the targets
of discrimination and violence. The treat of violence and discrimination is an
obstacle to lesbian and gay people’s development. In a 1989 national survey,
5% of the gay men and 10% of the lesbians reported physical abuse and/or
assault…47% report some form of discrimination over their lifetime. Other
research has show similarly high rates of discrimination or violence toward
homosexuals” (, APA Q&A) Personally I do hope the genetic surgery
will reveal the true nature of homosexual and find the right loci of the gay
gene in the near future. Optimistically with finding of the biological
influences on the gay gene can help to eliminate the discrimination and the
escalating hate crimes rate toward the homosexuals. Homosexuals are normal
people like the heterosexuals. They have feelings and their sexual orientation
of attracting the same sex is innate. They have no control over this destiny.
Counseling, therapy or the environment can’t change this so since we can’t
convert this then why don’t we accept this and give those homosexuals all the
respects and rights that they deserve like any other heterosexuals. BibliographyAPA Public Communication. * * ·
Begley S.; Hager M. (July 26, 1993) Newsweek. Vol. 122 Issue 4 Does DNA Make
Some Men Gay? P59 2/3p, 1c · Burr C. (Dec 16, 1996) Weekly Standard. Suppose
There Is a Gay Gene… What Then? P 22-26 · John, H. (Nov 95). Scientific
American, Vol. 273 Issue 5, Gay Genes, Revisited p26, 5/6p, 1c · Kangas S.
(1999) Homosexuality Is Biologically Determined. Homosexuality: Opposing
Viewpoints. Mary E. Williams, Greenhaven Press. 17-21 · Gorman, C. (Sept 9,
1991) Time Magazine. Are Gay Men Born that Way? P 60-61 · Pillard R. (1999) The
Causes of Homosexuality Are Probably Genetic. Homosexuality: Opposing
Viewpoints. Mary E. Williams, Greenhaven Press. 27-34
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