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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Biological Basis for Homosexual Attractions


            Want proof that being gay is not a choice? Look no further you’re your hypothalamus, more specifically, the cell group in the medial preoptic area named INAH3. According to research published by Simon LeVay back in 1995, this cell group is three times bigger in heterosexual men than in homosexual men and heterosexual women. LeVay examined autopsy specimens from 19 homosexual men, all of whom died of AIDS, and 16 heterosexual men, six of whom had also died of AIDS. LeVay concluded that, at the very least, there are visible and measureable differences between the brain structures of heterosexuals and homosexuals.
            What causes the enlargemen of the INAH3? Androgens, the steroidal hormones found in the testicles of males, testosterone being the primary and best-known. These hormones surge and change our bodies at three critical points in our development: in the womb, after birth, and again during the onset of puberty. These hormonal washes are what change our brain structures and determine whether we are male or female, whether we are masculine or feminine, and whether we like boys or girls or both.  LeVay demonstrated the effect of these hormones by exposing, or not exposing, the brains of newly born rats (males and females) to androgens and then observing their behavior as adults (i.e., mounting, lordosis, etc.). The more we study our body’s development, brain chemistry, and neurological structures with regard to sexual behaviors, the more we are discovering how our sexual orientation is shaped early on, and for the most part, without regard to environmental influences.
            The implications of these findings deserves more modern research. For one, there were no sexual histories done for the specimens so verifying the his/her sexual behavior was not possible. Alfred Kinsey’s studies on human sexual behavior back in the 1950’s would not have been so insightful if it was not for the thousands and thousands of histories him and his researchers took themselves. This is, in my opinion, the best way to accurately classify each person by his/her sexual orientation. LeVay’s research also only looked at one very specific group of cells in the hypothalamus. Expanding research to the other parts of the hypothalamus will undoubtedly yield some interesting findings. Some people note that the AIDS may have acted as a confounding variable, but my gut tells me that this region of the brain was the same before and after contracting AIDS. Still, this aspect deserves more accurate research and to bring these truths to light; that we are, indeed, born this way.

(For the primary source used, google “Is Homosexuality Biologically Influenced” and click on the top most pdf… enjoy)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gay Marriage: Since When Is Love Restrictive?

           The truth is, it’s not “marriage” that gays are after; it’s equality. The term itself could mean less to us gays. We want our lifetime partnerships to be recognized by society and the legal system the same way that heterosexual partnerships are recognized. Is it so much to ask... for all the same rights as our straight counterparts?
            I get sick when I come across a “preserve marriage” bumper sticker or some ignorant asshole who thinks gay is contagious and will turn his/her kids gay. Sorry to break it to you but your kids were already gay, and forcing them to suppress those normal and healthy attractions is only going to fuck them up. The best part of being human is the friendly, social, and sexual aspects, and to deny people those experiences because their friends are different than yours or because they are of a different social class would be ludicrous and hypocritical. As one gay rights activist wrote it on his picket, “Did we vote on your marriage?”
            The real issues at hand are the civil liberties and the legal rights that apply to husband and wife, but neither husband and husband nor wife and wife. Whether it’s monetary rights, taxes, adoption, legal benefits, or last will and testament, we deserve the same privileges. As long as their relationship is based on mutual love and the two adults are of age, I don’t see anything wrong with them getting married and raising a family. In fact, I have a hunch that in a few years, statistics will show that same-sex marriages have lower divorce rates, children that do better in school, and higher incomes. Or not. Maybe marriage will suck as much for gays as it does for straights. Either way, we deserve a shot.

And now, a special thanks to those who have made same-sex marriage possible and legally recognized:

Argentina, 
Belgium, 
Canada, 
Iceland, 
Netherlands, 
Norway, 
Portugal, 
South Africa, 
Spain, 
Sweden
...and some parts of the United States: 
Connecticut, Washington D.C., Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and two Native American tribes, the Coquille and the Suquamish.