Are people born gay?

With LGBT coming out day happening last week, I began to wonder if people are born liking a certain gender, or if their environment in which they grow up in has an effect, making them act and become a certain way. I personally have a few friends who are openly gay and have talked briefly about this topic with them. I have asked them if they have always known they are gay, or at what time did they find themselves to be gay. All of them answered that they always knew they were gay, leading me to believe that people are born liking a certain gender. I decided to do some research.

The controversy over whether people are born gay is related to the nature vs. nurture debate. Since the early 1990s, scientists have conducted numerous studies in an attempt to determine a genetic cause for homosexuality. This research continues as it has not yet been proven to be valid evidence, i.e. causation does not equal correlation. As there is no science or DNA test to specify if a person is homosexual or bisexual, people believe that sexual orientation is a matter of how one defines oneself from the interaction of psychosocial and environmental factors throughout their life.


In November of 2014, the North Shore Research Institute conducted the largest study examining the debate of whether people are born gay. The study consisted of 409 sets of gay brothers and identified two genetic regions – Xq28 and 8q12 – that seem to correlate to homosexuality in men. This study follows the report done by geneticist Dean Hamer in 1993, suggesting the existence of a “gay gene.” Neuroscientist Simon Levay believes the DNA we are born with determines the theory of homosexuality.

Some people also believe that being gay runs in families. Researchers have found evidence for this belief, as well as the idea that it is more likely for two identical twins to be gay than it is for two fraternal twins since they share all of their genes rather than just half of their genes. A study done in 2012 suggested that epigenetic genes play a role in homosexuality. Since this type of gene regulation can be influenced by environmental factors or conditions during prenatal development, it is said that this epigenome can be passed down, explaining why being gay seems to run in families.

Many believe that the environment in which they grow up in affects people’s homosexuality. For example if a boy were to grow up with five sisters and played with all their barbie dolls, watched them all get ready and interact with each other, talking about having crushed on boys, etc.  would the boy turn out to be more feminine and in essence lead him to be gay?

After researching about this debate, I am still unsure, like the world, whether people are born gay or not. But I am leaning toward the idea that they are because if people were to have the “choice” to be gay, then there wouldn’t be so many cases where people are attempting to change their orientation. Also, after talking to my friends who are gay who have said that they have always known, it furthers my belief. But anyways, no matter what, everyone who is straight, homosexual or bisexual, should all have the same rights and all be able to love whomever they want!


5 thoughts on “Are people born gay?

  1. Kameron Villavicencio

    I was hesitant to click on this article because conversations of this type can lead to offensive remarks. Personally, I don’t think it matters if people are born gay. What matters is that they can’t change it and should never be discriminated against because of it. For this reason, I don’t believe that it is something that even really needs to be looked into. However, it would be beneficial to show certain conservatives who do not support gay marriage and the super conservatives who support conversion therapy. I found an article that discusses this topic, with a leaning towards the idea that genetics play a role in sexual orientation. It mentions a key part that I believe is important to remember and it’s that there is not simply a gay gene. Sexual orientation is a complex personality trait.

  2. Catherine Drinker

    This is a topic that, personally, I have evidence for on both sides. I know people who are gay who both feel they were born gay and others who think that their upbringing shaped their sexuality. Like you, I did some research on this topic and learned more about the “gay gene” which I had never really thought of. Scientifically, there is a lot of research being done that is finding out more an more about how one’s sexuality is formed.

  3. Alexander Roker

    This is a very touchy topic, but I definitely believe that people are born with their sexual orientation. It is hard to know in some cases, though, because sexual orientation is often something that develops as time goes on and is realized at an older stage of life. To say that people could be nurtured into being gay, like the barbie doll example you used, is erroneous in my eyes, because I think that largely deals with stereotypes. Unfortunately, I think this is a topic that would be very hard to measure through science. because one would have to wait for homosexuality to become known later in life, and then go back and see if there were any signs earlier in the persons life, which would be very objective.

  4. Michael Robert Szawaluk

    I like the relevance of this blog very much. I personally do not care about your race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything like that but look into what type of person you are. What caught my attention the most was what is said in your last paragraph. I find that to be something I never really thought about; if you had a “choice” to be homosexual, then why are we hearing about people constantly wanting to change their sexual orientation. I continued to do research on this topic and found out that genes might not play such a large role in the determination of our sexual orientation, but instead our sex hormones during pregnancy play a vital role. But despite whether it be due to choice, genetics, or environmental factors we are who we are and it does not matter how we arrived to that place. While there is no undoubtedly clear evidence to explain how one becomes homosexual, I personally believe you are born with a certain sexual orientation who makes who you are.

  5. Delaney Ann Flynn

    I also wonder whether people were born with their sexual orientation or if their environment alters or enhances their orientation. The genetic links you found through your research is strong evidence for the first of the two options. However, I feel like one’s orientation may be a mix of both. A person may know very early on in their lives, then their environment or the people they interact with will confirm or sway them differently. I definitely think there is a genetic factor; however, I believe one’s environment, how they were raised, religion, friends, hometown, etc all play a role in it as well.

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