Winning the Debate

July 1998

Is homosexuality a choice? In the past I have always made the case that homosexuality is not a choice. However, I have recently found reason to believe that homosexuality is a choice – for some people. Read on to see what has changed my mind.

There are several pieces of evidence to examine. One key item to consider is the people saying homosexuality is a choice. After considering the other evidence, I'm sure you'll regard many of those people in a new light! Some other items to consider are recent studies regarding human sexuality. You may have read about a study in which men identified as “homophobic” were shown homoerotic material. The homoerotic material was also shown to a control group of ordinary heterosexual men. Both groups were monitored for sexual arousal while being shown the material. The interesting thing was that the “homophobic” group was aroused by homoerotic material while the control group was not. The results were perplexing to some, so the study is being repeated to seek an explanation. Meanwhile many gay men found great entertainment value in this paradoxical finding.

In another recent study, men and women were questioned regarding their stated preferences and practices. Both men and women were then assigned a category based not on the label they chose, but on what they had been doing sexually. This was the study that determined that their were political lesbians, but no gay male equivalent. This was interesting in itself being as nature seems to prefer symmetry in such things. Another interesting finding was that when graphed, the women's results were “U” shaped. There were a lot of 99% heterosexual women, a lot of 99% lesbian women, plus a significant number of women strewn in a continuum between the two ends of the scale. The result for men's sexuality was very different. The resulting graph for men was two vertical lines. Almost all men were exclusively gay or exclusively straight. Where were the bisexual men?

That brings us to some final evidence to consider. That evidence is social attitudes toward people of “minority” sexuality. Bisexual women are actually revered in certain circles. Lesbians seem to find a fair degree of acceptance. Gay men find more limited acceptance. However, bisexual men are almost uniformly condemned by everyone. Heterosexual men typically regard bisexual men just as they do gay men – not to be trusted in the locker room and frequently seen as second class citizens. At least gay men can hang out with heterosexual women. Unfortunately, the bisexual man is suspect whenever he seeks a simple friendship with a heterosexual woman. The bisexual man is seen by women as a person who can't be trusted not to seek sex, and can't be trusted to remain faithful to women in general – much less any one woman. He will not be embraced by most gay men for exactly the same reasons! All this adds up to a tremendous cultural bias forcing “latent bisexuals” towards the ends of the scale.

Is there a connection between all these pieces of evidence? I think there is. That connection is the heterosexual males who insist homosexuality is a choice. I think they may represent the men that nature would have placed between the two extremes of 99% homosexual and 99% heterosexual. As cultural biases pressured them, they felt forced to make a choice between sex with women and sex with men. Is their anger over being coerced to make a choice the driving force behind male homophobia, and is this why some can say with such confidence that homosexuality is a choice?