I think there could be different causes for different people.
As a gay male I find the birth-order theory quite convincing (since I did have two older brothers), and although it's not predictive, apparently the
chances go up 30 percent for each male child being gay in the birth order, and there may be a slight hormonal feminizing reaction to the male fetus in
However, there's very little else that is feminized, except apparently a larger language center closer to that of women.
The point for me is that it was never a choice, and it's an orientation I'm aware of, not necessarily a specific sexual act (that is, I can choose
which men to sleep with and how, or maybe none at all, but I can't change my attraction to "manly" men).
I do find that there's a whole range of sexual varieties that require unpacking, and especially in the humanities - with their focus on social
constructivism and feminism - there's increasing work on an array of attractions and sexual identities.
Many variations once lumped under "gay and lesbian" are now scrutinized, and although the bisexual is part of the "LGBTI" banner, popularly it is
still straining to free itself as an identity that was once considered even rarer than the "homosexual", but at a closer look it seems more like a
"Biopia" is now seen as an analogy to "myopia", in the way that the bisexuality is stereotyped or contained.
The male bisexual was often seen as too cowardly to come out of the closet fully, or even with suspicion by gay men in the times when homophobic laws
allowed unspoken sexual abuse and violence towards gay men (particularly since sexual abuse by "normal men" in power was not uncommon in prisons, the
military or police raids on gay clubs).
Astoundingly, male bisexuality was often labelled under "gay", and celebrities like Freddie Mercury (clearly bisexual), or even movies like "Brokeback
Mountain" (clearly bisexual men) were commonly described by both many heterosexual and homosexual commentators as "gay", rather than bisexual.
In the US, it seemed white male bisexuality was really a tragedy of a "gay man" trapped in the closet, while for ethnic men it was living on the edgy
and risky "down low".
Even under HIV prevention the reference is to men who have sex with men (msm), rather than bisexuals.
For women bisexuality seems to have been accepted more as a norm, although usually associated with excess, like Madonna or (in South Africa) Brenda
Lesbianism, and its explanation, has been less of a cultural focus than than gay men (also for homophobes), and the exclusive lesbian has thus also
lacked the political visibility of the exclusive gay male.
That may change in South Africa, where lesbophobia, or the "corrective rape" of lesbians seems to be a bigger problem than violence against gay
Suffice to say that when especially heterosexist, patriarchal state homophobia decreases as a common enemy, a more liberal discourse allows for all
kinds of identities to emerge that differ from the "traditional" gay and lesbian identity.
Queer studies, that look at all kinds of transgressive moments and attractions in literature, for example, are more popular than older gay and lesbian
In fact, just being a gay male is almost reactionary, rather than liberating these days.
Class, race and gender differences may begin to split communities, and self definition becomes increasingly painstaking and important.
In South Africa (since same-sex marriage was legalized in 2006) the bigger gay parades in the cities have been partly abandoned as elitist, while
smaller marches proliferate in the largely black townships.
There's all kinds of debates and accusations that gay prides have been too white and middle class, and they've ignored the rape of black lesbians in
the townships, although as a white gay male I also fear that commenting on this will also make me a "racist", and I'd rather focus on my own
How do we explain bisexuality?
Perhaps every individual on the planet has their own unique sexuality.
To add on the specifically gay minority debate, I also find the case of a young man who turned gay after a stroke very interesting.
Not only did he turn gay, but also very "stereotypically gay" (from a rugby playing banker to a somewhat camp hairdresser).
At first nobody believed him (even his boyfriend), but he later found other people who experienced significant personality changes after a stroke.
Many who had such strokes changed careers (even if they don't usually change sexual orientation, they are often subsequently rejected by their
spouses, friends and families) from a construction worker to an artist, for example, and one therapist dealing with such cases claimed he did have a
patient who also turned from gay to straight after a stroke.
These are often accompanied with complete personality changes, not just sexual orientation (it may show that sexual orientation goes with other
personality traits), although it is a very rare phenomenon.
It certainly doesn't offer any form of "treatment" either way, since the brain is far too little understood to mess with it that way deliberately, but
that kind of finitude of one personality and orientation to another (rather than just repression, for example via religion) is actually a frightening
prospect for the individual and his or her social milieu.
We still like to put to things into clearly marked binaries based on recognizable classes of people, but we should get used to the idea that we may
soon have a proliferation of sexualities and identities apart from "gay" or "straight".
I could think of many people who use the terms "gay" or "straight" to define themselves, but in reality they are bisexual to various degrees.
Yet, even in the West with all its gender rights, few people adopt the label "bisexual".
edit on 22-5-2014 by halfoldman because: (no reason