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Why do gays exist?

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posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 12:21 PM
Welcome to this thread. I would ask that we keep this discussion focused on legitimate, logical discussion and keep religion out of it. I am interested in the fact-based conclusions or logical inferences of the ATS community on this interesting subject. I will start with a few of my own observations and tentative conclusions and hope this sets the tone for the rest of this discussion:

1. Male homosexuality is present in all cultures of humans, even those who had no contact with more literate, "civilized" cultures until recently (Amerindians, Australian Aborigines, New Guinea) as well as the more "advanced" western/asian/arabic/african cultures.

2. Homosexuality is present in all mammals and even birds; I am not sure about reptiles/insects, indicating that it is a trait that evolution considers SO IMPORTANT AND VITAL for the survival of the GROUP that it is selected for via the relatives of the homosexual animal as we can assume the homosexual animal doesn't reproduce very efficiently. Twin studies have shown that there is a strong but not 100% correlation between genes and gay orientation in males, though not in females. Other studies have demonstrated physical differences in the gay male brain vs the heterosexual male brain, indicating a bilogical basis for homosexuality in men.

3. If evolution was only concerned about direct reproductive success, there would be no homosexuals since they don't reproduce directly, at least not as frquently as heterosexual men do. Even a tiny advantage in reproduction will quickly annihilate the less advantageous genes of a competing animal and rapidly spread in the population.

4. Human cultures seem to have a built-in anti-gay bias or at most a tacit tolerance, but never a total idealism and acceptance of the homosexual. I wonder if this isn't nature's/evolutions way of keeping enough gays in the "closet" so that at least some will be forced to have sex with women and reproduce and thus keep this valuable trait in the gene pool?

5. What could be so valuable that it would give a group of animals or humans an advantage over other groups that don't have this trait of periodic gayness in males? I submit it is a sort of natural "worker caste". I think it is analogous to the majority of honeybee drones who are non-reproducing males that defend the queen and thereby keep the hive from being destroyed by other raiding bee hives, or the worker bee females who don't reproduce at all.

Human equivalents would be soldiers who could fight without worrying about the family back home, and allowing the breeding males to stay home and protect the kids/wife. This was considered an ideal back in Plato's time. Gay men would presumably be a better fighting force than straight men in that they would have a sexual bond with each other that might cause them to fight more fiercely. A simpler benefit would be added labor and food procuring ability as well as defense of the tribe/family without adding the burden of more babies to feed. For example, most gay men that I know of spend a lot of time helping out parents and siblings, spending time with nephews/nieces and doing things that the busy parents don't have time for. I think this helps the kids develop better and therefore helps the kids survive and reproduce the gay mans genes via his siblings.

I am sure there are other perspectives on this subject. I believe that evolution is such a harsh selector of valuable traits and eliminator of undesirable traits that there are no "mistakes" in any organism. Everything exists exactly as it has to be to survive and reproduce in it's environment, including us. It just stands to reason that there is a logical reason that gays exist. For the record, I am gay, so I have a personal interest in this subject, though I have no bias on this subject. As a physician, I believe virtually evrything about us, including our behaviors, is genetically programmed at birth--including homosexual orientation.

[edit on 18-4-2007 by j_kalin]

posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 12:35 PM
JK, first I'd like to congratulate you on such a well-thought-out post. You bring up points I had never thought about before and I've spent alot of time thinking about and discussing this topic with my biologist husband and with my LGBTG friends, of which I have many. (Yes, as I've said before I am a Proud Fag Hag).

I think you make some good points and I do agree with you, there are no mistakes; however, Nature does love to experiment. But if She tries something and it doesn't work, She doesn't do it again. Which would indicate to me that being attracted to the same sex is not something that is a mistake, much as many people would have us believe.

I don't know why there are gay men and women. But I do know one thing: that my gay and lesbian friends (and my transgendered sister-in-law) are some of the most wonderful friends that I've ever had. They have been there for me through thick and thin and they do not judge me, not on anything. They are family to me and I cherish them greatly for their compassion, loyalty, understanding and nonjudgmentalness. Perhaps because they don't have children, they are more available to comfort the distressed. But they have also been a great source of very different viewpoints, simply because of their unique orientation.

I think you're on to something here with the idea of gay men not having families to leave behind, that it enables them to focus on their soldiering or other work, so maybe the worker bee thing is a good analogy.
I will have to give this question some thought and come back later. Thanks so much for asking the question and bringing this topic up.

posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 02:20 PM
Very well thought out theories.

I would like you to perhaps clarify your points a little.

What is your definition of homosexual behaviour in animals? Any behaviour can depend on the group dynamic of a particular animal. If there is a hierarchy - Alpha Male and Alpha Female groups for example when only the dominant pair mate and breed, homosexual activity could therefore be reinforcing the group.

Conditions also can affect behaviour; stress factors, over-population, food shortages etc. So what is normal and what is reaction reaction to environment. Is it day to day behaviour or occasional. It is difficult to generalise.

Some of the Polynesian tribes were found to have male "Aunties", who would help with the "women's" work, such as child rearing. I'm not aware of whether there was sexual interaction between these males. it would depend upon the norms and values of the given group.

It is important to remember that love between males is perfectly normal and essential to social groups. Tribalism: warriors, hunters etc have to work closely together. The norms and values of each group influences all sexual behaviour and social interaction. (This is where over-extended groups and/or over-population may result in ab-normal behaviour to cope or adapt etc - for example adapting from omnivore to herbivore due to restriction in food sources). Adaption to change can result in behavioural changes and normalising.

I like your analysis of bees - very perceptive. But I hate to generalise, sorry if I sound picky, but there is normally a different explaanation for every varying situation.

posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 08:38 PM

Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Very well thought out theories.

I would like you to perhaps clarify your points a little.

What is your definition of homosexual behaviour in animals?

Well, there are many examples. In fact there is a museum exhibit on just that subject as we type. Link:

There are 2 male penguins that built a nest together, got an egg and sat on it together and raised a chick, male dogs mount each other, etc. It seems to be sexual as well as relationship oriented, just like in humans.

ps, check out the "top 10 list" after the link jump

Mod Edit: Fixing quotes

[edit on 20-4-2007 by chissler]

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 12:47 AM
Not to disrupt anything but there's actually species of reptiles that are only female, and yet they manage to reproduce, look up the 'whiptail lizards' or whatever. Also there's a bunch of lesbian lizards and birds.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 01:32 AM

Originally posted by j_kalin
4. Human cultures seem to have a built-in anti-gay bias or at most a tacit tolerance, but never a total idealism and acceptance of the homosexual. I wonder if this isn't nature's/evolutions way of keeping enough gays in the "closet" so that at least some will be forced to have sex with women and reproduce and thus keep this valuable trait in the gene pool?

Well that's not quite true.

The ancient Greeks did'nt have the concept of Gay or Straight, and
homosexuality was quite normal to them.

Homosexual relations, between both genders, but more noticeably men,
have always been at the least tolerated in Japan, and indeed during the
Meiji era it was considered more noble to be gay than to be straight.

In modern Europe homosexuality is, for the most part accepted by the
majority of people, and not considered negative by most.

The real problem is that religion has tainted culture in many negative
ways, teaching that different is wrong, and as such many cultures,
especially those based on religion, have had a stance against it.

Personally I do not think there is such a thing as homosexuality or
I think that all humans, and mammals are naturally bisexual, though to
differing extents, and that while genetics do play a role, that is making
a person more or less predisposed to leaning one way, it is not the sole
deciding factor on whether or not someone will primarily like females or
males, I do believe to that early environment ans sociocultural upbringing
are a factor as well, but as with genetics are not the sole deciding factor.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:14 AM
that's interesting iguana, as a reptilian, you ought to be the expert on that

another wierd item, they have now apparently coaxed some stem cells to develop into the cells that produce sperm in women, raising the concept of a female-only human race as a possibility. Amazons?

yeah, and there are fish that are born female and become male as needed to fertilize the others as needed. sexuality seems very fluid in the fish & reptiles.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:16 AM
[edit on 20-4-2007 by j_kalin]

[edit on 20-4-2007 by j_kalin]

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:20 AM
It isn't just a matter of why homosexuals exist, but also HOW did they come into existence? What could have happened that men would become so perverted?

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:33 AM
please read my first post and try not to be insulting by calling me "perverted" and i'll try not to call your so-called religion "retarded", ok? What would Jeus say?

[edit on 20-4-2007 by j_kalin]

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:37 AM

Originally posted by j_kalin
please read my first post and try not to be insulting by calling me "perverted" and i'll try not to call your so-called religion "retarded", ok? What would Jeus say (since he was having gay sex with John)?

I think you just provided part of the explanation how some men became sexually perverse. Homosexuals are insane. No one but a lunatic would believe Jesus was a homosexual.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:50 AM
To my knowledge, the ancient Greek aristocracy encouraged mature men to tutor adolescent boys. This no doubt occasionally led to sex, but this is not thought to be the norm. Usually these relationships were more educational or platonic, and if they did become sexual, they were not legitimized by marriage. Men were expected to marry women when they were educated and reached maturity. Sex also occurred frequently between teens and young men and men in the military as a way of releasing sexual tension and bonding. Even so, it was not the "norm."

As for Europe, granted the laws are more protective in some of Western Europe, but in my experience homosexuality is at best tolerated, not idealized or even considered equal to heterosexuality-particularly in the rural areas.

My point is that biologically homosexuality between men is a genetic trait. Just as with any other trait it can be enhanced or reduced in frequency by breeding for or against it. Paradoxically, if gayness becomes accepted and gays cease to stay in the closet and produce kids, then the trait will be bred out of that population and gayness will become extinct in that population. So, evolutionarily speaking, the culture retains gayness by persecuting it, keeping gays in hiding and breeding, thus keeping the trait present.

If the radical right knew anything, they would encourage gay rights and equality since that would drop the number of kids produced by gay men and breed gayness out of the population in a few generations. In a strange way, the fundies are keeping gays IN the population.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 11:31 AM
Why do gays exist?

Um, because they're human, just like the rest of us. Who cares if people are gay? Who are they hurting? Nobody. Just like nobody should care if someone is black or Mexican or purple or legless.

I think we should focus less on individual peculiarities and more on looking past individual peculiarities. How much effort does it take to say to oneself "I don't care what that person is or how they look or what they think. They're a fellow human being, that's all that matters, and I'm going to treat them with the same empathy and respect I would like to be treated with."

Why do gays exist? Ask yourself why you've asked this question.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 11:38 AM
So that the fundie's have someone to bash and leave us alcoholics alone.

Seriously though homosexuality has been around since we have, just a part of nature. A side effect is that we get to scope out people of little tollerance, they've already showed up in this thread.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 01:18 PM

Thanks for the link - there are some interesting articles on there which i will read at my leisure. The penguins you mention are an example of possible environmental stress factors resulting in ab-normal behaviour as they were in a zoo not there natural habitat.

Chimpanzee actually use sexual contact for group bonding - adults engage in not just same-sex activity but also with their young. As do whales and Dolphins.

Dogs mounting each other reflects the pack mentality - only the alpha male and female are permitted to breed. If subordinates breed the resulting young are usually killed by the group. Whether mounting is sexual is open to debate.

Homosexuality is an aspect of human behaviour - fact, no doubt in my mind, whether it is adaptive, mutational or original is open to much debate, i certainly do not have an answer. Whether it is frowned upon, despised or accepted depends upon societal norms and values.

An excellent example is Magnus Hirschfelds work in Germany. In the Weimar Republic homosexuality was acceptable and he was able to set up a institute for sexual study. A few years later and the Nazis destroyed his library and he went into exile.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 01:24 PM
Personaly i think that ones sexual prefernce has to do with the spiritual side of a person.

But i understand where your going on alot of what you said, thread starter, and you seem to have thought about this alot. nice thread.

i have to admit that ones sexual prefernce can mean alot to other people and how a person fits into society. i do not see the problem in it, but so many people have problems with it.

but for me its a spiritual problem, as all humans are spiritual creatures.

[edit on 4/20/2007 by andy1033]

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 01:40 PM

Originally posted by andy1033
~ Personaly i think that ones sexual prefernce has to do with the spiritual side of a person ~ but for me its a spiritual problem ~

Why do you think it's a spiritual issue? Why do you think it's a problem?

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 01:46 PM

Originally posted by RRex13

Originally posted by andy1033
~ Personaly i think that ones sexual prefernce has to do with the spiritual side of a person ~ but for me its a spiritual problem ~

Why do you think it's a spiritual issue? Why do you think it's a problem?

i did not mean to say problem, so i hope i never offended anyone. but many believe it is spiritual and being catholic i tend to agree, but maybe my view might be from conditioning.

for me i choose not to go down that path, becasue i feel that its wrong, and society seems to have a big problem with it, as i have experienced.

for me why cannot people just live there lifes, and if they do not break laws or hurt anyone, why cannot someone be free to be that way if they are an adult and made the choose on there own.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 01:58 PM
1Because of Male only Prisons. If you could make them coed I bet their would be a lot less gayness in the world.

2 My friend thinks that these people were a different gender in a past life. When they were reborn they had a immediate attraction to the same sex

3 Another suggested that its natures way of thining out the herd. Especially when that herd has found way too many ways to spread unchecked.

4 I saw a report about animals that would turn gay when there weren't enough females around. Had to do something when their testosterone kick in.

posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 02:23 PM
Population control.
I think that homosexuality has been built into life as a form of population control. At any given point in time we have to have a balance between supply and demand. Back in the day when we were hunter gatherers we could only support so many people and having a kid was not always a good thing, because that would mean yet an other mouth to feed.
With hetero sex there is a chance of procreation, with homo sex there is no chance of having a baby, so nature builds in an automatic defense against over population by making the chance that some members of a group gay so there will only be so many people.
That’s just my 0.02

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