Polyamorie

ethische non-monogamie / ethical non-monogamy

Gay: Born this way? [United States]

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The debate about what makes people gay has been raging for decades. Now scientists aim to settle it for good, says Jeremy Laurance

“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth.” So said Jerome Goldstein, director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Centre, addressing 3,000 neurologists from around the world at the 21st meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Lisbon last month.

In doing so he was attempting to settle a debate that has raged for decades: are gays born or made? It is a puzzle because homosexuality poses a biological conundrum. There is no obvious evolutionary advantage to same-sex relationships. So why are some people attracted to others of the same sex? Sexual attraction provides the drive to reproduction – sex is a means to an end not, in Darwinian terms, an end in itself. From an evolutionary perspective, same-sex relationships should be selected out.

Despite this, they are common in the animal kingdom. Birds do it, bees probably do it and fleas may do it, too. Among the many examples are penguins, who have been known to form lifelong same-sex bonds, dolphins and bonobos, which are fully bisexual apes. Various explanations have been advanced for the evolutionary advantage that such relationships might confer. For example, female Laysan albatrosses form same-sex pairs, which are more successful at rearing chicks than single females. Homosexuality may also help social bonding or ease conflict among males where there is a shortage of females. Gay couples will not preserve their own genes but they may help preserve those of the group to which they belong.

The existence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom has been cited to demonstrate that it is not a sin against nature. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of recognised mental disorders almost 40 years ago in 1973 and the World Health Organisation followed suit in 1992. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists does not produce its own list of disorders but tends to follow the WHO.

The Guardian, 14 juni 2011

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Written by lovingmore

juni 14, 2011 bij 9:11 pm

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