Comments

  1. Scott says

    What is the name of the show that this aired on National Geo Channel – I’d like to see the entire episode – or download it on iTunes … help!

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    LOL…Oh, Lord. They’re going to start pumping testosterone into baby boys inside the womb. Some gay men hate stuff like this–you know, stuff about the level of testosterone as a factor in producing gay males. Don’t let it bother you, fellas…just grow a beard.

    There must be different causes as to what causes homosexuality. Also different causes to what causes transgenderism. No one answer.

    Oh, and I’ll take either of the twin Latino Papis. I wonder if I could find them up in New York…I couldn’t tell.

  3. Adam M says

    As a gay man and an identical twin I find these programs both facinating and disturbing. Having been in a few twin studies in my life this clip is way too simplistic. My twin is straight and always has been. (But it is the question most asked of us – are you both gay?) He gets the brunt of it though – me, I just laugh and say “He is the one with two divorces”

  4. says

    I gotta admit, I’m disappointed in Natty G for this report. They only covered one tiny line of evidence, and present it in a really stereotyped way. They know better.

    The thing about the low-testosterone hypothesis is that it’s not consistently supported across the literature. But, it’s such a compelling story – “Gay men are like women in that they like men, so they must be more like women,” etc., and will never go away.

    For instance, differences in the finger-length ratio between gay and straight men suggests that gay men may be exposed to *increased* testosterone in the womb.

  5. andy says

    As a scientis, I cringe at some of the comments made during these shows. Complete oversimplification of an issue allows the whackos to latch onto the most ridiculous shit.
    And they need to be more specific and refer to it as “sexual orientation in gay males.” The same could not be said for testosterone exposure in female twin pairs.

  6. ty says

    I love the narrator “there are still many questions to be answered” No there aren’t. We are born gay (or at the very least with an attraction to the same sex). Why is this so hard for straights to imagine??

  7. daftpunkydavid says

    as (another) scientist-in-training, i’m glad i’m not the only one with some unease towards this program. derrick from philly and andy said it best, and i agree with their remarks.
    i, too, appreciate the desire to vulgarize the arcane; but i would just like to add that the video at times also employs phrasing that seems imprecise at best and *very* unenlightened at worst, like when the narrator says that maybe celso “did not absorb enough testosterone to differentiate his brain”. seriously?

  8. Zeke says

    The statement, “The gay brother didn’t receive SUFFICIENT testosterone.” is VERY problematic for me. If the narrator had said “the gay brother didn’t receive sufficient testosterone to become attracted to women” I would still find the statement too simplistic but at least it would have reeked of editorial judgement that homosexuality, in and of itself, is an insufficiency.

  9. JCashell says

    C’mon, yall, the point of this program wasn’t to talk about homosexuality, but rather epigenetics. It’s too bad that NatGeo simplified the nature/nurture debate (and, in fact, got it wrong-don’t most “nurture” supporters feel that social factors and not environmental ones are what “turn” people gay?) but it did a good job introducing the concept of epigenetics, which is all that it was trying to do. It’s not saying that homosexuality is a “disease” just trying to postulate some reasons as to why it happens and use those reasons to illustrate epigenetics.

  10. Hart says

    I have identical twin sons. One is straight and one is gay. I have often wondered about the nuture versus nature rational for being gay. The twins were raised in the same room and had the same DNA but I could tell by the time they were toddlers that one was straight and one was gay.

    My boys are wonderful young men now and I love them both very much. I guess the reality for me is that the answer to why one is straight and one is gay is more complicated than nuture versus nature. They have been who they are since they were born. It isn’t a life style choice for either of them. As I mentioned I love them and am very proud of them both.

    Final thought – I would like them both to be treated equaly in this country. It doesn’t make sense to me why one brother can get married and the other can’t. The Churches that campaign against gay marriage have every right to do so but they shouldn’t be able to dictate government policy. Neither should a majority of voters be able to vote away rights of a minority. The US Constitution is supposed to guide us in separation of Church and State issues and majority rule issues.

  11. rayy says

    Yeah, the “inadequate testosterone” theory doesn’t make much sense–what is the evidence for that? Could just as likely be too much testosterone.

  12. tsuyoikuma says

    How can you post this sh*t?! If I wanted Fox News reporting I’d log on to their website. “Insufficient testosterone,” “sexual preference” – WTF?!

  13. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks, HART, for your comment…wish we had 100 million fathers like you in this country.

  14. Miel says

    I don’t understand this, they just seem like they’re grasping at straws because if their theory for what causes homosexuality in males is inadequate testosterone then what is the cause of homosexuality in women? Too much testosterone? But that doesn’t make sense since we all start out female in the womb (why would there start to be testosterone and then it suddenly stops and leaves the fetus female).

    I don’t think they will ever find out how people come out gay, but I’m fine with that, I don’t need to know, I’m secure in my sexuality.

  15. Jim says

    Although National Geography may have set out to explore the genetic and epigenetic basis of sexual orientation, this clip sadly demonstrates the heterosexist origins of their journey. Noting that the gay twin’s brain didn’t absorb enough testoterone during fetal development, thus “he was left with a desire for men” and switching from use of the term “sexual orientation” to “sexual preference” part way through this segment feeds into the falsehoods, myths, and resulting bias and discrimination we all face on a daily basis. Stating that the differences are simply differences and not placing value on them would have made this more credible. I’d expect such nonsense from FOX NEWS, but I always thought National Geographic had more integrity.

  16. Beef and Fur says

    It has to be the one in black. He has great posture, glowing skin and seems very engaged. Just sayin.

  17. Zeke says

    @JIM, my point exactly. They lost me when they started placing value judgments on the two sexualities with homosexuality being presented as the result of “insufficient testosterone” and then using the ignorant and anti-gay favorite term “sexual preference”.

    I understand that this was not about homosexuality per se, but rather epigentics, but that doesn’t excuse NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC from presenting bad science and editorializing scientific findings with value judgments.

  18. CJ says

    I agree with Andy and other scientists, this program over-simplfies scientific research and analysis. There are many variables that must be considered before any conclusion is drawn. Studies such as this that are watered down for public consideration need to be begun and/or followed with claimers explaining the hypothesis and overall conclusion that more facts are to be considered before any opinion is formed.

  19. says

    @ DERRICKFROMPHILY: Of course you hit the nail on the head with the first try. And I think the boys are in Chicago (wasn’t that the Water Tower?).

    As for the topic of how things work in men vs. women, it simply needn’t be the same. After all, our development paths are quite different.

    And for both sexes, there could be multiple roads to Nirvana: genetics and hormonal environment in the womb are the most obvious.

    Some scientists say men have a pretty fixed orientation from the “start” and woment don’t (Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon on lines 1 and 2 [no judgement here; Ms. Nixon is a true Goddess]).

    And in the end, the causes of homosexuality are a curiosity, amoral, and without consequence on public policy.

  20. anon says

    Their line of reasoning isn’t bad–if you need testosterone to make a normally female fetus male then any gaps in this process will result in an “incomplete” male. However, very few gay men are feminine in more physical ways, such as having no facial hair, so the entire process is either much more complicated or it’s very easy to make a male fetus, but harder to make a straight fetus. Sperm counts for all western males have been declining for decades, so environment is playing a role in the development of masculinity, though how and why are not understood.

  21. Kipp says

    There are too many men who are “straight” who nevertheless seem to find it quite easy to enjoy same-sex sexual intimacy. The world would be a *much* gayer place if all the boys I ever fooled around with when I was young actually ended up being gay men. They didn’t – and while it might be comforting to both gays and straights to think it’s because some were “meant” to be straight while others were “just born gay” – I think genetics is the much smaller component. There are “straight men” who refuse to be gay even though that’s where their strongest emotions lay – and there are “gay men” with attractions to women that never act on them after adolescence.

    I believe that any person is capable of enjoying sexual and emotional intimacy with a member of either sex – as long as they haven’t been completely screwed up by a society that bangs heteronormativity (and its counterpart homonormativity) into their heads. But people don’t like uncertainty – straight people don’t want to believe that they could just as easily have been queer. Gays don’t want to believe that they could have been straight if they’d had different experiences or made different choices. Too many cans of worms threaten to burst open once people really start thinking outside the traditional sexual orientation dichotomy.

  22. Zeke says

    @KIPP, you must be bisexual. I could completely understand how a person who is bisexual would come to the conclusions that you have come to but I don’t think many heterosexual or homosexual people share your view about their own sexuality being so fluid and shaped by experiences and choices. Now I could see where a bisexual could be more shaped by his/her experiences and choices in determining his/her preferences. Bisexuals have the only sexual orientation where “sexual preference” really enters into the equation.

  23. Daniel says

    Actually, I’m very gay, and I would agree with Kipp. I’ve felt this can of worms coming when I question myself about whether or not I’d dare to fuck with a girl. I choose to put it away, and not mess with my construed identity (gay) which has obviously cost me- I’m sure you know how. Hart, your comment- too touching.

  24. says

    It’s good to see that there are very interesting comments. Over-simplication of the info is a bad bad thing. People have to consider that gay and homosexual are cultural concepts and not about nature at all. In our sexuality we have a broad set of options that include liking the same or the opposite sex, but there is no real opposition between homo and hetero… this days you rarely see a man without some characteristics of what is consider feminine and vice versa. It’s hard to set boundaries when it comes to gender identity. I mean, do more effeminate man are more gay than butch, or are the less of a man? i really don’t think so. Nature and nurture affect our sexuality, as it affects to the fact of being lean or chubby.

  25. Michael says

    I suspect that the linkage made here between testosterone and heterosexuality is an ideological rather then scientific one.

    Other studies have found that physiological indices associated with testosterone exposure in utero, such as digit length, are statistically more prevalent amongst gay men then in straight men.

    The suggestion that was made in these studies is that homosexuality may be related to OVER-exposure to testosterone in utero, rather then underexposure, as suggested in this video.

  26. says

    Hi MICHAEL… would you have the reference to those studies. I’m an artist that works with gender studies and gender identity, so it would definitely would come in handy.
    Thanks. =)

  27. GregV says

    It’s interesting that so many of us who are gay males recognize instantly the lack of scientific method applied to the claims made here.
    The part about “insufficient” testosterone on the hypothalamus seems to have come out of thin air. It’s not as if they came to this conlclusion by actually checking the hormones in twins’ brains.
    In fact, they could have as easily said exactly the opposite:

    They could have said:
    “Why is it that heterosexual men are often sexually drawn to the exact opposite of all that is masculine and that would otherwise interest them in every other area of life?
    “Gay men are more likely to choose romantic partners who are more consistent with and who share their own interests.
    “This makes it appear that while both straight men and gay men get enough testosterone to masculinize their bodies and most of their brains, that part of the brain that controls sexual orientation is where things get flipped into opposition in heterosexual men.
    “Therefore, the hypothalamus of a heterosexual man may in the womb have been deficient in the testosterone that would have allowed him to enjoy the consistency that gay men can enjoy between life interests and sexual interests.

  28. TANK says

    Keep in mind that genetic explanations for certain traits we have don’t necessarily terminate with you. For example, some have lower IQ’s because their mothers carried a gene that resulted in narrower birth canal, depriving the newborn of oxygen briefly, and subsequently lowering its IQ.

    As to the epigenetic argument, this fits nicely with evolutionary developmental explanations, and specifically the timed activation of certain genes in organ development.

    One of the more interesting posts was from matt, who said that only his eldest brother is straight. You increase the chances of a man being gay 33% with each older brother.

  29. Jason Queen says

    My Gaydar is going off the scale for the twin in black right!

    What’s the big deal if it’s nurture or nature? – I think it’s now pretty obvious (we knew all along tee hee) …

    My Gay realisation happened after seeing a muscled older boy at summer camp when I was 11 but perhaps if that hadn’t happened then I would have been straight.
    It’s like other orientations for transgender and dare I say pedos.

    Of course the shrinks won’t now treat any of this with therapy although I can see the twins thing proves it is some trigger in your experience. I don’t know what the epigenetic stuff is about but I really think it’s a Darwin moment where they don’t really want to upset the Gay applecart by spelling out the obvious.

  30. TANK says

    And what would that be, Jason? What’s obvious here? It’s not that sexual orientation’s a choice, or that it’s more nurture than nature, or vice versa–nor is it that sexuality is a social construct (which it isn’t). So what is it that’s obvious?

  31. Rob West says

    If they stop Gay men from forming, that will lead to: No Decorators, no Ice Skaters, no Hair Dressers, no Hot Dancers, no Fashion Designers, no Church Organist, no Priests, no Hot Cops, bad taste will run rampant……….

  32. TANK says

    I highly doubt they’ll stop gay men from formiing, rob west. LOL! One thing people have to realize, and perhaps it’ll be far too late when they do– is that evolution is smarter than the smartest person or group of them that ever lived or ever will live. It’s a blind, mindless process that’s smarter than any entity alive.

  33. Dev says

    I don’t think Nat Geo was actually presenting this study as fact, but rather presenting a theory as an introduction to epigenetics. Notice that the narrator keeps reiterating that this “may” be what actually happens, and at the same time reminding you that more studies are needed to prove anything. And as a doctor I can assure you this is the simple truth: There aren’t enough studies about the development of sexuality to make a claim at this point in time. I imagine the study would have to be some form of cohort study starting in utero reaching all the way into adulthood, and the amount of confounders present in such long term studies are staggering. Without an economic reason for undertaking it, such a study is just not feasible, taking into account that studies of this magnitude often have the backing of pharmaceutical companies.

    Another point I would like to make is about our stand that “It is not a choice”. Many of us wave this around like some shield that should protect us from judgement. And the funny thing is, many arguments from both sides seem to hinge on this very fact, which I believe is just absolutely stupid. People want to prove or disprove that being gay is acceptable or not by proving or disproving that it is biological and therefore natural. And unfortunately, to many people on both sides of the argument, natural equals acceptable.

    I have heard the stories of many people, some claiming that being gay came “normally” to them, some believing that their life experiences had a lot to do with what they turned out to be. You can ask my personal opinion on the matter via email, but I wont discuss it here simply because I believe that the point is moot. I don’t think my being gay is a mistake, a disease entity, or a neurodevelopmental anomaly. It is simply who I am, it should not matter if the cause is genetic, organic, environmental or simply because I wish to be. It is not wrong, we should not be trying to defend ourselves with reasons or justifications.

    Being who we are should not be acceptable simply because we “can’t help it”.

  34. Drew says

    Maybe it’s evolution’s way of saying “Too many damn humans! Let’s limit that shit!”

    But really, evolution must work in mysterious ways since we are born gay. I always wondered why Nature would want that, so there must be a reason.

  35. Hagatha says

    This week’e theory, or is it last week’s bias?

    Ever notice how that you rarely hear a scientist say, “Well, all of this could turn out to be completely false if we discover some new aspect to genetics next week.”?

    You don’t have to be a scientist to know from your personal experience that identical twins aren’t identical, even if they are both gay or both straight. There are all sorts of differences without even addressing the desperate attempts by some twins to individualize themselves.

    I have worked with identical twins who appeared indistinguishable at first glance, but the longer you knew them and studied their bodies, the more differences you noticed. Differences in facial structure, relaxed and active expression, differences in shoulder width, in height and gait.