Americans Split Over The Origins Of Homosexuality

Gallup nurture v nature poll

Nature versus nurture: the debate continues as to whether gay people are just born that way or just really, really like being subjected to systemic persecution and abuse.

The most recent Gallup poll shows that despite the great strides that GLBT people have made towards equality, only 42% of those polled believed that orientation is an inborn trait while 37% still believe that it's a conscious and deliberate choice that is made. Predictably, those with college educations, whites, females, liberals, Democrats, high-income earners, and those who seldom or never attend church tended to be the demographics that believed in nature.

A more thorough breakdown of this new poll coming up later from Lisa Keen.


  1. Pandion says

    The author of the article makes the common mistake of believing that an environmental cause to homosexuality would make it a “choice”.
    Not so. Whether the cause is genetic or environmental has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is a choice or not.

  2. pete n sfo says

    They should really ask, “Is heterosexuality a choice?” All these people that imagine it has something to do would environment would have to concede immediately that environment is irrelevant.
    It may influence ‘when’ a person ultimately comes out, but straight people aren’t deciding to be gay any more than gay people are deciding to be gay.

  3. David From Canada says

    Note To Americans Everywhere: Simply listen to Lady Gaga’s hit single “Born This Way” and it will give you all the answers, in a nutshell, that you need.

  4. litper says

    37% are infected with terminal Christosis and must be locked in the mental hospitals!

  5. Dustin says

    This article is QUITE misleading, and it disappoints me to see sensational articles that skew the what the sourced study meant to portray. In no way does believing the environment has a factor in someones sexual orientation mean a “conscious and deliberate choice” is made. If you, Christian, actually read the article you source, it would be clear. The source states the APA believes “there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation.”

    As a gay man, it disappoints me to see such distorted “news.” For a blog that constantly hounds on FOX for doing the same, you should hold yourself to a higher standard. Post such as this do nothing to advance the rights of LGBTQ individuals.

  6. michael says

    There’s one simple test to see if being gay is a choice: find a straight man, ask him to choose to be gay, show him some straight porn and, viola, he should now remain totally limp while watching it.

  7. simon says

    But how do all those “straight guys” in SeanCody or Belami perform such incredible acts?

  8. simon says

    Of course the connection between genes and human characteristics is an enormously complicated problem which baffles even the experts. It is not expected to be resolved by just carrying out a poll. But it is not that controversial among experts that they are somehow related though finding the specific genes is not that easy.

  9. Vera says

    Even in the gay community though, there is a certain debate between ‘born this way’ and some sort of other factor. I think it’s a very contrarian opinion since when asked they can’t come up to an alternative to being born that way, but there are also other people that believe that sexuality evolves and that certain switches turn on at different points in your life. I’m inclined to believe that’s more like repressed homosexuality coming to the surface, but…

  10. Hansel Currywurst says

    Upbringing and/or environment can also make someone identify with a particular religion. So we must license upbringing and outlaw environment, right?

  11. melvin says

    You can wait on the polls to change, or spend your time more productively by, say, sticking your head in the toilet and flushing it. 40% of Americans don’t believe evolution or global warming are established science. 30% believe in ufo’s and a good number think they have been abducted by one. This country has a large loon population. Over 40% think Sarah Palin has something interesting to say. None of these opinions matter.

  12. jamal49 says

    No argument here about “origins” of my same-sex attraction. Not to sound trite (thanks, Lady Gaga) but I was born this way. I have never doubted I was born this way. Same-sex attraction is natural and genetic. It is nature, not nurture (to borrow a hoary argument from our enemies). There is and will be no further debate about this, anywhere. Period. End of discussion.

  13. Larry says

    Yeah, the poll is oversimplified. If “environment” means playing with pink dolls as a kid, then no environment doesn’t cause homosexuality. If environment means hormone levels in the womb, then yes it might.

    If sexual orientation was 100% genetic, you could never have identical twins where 1 twin is gay and the other is straight, which happens fairly often. However identical twins are much more likely to have the same sexual orientation than fraternal twins, so there is definitely some genetic component.

  14. crashops says

    There’s a really simple way to settle this debate: Gallup could ask only gay people the same question, instead of straight people who are just guessing. Then plaster the results everywhere just like this study has been crammed down my throat in every media outlet.

  15. Rick says

    Well, in many ways I am dead. I am, after all, not a real person, and not somebody of worth. I was unloved by every member of my family, I have no friends, and I’ve never been sexually active. All I have is anonymous internet commenting to life for. So, yes, in many ways I am dead, in that I’ve never really lived, and I never will.

  16. Rick says

    I wish I’d ever made a valid point at any moment in my life. Alas, I’m just the worthless unloved homosexual coward sack of crap that my entire family has always known me to be. I’d put myself online to show you all how strong and masculine I am – except I’m neither of those things. If you saw me, you’d laugh – as all of your suspicious about me would be instantly confirmed. I’m among the saddest homosexuals on the planet – a modern day eunuch, a man who suffers from penis envy. If Andy ever updates this site and alters the commenting system so I cannot comment here, every day, under my various anonymous alias, I’ll lose the only outlet for my impotent rage that I have, and probably just off myself. Which would be sad, as the last thing I want to do is anything that would actually make my father proud….

  17. Anon says


    You are a psychopath. Not in the colloquial sense. When you treat people like toys, expect to be treated like a toy. |Baby to Marge – Baby to Marge – WAH! WAH! – Over|

  18. Zach says

    So after looking at twin studies and sibling studies and such I think that sexuality is a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. How does one that answers this way answer the survey?

  19. Randy says

    It’s plain that some people DO experience a change in their orientation during adulthood. They (the ones reporting this) are not bi. They go from gay to straight, or straight to gay, involuntarily.

    While most of sexual orientation is determined before birth, and there is a ton of scientific evidence to prove it, there is some smaller portion of it which you are not born with.

  20. says

    nobody goes from straight to gay, or gay to straight. we have people who go from lies to truth, and truth to lies. but not between orientations.

    were there any external socializing factors that made people gay, we’d have found them by now.

    we exist in every type of family type and family dynamic. in every culture, in every religion, in every city and town and province and state and region and country on every continent and wee little island.

    and we always have, and we always will.

    external socializing factors do not contribute to your orientation – only how you choose to deal with it, and feel about it.

  21. Tarc says

    I’m always curious whether (considering a 94% scientific illiteracy rate) the American public realizes that their opinion on the origins of homosexuality is completely irrelevant: only the scientific findings matter. And let me tell you, the Church is never going to be happy…

  22. says

    to Tarc’s point – we have people out there who still deny Evolution. ever notice that it’s the BIBLE-thiumping crowd who insist that there’s no “scientific proof” that homosexuality is innate all the while IGNORING the scientific proofs that prove pretty much all their other beliefs to be false?

  23. simon says

    Your “tons of scientific evidence” were produced by “family research council” or some ex-gay ministries. You don’t say there is scientific evidence against evolution simply because Rick Perry or Marco Rubio denied it.

  24. simon says

    On the hand, American Psychological Association issued a report and resolution against ex-gay therapy in 2009. Unless you are accusing them of scientificc misconduct.

  25. Bill says

    @Larry: people should read up a bit on epigenetics. Apparently there are mechanisms that control gene expression so different outcomes are possible with the same genes.

    Some organisms use epigenetic mechanisms to rapidly adapt to changing conditions, providing a survival advantage.

  26. Ahmasi says

    Homosexuality, Bisexuality are variations on a single theme: Human sexuality! The cosmic law of ‘diversity and variations’ affects all things including Human sexuality! It is absurd to think that every single Human being is going to express Human sexuality in the exact same way! As there are variations in music, flowers, foods, you name it, so it is with Human sexual expression! It is in the DNA of the species, no more, no less; just there; always has been, always will be!