BB 16’s Frankie Grande Claims Gay Men Have ‘Genetic Predisposition’ But Lesbians ‘Choose To Become Lesbians': VIDEO


"Big Brother 16" house guest Frankie Grande, who has received a great deal of press for his many cuddle sessions with apparently heterosexual competitors and his revelation that he's pop star Ariana Grande's half-brother, recently took it upon himself to inform everyone about why gay people are the way they are. Is it a choice? Is it biology? Frankie seems to have all the answers.

Grande2At first he tells his housemates that gay men have a "genetic predisposition towards being attracted to other men. There's genetic markers in your blood, there's pheromone receptors in your nose…However, I believe society can change you. It depends on how you've been raised." Certainly a problematic perspective, though he clarifies somewhat when he states that society can make one "choose to go against their genetic markers," presumably speaking about the constant homophobic pressures around us.

Things get really hairy, though, when Frankie delves into the mysteries of gay women.

Crushable reports:

That theory, which he’s pontificating on to a room full of reality TV contestants who don’t know any better… apparently only applies to gay men. Only they are born with this mythical predisposition — women never are.

“Any lesbians choose to become lesbians later in life. Women who have been with man after man after man after man choose to become a lesbian later in life. Gay men it doesn’t work so much that way. It’s usually they’re like ‘oh okay, no I’m gay.’”

Truly incredible stuff, Frankie. The most disturbing part? The housemates, and, it seems, Frankie himself, have deemed him resident LGBTQ expert. They hang on to every last word as though it is indisputable. 

"Nature versus nurture is a very highly debated subject, even within my own community," he says. I'm not sure what community you are representing, Mr. Grande, but one where only scorned women "become" lesbians is not the community of which I count myself a part.

Watch the full discussion, AFTER THE JUMP

[photo via Cliff Lipson/CBS]


  1. Ryan says

    The media is taking what he said out of context. If you actually listen to the whole conversations, he was referring to the fact that men tend to realize that they’re gay earlier than women. And that for some women, it takes them years, even after marriage to a man, to realize that they’re gay. Nice journalism there.

  2. says

    well that was spectacularly unimpressive. nature VS nurture is still a debate? really? amongst whom?

    i think all intelligent minds are pretty much in agreement that the only factor “nature” plays is in how one chooses to address the nature of their innate orientations.

  3. Rich says

    To be fair, it’s not like he pulled this completely out of his ass. He expressed it very poorly and insensitively – he’s a bit confused – but there is ample evidence that points *somewhat* in the direction he’s referring to.

    Male birth order has been linked to male sexual orientation, but no such link has been found in women. And while I certainly wouldn’t call it a “choice”, multiple studies have found that sexual orientation is – on average – more “fluid” with women. I assume those are the studies he has in mind.

  4. Paul B. says

    Embarrassing to say the least…but I think Robert hit on it. I have a drug addicted daughter…very sad…and this is just what she looks like in EVERY way.

  5. Jerry says

    He’s such a vile person in general, and it’s sad to watch someone his age whose entire sense of self is based on tying himself to his little sister. Once he referred to himself as a “media mogul” on the air because he has a youtube account, I was done.

  6. FriendOfTheBear says

    I’m not usually fond of dissing my fellow gay folk but loudmouth dizzy queens who have no clue what they’re talking about should learn the value of holding their tongues. Unfortunately someone who imagines that they’re a celebrity because they stooped to appearing on a reality show is unlikely to have an appropriate epiphany. This particular cotton candy-head is in need of a serious dressing down regarding why men shouldn’t pretend to speak for women, gay or not. Unfortunately the TV eye just adores this type of gay person while generally eschewing more thoughtful and informed gays.

  7. northalabama says

    frankie is not an authority on social behaviors, don’t expect him to speak like one. he gave as good an answer as i would have expected him to give, and i wasn’t offended at all.

    he comes across as having lived a sheltered life, and his having a wealthy father, a sister (somewhat) successful in entertainment, and his other “deep” insights into other matters on the show this season, his monologue really should surprise no one.

  8. odee says

    The fact that this show is in its sixteenth season speaks volumes about the contempt TV executives have for the viewing public and also about the extreme lack of discriminating intelligence that characterizes the viewing habits of TV audiences.

  9. Rowan says

    But he DOES have a point.

    Either you gay men are woefully naive and dumb or you’re full of sh*t.

    I don’t know one straight female friend of mine who hasn’t at least messed around with a woman BUT they are 99% white and liberal.

    Academically, with black women, it tends to be women who have suffered some sort of deep resentment against males.

    These from my personal and professional experience are the two groups more fluid when it comes to being a lesbian.

  10. Kipp says

    A little learning is a dangerous thing, as they say. Frankie has almost everything half right. There is good evidence that the reasons for men and women being homosexual are not the same (quote apart from the individual reasons a given person identifies as straight or gay).

    @Little Kiwi
    I understand where you’re coming from – but the evidence for a genetic determinant for homosexuality is not compelling. I know “unchosen” sexuality is one of the default assumption of progressive/liberal social theory generally and the gay rights movement more specifically… but it is likely only a useful fiction. The fiction is supported by activists in the public square because it generates empathy from (often religious) straight people. The fiction is believed by individuals because thinking otherwise challenges our desires for personal authenticity and a purposeful existence.

    If we instead accept that human sexuality is a lived experience in which people “settle into” a sexual orientation over the course of their lives (some earlier and some more definitively than others), we:

    1) risk giving fodder to anti-gay forces who criticize our sinful “choices”

    2) risk our own cognitive dissonance at considering that maybe we could have been straight

    3) risk giving up the “comfortable” social protocols that the assumption of rigid sexual orientations make possible.

    Instead, we decided to accept the notion that sexual orientation is a biological trait… and now we scratch our heads at all these strange and conflicting research findings where only a small percentage of gay people show any effect for a given biological factor. When a thousand different things correlate with something to different degrees in different people we shouldn’t call that determinism.

  11. Robert says

    Rowan – Did you hurt yourself dear? I know that words with images between your ears thinky tv box place doesn’t get much use, so to type this all by yourself must have left you with such a big headache. Reward yourself with your crackpipe and go back to watching your new queen dullard-out other BS mysteries.

  12. pablo says

    Ew, can Towleroad please not become this kind of a blog?

    If you actually listen, he’s reiterating the science and the science he cites to ONLY applies to men. That is factually true. They have not made similar discoveries with women. There are also studies that demonstrate a higher degree of sexual fluidity among women.

    But let’s not let reality get in the way of our rush to judgment. Why do we get so giddy about tearing people apart?

  13. simon says

    The more interesting question is what factor or factors lead to heterosexuality? Be it genetic or environmental, this is the trait of the majority in most of the animal kingdom. Even in species which have essentially no social structure.

  14. says

    KIPP – i don’t know about you, but i’m an openly gay man and i know a lot of openly LGBT people. whom i talk to. a lot. and share with. a lot.

    were there a Socializing Smoking Gun – we’d have found it.

    its’ not about gaining sympathy from straights – at all. it’s addressing reality – i was one GAYYYYY 4 year old, dude.

    nobody taught it to me. nothing made me “turn that way”. there was no switch.

    that said – were it a choice, it’d be a choice i’d happily make now. being gay has been an absolute blessing in my life, and my family’s life.

  15. Rick says

    Good points by ROWAN and by KIPP.

    1) There is just too high a correlation between lesbianism and feminism for there not to be a cause-and-effect between the two….so yes, I believe that a very high percentage of lesbians are lesbians (and feminists) because of negative experiences with men and/or negative attitudes towards men.

    2) A degree of bisexual attraction is the norm for most humans and this has been pretty well-established, even though most have a strong preference for either males or females….so there is A DEGREE OF CHOICE in most individual’s sexual behavior, even if not a choice when it comes to their basic make-up and attractions

    3) While most male homosexuality is, I think, “natural” in a way that most lesbianism is not (born out by the fact that while male homosexuality in other species is common, but female homosexuality not common)……..effeminate behavior is NOT natural, but is learned, since it is neither caused by homosexuality (if it were, then all men with homosexual inclinations would be effeminate), nor genetic (no evidence at all to support it)…instead, it is a result of internalization of the norms of a homophobic straight society which believes that to be attracted to other males is to be of deficient masculinity…….

  16. says

    In terms of self-reporting the vast majority of gay men feel that they were born that way.

    While a large majority of lesbians feel that they can choose.

    There is likely no correlation biologically between the two, plus we are socialized differently, but consider this:

    Recent queer writers claiming it’s a choice are women (Suzanna Walters and Julie Bindel).

    Most well-known people claiming it’s a choice are lesbians (Nixon et al).

    Anecdotally I know a LOT of former lesbians, or lesbians who are now with men, and no ex-gay men. Not one.

  17. Derrick from Philly says

    @ KEVINVT,

    very important comment you made.

    Maybe there are more women who are willing to be bisexual, and to give long-term Lesbian relationships a try–not just one-night stands. And at different times in their lives they will try heterosexual or homosexual relationships.

    I don’t know. But I do know that there are Lesbian women who are born that way.

  18. will says

    Notice Little Kiwi’s tactics — which (s)he uses over and over again:


    well that was spectacularly unimpressive. nature VS nurture is still a debate? really? amongst whom?

    i think all intelligent minds are pretty much in agreement that the only factor “nature” plays is in how one chooses to address the nature of their innate orientations.


    His rule of thumb is to:

    a) shame the opposition


    b) shut down the conversation

  19. Rick says

    To add to my own observations and those of KEVINVT:

    How many gay men do you know of who do NOT have at least one close friend who is a woman? Almost none, I suspect.

    By contrast, how many lesbians do you know of who DO have at least one close friend who is a man? Almost none, I suspect.


  20. GregV says

    There is so much disconnect from reality in the way Frankie “explains” this.
    Yes, Frankie, if a man CALLS himself straight and secretly is attracted ONLY to men but never “acts on it” outwardly (perhaps only fantasizing about men every day of his life) then he is in reality of a GAY orientation.
    And if a woman was pressured for years into impressing her family with a man on her arm, and spent years lying in bed with her eyes closed pretending to enjoy sex with a man, and then one day, she falls in love with a woman, she has not “decided” to be gay. She was always gay…. And if she fell in love with a man and enjoyed sex with him and years later she finds a woman and feels the same way, then she is BISEXUAL. Again, she hasn’t “decided to be gay.”

    There is no big dispute in “the community” about nature vs. nurture. You are only stating the utter obvious when you say that the pressures of our society determine how we behave in regards to it.
    But if gay male twins are separated at birth and the one who grew up in Manhattan holds hands walking down the street with the male love of his life while the one who grew up in Uganda walks around in public with a woman on his arm and then looks for anonymous sex with men while hidden in the bushes, that doesn’t mean they one is straight and one is gay. It just means that one is happy and open and the other is in hiding about who he really is.

  21. will says

    All I know is, there seems to be a consistently small percentage of homosexuals throughout history (maybe 3 or 4% of the population). This homosexual tendency may express itself in different ways. All the way up to the 19th century and the Oscar Wilde trials, gays expressed their sexuality by wooing (or buying, i.e. male prostitutes) younger men, usually in their late teens. It’s not uncommon to find two gay adults in a steady relationship (there’s one in Plato’s Symposium), but the “standard model” through most of history has been an older man with a 16, 17, or 18 year old. I’m not sure why this is, been it’s a consistent model until the 20th century. There ARE examples of two equal adults in Oscar Wilde’s day — Edward Carpenter and his partner; Walt Whitman and his partner — but usually the gay men woo the late teenagers, like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci did.

  22. Rick says

    @WILL The reason for that probably has to do with the consistency of the old/young motif with heterosexual norms. The older man was inevitably the top and the “boy” was invariably the bottom (although when these boys became older, they became the tops and those younger than them became their bottoms).

    Let’s be honest–there has always been a stigma when it comes to a grown man allowing himself to be penetrated–and maybe some of that has to do with asthetics. I have to admit that I personally have no interest in topping any guy over the age of 35–the very idea is just unappealling to me in every way.

    I know this will be highly controversial (imagine that from me, huh?) but bottoming is largely for twinks, IMO.

  23. petey says

    I partly agree with Frankie. Women do choose to use their sexuality as a marketing ploy to obtain rewards. They can do it because they don’t need to be aroused to have sex.

    This means that 100% lesbians can have sex with men. It’s not real, aroused sex, though. She’s just doing it so that she can have a baby or get money.

    Then there is the situation where women falsely claim to be bisexual in order to draw attention to themselves.

  24. EchtKultig says

    “but bottoming is largely for twinks”

    And Glen Greenwald LOL.

    Anyhow, this Frankie character is an embarrassment, not so much for his pink hair and effeminacy but for his sycophantic celebrity-by-proxy posturing. The “reveal” posted here some weeks ago was truly pathetic. “I’m the half-brother of a teeny booper singer only one of you has heard of, and I have a bunch of air-headed followers on twitter.” Hilarious. I suppose his ramblings were not as moronic as they could have been, and that counts for something. Maybe this is just the gay community getting back at that has-been harridan Julie Bindel for saying we all chose to be gay.

  25. Carmelo says

    He’s vile. Like someone who intentionally spreads disease.Did I miss the article about the guy whose “boyfriend” intentionally infected him with hiv, or is this site ignoring that because it goes against the “all AIDS patients are saints” ethos?

  26. Truth says

    This guy is an ignoring ugly moron like his sister. He’s like one of those creepy guys that still goes to high school football games even though he way to old for it. His tan makes he like he’s 50

  27. DavidinMA (@DavidinMA) says

    He absolutely said “MANY” lesbians, not “ANY” lesbians. I listened to the clip over and over to be sure. It was very clearly the word MANY, not ANY. This article hinges on that word, so that much nullifies the entire article.

  28. Jamie says

    “He absolutely said “MANY” lesbians, not “ANY” lesbians. I listened to the clip over and over to be sure. It was very clearly the word MANY, not ANY. This article hinges on that word, so that much nullifies the entire article.”

    Doesn’t matter, he’s still wrong. “Many” lesbians do not choose to be lesbian just like “many” gay men do not choose to be gay. Dumb Frankie is confusing lesbians with experimenting straight girls and bisexual girls. And I bet those are the only type of girls he hangs with. I bet he’s never met or made friends with REAL gay women. That’s his problem. He is plain ignorant, just like many of the commentors here on this blog who happen to be “experts” on female sexuality. Sheesh.

  29. Jamie says

    “I know this will be highly controversial (imagine that from me, huh?) but bottoming is largely for twinks, IMO.”

    Oh Rick, you never fail to make us all laugh at you. What you need to do is stop talking out of your ass and put it to good use. All that topping you supposedly do is not improving your lack of brain power. So instead, get your ass plowed HARD. Maybe some well hung guy will bang some sense into you for once.

  30. Terry says

    First off, I loathe reality TV as a marker in so many ways about what’s gone wrong with society, and Andy, I think there’s been too much TV coverage here generally; my readership has dropped from religious to pretty regular, driven by things like that and how the site loads loaded with ads (am also not hugely engaged in [assimilationist / Stockholm syndrome-like response to social homophobia] marriage equality, but realize I am going to be an outlier on that).

    Anyway, some commenters have commented as if “nature” is established as the answer in the nature/nurture debate, but that, even if true, makes me wary because it raises a very real threat of future eugenics, and second, if sexual orientation is genetic, why hasn’t it bred itself out of the gene pool over time? I once heard a respected biology professor speak precisely to this, as his way of coming out (annual “faculty lecture” — Jim Howell R.I.P. — circa 1975 Antioch College), but none of the half-dozen theories he described were fully possible, often because it is not likely a single-gene determined trait, so they, as single-gene theoretical models, were merely that: theories to advance the discussion.

    Next, not to defend Mr. good-natured Bimbo, but I have noticed over the course of my life that women use words of choice around sexual orientation far more often than men do; men almost always describe feeling as if it’s indeed part of their nature, indelible. I have no clue if there’s anything there, just an observation.

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