Genetics Hub

John Barrowman Heads to L.A. to Take the Gay Test


Here's a brief excerpt from The Making of Me, which follows John Barrowman to L.A. to take a series of tests to determine why he's gay. It's just a short bit which features Barrowman's partner Scott Gill. These two are so cute together.

Concludes Barrowman: "I am gay because I have no control over it. I was the way I was born. So I embrace it. I want to embrace it. Because it's who I am. It's what I am. That's the truth. That's the truth about me."

The documentary aired last night in the UK on BBC1 and was the most-watched program, attracting 3.8 million viewers.

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "John Barrowman Heads to L.A. to Take the Gay Test" »

John Barrowman Goes in Search of Why He's Gay

In a new BBC program, The Making of Me, John Barrowman (pictured here at an unrelated appearance at G-A-Y nightclub in London) undergoes "a series of tests including a DNA examination that is compared with his straight brother's, and he takes to the streets of LA to try out a theory that the origin of homosexuality is linked to events in the womb that may affect the foetus."

BarrowmanAccording to the network, "Throughout the programme, as well as picking up clues from psychologists and scientists, John also meets some celebrities and extraordinary people who help shed light on the origins of their traits."

The Guardian reports: "The results of the programme - is it nature, is it nurture? - are a closely guarded secret, though Barrowman has always been convinced that sexuality is not a choice. 'I've always known who I am,' he says. 'That's what I believe. I feel I was born this way. I've never questioned that.'"...He mentions interviewing a Seventh Day Adventist 'ex-gay' man while filming The Making Of Me, who believed that homosexuality was incompatible with a fulfilling life. 'His idea was that you had to have the white picket fence and the farm and he was talking about it like it was something that I could never have,' says Barrowman. 'And I actually said to him, 'Yeah, but Ron, I have a partner, I have a dog, I have really nice cars, I have a beautiful home, I have a home by the sea and the beach. You can have that and be gay.' But he just couldn't see that.'"

But it was his contact with those who are questioning their sexuality that pushed him to do the show: "I have to put it this way. There are some days that I sign, like, 400 pictures, autographs and stuff. And among those I generally get a bunch of, say, four, five emails and some written letters from young men and women who are struggling to come out of the closet and they don't know who to turn to because they're afraid of their family's reaction and they're afraid of their community's reaction. So when they approached me to do this [The Making of Me], I thought, 'Yeah, you know, I really kinda have to do it.' I do think I've got a responsibility to help change perceived attitudes or try to change them."

The Making of Me airs July 24 in the UK on BBC1 from 9-10pm.

Are People Born Gay?


The women of The View discuss the recent brain study and ask, "are people born gay?"

You won't be surprised by who thinks what. AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Are People Born Gay?" »

Gay Male Brain Found to Resemble Straight Female Brain

Calling it the "most robust measure" done of the differences in brain architecture and activity between gay and straight people, a Swedish researcher reports that gay people show striking similarities in brain structure and activity to heterosexual people of the opposite sex:

Gaybrain"First they used MRI scans to find out the overall volume and shapes of brains in a group of 90 volunteers consisting of 25 heterosexuals and 20 homosexuals of each gender. The results showed that straight men had asymmetric brains, with the right hemisphere slightly larger – and the gay women also had this asymmetry. Gay men, meanwhile, had symmetrical brains like those of straight women. The team next used PET scans to measure blood flow to the amygdala, part of the brain that governs fear and aggression. The images revealed how the amygdala connected to other parts of the brain, giving clues to how this might influence behaviour. They found that the patterns of connectivity in gay men matched those of straight women, and vice versa (see image, above right). In straight women and gay men, the connections were mainly into regions of the brain that manifest fear as intense anxiety. 'The regions involved in phobia, anxiety and depression overlap with the pattern we see from the amygdala,' says Savic. This is significant, she says, and fits with data showing that women are three times as likely as men to suffer from mood disorders or depression. Gay men have higher rates of depression too, she says, but it's difficult to know whether this is down to biology, homophobia or simply feelings of being 'different'."

New Scientist calls it "the most compelling evidence yet" that sexuality is a biologically fixed trait.

News: Black Hole, Amy Winehouse, Artificial Life, Jennifer Saunders

road.jpg Vermont to hold last of six same-sex marriage public hearings tonight.

Jeanrobertroad.jpg Survivor winner Todd Herzog talks to AfterElton about his win and certain homophobic contestants: "Jean-Robert was really, really, really homophobic. But I knew that by letting the girls know [I’m gay] they could feel comfortable around me and that I could make a tighter alliance with them. With Amanda, Courtney, Peih-Gee, and Denise being in the finals with me, I knew I needed to take the girls because the girls feel more comfortable around the gay guy. He had a lot of opinions on it, saying, 'It's wrong. It's a choice,' things like that. But I think getting to know me really changed his mind quite a bit, because he told me that out of a lot of gay guys he's met, I surprised him. He'd always thought that the gay culture was to sleep around and drink and party and do drugs, and he was shocked that that's just not me."

road.jpg Amy Winehouse ARRESTED on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

road.jpg Scientists on the brink of creating entirely new life forms based on entirely artificial DNA: "Some experts are worried that a few maverick companies are already gaining monopoly control over the core 'operating system' for artificial life and are poised to become the Microsofts of synthetic biology. That could stifle competition, they say, and place enormous power in a few people's hands. 'We're heading into an era where people will be writing DNA programs like the early days of computer programming, but who will own these programs?' asked Drew Endy, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

road.jpg L.A. Times: The mustache is back.

road.jpg LIAR: Lieberman endorses John McCain. But what did he say back during his 2006 reelection campaign? “I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008.”

road.jpg Be seated: Mysterious out-of-reach bench appears in downtown Manhattan.

Blackholeblastroad.jpg Massive black hole seen blasting a nearby galaxy: "'We've seen many jets produced by black holes, but this is the first time we've seen one punch into another galaxy like we're seeing here,' said Dan Evans, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the study. 'This jet could be causing all sorts of problems for the smaller galaxy it is pummeling.' Jets from super massive black holes produce high amounts of radiation, especially high-energy X-rays and gamma-rays, which can be lethal in large quantities. The combined effects of this radiation and particles traveling at almost the speed of light could severely damage the atmospheres of planets lying in the path of the jet. For example, protective layers of ozone in the upper atmosphere of planets could be destroyed."

road.jpg Behind the scenes of the David Beckham undies shoot.

Biddellroad.jpg Evan Biddell wins Canadian Project Runway: "The end is here, and so am I. Nobody left on this runway but myself. I just had to say goodbye to my last two competitors, and now the judges are telling me they want to see what else I can do. They believe I have a strong point of view, and an innate sense of style. When they found out I had never built a collection before, that was the moment I felt I might take the prize. I could feel the judges simultaneously think “How the f**K did he do that?” It felt awesome to know you are exactly where you are supposed to be. To be honest with you, fashion is what I know. I love playing with the shapes of a female body, wrapping her up in rich detail, following the curves a woman, using her body as the blueprint and working around it. It just gets me off!"

road.jpg The Greatest Day of My Life: Michelle Collins takes a subway ride with Anderson Cooper.

road.jpg Princeton student in anti-gay hoax after pretending to be targeted by others who don't share his conservative views.

road.jpg Jennifer Saunders tipped as the next Dr. Who.

Scientists Turn Homosexuality On and Off in Fruit Flies

A team of researchers was able to alter the sexuality of fruit flies within a few hours by altering a key neurotransmitter in the flies' brains which they had earlier determined factored into the sexuality of the tiny insects.

FruitfliesLiveScience reports: "'Based on our previous work, we reasoned that GB mutants might show homosexual behavior because their glutamatergic synapses were altered in some way,' Featherstone said. 'Homosexual courtship might be sort of an 'overreaction' to sexual stimuli.' To test this, the researchers genetically altered synapse strength, independent of GB. They also gave flies drugs to alter synapse strength. As predicted, they were able to turn fly homosexuality on and off, within hours. 'It was amazing. I never thought we'd be able to do that sort of thing, because sexual orientation is supposed to be hard-wired,' Featherstone said. 'This fundamentally changes how we think about this behavior.' The team figured fly brains maintain two sensory circuits: one to trigger heterosexual behavior and one for homosexual. When GB suppresses glutamatergic synapses, the homosexual circuit is blocked, the thinking goes. So they did more tests. As expected, without GB to suppress synapse strength, the flies no longer interpreted smells the same way. The smells in question come in the form of pheromones, chemicals that affect sexual behavior in much of the animal kingdom."

These scientists might want to speak with scientists in the UK who used pheromones to halt the population explosion of brown-tailed moths. Men living and working at a Royal National Lifeboat Institute at Spurn Point in Yorkshire "were developing rashes and breathing problems from the poisonous hairs of the larvae blown in the wind" because there were so many moths. Once the pheromones were spread, the moths became confused and some were persuaded to be gay.

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