Explaining Gay

Understanding Gay
Why are some people gay?
  • Gay is used here as a term that includes gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, transgender people, and queer.
  • Gay is also used here as a term for homosexual.
  • Straight is used here as a term for heterosexual.
  • Sexual orientation:
    • Heterosexual/straight = attraction to opposite sex
    • Homosexual/gay = attraction to same sex 

People do not choose their sexual orientation, whether they are gay or straight.

Our brains send automatic responses that determine whether we are attracted to males or females.

Your brain is your body’s computer and it sends the messages that make your body function.

About half of all people are attracted to males and about half are attracted to females.

Many still do not disclose their orientation and some avoid labels. The claim of 10% has been widely used but often criticized.  The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that 20% of the population are attracted to their own gender. A synthesis of the research suggests that the actual reported and non-reported estimates are between 5-13% of the population. [9% +-4% margin of error] (Ponder, 2007)

Being male or female does not determine whether you are naturally attracted to females or males.  Sexual orientation, whom you are attracted to, is not determined by your gender (male or female).

What is Normal

What people say is “normal” is just because of what most are.  Most people are straight (heterosexual) so some people say that is “normal”.

Most people in the world speak Mandarin Chinese.  Should we then say it is “normal” for people to speak Mandarin Chinese?  No!  That would be silly.  It is also silly to say that gay people are not normal.

People do not choose their sexual orientation.

The easiest way to know this is to ask gay people if they chose to be gay.

Gay people will tell you that they did not choose to be gay.  They just are.

Some people have brown eyes and some people have blue eyes.

Some people are gay and some are not.

Scientists and Doctors also tell us that gay people do not choose to be gay.

A part of the brain, the hypothalamus, has a section (INAH 3) that is different in gay men and straight men.

This part of the brain is twice the size in straight men.  This part of the brain is the same size in gay men and straight women.

There are other differences in the ways the human brain works where gay men and straight women brains are the same and lesbian and straight men brains are the same.

Genes and Genetics

Genetic studies also show us that being attracted to females or males is genetic, just as eye color and other factors are inherited traits.

Your sexual orientation was determined as you grew and developed in your mother’s womb, before you were born.

Hormones and Testosterone

During pregnancy, different hormones are sent to the unborn baby during different times as the baby grows and develops.

A testosterone “wash” takes place during all pregnancies.

If this happens a little later during the pregnancy with a baby boy, he could be gay.

If this happens a little early during the pregnancy with a baby girl, she could be lesbian.

What does this mean?

If people do not choose to be gay, then they should not be mistreated or made fun of because of who they are.

If you or someone you know is gay, it is okay.  Some people are gay and some are not.  Love yourself and love others.

If you have questions or comments, please use the following link to send them. Someone from the AFCI Education Center will respond asap.

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