There is a prevalent opinion in the dimmer recesses of society of american society. Not only American society, but that particular community certainly seems to be the most vocal. I do not think that the prevalence of a high degree of religious conviction in this same community is coincidence. I was recently reading a piece on a Christian website (sorry but I can't find it again for a link) where they attempt to build a case for homosexuality being a product of nurture rather than nature. The case was something along lines that most of you will have encountered before. Absent father, over protective or possesive mother combined with a "sensitive" young man etc. Interestingly, I would love to hear an explanation of what a "sensetive" young man is and how these people believe that this "sensetivity" came about. They are obviously presuming that all people are born having roughly the same starting nature. Presumably all boys start out insensitive, and somehow become sensitive. Boiling down the sexualisation of some young men to enviornmental and maybe psychological factors.
I have issues with this. As a hetrosexual male I am certain that I could not be socialied into being gay. I have absolutely no doubt about this. Most hetrosexual people have no doubt about their being hetrosexual. The sexual responce is for most people, men especially, very very strong. It is not ambiguous or vague and has nothing to do with how we characterise the opposite sex. For men usually, not liking a particular womans character does not alter her attractiveness. If you meet a real, gold plated, peer reviewed and confirmed bitch, she can still be really hot. In the case of women, their sexual attraction to men can be governed to a fair degree on their opinion of the guy as a person with psyical considerations being much less important. These ideas are generalisations or course.
The site goes on to talk some complete horseshit about how homosexuals who go out partying are really only looking for sex and conquest. Yeah! The majority of young hetrosexual men must then be going out to nightclubs and bars looking mainly for a deep and fulfilling human connection and the sex is only incidental.
This is the really really weak evidence for homosexuality being a result of nurture. I say nature here as I am not certain what particular aspect of nature is responsible, it could be genetic, it could a factor from fetal development a combination of these things, whatever. I think it is pretty obvious from the evidence that your sexuality is something you are born with.
Consider this. There are many physical conditions that people are born with which are related to their sexual assignment. Some people are born with a mixture of the sexual organs. penis and uterus, penis and vagina etc. These conditions are not thought of as being a reaction to psycological pressures. "My father was such a cold asshole, who was sooo absent that in addition to my penis I was also born with a uterus." No one questions this. If you are unlucky enough to be a person for whom the sexual assignment proplem occurs in your brain, well your in trouble. Brains can be male or female. There are actual differences in male and female brains. There would have to be, otherwise the sexes would exibit more or less the same traits. If you have a very predominately female brain and your body is male then you aren't gay. You are woman in a man's body. This is about as extreme as a gender identity condition can be. But it is not an all or nothing proposition. Every brain falls somewhere along a range of possibilities with entirely male and entirely female being on the polar ends. I suspect there are very few men who have entirely male brains and very few women with entirely female brains. It is also not so simple as a degree of male or female. We know from study of the brain that different people manifest different amounts of function in various parts of the brain. An example might be the left brian/ right brain idea where the left brain is believed to be the hemisphere for logic and reasoning and the right brain intuition and emotion. Your ability to speak comes from your left brain etc etc. Some people have very strong brain biases in certain areas. This can mean they have great talent at a particular thing or find a particular thing nearly impossible. Its seems reasonable to me then that peoples brain develop in a wide ranging variety of ways. Why do some people (who just so happen to be almost exclusively religious) think that the parts of the brain responsible for sexality and sexual attraction should be immune from this varience? If you can be born with a penis and a uterus, why can't you be born with a penis and brain that finds men attractive? Even the term homosexuality is broad and encompasses a wide range of more specific sexualities. For example, you will probably have met gay men or gay women who act entirely as you would generally expect for their gender and you have probably met gay men or women who act much more in accordance with what you would expect from the opposite sex. All of this varience and indeed homosexuality itself seems to me to be an utterly unmysterious thing. It is no more immoral to be gay than it is to like action movies, or being the sporty type. I think that religion is probably the only reason why western socitey even considers homosexual to still be a debatable topic. The religious can't recognise it as being inborn in people without their precious, ancient and horrible little faiths taking yet another knock. Sadly, this nasty little predujuce is probably going to be with us a while yet.
Incidentally, I think our emerging understanding of the brain is making it more and more difficult to believe in a "soul" and still maintain the illusion of rationality, but we'll leave that for another time.