On The Right Track, Baby?: Should LGBT Campaigning Use The Narrative That LGBT People Are 'Born This Way'?

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Should the LGBT rights movement campaign use the narrative that queer individuals were "born that way"?

  • The "born this way" narrative appeals to individuals and groups who might otherwise be skeptical of or hostile to LGBT rights.

  • If the narrative is understood and applied to mean "born this (fluid) way," then BTW lends itself effectively both to LGBT+ advocates who emphasize aspects of nature, and to those who emphasize nurture or social mechanisms in influencing sexuality and gender.

  • Removing 'born this way' from the narrative would open the door for conversion therapy and other attempts to change someone's sexuality or identity by insinuating it is subject to alteration by circumstance or outside entities/factors. It could also validate those who feel interaction with LGBT individuals, or certain activities and media, may 'turn' someone gay, and thus embolden them to lash out at those individuals, activities, and media.

  • In interviews of LGBT people -particularly the ones who had hard times because of their sexual orientation due to family / society etc.- they claim that they had these feelings from early chilhood. For sure this makes it easier for others to understand- because it means that it is not a conscious choice, rather it is very similar to being heterosexual

  • There is increasing evidence that there may be some genetic basis for sexual orientation.

  • Individuals may not be 'born this way' and it is incorrect to campaign as though sexuality (and by extension, gender) are inherent rather than social constructs.

  • Infants do not experience sexual attraction. And tall people aren't born tall. They are born with the predisposition to become tall later in life.

  • No, because it commits the naturalistic fallacy. Whether you are born that way is irrelevant, and assumes that to have chosen to be that way would be wrong. The scientific fact of sexuality being biological is as obvious as it should be morally irrelevant. It is at best an apologist's stepping stone to convincing people who believe LGBT is intrinsically immoral and need an initial path to sympathizing with these people. I argue that is aims too low. We believe are right, and we should be bolder.

  • The response to any irrational prejudice or discrimination, is rational criticism. By asking a question which disregards the facts pertaining to the genetic bases for sexuality, one enters into a discussion on the terms and assumptions that initiate the prejudice in the first place.

  • "Born this way" forces LGBT individuals to justify their humanity by appealing to "nature", rather than their human dignity or the intrinsic worthiness of their choices.

  • Sexuality is much more fluid than many people give it credit for. Male bi-sexuality in ancient Rome and Greece was prevalent but they were not significantly genetically different from people today and as we see the acceptance of (relatively) non-traditional sexuality grow, the number of people who identify as LGBT grows along with it. This, as with any behavioral trend, can be explained better by social and cultural means than by biological ones.

  • The 'Born This Way' ideal seems to hold that infant/parent biology is the sole factor that determines sexuality because it comes from the parents DNA. However, considering how many environmental mutations can occur, the decision to be homosexual can happen anytime in life, even if the person was born with strong homosexual tendencies. However, how environmental factors has been coded to interpret these tendencies, and recode the ideal, may physically change the person's sexuality.

  • There is a vast difference between born that way, and a completely personal choice. With innumerable variables shaping culture and expectations during the human experience it is very difficult to narrow exactly what the root cause of a preference, thought, or feeling is. Along the spectrum from strict evolutionary psychology to strict queer theory exists an answer, but a narrative of acceptance of individuals would probably go further than a narrative based on birth.