Gay or straight?

. . .this has led to a spirited response among Yahoo readers. Some of them question why this research is necessary in the first place. . .

Our latest 60 Minutes segment may provide scientific proof of ‘gaydar’ – that inexplicable sense that detects whether someone is gay or straight.

Through scientific research, this compelling piece also poses some provocative questions about the nature of human sexuality. Researchers have discovered statistical patterns pointing to who is likely to be gay in a family. These patterns suggest a genetic link. They also have found evidence that genetics are likely not alone in determining sexuality, that hormones may enter into the equation along with antibodies created by mothers during pregnancy.

The segment highlights research into human behavior – whether you can tell if someone is gay by their movements and speech patterns. And surprisingly, or perhaps not so, in most cases it appears you can – a phenomenon that researchers call a ‘feminizing’ of the brain in men, for example.

All of this has led to a spirited response among Yahoo readers. Some of them question why this research is necessary in the first place. Afterall, do we put this much thought and research into why someone is left-handed, for example? Perhaps we do? And how will this research be used – to ‘cure’ gay people? Or to understand and finally put to bed the question of whether it is a choice to be gay?

All in all, this segment is one of the most fascinating we have published in the Yahoo! News-60 Minutes partnership.


5 thoughts on “Gay or straight?

  1. I think there is a body of people that do look so deeply into this issue in hopes of finding a cure.

    I don’t intend to be offensive, but I know that I believe homosexual behavior to be sin.

  2. We also spend money studying the origins of the universe. Is there a point to that? I don’t think so except to quench our endless thirst for knowledge.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I think the reserach is necessary for understanding human behavior, and for helping people, especially parents and educators, respond effectively to children (or any age individual) who may not comply with the gender scripts society expects them to perform; that is to say, that they not try to modify the child from being who he or she is really meant to be. The emphasis here on the biological aspects of gender/sexuality is interesting, but the danger is that it be construed as a disorder or illness, which is a deficit view. What I find interesting is that social scientists have viewed gender expressions as something that is socially aquired and regulated; behavior that is perceived as masculine or femine is regulated to biological sex, and performed by people until it becomes galvanized over time. The science described in the 60 MINUTES segment seems to provides a bilogical explanation for reasons a boy or girl might adopt gender roles not ascribed to them. This helps us understand better that people are who they are, that it is of little use to modify and distord who people are naturally meant to be.

  4. Dear Treavor,

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a well-thought-out and interesting comment. I encourage you to post it on the Yahoo-60 Minutes Web site, as well.

    Since we published the segment, it’s been instructive to follow our readers’ comments, which have varied greatly. All of them seem to be struggling with trying to digest the ideas presented in the research. They seem to be having an especially difficult time reconciling the sociological ideas we have about gender roles and the biological data presented in the report.

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