Debate about gender and orientation
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14-01-2015, 04:27 PM (This post was last modified: 15-01-2015 02:43 PM by Tony Ribbins.)
Debate about gender and orientation
A friend from college and I have been having an on off debate for a few days now, about gender and orientation.

He maintains that gender is a social construct, which I very much disagree with. But he also thinks that people are born straight or gay, as opposed to it being socially constructed, which I'm not 100% sure about one way or the other. I think it may be a mix of both.

But anyway, I keep telling him that if you're born gay, that means that you are born being attracted to or having the potential to be attracted to members of the gender that you yourself belong to...but wait...if gender is a social construct, then this becomes completely meaningless. How can you be born "programmed" to like something that doesn't even exist until it's (supposedly) socially constructed? It makes no sense, right? But he just doesn't want to acknowledge the contradiction. You can't be born gay pr straight if you don't yet have a gender.

Any ideas on how I can get such a simple point across to him? He's usually quite logical, but clearly not when it comes to this.
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14-01-2015, 04:58 PM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
In my opinion people are born either gay or straight. They are also born female or male regardless of chromosomes and genitalia. Ideas about how each gender is supposed to act are nothing more than social constructs.

I hope that the world turns, and things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. - V for Vendetta
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14-01-2015, 05:02 PM (This post was last modified: 15-01-2015 04:23 AM by Tony Ribbins.)
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
(14-01-2015 04:58 PM)Smercury44 Wrote:  In my opinion people are born either gay or straight. They are also born female or male regardless of chromosomes and genitalia. Ideas about how each gender is supposed to act are nothing more than social constructs.

Ok well think about this.What does gay mean? What does straight mean? Do those terms not refer to what you're attracted to? How can you be born being attracted to something that doesn't even exist until it's (supposedly) socially constructed?

If gender is a social construct, then no one is any gender (when born), and therefore gender is (as yet) meaningless, so at that stage you don't even have a gender of your own, let alone the ability to be attracted to a particular (and nonexistent, as yet) gender. That's like being hungry even though food hasn't been invented.
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15-01-2015, 07:34 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
I don't know if you're even going to come back, but Being gay or straight doesn't make you really attracted to "genders"

A gay person is attracted to the same biological sex that the person is.

You are constituting Gender and Sex as the same thing. Sex is Male/Female while Genders is Boy/Girl. The difference is that there are social implications of traits we associate and reinforce as Gender differences when they're not directly impacted as a biological sexual difference.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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15-01-2015, 07:59 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
I'm attracted to both men and women. However, I only desire relationships with men. Not sure if that's a social construct or not... May be something to explore in my newfound singledom.

[Image: skittles.jpg]

Big Grin it's a spectrum

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15-01-2015, 08:09 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
(14-01-2015 05:02 PM)Tony Ribbins Wrote:  
(14-01-2015 04:58 PM)Smercury44 Wrote:  In my opinion people are born either gay or straight. They are also born female or male regardless of chromosomes and genitalia. Ideas about how each gender is supposed to act are nothing more than social constructs.

Ok well think about this.What does gay mean? What does straight mean? Do those terms not refer to what you're attracted to? How can you be born being attracted to something that doesn't even exist until it's (supposedly) socially constructed?

If gender is a social construct, then no one is any gender (when born), and therefore gender is (as yet) meaningless, so at that stage you don't even have a gender of your own, let alone the ability to be attracted to a particular (and nonexistent, as yet) gender. That's like being hungry even though food hasn't been invented.

If your premise is false, then your conclusions are false.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200...094644.htm
By the time one is born, the fetus may have already been exposed to the determining hormone environment. There is a higher probability that the youngest boy is gay. There IS something physical at work there. Perhaps Evolution promotes the first male being the most likely to reproduce ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6zPh97qYd4

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15-01-2015, 09:23 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
I think it can be either.

First off, there is indeed research on the issue showing that one's sexual preference is influenced by the types of pheromones our receptors are able to recognize. In the case of bisexuals, their receptors are often not able to differentiate between male and female pheromones, leaving open the possibility to be attracted to either.

That said, just as there have been homosexuals who have been pressured to live a heterosexual life due to social pressure, I don't find it impossible to believe that a heterosexual prone person might, for whatever reason, choose to be in a homosexual relationship.

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15-01-2015, 09:27 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
Sexual attraction or orientation is often stubbornly viewed by religions as a sinful choice in keeping with their good/evil view of man's nature. It's obvious that this can't be strictly true, since until recently at least, it would have been an onerous choice for sure, and most of us don't feel we have chosen to be hetero. What they are likely missing is that sexual preference is not an absolutely binary phenomenon in all cases, but is a distribution in the population that ranges from gay to straight on what is called the Kinsey Scale. Sexual response is just a product of the autonomic nervous system, much as blinking is a response to certain stimuli.

Quote:Today, many sexologists see the Kinsey scale as relevant to sexual orientation but not comprehensive enough to cover all sexual identity issues. They suggest that sexual identity involves at least three different spectra, sexual orientation being only one of them (two others being biological sex and gender identity).

With the caveat that this is surely oversimplified, here is the scale.
Quote:Rating Description
0 Exclusively heterosexual
1 Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2 Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6 Exclusively homosexual
X No socio-sexual contacts or reactions

As a consequence, it is possible for some individuals who are actually bi-sexual to suppress their attractions for the same sex partners, avoiding social stigma, and remain content in a heterosexual marriage. These individuals can then be trotted out to claim to religious leaders and followers that they "used to be gay" but have been "cured" by god. Or at times, a high profile person thought to be straight gets outed by giving in to his/her gay needs. So-called conversion therapy practitioners probably use these people who fall somewhere towards the middle of the Kinsey Scale as their poster children for successes.

I'm interested in the subject, because over the years we have had good friends who are strictly gay. I am staunchly pro SS marriage and a big fan of Dan Savage's Lovecast too. I have no expertise otherwise in LGBT matters.

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to heaven. --Shakespeare
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15-01-2015, 10:05 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
(15-01-2015 09:27 AM)Olowkow Wrote:  Sexual attraction or orientation is often stubbornly viewed by religions as a sinful choice in keeping with their good/evil view of man's nature. It's obvious that this can't be strictly true, since until recently at least, it would have been an onerous choice for sure, and most of us don't feel we have chosen to be hetero. What they are likely missing is that sexual preference is not an absolutely binary phenomenon in all cases, but is a distribution in the population that ranges from gay to straight on what is called the Kinsey Scale. Sexual response is just a product of the autonomic nervous system, much as blinking is a response to certain stimuli.

Quote:Today, many sexologists see the Kinsey scale as relevant to sexual orientation but not comprehensive enough to cover all sexual identity issues. They suggest that sexual identity involves at least three different spectra, sexual orientation being only one of them (two others being biological sex and gender identity).

With the caveat that this is surely oversimplified, here is the scale.
Quote:Rating Description
0 Exclusively heterosexual
1 Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2 Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6 Exclusively homosexual
X No socio-sexual contacts or reactions

As a consequence, it is possible for some individuals who are actually bi-sexual to suppress their attractions for the same sex partners, avoiding social stigma, and remain content in a heterosexual marriage. These individuals can then be trotted out to claim to religious leaders and followers that they "used to be gay" but have been "cured" by god. Or at times, a high profile person thought to be straight gets outed by giving in to his/her gay needs. So-called conversion therapy practitioners probably use these people who fall somewhere towards the middle of the Kinsey Scale as their poster children for successes.

I'm interested in the subject, because over the years we have had good friends who are strictly gay. I am staunchly pro SS marriage and a big fan of Dan Savage's Lovecast too. I have no expertise otherwise in LGBT matters.

Good post.
Otherwise....sorry I've nothing to add to this.

When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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15-01-2015, 11:51 AM
RE: Debate about gender and orientation
OP: you're mis-using the word 'gender'. In sociology it refers to a collection of expectations regarding role and behaviour. This is distinct from both biological sex and sexual orientation. You seem to be discussing orientation only...

Are gender roles social constructs?
(I would note that the strict converse - that nothing about them is socially contextual - is provably false)

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