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Being gay is not biological Early activists valued aesthetics over identity

(Barbara Alper/Getty Images)


May 18, 2023   7 mins

The gay liberation movement didn’t begin at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Nor, for the record, was it started by a black trans woman. In fact, movements for the decriminalisation and acceptance of homosexuality have their origin in a loose group of thinkers, scientists and artists in fin de siècle Germany, the most interesting of whom clustered around Der Eigene. Published from 1896 to 1932, it can claim the accolade of being the world’s first gay journal.

The concepts of “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” didn’t actually come into being until the late 19th century. As soon as they did, people who were homoerotically inclined were compelled to consider the meaning of their desires, where earlier generations might have simply acted on them. For the followers of Der Eigene, who were predominately men, homosexuality was best understood not as an identity — as we now understand it — but as a form of refined taste, and an extension of male friendship. In a kind of “manifesto” for the journal, its founder Adolf Brand wrote that he strove for, “beside the sense of female beauty, also the sense for male beauty, and by again setting friend-love beside woman-love as having completely equal rights”.

As with later gay liberation movements, the first gay rights groups were motivated more by shared enemies than affinities. In Germany at the time, many widely different groups were united in campaigns to repeal Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, which criminalised sodomy. But homosexuals differed greatly in their conceptualisation of homoerotic desire. The intellectual strand most opposed to the ideas of Der Eigene, followed the physician and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and his Scientific-Humanitarian Committee who pioneered the idea that homosexuality (and transsexuality) were an innate condition traceable to biological cause. Gay people, in Hirschfeld’s view, were a “third sex” whose hermaphroditic nature gave rise to unique differences in attitude and behaviour. While these ideas have evolved greatly over time, we can hear echoes of Hirschfeld in the supposedly progressive scientific obsession with biologically classifying those who are sexually diverse, leading to the questionable notion of “gay genes”.

For the homosexuals who wrote and contributed to Der Eigene, which included many prominent men of the day — including political journalist Kurt Hiller and the novelist Thomas Mann — all this talk of an inherent hermaphroditic soul was ahistorical and wrongheaded. From Greek antiquity to European aristocracy, they argued, sexual acts between men could be seen as a natural extension of passionate male friendship. To describe this worldview, artist and scholar Elisar von Kupffer coined the term “Lieblingminne” in Der Eigene, combining the virtues of Freundesliebe, love of friends, with Minne, chivalric love.

Many German homosexuals were inspired by von Kupffer’s collections of homoerotic literature, which highlighted that same-sex desires had been felt by many historically-significant figures, from Zeno of Citium to Alexander The Great to Michelangelo. Rather than supporting Hirschfeld’s theory of innate homosexuality, this was seen as key evidence against a medical model. As sexologist Benedict Friedländer, wrote in Der Eigene:

“[To accept Hirschfeld’s view] in ancient Hellas in particular most of the generals, artists and thinkers would have to have been hermaphrodites. Every people from whose initiative in all higher human endeavours every later European culture fed must have consisted in great part of sick, hybrid individuals.”

For the contributors to Der Eigene, it seemed only natural that strong male friendship would occasionally incorporate an erotic component. But for them, sexual desire was culturally contingent: homoerotic desire has waxed and waned over time, driven by the sentiments and spirit of the age. Dutch author Peter Hamecher wrote in the journal that, “I altogether hold the sexual instinct, in all its apparent determinacy, to be something very intangible, something swinging back and forth between extremes”.

Male friendship was particularly sentimental in the 19th century. Expressions of love between friends bordered on the outright romantic — the letters exchanged by Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed being a prime example. Given the gender segregation in many aspects of life, and the strict heterosexual courting rituals, sexual contact between young men was also relatively common. It was in cultures which prioritised beauty, whether physical or spiritual, that the homoerotic sentiment was most cultivated in the wider population.

The decriminalisation of homosexuality, for Der Eigene, was therefore not about protecting a minority, but rather invigorating Germany’s potential for homoeroticism. The journal’s ideals were tied closely to naturist movements of the time — focused on nudism, bodybuilding, and co-existence with nature. Homoeroticism is presented as a way to raise oneself above the pedestrian, bourgeois ideals of industry and production.

Contemporary LGBT scholars are often quick to dismiss Der Eigene as “masculinist” in orientation and even “proto-fascist” in its aesthetics, despite the fact that the journal was a target of Nazi purges. Professor Andrew Stewart from the University of Toronto caricatures Brand’s ideas as calling for a racially pure, bisexual Ubermensch to replace the tainted, effeminate homosexual:

“The importance of physical health and fitness, hyper-masculinity, and white supremacy find modern parallels in the experiences of some queer people of colour, trans people, and others who do not achieve the standards of beauty as set by a white, cisgender, and masculine gay culture.”

These accusations aren’t entirely baseless. Brand and Friedländer were not what we would now call “intersectional”. They criticised early feminist movements, viewing women’s calls for men to take greater responsibility for family life as being contrary to the journal’s goal of re-establishing a homoerotic male culture. Further, unlike the early Swiss gay journal Der Kreis, which they inspired, Der Eigene rarely published lesbian writers.

Nevertheless, it would be unfair to throw out the unique perspective of early gay rights activists, merely because some prominent members had outdated views — especially because their views were not universal across Der Eigene. Frequent contributor Edwin Bab held strong feminist sympathies, writing:

“I assert that there is no difference between man and woman in the psychic and intellectual characteristics … only our customs, which make every productive activity highly difficult for the woman, are to blame for the fact that the number of productive women is relatively small.”

Attempts to connect the journal to National Socialism are even more spurious: Brand, who leant Left politically, was never a supporter of the Nazi Party and was highly critical of homosexual members such as Ernst Röhm, calling him a “hypocrite and a traitor”. However, as scholar Harry Oosterhuis has pointed out, Brand was not as discriminating as he should have been when publishing people who criticised Hirschfeld — who, it should be noted, was Jewish. He ran an article by Röhm’s friend, the Nazi Karl Günther Heimsoth, who gave us the phrase “homophile”. Heimsoth criticised Hirschfeld, Oosterhuis writes, by “asserting that the ‘homosexual feminism’ of the ‘Jewish Committee’ was dangerous to the ‘German eros’”. And, Oosterhuis goes on, “instead of refusing the article or expunging the anti-Semitic phrases, Brand only wrote a preface stating that he did not agree with all of the author’s views”.

Nevertheless, Der Eigene is forgotten today less because the original contributors are deemed “problematic” than their views on homosexuality running counter to how modern gays and lesbians have been taught to see themselves. That one is “born this way” is a key pillar of contemporary LGBT thinking. But in the pages of the first gay journal, sexual desire is better conceptualised as a taste — an appreciation of beauty cultivated through early experience and culture. One is not born homosexual (or heterosexual) but with a capacity to perceive aesthetics; over time, this capacity, combined with experience, shapes sexual preferences.

Despite now being lost to time, these ideas still had currency amongst mid-20th century gay rights activists both in the US and Europe. For example, American gay activist Carl Whitman’s influential 1970 “A Gay Manifesto” notes that:

“Homosexuality is not a lot of things. It is not a makeshift in the absence of the opposite sex; it is not hatred or rejection of the opposite sex; it is not genetic; it is not the result of broken homes except inasmuch as we could see the shame of American marriage. Homosexuality is the capacity to love someone of the same sex.”

Michel Foucault also echoed the goals of Der Eigene in his comments during an interview with The Advocate 1984, where he notes: “I think what the gay movement needs is much more the art of life than a science … Sexuality is something that we ourselves create — it is our own creation, and much more than the discovery of a secret side of our desire.”

An issue of ‘Der Eigene’

While some contemporary “queer” academics take up this anti-essentialist mantle, they do so without appreciating homoerotic desire as a beautifying force. Theorists such as Lee Edelman are quick to frame homosexuality as inherently “transgressive”: the Freudian death drive in opposition to procreative sexual desire. The contributors to Der Eigene, however, understood homoeroticism as constructive — a practice that encouraged healthy and flourishing individuals. Whereas today’s nihilistic queer theory is libertarian, Der Eigene’s was restrained. “Every sexual excess and every sexual dissolution is of course decidedly to be advised against,” wrote Brand in one of the journal’s early issues.

Rather than advocating a full liberation of desire, contributors to Der Eigene often expressed concern about, say, the effects of excessive masturbation, the spread of venereal disease, or the predatory behaviour of men towards young women. Homoeroticism was seen as a cure for the social ills of male sexual desire run amok.

It’s a shame that this view of homosexuality, as neither fixed biological orientation nor “radical” disruptive force, has been forgotten. Key victories in gay rights have not given way to a “post-gay” moment of self-reflection for those who feel predominantly same-sex desire see themselves not as “other” but as universally human. Instead, we see a doubling down of identitarianism, particularly online, where every kink, feeling and sexual experience is ripe for categorisation. The New Left notions of “authenticity” and “finding oneself”, which shaped early gay rights movements have evolved with the internet into what philosophers Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D’Ambrosio call “profilicity”, where one’s identity is a process of obsessive self-marketing. There are now labels for those who want both love and sex (demisexuals), who prefer just masturbating to porn (technosexuals), and who don’t like having sex at all (asexuals).

The brilliance of Brand and the other contributors to Der Eigene was that they could move beyond the delusions of sexual identity, while advocating and defending homoeroticism. The group tackled moralist tirades that equated same-sex desire with degeneracy by pointing to the historical and aesthetic evidence that cultures of homosexuality and cultures of greatness were one in the same. It’s precisely at this current time of sexual hysteria, when intimacy has been declared dead and queer theory diffuse, that our current paradigms of homosexuality should be questioned — and we should look to the past to inform our sexual future.


Jarryd Bartle is a writer, educator and consultant on vice regulation.

JarrydBartle 

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AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Whatever the true situation about the basis of homosexuality the Left are in a cleft stick. Many argue that homosexuality is genetic and therefore ‘normal’ but then also argue that people are born as a ‘blank slate’ which can be educated by kind-hearted social programmes.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I don’t get why it’s a Left/right” issue?

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

As a generalisation ‘the right’ do not make the ‘blank slate’ assumption. They generally believe that people are flawed.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It shouldn’t be but it is.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

As a generalisation ‘the right’ do not make the ‘blank slate’ assumption. They generally believe that people are flawed.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It shouldn’t be but it is.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I don’t get why it’s a Left/right” issue?

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Whatever the true situation about the basis of homosexuality the Left are in a cleft stick. Many argue that homosexuality is genetic and therefore ‘normal’ but then also argue that people are born as a ‘blank slate’ which can be educated by kind-hearted social programmes.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

I very much enjoyed this, and I think I agree with you, albeit as an ‘outsider’.
Thanks for an interesting read.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Agree – hadn’t heard of the movement written about here. I thought this was interesting: “one’s identity is a process of obsessive self-marketing” – sounds like a perfect topic for a Mary Harrington essay – is ‘identity’ forming and re-forming a type of branding that we’ve learned from being saturated in ever changing marketing concepts?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I think it might go beyond that; as potentially an evolutionary change in consciousness being brought about before our very eyes through our interaction with the internet – seen as a form of mass consciouness via which our selves become reflected and therefore changing us in some fundamental way which we’re only just beginning to grapple with.

I fully understand just how high-flown that might sound. The trouble is, we only have the use of language with which to make a case, and sometimes this can prove inadequate and create misunderstandings.

But as an example, participation in this Comments section, in the same way as using Twitter or Instagram, subtly alters our exposure to and involvement in a hitherto unknown form of reflectiveness. One aspect of this is the way some participants just stop contributing, whilst others change their online identity for different reasons but not always successfully. There’s a hugely accelerated process going on here, whereas before we interacted only through those we met on a day to day basis whilst spending time reading (and latterly, viewing) in a solipsistic way.

It would be impossible for this change to be happening without having an effect on our sense of self, and much more so for online natives, who would find it difficult if not impossible to imagine how a previous iteration of selfhood might exist. Those of us who span this transition find ourselves in a unique position in human history – one never to be repeated in quite the same way. It’s no wonder that many struggle with it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
ml holton
ml holton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, agree. We’re ‘imprinting’ to two dimensional screens whose sole purpose is to keep us ‘hook’. Without a doubt, it’s transformed and continues to transform our understanding of ‘self’. I took a swing at this some years ago. See: https://raisethehammer.org/article/2593/the_boob_tube:_three_generations_talk_tv

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  ml holton

I very rarely click on suggested links, but decided to give it a try since the subject is so vital. You’ve done a great job with that.
And before too long, no-one will be around who remembers the pre-internet age, which will amplify your article several fold.
So readers may ask: what’s this got to do with whether or not being gay has a biological origin? Insofar as our identities are influenced by environment, it’s got everything to do with it. That’s why any potential biological origin – if it could be determined on a scientific basis – would be a game changer. If not, the rapidly changing nature of our everyday experiences and influences will likely result in ever greater fluidity in how our sense of self is formed, and perhaps re-formed, during the course of our lives.
It used to be said that workers (usually men) defined themselves by their jobs. Now that “jobs for life” hardly exist, that also changes how people view themselves. This subject is so vast, it’s almost too difficult to grasp the impact it has upon us – or, those of us who you rightly point out in your article are engaged with modernity in it’s tech sense; still less than half of humanity. More food for thought.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
1 year ago
Reply to  ml holton

I gave up reading Bartle’s article after the first few paragraphs and came straight to the comments and was happy to find, first, Steve Murray’s insights, followed by your comment. Like Steve, I followed and read the link for your 2015 article. Very thought provoking.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  ml holton

Thank you for giving us the link to your article. As one who saw my first movie at the age of 7, and television for the first time at the age of 15, I ponder the differences between my ways of being in the world and those of younger generations.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  ml holton

I very rarely click on suggested links, but decided to give it a try since the subject is so vital. You’ve done a great job with that.
And before too long, no-one will be around who remembers the pre-internet age, which will amplify your article several fold.
So readers may ask: what’s this got to do with whether or not being gay has a biological origin? Insofar as our identities are influenced by environment, it’s got everything to do with it. That’s why any potential biological origin – if it could be determined on a scientific basis – would be a game changer. If not, the rapidly changing nature of our everyday experiences and influences will likely result in ever greater fluidity in how our sense of self is formed, and perhaps re-formed, during the course of our lives.
It used to be said that workers (usually men) defined themselves by their jobs. Now that “jobs for life” hardly exist, that also changes how people view themselves. This subject is so vast, it’s almost too difficult to grasp the impact it has upon us – or, those of us who you rightly point out in your article are engaged with modernity in it’s tech sense; still less than half of humanity. More food for thought.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
1 year ago
Reply to  ml holton

I gave up reading Bartle’s article after the first few paragraphs and came straight to the comments and was happy to find, first, Steve Murray’s insights, followed by your comment. Like Steve, I followed and read the link for your 2015 article. Very thought provoking.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  ml holton

Thank you for giving us the link to your article. As one who saw my first movie at the age of 7, and television for the first time at the age of 15, I ponder the differences between my ways of being in the world and those of younger generations.

ml holton
ml holton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, agree. We’re ‘imprinting’ to two dimensional screens whose sole purpose is to keep us ‘hook’. Without a doubt, it’s transformed and continues to transform our understanding of ‘self’. I took a swing at this some years ago. See: https://raisethehammer.org/article/2593/the_boob_tube:_three_generations_talk_tv

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I think it might go beyond that; as potentially an evolutionary change in consciousness being brought about before our very eyes through our interaction with the internet – seen as a form of mass consciouness via which our selves become reflected and therefore changing us in some fundamental way which we’re only just beginning to grapple with.

I fully understand just how high-flown that might sound. The trouble is, we only have the use of language with which to make a case, and sometimes this can prove inadequate and create misunderstandings.

But as an example, participation in this Comments section, in the same way as using Twitter or Instagram, subtly alters our exposure to and involvement in a hitherto unknown form of reflectiveness. One aspect of this is the way some participants just stop contributing, whilst others change their online identity for different reasons but not always successfully. There’s a hugely accelerated process going on here, whereas before we interacted only through those we met on a day to day basis whilst spending time reading (and latterly, viewing) in a solipsistic way.

It would be impossible for this change to be happening without having an effect on our sense of self, and much more so for online natives, who would find it difficult if not impossible to imagine how a previous iteration of selfhood might exist. Those of us who span this transition find ourselves in a unique position in human history – one never to be repeated in quite the same way. It’s no wonder that many struggle with it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Stu B
Stu B
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Considering that, biologically speaking, the only reason a human is alive is to have sex it feels disproportionately important to the individual. A lot of the other purposes we create for ourselves are a fiction that in some way feeds back to enabling that. It’s understandable that people of all persuasions heavily integrate their sexual preferences into the way they display themselves to the world. But is is just who you fancy. It’s a minuscule part of who you are. Given what you might be capable of it’s a bit depressing to reduce your whole self to it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stu B
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

“biologically speaking, the only reason a human is alive is to have sex”? Biology doesn’t give us “reasons” for human life, but elucidates and explains the processes by which we live. You might as well say the only reason we eat is to defecate. It’s up to other fields to give the ‘why’ for biology’s ‘how’.

Stu B
Stu B
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Perhaps I could have said ‘evolutionarily speaking’ but I think you missed my point. All life exists to survive and propagate itself and that’s about it. So much of our behaviour (constructive behaviour, at least) is in aid of that. Of course you can open up the aspect of humans being social primates and there’s a lot to say there. Some people believe that humans have transcended those motivations but that’s a special kind of vanity.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

“and that’s about it” – that’s just sad. I think reproduction is pretty important, but certainly not because I feel an obligation to ‘the human race’ or any grand abstraction like that. Caring for children transforms us (as do other things). And that transformation is “the only reason a human is alive.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Kirk Susong
Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

Teilhard de Chardin would say we exist to enrich life on earth, which is become more complex and more interconnected as time goes by.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

Kirk Susong’s absolutely right. It is absurdly reductionist to say that “the only reason a human is alive is to have sex”!
His reply; “You might as well say the only reason we eat is to defecate. It’s up to other fields to give the ‘why’ for biology’s ‘how’.” is also very true.
HOWEVER….. what you surely meant to say was “the only reason a human is alive is to REPRODUCE” And if this is really your belief then, logically speaking homosexuality is the evolutionists equivalent of unforgiveable heresy!

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

“and that’s about it” – that’s just sad. I think reproduction is pretty important, but certainly not because I feel an obligation to ‘the human race’ or any grand abstraction like that. Caring for children transforms us (as do other things). And that transformation is “the only reason a human is alive.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Kirk Susong
Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

Teilhard de Chardin would say we exist to enrich life on earth, which is become more complex and more interconnected as time goes by.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

Kirk Susong’s absolutely right. It is absurdly reductionist to say that “the only reason a human is alive is to have sex”!
His reply; “You might as well say the only reason we eat is to defecate. It’s up to other fields to give the ‘why’ for biology’s ‘how’.” is also very true.
HOWEVER….. what you surely meant to say was “the only reason a human is alive is to REPRODUCE” And if this is really your belief then, logically speaking homosexuality is the evolutionists equivalent of unforgiveable heresy!

Stu B
Stu B
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Perhaps I could have said ‘evolutionarily speaking’ but I think you missed my point. All life exists to survive and propagate itself and that’s about it. So much of our behaviour (constructive behaviour, at least) is in aid of that. Of course you can open up the aspect of humans being social primates and there’s a lot to say there. Some people believe that humans have transcended those motivations but that’s a special kind of vanity.

Paul Flynn
Paul Flynn
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

Framing propagation as ‘the only reason a human is alive’ assumes there is a reason for anything. You might as well say gravity is the only reason a human is alive.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

“biologically speaking, the only reason a human is alive is to have sex”? Biology doesn’t give us “reasons” for human life, but elucidates and explains the processes by which we live. You might as well say the only reason we eat is to defecate. It’s up to other fields to give the ‘why’ for biology’s ‘how’.

Paul Flynn
Paul Flynn
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu B

Framing propagation as ‘the only reason a human is alive’ assumes there is a reason for anything. You might as well say gravity is the only reason a human is alive.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Agree – hadn’t heard of the movement written about here. I thought this was interesting: “one’s identity is a process of obsessive self-marketing” – sounds like a perfect topic for a Mary Harrington essay – is ‘identity’ forming and re-forming a type of branding that we’ve learned from being saturated in ever changing marketing concepts?

Stu B
Stu B
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Considering that, biologically speaking, the only reason a human is alive is to have sex it feels disproportionately important to the individual. A lot of the other purposes we create for ourselves are a fiction that in some way feeds back to enabling that. It’s understandable that people of all persuasions heavily integrate their sexual preferences into the way they display themselves to the world. But is is just who you fancy. It’s a minuscule part of who you are. Given what you might be capable of it’s a bit depressing to reduce your whole self to it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stu B
Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

I very much enjoyed this, and I think I agree with you, albeit as an ‘outsider’.
Thanks for an interesting read.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“For the homosexuals who wrote and contributed to Der Eigene, which included many prominent men of the day — including political journalist Kurt Hiller and the novelist Thomas Mann — all this talk of an inherent hermaphroditic soul was ahistorical and wrongheaded. From Greek antiquity to European aristocracy, they argued, sexual acts between men could be seen as a natural extension of passionate male friendship. To describe this worldview, artist and scholar Elisar von Kupffer coined the term “Lieblingminne” in Der Eigene, combining the virtues of Frundesliebe, love of friends, with Minne, chivalric love.”

Perhaps I’m being cynical but this does rather come across as some sort of metaphysical chat up line by a gay bloke hoping to persuade straight guys to try it out. And my own view is may well be the product of cultural conditioning rather than innate biological bias, but I do nonetheless know what it’s like to be a straight bloke: we cannot be persuaded to become curious in this way: we’re repelled by other men, not merely unattracted.

And this doesn’t involve then being homophobic in case anyone’s wondering: any intelligent straight man can deal perfectly well with the mystery of why other men might find men attractive by the simple exercise of asking themselves what women find attractive about men. “They just do” is not a sufficient answer in this specific context.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Homophobic means ” Fear of one”

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

A phobia is an irrational fear, so it’s use in the Marxist lexicon of various phobias is incorrect.
A phobia is not a dislike or disapproval of or to be anti something.
Again the Left demonstrate an example of their ignorance of English, science and numeracy

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Trying to make everything “left” as way of invalidation is very tedious.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No it’s not, it is just the way it is.
The Left are obsessed with identity politics.
Do you deny that, Miss Bossy ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No it’s not, it is just the way it is.
The Left are obsessed with identity politics.
Do you deny that, Miss Bossy ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Trying to make everything “left” as way of invalidation is very tedious.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

fact mr poove!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Botty bandit is a far better expression.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

A phobia is an irrational fear, so it’s use in the Marxist lexicon of various phobias is incorrect.
A phobia is not a dislike or disapproval of or to be anti something.
Again the Left demonstrate an example of their ignorance of English, science and numeracy

Last edited 1 year ago by Stoater D
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

fact mr poove!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Botty bandit is a far better expression.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

To me it sounds more like bourgeois people such as Mann trying to persuade *themselves* that being gay was OK.
Some of the *really* smug ones (like the poet Stefan George, if I remember correctly) saw their homosexuality as a mark of the intellectual and cultural superiority which set them apart from the vulgar modern herd.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Smugger even?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Smugger even?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Homophobic means ” Fear of one”

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

To me it sounds more like bourgeois people such as Mann trying to persuade *themselves* that being gay was OK.
Some of the *really* smug ones (like the poet Stefan George, if I remember correctly) saw their homosexuality as a mark of the intellectual and cultural superiority which set them apart from the vulgar modern herd.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“For the homosexuals who wrote and contributed to Der Eigene, which included many prominent men of the day — including political journalist Kurt Hiller and the novelist Thomas Mann — all this talk of an inherent hermaphroditic soul was ahistorical and wrongheaded. From Greek antiquity to European aristocracy, they argued, sexual acts between men could be seen as a natural extension of passionate male friendship. To describe this worldview, artist and scholar Elisar von Kupffer coined the term “Lieblingminne” in Der Eigene, combining the virtues of Frundesliebe, love of friends, with Minne, chivalric love.”

Perhaps I’m being cynical but this does rather come across as some sort of metaphysical chat up line by a gay bloke hoping to persuade straight guys to try it out. And my own view is may well be the product of cultural conditioning rather than innate biological bias, but I do nonetheless know what it’s like to be a straight bloke: we cannot be persuaded to become curious in this way: we’re repelled by other men, not merely unattracted.

And this doesn’t involve then being homophobic in case anyone’s wondering: any intelligent straight man can deal perfectly well with the mystery of why other men might find men attractive by the simple exercise of asking themselves what women find attractive about men. “They just do” is not a sufficient answer in this specific context.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

Who cares ?
I am NOT interested in any of this, what does it matter ?
Douglas Murray, Dave Rubin and David Starkey are gay but so what ?
They should be valued for their intellects and for what they have say.
What needs to be addressed today, is the mutilation of children and young adults by the wicked and depraved ” transgender care ” lobby.
This is true evil.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Why mark my post down ?
Explain, if you are capable of doing so ?

Stu N
Stu N
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Don’t read it if you’re not interested, and going on to post two comments on an article you’re apparently indifferent to seems excessive. The article had nothing to say about the trans weirdos so I’m not sure why you tried to crowbar that in.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu N

I ” crowbarred ” it in because it is a current issue and it is ruining people’s lives.
It doesn’t matter that it was not mentioned in the article.
As for the gay issues, really NO-ONE CARES.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

“crowbarred”! Great, old expression.
Reminds me of what did the constipated Charter Accountant do? Worked it out with a pencil.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Speak for yourself as far as caring goes.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I always do and don’t be so sanctimonious.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I always do and don’t be so sanctimonious.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Actually, people DO care, even if you don’t.
However….you are SO RIGHT about the Trans Child/self-harming agenda. There is Child abuse masquerading as “Care”. You are not trying to “crowbar that in” since the same Lobbyists insist on connecting them & insist on their connected validity.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

“crowbarred”! Great, old expression.
Reminds me of what did the constipated Charter Accountant do? Worked it out with a pencil.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Speak for yourself as far as caring goes.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Actually, people DO care, even if you don’t.
However….you are SO RIGHT about the Trans Child/self-harming agenda. There is Child abuse masquerading as “Care”. You are not trying to “crowbar that in” since the same Lobbyists insist on connecting them & insist on their connected validity.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Stu N

I ” crowbarred ” it in because it is a current issue and it is ruining people’s lives.
It doesn’t matter that it was not mentioned in the article.
As for the gay issues, really NO-ONE CARES.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Exactly and I adore Prof Starkey and so admire Douglas Murray

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Exactly, who gives a ‘tinkers’s cuss’ as long as it doesn’t scare the horses.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago

i find that the big importance ‘issue’ of where males want to stick their willies really really boring and irrelevant to anything of real importance – just dont let stupid young people disfigure themselves with drugs and scalpels !!!!

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

I’m afraid it’s too late even for that, Charles. The horses have been told that the merest whinny of disapproval is verboten.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago

i find that the big importance ‘issue’ of where males want to stick their willies really really boring and irrelevant to anything of real importance – just dont let stupid young people disfigure themselves with drugs and scalpels !!!!

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

I’m afraid it’s too late even for that, Charles. The horses have been told that the merest whinny of disapproval is verboten.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Why mark my post down ?
Explain, if you are capable of doing so ?

Stu N
Stu N
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Don’t read it if you’re not interested, and going on to post two comments on an article you’re apparently indifferent to seems excessive. The article had nothing to say about the trans weirdos so I’m not sure why you tried to crowbar that in.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Exactly and I adore Prof Starkey and so admire Douglas Murray

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Exactly, who gives a ‘tinkers’s cuss’ as long as it doesn’t scare the horses.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

Who cares ?
I am NOT interested in any of this, what does it matter ?
Douglas Murray, Dave Rubin and David Starkey are gay but so what ?
They should be valued for their intellects and for what they have say.
What needs to be addressed today, is the mutilation of children and young adults by the wicked and depraved ” transgender care ” lobby.
This is true evil.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

We have one group of activists claiming that people are born sexless and genderless because sex and gender are social constructs.
We have another group who claim sex and gender are immutable and people are born that way.
Personally I don’t care which it is I just wish they’d stop trying to convince others of their point of view and get on with being who they want to be without demanding agreement from everyone else.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The whole purpose of this is to confuse and obfuscate, never to explain or enlighten.

Dee Seejay
Dee Seejay
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Re: “sexless and genderless”. Well I’ve never met a trans person who thinks sex is a social construct or that they were literally erroneously assigned the wrong sex at birth, nor do we see trans people online making that explicit claim (certainly not those worth taking seriously). It’s a bad-faith strawman slur, pushing the idea that these people are somehow in denial of biology itself, when in fact they’re perfectly aware of what their chromosomes indicate. Gender on the other hand is more complex, culturally, socially and psychologically. Only complete cretins are unable to distinguish between the two…..you’d think? So why this manufactured confusion? It’s deeply unhelpful, leaving the debate trapped in a purgatory of sorts. I think we’re moving closer to solutions, but it’s one hell of a slog. Evolving beyond the Graham Linehans and the Jessica Yanivs of this world would help.
Julian Farrows: “The whole purpose of this is to confuse and obfuscate, never to explain or enlighten”. Sad but true.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dee Seejay
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The whole purpose of this is to confuse and obfuscate, never to explain or enlighten.

Dee Seejay
Dee Seejay
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Re: “sexless and genderless”. Well I’ve never met a trans person who thinks sex is a social construct or that they were literally erroneously assigned the wrong sex at birth, nor do we see trans people online making that explicit claim (certainly not those worth taking seriously). It’s a bad-faith strawman slur, pushing the idea that these people are somehow in denial of biology itself, when in fact they’re perfectly aware of what their chromosomes indicate. Gender on the other hand is more complex, culturally, socially and psychologically. Only complete cretins are unable to distinguish between the two…..you’d think? So why this manufactured confusion? It’s deeply unhelpful, leaving the debate trapped in a purgatory of sorts. I think we’re moving closer to solutions, but it’s one hell of a slog. Evolving beyond the Graham Linehans and the Jessica Yanivs of this world would help.
Julian Farrows: “The whole purpose of this is to confuse and obfuscate, never to explain or enlighten”. Sad but true.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dee Seejay
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

We have one group of activists claiming that people are born sexless and genderless because sex and gender are social constructs.
We have another group who claim sex and gender are immutable and people are born that way.
Personally I don’t care which it is I just wish they’d stop trying to convince others of their point of view and get on with being who they want to be without demanding agreement from everyone else.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago

None of this establishes that homosexuality is or isn’t biological. That’s a question of science, not what this person or that person thought or thinks.
Mr Bartle also seems to underestimate the extent to which Hirschfeld and others are still known and referred to today. At the very least, he fails to distinguish between what scholars know and what the general public knows.
On a minor note, I’d be more impressed by Mr Bartle’s erudition if he knew how to spell “Freundesliebe” and “Kreis.” One such error may be understandable, but two put me in mind of Lady Bracknell.

Jarryd Bartle
Jarryd Bartle
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Thank you for pointing out the errors! I’m not a German speaker and rely on translations, so that is definitely a goof on my part.
As to the whether or not homosexuality is biological, the headline might give off the wrong impression. All our preferences are on some level influenced by our biology. However, when people speak of homosexuality as biological they are usually referring to sexual orientation as being some sort of fixed state, destined from birth.
This doesn’t seem plausible for two reasons. Firstly, looking at the wide variation of documented desire over history doesn’t demonstrate clear groupings of “gay, straight and bisexual” people. Moreover, we seem to intuit many other types of sexual preferences – a shoe fetish or a taste for blondes – aren’t fixed states of who someone is, as they clearly shaped by the environment. Sexual taste is much like your taste in food, there might have been early aversion or perhaps a preference developed over time or likely a combination of both. I think it’s worth taking into account the thoughts of the earliest “homosexuals” (as in, those who were the first to view themselves that way) in testing out our current think.
And you’re absolutely right that looking for biological correlates and possible aetiologies of homosexuality is a scientific question. However, if your categories are flawed, any statistically significant differences in brain scans, clusters of genes or potential influences of testosterone in the womb, are also going to be flawed.
The history of trying to find a clear biological “cause” of homosexuality has produced rather inconsistent results. The current state of the scientific research is to speak less of fixed, innate orientations but of more subtle dispositions in temperament, heavily shaped by environment. I believe the current research fits better with the idea of “taste” as opposed to homosexual “as noun”.

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

I go for environment but sometimes inherited.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Given how much I love Nd enjoy women and all that they are, I just feel sorry for gays…..And thank God that I am not one.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

How any man can forsake the vagina for some smelly hairy unwashed man’s dung trumpet ?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

The Left have no sense of humour.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

what has woke done?… just rectum…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

what has woke done?… just rectum…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Great! SO glad I wound up at least 7 !!!

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

The Left have no sense of humour.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Great! SO glad I wound up at least 7 !!!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

How any man can forsake the vagina for some smelly hairy unwashed man’s dung trumpet ?

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Thanks for your reply.
After I’d read the article, I thought that the headline might be overdoing it, but I had a second look and thought that maybe it wasn’t, for example because you take issue with the view that homosexuals are “born that way.”
I don’t know a lot about this, but I happen to have been reading about some of the late 19th- and early 20th-century stuff lately because I’m thinking of writing something about the 1931 German film “Girls in Uniform,” which has to be considered at least partly from a lesbian viewpoint.
Basically, I don’t think anyone can be sure where homosexuality sits on the nature/nurture spectrum.
I’ll await your next article with the proverbial “considerable interest.”

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

This theory is extremely controversial (and therefore perfect for UnHerd, LOL)! An innate genetic basis for homosexuality is absolutely crucial for its acceptance in society. If it is innate, it is subject to protection as a human right under the law; if it is merely a “taste”, it can’t be seen as a legal right. After all, my obsession with putting hot sauce on my food surely isn’t the basis for all restaurants being required to offer it to all their customers — as a right!
This is the key to all the “mission creep” that we’re seeing now, whereby every type of sexual “kink” is being presented as an “identity” needing legal protection.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

And it would have serious legal implications.
For example, promoting gay and lesbian lifestyles to minors.
Gay conversion therapy could be justified.
Knowing few gays and lesbians (one gay was married with 3 daughters before coming out), I think it is very much nature than nurture.
I would need scientific evidence to change my mind.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

And it would have serious legal implications.
For example, promoting gay and lesbian lifestyles to minors.
Gay conversion therapy could be justified.
Knowing few gays and lesbians (one gay was married with 3 daughters before coming out), I think it is very much nature than nurture.
I would need scientific evidence to change my mind.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

I have always thought that homosexuality is genetic otherwise why would anyone want to put themselves through the persecution that existed in days of yore, and if it’s a choice then heterosexuals have made the choice to be straight.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I agree – a complete lack of desire for the opposite sex is surely something someone is born with? I do however believe that being bisexual is a llifestyle choice – plenty of us are “bi curious” and have possibly experimented with our own sex.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Some are curious, for sure.
But plenty?

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Some are curious, for sure.
But plenty?

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That is not a very logical answer is it? We know that people are willing to put themselves through all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons! That is not proof of a genetic cause!
Secondly “the choice” element comes in acting-out an appetite. So, no, it does not logically follow that feeling heterosexual is a choice.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I agree – a complete lack of desire for the opposite sex is surely something someone is born with? I do however believe that being bisexual is a llifestyle choice – plenty of us are “bi curious” and have possibly experimented with our own sex.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That is not a very logical answer is it? We know that people are willing to put themselves through all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons! That is not proof of a genetic cause!
Secondly “the choice” element comes in acting-out an appetite. So, no, it does not logically follow that feeling heterosexual is a choice.

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

I go for environment but sometimes inherited.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Given how much I love Nd enjoy women and all that they are, I just feel sorry for gays…..And thank God that I am not one.

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Thanks for your reply.
After I’d read the article, I thought that the headline might be overdoing it, but I had a second look and thought that maybe it wasn’t, for example because you take issue with the view that homosexuals are “born that way.”
I don’t know a lot about this, but I happen to have been reading about some of the late 19th- and early 20th-century stuff lately because I’m thinking of writing something about the 1931 German film “Girls in Uniform,” which has to be considered at least partly from a lesbian viewpoint.
Basically, I don’t think anyone can be sure where homosexuality sits on the nature/nurture spectrum.
I’ll await your next article with the proverbial “considerable interest.”

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

This theory is extremely controversial (and therefore perfect for UnHerd, LOL)! An innate genetic basis for homosexuality is absolutely crucial for its acceptance in society. If it is innate, it is subject to protection as a human right under the law; if it is merely a “taste”, it can’t be seen as a legal right. After all, my obsession with putting hot sauce on my food surely isn’t the basis for all restaurants being required to offer it to all their customers — as a right!
This is the key to all the “mission creep” that we’re seeing now, whereby every type of sexual “kink” is being presented as an “identity” needing legal protection.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

I have always thought that homosexuality is genetic otherwise why would anyone want to put themselves through the persecution that existed in days of yore, and if it’s a choice then heterosexuals have made the choice to be straight.

Jarryd Bartle
Jarryd Bartle
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Thank you for pointing out the errors! I’m not a German speaker and rely on translations, so that is definitely a goof on my part.
As to the whether or not homosexuality is biological, the headline might give off the wrong impression. All our preferences are on some level influenced by our biology. However, when people speak of homosexuality as biological they are usually referring to sexual orientation as being some sort of fixed state, destined from birth.
This doesn’t seem plausible for two reasons. Firstly, looking at the wide variation of documented desire over history doesn’t demonstrate clear groupings of “gay, straight and bisexual” people. Moreover, we seem to intuit many other types of sexual preferences – a shoe fetish or a taste for blondes – aren’t fixed states of who someone is, as they clearly shaped by the environment. Sexual taste is much like your taste in food, there might have been early aversion or perhaps a preference developed over time or likely a combination of both. I think it’s worth taking into account the thoughts of the earliest “homosexuals” (as in, those who were the first to view themselves that way) in testing out our current think.
And you’re absolutely right that looking for biological correlates and possible aetiologies of homosexuality is a scientific question. However, if your categories are flawed, any statistically significant differences in brain scans, clusters of genes or potential influences of testosterone in the womb, are also going to be flawed.
The history of trying to find a clear biological “cause” of homosexuality has produced rather inconsistent results. The current state of the scientific research is to speak less of fixed, innate orientations but of more subtle dispositions in temperament, heavily shaped by environment. I believe the current research fits better with the idea of “taste” as opposed to homosexual “as noun”.

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago

None of this establishes that homosexuality is or isn’t biological. That’s a question of science, not what this person or that person thought or thinks.
Mr Bartle also seems to underestimate the extent to which Hirschfeld and others are still known and referred to today. At the very least, he fails to distinguish between what scholars know and what the general public knows.
On a minor note, I’d be more impressed by Mr Bartle’s erudition if he knew how to spell “Freundesliebe” and “Kreis.” One such error may be understandable, but two put me in mind of Lady Bracknell.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago

I don’t know what to make of this article. Though not particularly interested in the history of either political or psychological theories about sexuality, I must admit that this aesthetic theory is intriguing.
I can remember having (what I now call) homoerotic feelings even as a schoolboy in grade one. So, if I’m not biologically gay, I must be gay for some reason that’s way beyond any personal choice. Moreover, my family did not correspond to the usual psychiatric theories. Eventually, I did wonder what made me different in this respect from most other people. But being gay, per se, was never a problem for me (except for the fallout from bullies) or even a major interest. It has always been a minor part of my life, mainly as entertainment, but not a significant part of my identity as a person.
And yet, all this about “taste” sounds provocative (in a good way). On one hand, I don’t know what it means. On the other hand, I must admit that there might be something in it. My response to male beauty is different, in one way, from my response to female beauty. But I respond also, intensely, to many other forms of beauty. My preoccupation with light, color, melody, words–let alone with art and music–has been a dominant theme in my life for almost all of my 75 years. I’ve changed in many ways over a lifetime, but not in that way. Like Oscar Wilde, I am clearly what many would call an “aesthete.” But precisely what does an aesthetic sensibility have to do with homosexuality? That’s not a rhetorical question. I don’t understand. I’m curious.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago

I don’t know what to make of this article. Though not particularly interested in the history of either political or psychological theories about sexuality, I must admit that this aesthetic theory is intriguing.
I can remember having (what I now call) homoerotic feelings even as a schoolboy in grade one. So, if I’m not biologically gay, I must be gay for some reason that’s way beyond any personal choice. Moreover, my family did not correspond to the usual psychiatric theories. Eventually, I did wonder what made me different in this respect from most other people. But being gay, per se, was never a problem for me (except for the fallout from bullies) or even a major interest. It has always been a minor part of my life, mainly as entertainment, but not a significant part of my identity as a person.
And yet, all this about “taste” sounds provocative (in a good way). On one hand, I don’t know what it means. On the other hand, I must admit that there might be something in it. My response to male beauty is different, in one way, from my response to female beauty. But I respond also, intensely, to many other forms of beauty. My preoccupation with light, color, melody, words–let alone with art and music–has been a dominant theme in my life for almost all of my 75 years. I’ve changed in many ways over a lifetime, but not in that way. Like Oscar Wilde, I am clearly what many would call an “aesthete.” But precisely what does an aesthetic sensibility have to do with homosexuality? That’s not a rhetorical question. I don’t understand. I’m curious.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Michael Drucker
Michael Drucker
1 year ago

IMO this is a superb article. The author writes with sensitivity about a range of opinions with a contagious open-mindedness.
This is what Unherd should be about.
I also note that he has responded to comments with clarity.
Much appreciated.
I wish that all Unherd authors take note.

Michael Drucker
Michael Drucker
1 year ago

IMO this is a superb article. The author writes with sensitivity about a range of opinions with a contagious open-mindedness.
This is what Unherd should be about.
I also note that he has responded to comments with clarity.
Much appreciated.
I wish that all Unherd authors take note.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago

I enjoyed the article, it’s definitely right to question the biological narrative that is taken as fact these days. One thing I though however that perhaps Der Eigene had to frame homosexuality in a softer way for audiences at the time. Maybe they felt they couldn’t say the only liked men but had to frame it as an extension of friendship in order to justify it.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
1 year ago

I enjoyed the article, it’s definitely right to question the biological narrative that is taken as fact these days. One thing I though however that perhaps Der Eigene had to frame homosexuality in a softer way for audiences at the time. Maybe they felt they couldn’t say the only liked men but had to frame it as an extension of friendship in order to justify it.

Philip Anderson
Philip Anderson
1 year ago

In fact, “gay” does have biological underpinnings, as brain scans of homosexual people demonstrate – the brain of people who have a same sex attraction differs from that of a heterosexual of the same sex and shares some attributes with a member of the opposite sex.

In my view, magical thinking is involved in the idea that such a fundamentally different subjective experience should not have objective (biological) correlates in the brain.

Interesting (as a gay man myself) reading all the theories of heterosexuals who have no direct personal experience of the phenomenon though.

Jarryd Bartle
Jarryd Bartle
1 year ago

It may not have been clear in the piece, but I’m a gay man. As to your reference to brain scans, I talk about it in another comment if you’re interested.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Yes, I’m interested, where is it?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Yes, I’m interested, where is it?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

You can’t have it both ways. You claim that being gay has biological underpinnings, yet interested in how so many heterosexuals have theories about it. If it was indeed biological, then it would be scientifically provable, which would preclude the need to be homosexual in order to comment.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

cant have it both ways? You can with a strap on ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

The late Ernest Marples MP used to enjoy being sodomised with a broom handle, whilst dressed as a schoolgirl, by a ‘Miss Bunny’.*

(* A juicy fact that late, lamentable, Lord Denning failed to tell us.)

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago

Charles you are entertaining, but behave yourself….

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago

Charles you are entertaining, but behave yourself….

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Your comments are yucky, Nicky.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago

What is wrong with you? I do not think Unherd is for you – check out the plethora of intelligent comments on here and observe that your crass remarks stick out like the proverbial sore thumb!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

The late Ernest Marples MP used to enjoy being sodomised with a broom handle, whilst dressed as a schoolgirl, by a ‘Miss Bunny’.*

(* A juicy fact that late, lamentable, Lord Denning failed to tell us.)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Your comments are yucky, Nicky.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago

What is wrong with you? I do not think Unherd is for you – check out the plethora of intelligent comments on here and observe that your crass remarks stick out like the proverbial sore thumb!

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

The fact is no-one really knows why some men turn out to be gay. Some say it is to do with hormone imbalance in the womb, others that it is learned behaviour which seems unlikely.
At the end of day, does it really matter ?
Why does absolutely everything have to be politicised?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

cant have it both ways? You can with a strap on ?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

The fact is no-one really knows why some men turn out to be gay. Some say it is to do with hormone imbalance in the womb, others that it is learned behaviour which seems unlikely.
At the end of day, does it really matter ?
Why does absolutely everything have to be politicised?

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

Biological does not necessarily mean genetically determined. As with most other traits, there are genetic effects and there are effects from the gestation period, and environmental things like food, water, chemicals, and radiation (sunlight and cosmic rays), even exposure to other species or diseases, that are all biological. These external influences could tip the primary sexual attraction one way or the other – we just don’t know. However, if you consider something as mundane as foot size, malnutrition, heavy metals, and physical restraints all are known to play a role.
On top of all that is the social environment that makes various behaviors more or less acceptable.
It is quite a stew.

Last edited 1 year ago by Terry M
Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
1 year ago

The debate about biology versus environment has no bearing on whether gay activity is healthy or not. The question is whether gay desire is more similar to liking cheese (“healthy”), or to alcohol addiction (“unhealthy”)?
The wider question in which society norms are grounded is whether the undeniable sexualization of society in this century is a good thing or a bad thing, especially as it relates to pornography, human trafficking and childhood education. My opinion is that sexualizing everything is going from bad to worse, driven by a false dichotomy of “if you have the inclination, it must be good”. But good for whom? Therefore is homosexual promiscuity a good thing, or only homosexual monogamy?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Gay is a male Irish name

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

QED: The late Gay Byrne, 1934-2019.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

QED: The late Gay Byrne, 1934-2019.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

If we all limited ourselves to commenting about only what we know from direct personal experience, these exchanges of ideas would be awfully boring.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Speak for yourself.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You just told me to “speak for yourself”.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Speak for yourself.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You just told me to “speak for yourself”.

M B
M B
1 year ago

Is the assumption behind this that the brain merely decides our behaviour and/or appetites/inclinations?
Is it not also true that the brain is altered & affected by our repetitive behaviours/habits etc? We actually change our brains by the way we live, if I understand the experts correctly.
This being the case, claiming “biological underpinnings” from brain scans is far from conclusive.
Psychological factors, such as a faulty relationship with the same-sex parent have been noted in past studies. That would not be enough per se, but might, among other environmental/social factors be a tip in an individual with other (non?)biological factors….?
What we DO need to separate is the instinct/appetite/pre-disposition (you choose your terminology!) from the “lifestyle choice”. A person who follows their interests here will call themselves “gay”, but a person with the SAME interests who is happy to live celibate, for instance, is rejecting the “gay lifestyle” & may even hate the idea. I’ve noticed these persons refer to themselves as Same-sex-attracted or SSA. Before anyone just bellows, “Oh they’re just gay!”, ask yourself how many vegetarians/vegans are still attracted to the aroma of meat? Does that mean that they are NOT really vegetarians? There is all the difference in the world between what we may FEEL & what we DO. This is an entirely valid distinction.
Also there are plenty of recorded instances of ex-homosexuality. I have read some of their stories. How could that be possible if it were simply biological?
Food for thought. (No pun intended).

Phillip LeConte
Phillip LeConte
1 year ago
Reply to  M B

You might want to consider stress testing those “ex-homosexuals”. And the “happy” celibate gays who “hate the idea”.

Phillip LeConte
Phillip LeConte
1 year ago
Reply to  M B

You might want to consider stress testing those “ex-homosexuals”. And the “happy” celibate gays who “hate the idea”.

Jarryd Bartle
Jarryd Bartle
1 year ago

It may not have been clear in the piece, but I’m a gay man. As to your reference to brain scans, I talk about it in another comment if you’re interested.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

You can’t have it both ways. You claim that being gay has biological underpinnings, yet interested in how so many heterosexuals have theories about it. If it was indeed biological, then it would be scientifically provable, which would preclude the need to be homosexual in order to comment.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

Biological does not necessarily mean genetically determined. As with most other traits, there are genetic effects and there are effects from the gestation period, and environmental things like food, water, chemicals, and radiation (sunlight and cosmic rays), even exposure to other species or diseases, that are all biological. These external influences could tip the primary sexual attraction one way or the other – we just don’t know. However, if you consider something as mundane as foot size, malnutrition, heavy metals, and physical restraints all are known to play a role.
On top of all that is the social environment that makes various behaviors more or less acceptable.
It is quite a stew.

Last edited 1 year ago by Terry M
Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
1 year ago

The debate about biology versus environment has no bearing on whether gay activity is healthy or not. The question is whether gay desire is more similar to liking cheese (“healthy”), or to alcohol addiction (“unhealthy”)?
The wider question in which society norms are grounded is whether the undeniable sexualization of society in this century is a good thing or a bad thing, especially as it relates to pornography, human trafficking and childhood education. My opinion is that sexualizing everything is going from bad to worse, driven by a false dichotomy of “if you have the inclination, it must be good”. But good for whom? Therefore is homosexual promiscuity a good thing, or only homosexual monogamy?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Gay is a male Irish name

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

If we all limited ourselves to commenting about only what we know from direct personal experience, these exchanges of ideas would be awfully boring.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
M B
M B
1 year ago

Is the assumption behind this that the brain merely decides our behaviour and/or appetites/inclinations?
Is it not also true that the brain is altered & affected by our repetitive behaviours/habits etc? We actually change our brains by the way we live, if I understand the experts correctly.
This being the case, claiming “biological underpinnings” from brain scans is far from conclusive.
Psychological factors, such as a faulty relationship with the same-sex parent have been noted in past studies. That would not be enough per se, but might, among other environmental/social factors be a tip in an individual with other (non?)biological factors….?
What we DO need to separate is the instinct/appetite/pre-disposition (you choose your terminology!) from the “lifestyle choice”. A person who follows their interests here will call themselves “gay”, but a person with the SAME interests who is happy to live celibate, for instance, is rejecting the “gay lifestyle” & may even hate the idea. I’ve noticed these persons refer to themselves as Same-sex-attracted or SSA. Before anyone just bellows, “Oh they’re just gay!”, ask yourself how many vegetarians/vegans are still attracted to the aroma of meat? Does that mean that they are NOT really vegetarians? There is all the difference in the world between what we may FEEL & what we DO. This is an entirely valid distinction.
Also there are plenty of recorded instances of ex-homosexuality. I have read some of their stories. How could that be possible if it were simply biological?
Food for thought. (No pun intended).

Philip Anderson
Philip Anderson
1 year ago

In fact, “gay” does have biological underpinnings, as brain scans of homosexual people demonstrate – the brain of people who have a same sex attraction differs from that of a heterosexual of the same sex and shares some attributes with a member of the opposite sex.

In my view, magical thinking is involved in the idea that such a fundamentally different subjective experience should not have objective (biological) correlates in the brain.

Interesting (as a gay man myself) reading all the theories of heterosexuals who have no direct personal experience of the phenomenon though.

Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
1 year ago

This article gets at what I, age 77, have long believed to be true about my own sexual attraction to other males. It is sometimes purely erotic, which is to say I am turned on by how another male looks, carries himself and so on, but it is usually also an expression of the kind of liking that leads to friendship and then becomes an expression of that friendship. I don’t think Lionel Tiger did my generation any favours by getting us to replace Freud’s/Jung’s “latent homosexuality” with his “male bonding” and getting us to dismiss that there is often a sexual element (expressed or not) to affection and friendship between males. As for all of the slicing and dicing of people into ever more categories and the invention of a super-category called “LGBTQUI++” and so on, it’s artificial and serves no one well except for academics and campaigning groups. Such people do not liberate us. They imprison us and they lump us together with others with whom we have nothing whatever in common except for our non-conformity with what some social conservatives call “normal” or “moral”. Walt Whitman was famously a 19th century American writer who was often guided by German writers as he made sense of his own homoerotic attraction to and need for friendship other males.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
1 year ago

This article gets at what I, age 77, have long believed to be true about my own sexual attraction to other males. It is sometimes purely erotic, which is to say I am turned on by how another male looks, carries himself and so on, but it is usually also an expression of the kind of liking that leads to friendship and then becomes an expression of that friendship. I don’t think Lionel Tiger did my generation any favours by getting us to replace Freud’s/Jung’s “latent homosexuality” with his “male bonding” and getting us to dismiss that there is often a sexual element (expressed or not) to affection and friendship between males. As for all of the slicing and dicing of people into ever more categories and the invention of a super-category called “LGBTQUI++” and so on, it’s artificial and serves no one well except for academics and campaigning groups. Such people do not liberate us. They imprison us and they lump us together with others with whom we have nothing whatever in common except for our non-conformity with what some social conservatives call “normal” or “moral”. Walt Whitman was famously a 19th century American writer who was often guided by German writers as he made sense of his own homoerotic attraction to and need for friendship other males.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stuart Adams
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Back when I was a lad in 1960s Britland I knew that gayness was a Tory toff thing: Revisiting Brideshead and all that. Don’t ask me how I knew; it was in the air.
But I agree, it’s a delightful thing to have some gay paint the pope’s chapel ceiling of an evening.
And it is fun to visit museums in Athens and realize that all the male marble sculptures are buck naked and all the female marble sculptures are modestly attired in flowing robes. What was with those Ancient Greeks?

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

For starters try The Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

For starters try The Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Back when I was a lad in 1960s Britland I knew that gayness was a Tory toff thing: Revisiting Brideshead and all that. Don’t ask me how I knew; it was in the air.
But I agree, it’s a delightful thing to have some gay paint the pope’s chapel ceiling of an evening.
And it is fun to visit museums in Athens and realize that all the male marble sculptures are buck naked and all the female marble sculptures are modestly attired in flowing robes. What was with those Ancient Greeks?

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

What an interesting article, though it’ll take me a while to form an opinion on it

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

What an interesting article, though it’ll take me a while to form an opinion on it

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

It is interesting to note the theory that we are here to reproduce and survive as a species. True, it is the one thing we share with the rest of life on earth. But part of our survival is being a social species. To ensure our survival as a social species, not every body has to reproduce. There will be those who contribute in other ways that enhance our survival, that actually make our survival something we may wish to achieve..

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

It is interesting to note the theory that we are here to reproduce and survive as a species. True, it is the one thing we share with the rest of life on earth. But part of our survival is being a social species. To ensure our survival as a social species, not every body has to reproduce. There will be those who contribute in other ways that enhance our survival, that actually make our survival something we may wish to achieve..

Roland Jeffery
Roland Jeffery
11 months ago

A great read, Jarryd.
And – since the LGBTQ movement switched off its collective brain and went tribal – all too rare a discussion. Where we have come from is such a useful perspective on where we are—and might go.

Roland Jeffery
Roland Jeffery
11 months ago

A great read, Jarryd.
And – since the LGBTQ movement switched off its collective brain and went tribal – all too rare a discussion. Where we have come from is such a useful perspective on where we are—and might go.

Ross Madgwick
Ross Madgwick
1 year ago

Who considers it an ‘identity’? What a load of rubbish. Most people consider it an innate orientation in the same way as heterosexuality – which it most definitely is.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ross Madgwick

or not…….hence the article & long discussion………..

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ross Madgwick

or not…….hence the article & long discussion………..

Ross Madgwick
Ross Madgwick
1 year ago

Who considers it an ‘identity’? What a load of rubbish. Most people consider it an innate orientation in the same way as heterosexuality – which it most definitely is.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago

There is no such thing a “homosexual” nor a “heterosexual. There is mature and immature sexual behavior with our reproductive organs. Sodomy has killed over a million young men in the west, and the CDC points out accidentally that it cannot be performed “naturally”, safely.
As in the term universe, or version, we speak of meaning or norms. Perversion is going against our healthy natural norms. It is a perverse behavior by definition as indeed reality defines us.
So now we rob children of their relationships with their own bodies in our “schools”. Groomers. Dare to speak plainly.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago

There is no such thing a “homosexual” nor a “heterosexual. There is mature and immature sexual behavior with our reproductive organs. Sodomy has killed over a million young men in the west, and the CDC points out accidentally that it cannot be performed “naturally”, safely.
As in the term universe, or version, we speak of meaning or norms. Perversion is going against our healthy natural norms. It is a perverse behavior by definition as indeed reality defines us.
So now we rob children of their relationships with their own bodies in our “schools”. Groomers. Dare to speak plainly.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Being straight or gay is instinctive, and you’re born the way you are. A reality that proponents of gay conversion therapies struggle to accept. And, regrettably, a minority of condescending middle-class urban bi folk assume that everyone else is like them.

Jarryd Bartle
Jarryd Bartle
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Not singling out your comment, but there’s a common mistake I think people make in assuming that “not biological” means “voluntary” or “capable of change”.
Most of our developed preferences can’t be changed, and trying to change them causes considerable distress with little reward. Imagine having a lifelong disgust (or strong disinterest) in cheese but prevailing social norms tell you that cheese eating was morally necessary.
You might give it a go but it wouldn’t be pleasant, and living a double life where you had to grin and bear it would drive you mad.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

It’s a difficult question to answer because of lack of data. Are there more homosexuals now in a more permissive age than a century ago? No way of knowing. Are children raised by homosexuals more likely to be gay?
Who knows?
It doesn’t seem to me to be a developed preference in the same way that drinking ale or consuming dairy products is in England.
I would say there is if anything a gender difference at work. All the gay men I have ever known have never been anything else, whereas I have encountered a fair number of women who have been in heterosexual relationships and have later entered lesbian ones. I get the feeling male sexuality is more ‘fixed’ in this sense, but it’s purely subjective – I have very little evidence for this assumption.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Butcher
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Isn’t that just being bisexual? Men do the same thing.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, it’s very rare.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, it’s very rare.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Choosing lesbian is, for many I know, an act of resistance.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Isn’t that just being bisexual? Men do the same thing.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Choosing lesbian is, for many I know, an act of resistance.

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Actually, where food preferences are concerned, your gut biome can have a role in changing your tastes. When you start eating a lot of fresh vegetables, changes to your biome literally make them start to taste better to you! It sounds crazy, but it’s real. I suspect it’s some sort of biological adaptation. But I don’t think it has anything to do with sexual preferences…I’m just saying that the analogy may not work scientifically.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

with no shooting or hunting at this time of year, pieces give such good winding up sport.. more like fishing, I Suppose?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

with no shooting or hunting at this time of year, pieces give such good winding up sport.. more like fishing, I Suppose?

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

My whole life I hated brussels sprouts; they were always served boiled and mushy in my childhood. I avoided them like the plague. Then my wife started roasting them, and suddenly I thought they were great. Now I’ve discovered that even boiled brussels sprouts aren’t so bad.
How in the world would social scientists attempt to determine if it were possible for ‘developed preferences’ to change? I think tastes and preferences change all the time, as we age, as our circumstances change, as our experiences shape us.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

I’ve already commented that I’ve always thought homosexuality is biological, but your analogy about cheese and sex doesn’t work. Sex hormones creating the desire for sex are very, very powerful and not to be denied, unlike a taste for cheese.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Who says that sex desires are “not to be denied”? We deny them all the time. There are MANY occasions when we restrain ourselves in this respect – at least I hope so! Also, some celibate people have lived very successful, happy, constructive lives – better than the Hugh Heffners of this world, certainly!
It is so typical of 21stC self-obsession & entitlement mentality to demand that our appetites “cannot be denied”.
They CAN be & (if we’re not going to behave like animals) often SHOULD be.
That’s what being grown-up is often all about.
If homosexuality was biological at source, then there would be comparative numbers of “dedicated h.sexuality in the ‘Animal kingdom’. But there is not.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Who says that sex desires are “not to be denied”? We deny them all the time. There are MANY occasions when we restrain ourselves in this respect – at least I hope so! Also, some celibate people have lived very successful, happy, constructive lives – better than the Hugh Heffners of this world, certainly!
It is so typical of 21stC self-obsession & entitlement mentality to demand that our appetites “cannot be denied”.
They CAN be & (if we’re not going to behave like animals) often SHOULD be.
That’s what being grown-up is often all about.
If homosexuality was biological at source, then there would be comparative numbers of “dedicated h.sexuality in the ‘Animal kingdom’. But there is not.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

It’s a difficult question to answer because of lack of data. Are there more homosexuals now in a more permissive age than a century ago? No way of knowing. Are children raised by homosexuals more likely to be gay?
Who knows?
It doesn’t seem to me to be a developed preference in the same way that drinking ale or consuming dairy products is in England.
I would say there is if anything a gender difference at work. All the gay men I have ever known have never been anything else, whereas I have encountered a fair number of women who have been in heterosexual relationships and have later entered lesbian ones. I get the feeling male sexuality is more ‘fixed’ in this sense, but it’s purely subjective – I have very little evidence for this assumption.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Butcher
Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

Actually, where food preferences are concerned, your gut biome can have a role in changing your tastes. When you start eating a lot of fresh vegetables, changes to your biome literally make them start to taste better to you! It sounds crazy, but it’s real. I suspect it’s some sort of biological adaptation. But I don’t think it has anything to do with sexual preferences…I’m just saying that the analogy may not work scientifically.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

My whole life I hated brussels sprouts; they were always served boiled and mushy in my childhood. I avoided them like the plague. Then my wife started roasting them, and suddenly I thought they were great. Now I’ve discovered that even boiled brussels sprouts aren’t so bad.
How in the world would social scientists attempt to determine if it were possible for ‘developed preferences’ to change? I think tastes and preferences change all the time, as we age, as our circumstances change, as our experiences shape us.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jarryd Bartle

I’ve already commented that I’ve always thought homosexuality is biological, but your analogy about cheese and sex doesn’t work. Sex hormones creating the desire for sex are very, very powerful and not to be denied, unlike a taste for cheese.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What is labelled “gay conversion therapy” by the Stonewall lobbyists is often nothing of the kind.
If someone has a whole set of questions about their sexual feelings -of any kind- and goes to seek pastoral help or counselling and if the parties consulted do not necessarily recommend the full LGBTQ+ response in EVERY case then they are labelled as “Conversion Therapists”.
If you want to see “Conversion Therapy” being attempted just check out the “Trans or Drag Storytime” Events being foisted on very young children in schools & libraries! or most of the events during “Pride Month” for that matter!
Such blatant propaganda is usually practised by “condescending middle-class urban folk” who assume that everyone needs to be lectured on “Correct” gender-ideology.
To simply state “you are born that way” is to regurgitate the trendy dogma (popular amongst the condescending PC Police) and sidesteps the whole article (& most of the comments!) so far!

Jarryd Bartle
Jarryd Bartle
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Not singling out your comment, but there’s a common mistake I think people make in assuming that “not biological” means “voluntary” or “capable of change”.
Most of our developed preferences can’t be changed, and trying to change them causes considerable distress with little reward. Imagine having a lifelong disgust (or strong disinterest) in cheese but prevailing social norms tell you that cheese eating was morally necessary.
You might give it a go but it wouldn’t be pleasant, and living a double life where you had to grin and bear it would drive you mad.

M B
M B
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What is labelled “gay conversion therapy” by the Stonewall lobbyists is often nothing of the kind.
If someone has a whole set of questions about their sexual feelings -of any kind- and goes to seek pastoral help or counselling and if the parties consulted do not necessarily recommend the full LGBTQ+ response in EVERY case then they are labelled as “Conversion Therapists”.
If you want to see “Conversion Therapy” being attempted just check out the “Trans or Drag Storytime” Events being foisted on very young children in schools & libraries! or most of the events during “Pride Month” for that matter!
Such blatant propaganda is usually practised by “condescending middle-class urban folk” who assume that everyone needs to be lectured on “Correct” gender-ideology.
To simply state “you are born that way” is to regurgitate the trendy dogma (popular amongst the condescending PC Police) and sidesteps the whole article (& most of the comments!) so far!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Being straight or gay is instinctive, and you’re born the way you are. A reality that proponents of gay conversion therapies struggle to accept. And, regrettably, a minority of condescending middle-class urban bi folk assume that everyone else is like them.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

i am bored witless and irritated beyond belief by having gay stuck in my face on unheard as well as everywhere else in nubritn hewkay.. Why don’t all the gay whingers please just get on with their lives and stop their mincing moaning?

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago

I am never quite sure why it matters to anyone other than the actual person concerned whom an individual sleeps with. Or why they need to share it with everyone else!

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

Exactly – as far as I’m concerned it’s a matter of civil liberties – your sex life is none of my business, as long as you keep it out of the public square.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

what has sleeping got to do with it?!!!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Because it’s entertaining !

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

Exactly – as far as I’m concerned it’s a matter of civil liberties – your sex life is none of my business, as long as you keep it out of the public square.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

what has sleeping got to do with it?!!!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Because it’s entertaining !

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago

Here’s a tip: The headline usually gives you an idea of what the article is about, so that you can decide not to read it.
Any reply to this would be your fifth comment on the article, which I think would make more than anyone except the author himself, who is civil and informative.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Get your primary school English teacher to correct your last meaningless epithet?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Clearly, you have no sense of humour.
Get over yourself.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Get your primary school English teacher to correct your last meaningless epithet?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

Clearly, you have no sense of humour.
Get over yourself.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

If you’re so bored perhaps you should not come back, please.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Don’t order people around.
Who do you think you are ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

A bossy old scold who fled this “sceptered isle” some fifty years ago and more.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

A bossy old scold who fled this “sceptered isle” some fifty years ago and more.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Don’t order people around.
Who do you think you are ?

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago

I am never quite sure why it matters to anyone other than the actual person concerned whom an individual sleeps with. Or why they need to share it with everyone else!

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago

Here’s a tip: The headline usually gives you an idea of what the article is about, so that you can decide not to read it.
Any reply to this would be your fifth comment on the article, which I think would make more than anyone except the author himself, who is civil and informative.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

If you’re so bored perhaps you should not come back, please.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

i am bored witless and irritated beyond belief by having gay stuck in my face on unheard as well as everywhere else in nubritn hewkay.. Why don’t all the gay whingers please just get on with their lives and stop their mincing moaning?