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Is homosexuality an Innate or an Acquired Trait? Essay

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Updated: Dec 21st, 2019


Homosexuality describes people who are sexually attracted to members of their own sex. Male homosexuals are attracted to other males, while female homosexuals are attracted to other females. It is a normal phenomenon for people to have sexual attractions to members of their opposite sex, but homosexuals are just puzzling (Horvath, 2000).

People have always failed to understand what brings about the attraction, and the peculiar nature has raised the eyebrows of various psychologists and scientists. The biologists indicate that some families have the homosexual genes and hormones in their family linage. Therefore, individuals from such families give birth to children who are homosexuals by default, and their sexual preferences are unchangeable whatsoever. Essentially this is the innate view of homosexuality.

On the other hand, the social constructionists believe that the homosexual behavior results from the social and environmental influence. Interestingly, another different school of thought holds that both social and biological processes contribute to the behavior and psychological thoughts of humans.

Indeed, most scientists and psychologists have not developed decisive reasons to support their allegations. This paper will give a critical analysis of the biologists’ view of homosexuality as innate, or as an inherited trait. The paper will convince the audience that the biologists’ view is deficient, and it cannot overcome its problems in its current state, unless some modifications are made to the current view.

The view of homosexuality as an innate trait

The evolutionary psychologists argue that the human’s ability to handle issues and solve problems originates from the evolutionary ancestors. Similarly, individuals inherit every other trait from their ancestors. According to the biologists, genes are very important in the development of traits.

Therefore, hormones and genes determine the sexual behaviors of human beings. From the biological view of things, any trait in an individual comes because of the interaction of genes and the cells embed in the body. Some families have aggression traits, and the children in such families are always a nuisance in everything that they do. Consequently, most aspects concerning sexuality come because natural selection.

The Exotic Becomes Erotic (EBE) theory explains that the adult homosexual behaviors start from the prenatal development of a child. The fetus attains the genomes of the parent that would determine the child’s temperament.

Children who grow to like competitive and rough activities are male-typical, whereas those who like quietness and non-aggressiveness are female-typical (Horvath, 2000). The gender conforming and gender nonconforming traits will show up in their childhood. These traits are innate, where; the gender non-conforming children are likely to grow into homosexuals in the future.

The biologists argue that there is always an ancestral history of homosexuality for every homosexual that exists. In fact, some reliable studies showed a correlation between the birth order and homosexuality in male children.

According to the study, male children who are born earlier have a less probability to have the homosexual behaviors than males who are born later. The studies attributed their results to the maternal immune response, where, after the first birth, the H-Y (histo-compatibility) antigen strengthens in subsequent pregnancies to bring in some aspect of sexual differentiation in the male children.

The parent population’s sexual traits can enable one to predict the traits of the children to be born in a given generation. Biologists exemplify their allegations by employing the masculine behaviors that emerge in males. Naturally, the males adapt the masculine behavior, and they posses some unique traits like temperament within their linage. By default, at least one of the masculine traits is innate.

Therefore, evolutionary psychologists will hold that the sexual and gender traits that one possesses are innate, and individuals with homosexual genes would have their traits emerging when the right time comes. According to the evolutionary psychologists, homosexuality is a heritable trait that varies from one generation to another.

Therefore, the difference in the environment in which individuals are raised does not necessarily drive them into homosexuality as the desire comes from inside their bodies. According to the biologists, the environment is not a vital input in the development of an individual into a homosexual as any environmental or social aspects that have the ability to influence people to be homosexuals could be controllable.

Objections of the view of homosexuality an innate trait

The social constructionists object the allegation that genes and hormones influence the sexual behaviors of individuals. They argue that social interaction strongly determines the sexual orientation and sexual behavior. From the social constructionists’ view, children are born without any sex knowledge.

However, with time, children are exposed to sexual materials thought all the available media. The social groups that individuals interact with determine their sexual behaviors, and that is where individuals acquire the homosexual traits. Essentially, the genes and hormones will only determine the physical traits, but they will have no contributions on the sexual traits of an individual (Haider-Markel & Joslyn, 2013).

According to the social constructionists, homosexuality is a psychological character trait that develops during interaction. It cannot be innate as the peers, and a favorable environment will play a great role in convincing an individual that homosexuality brings more pleasure than heterosexuality.

The allegation that males have a masculine nature is somewhat true; however, there are those male individuals who have feminine behaviors. Such males would desire to dress, walk, and behave like women. Research indicates that males with feminine behaviors were raised with female counterparts. They did not get the opportunity to interact with other male children to acquire the masculine traits. In fact, the biologists clearly indicate that the gender conforming or gender nonconforming aspect shows up after birth.

The growth environment will facilitate the gender nonconforming children’s traits, where, encouraging environments will aid their dissimilarity feelings towards their same-sex peers. The culture in which the men are raised facilitates their desire to have the masculine complexion, and in that case, nurturing takes an upper hand than nature. Similarly, if the males or females are raised in an environment that would encourage then to have attraction to members of their own sex, they will definitely acquire the homosexual traits.

The biologists argue that parent population’s sexual traits can enable one to predict the traits of their children. This is a true allegation, but the underlying reason is what differs. Essentially, children raised with homosexuals will tend to adopt the homosexual behaviors because of the environment they are raised.

The children will watch and copy the deeds of their elders and they will tend to behave in the same manner whenever they have a chance. Moreover, some reliable research indicated that homosexuals admitted to have developed their sexual traits because of peer pressure. The research indicated that some of the homosexuals were simply testing the act, and in the process, they became addicts. Therefore, the social environment has the ability to manipulate an individual to become a homosexual.

Replies to the above-mentioned objections

Obviously, the biologists will argue that homosexuality is innate, and a natural attraction comes to homosexuals at a certain age. According to the biologists, the environment has no capability to change a heterosexual into a homosexual individual, as a principled heterosexual individual cannot be swayed into homosexuality. Essentially, the biologists have politicized the subject with an aim of defending the gay rights (Norris, 2008).

This is because if homosexuality is indeed generic, the homosexuals ought to be treated like other individuals. However, there is no way that people can ignore the fact that peer pressure has a lot of supremacy in influencing individuals, especially in their adolescent stage.

The social environment is a very important variable in the development of a homosexual character. Therefore, biologists should modify their allegations to agree that both social and biological processes determine the sexual behaviors of individuals. With the modified view, the original allegation of the biologists can withstand the strongest objectives to their school of thought.


From the discussions, it is evident that the genes, the social and cultural environment in which individuals are raised determine their sexual behaviors. Those parents who blame their ancestors for the homosexuality behaviors in their descendants should examine the environment in which their children grow.

The contemporary world exposes sexual materials to children at a very tender age. Therefore, it is upon the parents to ensure their children grow up to be what they want them to be. Parents who do not mind raising homosexuals can pay little heed to the advice. However, those parents who care should analyze the materials that their children read and watch, they should examine their children’s friends, schools, and instructors. Most importantly, parents should find time to discuss about sex with their children at a tender age.


Haider-Markel, D. P., & Joslyn, M. R. (2013). Politicizing biology: Social movements, parties, and the case of homosexuality. The Social Science Journal, 50(4), 603-615.

Horvath, C. D. (2000). Interactionism and innateness in the evolutionary study of human nature. Biology and Philosophy, 15(1), 321-337.

Norris, R. A. (2008). Some notes on the current debate regarding homosexuality and the place of homosexuals in the church. Anglican Theological Review, 90(3), 437-511.

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"Is homosexuality an Innate or an Acquired Trait?" IvyPanda, 21 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/is-homosexuality-an-innate-or-an-acquired-trait/.

1. IvyPanda. "Is homosexuality an Innate or an Acquired Trait?" December 21, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-homosexuality-an-innate-or-an-acquired-trait/.


IvyPanda. "Is homosexuality an Innate or an Acquired Trait?" December 21, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-homosexuality-an-innate-or-an-acquired-trait/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Is homosexuality an Innate or an Acquired Trait?" December 21, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/is-homosexuality-an-innate-or-an-acquired-trait/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Is homosexuality an Innate or an Acquired Trait'. 21 December.

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