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REFOCUS by Gerard Veldhoven: Sexual orientation: What’s it all about

Gerard Veldhoven
Gerard Veldhoven - FILE

What causes a person to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight? This question is as original as sliced bread and not easily explained. Regardless of where we live in this vast world, this question begs an answer.

The majority of us are aware of our sexual orientation as we mature. However, to our family and friends who are not aware, or those who attempt to deny our very existence, let me relate the following. In the scientific journal, Archive of Sexual Behaviour, researchers from the Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, concluded that, “genetics and environmental factors (which are specific to an individual, may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb) determine homosexual and heterosexual behaviour.”

A leading expert on human sexual behaviour, and co-author of this study, Dr. Quazi Rahman, explains, “This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a ‘gay gene,’ or a single environmental variable which could be used to select our homosexuality.”

If we could choose our sexual orientation, we most likely would not opt to be gay or bisexual, as the brutality, bullying and other acts of aggression against those in our society can be horrendous in so many ways. We also do not choose the colour of our eyes, instead opting to change and choose blue instead of the brown eyes we had at birth. That is simply not the case.

The end result is that our sexual orientation does not really require an explanation. One does not ask someone why one is heterosexual, so there is no benefit to inquire if one is gay or bisexual. It matters little as the outcome cannot be changed.

Those who believe that gays can be “cured,” mostly on religious grounds, have proven to be ignorant of the facts and the procedure used can be detrimental to a person’s mental and/or physical well-being. We share this planet regardless of our sexual orientation. We are who and what we are and our diverse qualities make each of us unique in our own way.

Scientific and medical research have shown that being gay or bisexual are normal variations in human sexuality. Our very existence makes us all part of humanity and questioning our sexual orientation should not be part of the equation whether we are not all equal.

So, as the arguments continue between various factions, we educate, raise awareness and bring to light that members of our society must learn to embrace the diversity of all citizens, bar none. It’s all a matter of human rights.

The question we should be asking is why only the heterosexual world has the answers as to why LGBTQ2 folks should be respected and entitled to equality. We are constantly bombarded with judgmental rhetoric and other intolerant behaviour. We must learn to reject the religious right and those who oppose the very existence of sexual orientation. It is generally a constant war between religious thought and scientific evidence that keeps the fires burning. In the end, we are here to stay, regardless of the evidence presented or in spite of the findings. Scientific research has determined that we are part of the human existence and, my friends, we have known that throughout the ages.

As well, we should not dwell on the reasons, but emphasize the quality of life we must attain, live in peace, make love our end goal, and be non-judgmental of others. Our birthright must be protected, and we do so with pride.

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Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.

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