Bisexuality Is the Most Common—Say Goodbye to “Born this Way”

Image: Kim Raff

Image: Kim Raff

University of Utah Professor of Psychology, Lisa Diamond, researches sexual fluidity, which describes a person’s sexuality as it varies over time, and her conclusion is that most people are bi-sexually inclined versus strictly homosexual or heterosexual. Her conclusion, along with other researchers, contradicts the widely accepted “born this way” narrative activists use when fighting against harassment in the LGBTQI community.

Lisa Grossman interviewed Dr. Diamond for the site New Scientist this week, and below are some of the highlights.

Why is the “born this way” tagline so popular? 

To put it simply: it’s difficult to argue with someone if you eliminate all options. For instance, you can’t tell someone to “pray the gay away” or shock them to bits if their sexuality is immutable. Diamond explains:

“It really dates back to a campaign against the gay community back in the 1960s and 70s, led by American singer and activist Anita Bryant. Her whole argument was that gay people were a threat because they were going to recruit young people to be gay. She specifically said homosexuals are made, not born; they can’t reproduce, so they’re trying to recruit our children. Gay people said, that’s ridiculous, we’re not trying to recruit your children – that wouldn’t even work! This isn’t something you can be recruited into. It’s just the way we are.”

Does that mean gay folks can choose heterosexuality?

Most folks have heard of the Kinsey Scale but in case you haven’t here’s the deal–sexual experiences, including interactions and attractions, can change over a lifetime. However, the scale is quite rigid for some folks, and some heterosexual and homosexual people do not ever experience much variance. This means that although some people may choose hetero, or homo, sexuality for a variety of reasons, a person must possess those inclinations to begin with. Diamond explains:

“I think all the evidence suggests that we’re born with an underlying capacity, and then that capacity interacts with a whole bunch of other influences. Some of them are prenatal; some maybe in the first year of life. We still don’t know whether there’s a point at which things become more fixed.”

So is it time to abandon the “born this way” tagline and Lady Gaga altogether, or is there still some room left for the concept in our community work? Read the full interview with Lisa Grossman and Dr. Lisa Diamond here before you decide. 

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