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Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation Paperback – 1 Sep 2004


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Paperback, 1 Sep 2004
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd (1 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720612233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720612233
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 846,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

My first reaction to this book was, oh dear, not another attempt to investigate the causes of homosexuality. Gay people have been treated as medical curiosities for 200 years. We've been studied, probed and tested long enough. Why don't scientists ever examine what makes people straight? But on reading Born Gay I discovered a surprisingly interesting book. The authors, Glenn Wilson and Qazi Rahman, present masses of fascinating evidence from dozens of studies which, they conclude, show that sexual orientation is overwhelmingly innate. Social or environmental factors have little or no influence. Blaming parents and childhood upbringing is mistaken and unfair. The idea that people become gay by seduction or conscious choice is not supported by scientific evidence, they say. . . Peter Tatchell, London Evening Standard --Peter Tatchell, Evening Standard<br /><br />Is there a gay gene based on differences in the shape of the brain or are the conservatives right when they claim that what they deem abhorrent, skewed behaviour is a matter of conditioning that can be corrected? Psychiatrist Wilson and psychologist Rahman reckon neither is strictly correct, placing the truth somewhere in between in this thought provoking and often funny study, which reveals that gay men have larger penises. The Herald (Glasgow) --The Herald<br /><br />An absolutely fascinating book. It really is interesting and seems to me to have nailed the argument. Richard and Judy, Channel 4 Television --Richard and Judy

Are people born gay or does upbringing or even conscious personal choice play a part? These are the questions asked in ...'Born Gay' by Dr Glenn Wilson and Dr Qazi Rahman and they answer them fairly specifically in concluding that - and the answer's definitely in the book title - gay people are born gay. Look at the question another way and ask are straight people born straight? Does that sound ridiculous? Of course it does because it's a question that is never asked. If you are straight, you are straight from birth. You don't acquire heterosexuality by experience, inclination, learning, instruction, osmosis, seduction, or, most important of all, choice, you just are straight and you "straightness' is inherent in your genes, your intrinsic make-up. So, if heterosexuals are straight from birth, why has there always been any argument over being gay and hat makes people homosexual or lesbian? The unusual question that comes up for debate over homosexuality is nature or nurture? Are people gay because it's in the nature or because of the surroundings they grow up in. Most people grow up in a heterosexual environment, otherwise they wouldn't be on the planet. In most cases a pregnancy is the result of a heterosexual couple making love, although nowadays of course, it's not always the case, as IVF treatment can now dispense with copulation altogether. Another question often raised is whether homosexuality runs in families or whether identical twins have identical sexual preferences. The answers to these questions have to be yes and no in both cases, because it is impossible to generalise. Theories abound and there are probably as many theories on the subject of homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexuality as there are beings on the globe. The only way to deal with these theories, according to the two authors of 'Born gay' is to go about it in a practicl and scientific way. "Science is our best tool for seeking truth about nature, even if the facts it provides are sometimes counterintuitive or discomforting. Some people may be unhappy with some of the major themes in this book, but a growing number of people around the world believe these issues are important and that research on sexual orientation is no longer taboo." The authors' conclusions therefore are: "Modern scientific research indicates that sexual orientation is largelyy determined by the time of birth, partly by genetics, but more specifically by hormonal activity in the womb arising from various sources." Their research is divided into chapters with headings such as "Where are gays found?", "The failure of psychosocial theories", "Not all in the genes", "Hormones in the womb"", "The big brother effect", "The gay brain" and "Childhood indications". Not only is it a well researched book that comes to sensible conclusions, but it is also remarkably wide-ranging in encompassing such subjects as the Kinsey Report, Liberace, Rock Hudson, Oscar Wilde and even 'Little Britain and Daffyd'. --What's on

An absolutely fascinating book. It really is interesting and seems to me to have nailed the argument. Richard and Judy, Channel 4 Television --Richard and Judy

About the Author

GLENN WILSON is Reader in Personality at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada at Reno. QAZI RAHMAN is currently lecturer in Psychobiology in the School of Psychology at the University of East London.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David on 24 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
There very probably ARE books on why some people have red hair, or blue/green eyes… but they are unlikely to achieve much popular notoriety… and in an ideal (i.e. ‘other’) world, neither should a book about sexuality. Only, of course, in our world, there are prelates claiming Ebola is God’s punishment for the sin of homosexuality (if I were God, I am not sure I would choose to zap the Africans… unless he knows something I don’t), while in the UK the state Church refuses its blessing to gay people on the (to-my-mind curious) grounds that “they wouldn’t like in South Sudan”.

So a book explaining just what is known scientifically about sexuality is opportune, and more likely to draw a popular audience than other similarly scholarly works. The authors are clearly aware of this, for although they draw on appropriately referenced learned sources, they are at pains not to adopt a style that will disconcert the gay reader.

The conclusions, summarised on p145, run counter to some modern prejudices: we are either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’; there is no ‘cure’; the cause is partially genetic; exposure to hormones in the womb is an important factor; it seems gay men are somewhat effeminate, and gay women masculinised; the order of birth seems to be a predictor, men with several straight elder brothers having an elevated chance of being gay. The theory according to which gay men are turned gay by an over-attentive mother is discounted, but not that gay men have such mothers, the relationship of cause and effect being reversed, along with many Freudian interpretations.

Despite the fact gender non-conformity in childhood is a predictor, not all the indicators show effeminacy. Thus chapter 5 reveals that gay men have, on average, larger penises than straight men (6.32 inches versus 5.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Flynn on 8 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this book is entitled "Born Gay", it really tries to address the idea of how all of us end up with a sexual orientation. And in the process, about 3-5% persistently find themselves drawn to their own sex, rather than its opposite.

Although it's about 4 years old now, this is the best book I've read for getting to grips with the biology of sexual attraction. The chapters are fairly well packed with information, so although it's very readable, you may want to take some time over the entire book. It leaves you realising that although we assume - like the sun rising - that "everybody's straight", in fact there's a huge amount of biology with hormones and genes that goes to make us who we are. Anyone who's done basic GCSE biology ought not to be surprised. Yet this is such a charged subject - still! - that it takes a book like this to make it clear how sexual orientation is as much as part of that as anything else.

Hope we see an updated version soon.
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By Yoko Hansen on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book can be very useful for my research. I am interested to find out how they get born gay.
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