A billboard in Richmond, Va. shows a picture of identical twins, one gay one straight, and claims them as proof that gay people aren’t “born that way.”
In fact, real science says exactly the opposite. First and foremost is the science of studying actual people who are gay. Gay people say they have always been attracted to the same sex. There is a culture of bisexuals who believe they are that way by choice, like Cynthia Nixon, but people who identify as strictly homosexual say they are gay, have always been gay, and always will be gay.
To the intellectually challenged, bigoted-at-all-costs religious zealots of the right, disproving all of the gay people so God can continue to be perfect in their eyes is as easy as identical twins and their DNA.
If two people have identical DNA, how can they be different? The very notion is completely preposterous. Scientists have studied twins extensively, and while DNA makes identical twins look alike and may contribute to certain traits being similar, that doesn’t make them identical in all things.
If one twin likes strawberry ice cream, does that mean the other has to like it as well? The complex answer is very simply, “no.” While things like eye color and skin type are determined by simple genetic markers, things like sexual orientation are much more involved. A combination of genes and environmental factors are most likely the cause.
“Ah-ha!” says the Bible thumper. “You just said it was environmental!”
No, that doesn’t mean that gay people will teach children to be gay pedophiles who have sex with farm animals, you twits. “Environmental,” like most things involving science, is far too intricate for simpletons to understand.
An article by the Tech Museum Of Innovation about understanding genetics and homosexuality uses the specific example of identical twins. It explains the addition of environmental factors to genetic ones in layman’s terms anyone with an IQ over 65 can understand. Unfortunately, that leaves the people who erect billboards like these wanting, but the rest of us can learn a thing or two in a couple of paragraphs:
Now by the environment I don’t just mean an overprotective mom or a domineering dad. Environment is a catchall for everything that isn’t a gene. For instance, what the fetus was exposed to while in the mother’s womb can affect its development and influence behavior later on in life.
So even though you might expect that the environment only causes temporary changes, that’s not always the case. The environment can cause brains to be wired in a certain way as it develops. This wiring can’t be changed easily.
So, thumpers, in short: