Patrick Grzanka and Joe Miles, both UT assistant professors of psychology, recently published a study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology challenging the notion that the belief that people are born with their sexual orientation—a belief that has proliferated in the past 20 to 30 years, particularly among social and biological scientists—is the key to improving attitudes toward lesbian, gay and bisexual people....Kind of makes sense. And, perhaps counterintuitively in that "born this way and this is who I am" has helped in some legal fights, suggests that not insisting that their sexual orientation defines them as a person could be helpful in its own way.
For the study, Grzanka, Miles and co-author Katharine Zeiders of the University of Missouri surveyed two groups of college students. They used their previously developed sexual orientation beliefs scale, which attempts to capture a wide variety of beliefs such as the idea that sexual minorities are fundamentally different from straight people or that sexuality is based in biology. Most respondents believed sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable, but it's what else they believed about sexual orientation that distinguishes them.
For example, the researchers looked more closely at respondents who had negative attitudes about gay men. Even among those who believed gay men are "born that way," those who also believed gay men are "all the same and act the same way" were more likely to hold prejudicial attitudes toward gay men, Grzanka said.
"We suggest that this demonstrates the limited capacity of 'born this way' arguments to reduce homophobia," he said.
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
The questionable utility of "born this way"
A bit of an interesting take on the matter of sexuality and being "born this way" in this research: