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post #1 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2011, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Born Gay, Born this way

http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow...41/bornthisway
Born Gay, Born This Way: A Photo Blog

by Selena Simmons-Duffin

A recently launched blog called "Born This Way!" does something very simple: It pairs a snapshot of a gay person as a kid with a personal essay about what he or she sees when looking at the photo.
JC, age 5, Manila, Philippines, 1986
Courtesy of "Born This Way"

JC, age 5, Manila, Philippines, 1986

"I always knew I was different from other boys, even at an early age. This photo definitely proves it," JC writes in a post. "Looking at it now, as a 31-year-old, it only reaffirms what I've always believed — that my being gay wasn't a choice."

The photos are totally delightful, and the essays are thoughtful and often funny. But there is no denying that the site is wading in contentious waters. The blog's editor, a DJ in Los Angeles who goes by Paul V, attempts to pre-empt one issue in the blog's about page:


"So, some of the pix here feature gay boys with feminine traits, and some gay girls with masculine traits. And even more gay kids with NONE of those traits. Just like real life, these gay kids come in all shades and layers of masculine and feminine. And this project is not about furthering stereotypes."

The other flash point is in the site's premise. It didn't take long for the comments section on the first post to spark a conversation about nature versus nurture in regards to sexuality. And if you're looking for a representative sample of the queer community, this probably isn't the place to look.

Potential controversy aside, the site appears to have been created in the spirit of fun. The photos below speak for themselves.
Isaac, age 7, Karratha, Western Australia, 1995
Courtesy of "Born This Way"

Isaac, age 7, Karratha, Western Australia, 1995

Here I am with my two brothers in the dustbowl mining town of Karratha, where the dirt is red and the people are predominantly white. Being one of the few ethnic people in town didn't bug me so much; I just assumed I was white like everyone else. Ah, the innocence of youth.

At this point in my life I lived a blissfully unaware gay lifestyle: Having all female friends, really REALLY liking Catwoman, and always trying on my friends' fake, plastic, high-heeled shoes when I went to their house.

I actually didn't realize I was even close to being gay until my graduating year of high school, so this photo is one of those things I look at now and think to myself — "How did I NOT know?!"

Whenever I have a party at my house or friends come over, they all see this photo and piss themselves laughing. I share a pretty similar sentiment. I mean, look at me, I can't tell whether I'm posing or trying to hold in a wee.
Jerome, age 8, Groesbeck, Texas, 1959
Courtesy of "Born This Way"

Jerome, age 8, Groesbeck, Texas, 1959

We didn't have the word "gay" when I was a child, only the word "sissy!" Thanks to my older sister's movie magazines in the late 1950s, I was obsessed with Hollywood glamor. Here, in this photo, I think I'm emulating either Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield or Mamie Van Doren — perhaps all three! ...

Through the years when I've come across this photo, I would cringe.

But now, some 50 years after it was taken, I find it charming.
Shanna, age 8, San Bernardino, Calif., 1988
Courtesy of "Born This Way"

Shanna, age 8, San Bernardino, Calif., 1988

I was either dressed up for Church (creepy!) or a city-wide oratorical contest (geeky!). Or did I wear a bow-tie to the contest?

A long and awkward attempt at hetero-conformity followed this freedom; then I realized I was a lesbian at 19 while at a conservative Christian college.


Andrew, age 5, Apple Valley, Minn., 1982
Courtesy of "Born This Way"

Andrew, age 5, Apple Valley, Minn., 1982

Be honest with yourself — even as an adult. How else would you be able to pass through your Grandma's hallway WITHOUT putting that hat on? Furthermore, how can you NOT take it out for a spin in the garden?

I don't remember this particular day of my life, but I remember at this age (except for all but the hat), this is how I dressed all the time. Accessories included the ever popular wristbands and knee-high tube socks with the rainbow of stripes. And, my trusty companion: a leather coin purse with a neon green shoelace acting as my purse strap.

I honestly never felt "different" growing up. I had wonderful parents who just let me do what I wanted, and didn't make me do anything I didn't want to do (including homework).

My older brothers teased me relentlessly, but only because they were my older brothers, and that's what they do. To that end, I realized very late in life, when I was 18, that I was gay.

It was no big deal, no big freak out; just, "This makes sense, this is who I am."

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

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post #2 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2011, 11:33 PM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

What this blog does not mention is the thousands of boys and girls who don't follow gender stereotypes as children but still don't fall into the homosexual lifestyle later on in life. I am willing to bet there are a lot more examples of sensitive boys and tomboy girls who never become homosexual than the kinds of people on this blog.

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post #3 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 01:20 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by DaMamaJama87 View Post
What this blog does not mention is the thousands of boys and girls who don't follow gender stereotypes as children but still don't fall into the homosexual lifestyle later on in life. I am willing to bet there are a lot more examples of sensitive boys and tomboy girls who never become homosexual than the kinds of people on this blog.
Homosexuality is not a lifestyle nor is it something one «falls» into.

Life is so gloriously improbable
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post #4 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 02:21 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

No gay gene has been discovered. I think it is more about the way a person is raised. It is more nurture than nature.
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post #5 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 02:32 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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No gay gene has been discovered. I think it is more about the way a person is raised. It is more nurture than nature.
I think so too. It seems to be psychological rather than physiological.

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post #6 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 02:42 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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I think so too. It seems to be psychological rather than physiological.
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post #7 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by Williamsser View Post
No gay gene has been discovered. I think it is more about the way a person is raised. It is more nurture than nature.
Did you click on the link? These pictures were of young children not grown men and what is this gay gene you're referring to? Stop being ignorant.

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

Cory Booker
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post #8 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by DaMamaJama87 View Post
What this blog does not mention is the thousands of boys and girls who don't follow gender stereotypes as children but still don't fall into the homosexual lifestyle later on in life. I am willing to bet there are a lot more examples of sensitive boys and tomboy girls who never become homosexual than the kinds of people on this blog.
So what does that have to do with these individuals?

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

Cory Booker
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post #9 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:00 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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So what does that have to do with these individuals?
It shows that this blog cannot make the argument that these kids were "born that way" because of their behaviour as a child as there are so many more kids who did the same things but never turned out like them.

"All my life I've had to fight. It's just another fight I'm going to have to learn how to win, that's all. I'm just going to have to keep smiling."
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post #10 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by DaMamaJama87 View Post
It shows that this blog cannot make the argument that these kids were "born that way" because of their behaviour as a child as there are so many more kids who did the same things but never turned out like them.
Don't know if you've ever heard it or not but everyone's DNA is unique.

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

Cory Booker
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post #11 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:41 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by DaMamaJama87 View Post
It shows that this blog cannot make the argument that these kids were "born that way" because of their behaviour as a child as there are so many more kids who did the same things but never turned out like them.
The blog isn't making an argument that these kids were born this way. It's just showing pictures of fabulous gay people who were fabulous even as little kids

And what almost everyone fails to realize is that where it's nature or nurture or both doesn't matter. It's fine either way. There's nothing wrong with homosexuality whether it's something that people are or something that people become. And I'm pretty sick of all this "born this way" talk that just reeks of "it's not their fault" sentiments. No one has to expain their sexuality to anyone else.

But just for the record, the lack of a gay gene doesn't mean it's not biological. Not everything that's biologically determined "has a gene."

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post #12 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:45 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by DaMamaJama87 View Post
What this blog does not mention is the thousands of boys and girls who don't follow gender stereotypes as children but still don't fall into the homosexual lifestyle later on in life. I am willing to bet there are a lot more examples of sensitive boys and tomboy girls who never become homosexual than the kinds of people on this blog.
I'll throw my chips in on that bet . .it's a sure thing!

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post #13 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:46 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

Damamajama probably acted that way as a kid himself and is being painfully reminded of own self hatred and repressed homosexuality
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post #14 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:48 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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Originally Posted by VivalaSeles View Post
Homosexuality is not a lifestyle nor is it something one «falls» into.

I disagree. Being homosexual isn't a lifestyle but it's clear that many (most?) homosexual folks have developed set lifestyles of homosexuality. And I also think some people do "fall into it" - people who are naturally bi-sexual.

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post #15 of 125 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2011, 03:51 AM
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Re: Born Gay, Born this way

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I disagree. Being homosexual isn't a lifestyle but it's clear that many (most?) homosexual folks have developed set lifestyles of homosexuality. And I also think some people do "fall into it" - people who are naturally bi-sexual.
For example?
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