The sexual revolutions’ strategic use of the “born this way” assertion has contributed to most of the movement’s cultural progress in the last few decades. Shouldn’t people have the right to “just be who God made them to be”? “Why deny someone anything for just being who they are?” the argument goes.
It’s a very simplistic, but politically and ideologically effective, view of human sexuality.
But increasingly, this false view is crumbling under the weight of actual human behavior and honest admissions from gender activists themselves.
In fact, newly published academic research from the United Kingdom documents the fundamental weakness of the “born this way” assertion. The journal Demography explains that we know “sexual identity is fluid” but asks, “Just how fluid is it?”
It turns out sexuality is not as fixed as many assume. That is because it is a behavior, not an identity.
This new study, using data from the United Kingdom’s robust Household Longitudinal Study, states “that sexual identity is particularly fluid and thus more elusive to measure in some population groups than others.” Scholars observed marked shifts in identity reporting from 2011-2013 and 2017-2019 when measuring changes between how people identify as heterosexual, “gay or lesbian”, “bisexual”, “other” or “prefer not to say.”
Personal shifts in identity from category to category over this time varied dramatically relative to both biological and sociological indicators. Most of the shifting across time periods trended strongly toward heterosexuality. Sexual identity transition was twice the rate in women compared to men.
Identity fluidity is also more prevalent among certain sexual identities, ages and races. For instance, older individuals are more likely to move to heterosexuality as they age. Non-Whites were more than three times as likely as Whites to change their sexual identity. Interestingly, there were no ethic differences in those shifting into or out of a same-sex identity.
Identity fluidity varied among people of different educational status as well. Those with a higher education were markedly less likely to shift sexual identities across the board. However, individuals who had obtained college degrees were more than twice as likely to specifically adopt “gay/lesbian identities” than any other identity. This clearly indicates that some level of socialization, rather than mere biology, contributes to individuals saying they are gay or lesbian.
Such dynamic shifts across different sociological classes raise serious questions about the ubiquitous and confidently asserted “born this way” claim so many take as uncontested truth.
The authors of this study rightly state, “These findings should encourage scholars to more fully incorporate sexual identity as a time-varying rather than a static characteristic in demographic research” and public policy considerations. The scholars further assert, “Such policies need to account for the fact that their target populations are very much in flux.” They admit, “sexual orientation is a multidimensional construct” and not rooted in nature or just one or two factors.
Such findings are not new. Many leading scholars on the topic have been questioning if sexual orientation even exists as it is popularly conceived today because of similar findings.
Beyond this new study, additional data from human experience and careful scientific observation do not permit us to conclude people are simply “born this way,” no matter how passionately Lady Gaga sings that they are.
Academic Sources Reach Similar Conclusions
Eric Kauffman, a professor at the University of London, published a major research paper in 2022 entitled “Born This Way?: The Rise of LGBT as a Social and Political Identity” where he documented that growing sexual and gender identity itself is increasingly at odds with people’s actual behaviors. He explains that growth in homosexual behavior “has grown much less rapidly than LGBT identification” itself.
This is a very concerning development as it indicates a dramatic disconnect between what people say about themselves and what they actually do … or don’t do.
Professor Kaufmann explains further, “Whereas in 2008 attitudes and behavior were similar, by 2021 LGBT identification was running at twice the rate of LGBT sexual behavior.” This means that people with clear heterosexual behavior and interests are increasingly likely to identify as “LGBT” thus indicating they are identifying with a social or ideological movement. And why wouldn’t they when all things LGBT are so widely celebrated among their peer groups, teachers, in popular culture, liberal politics, large corporations and new media?
Not surprisingly, most of this disconnect between identity and behavior is not found across age groups. It is largely found among young adults and teens, indicating a faddish trend of social contagion. The increase in LGBT identity separate from behavior is also associated with having a “very liberal” political ideology. Kauffman explains,
It seems that an underlying psychological disposition is inclining people with heterosexual behavior to identify both as LGBT and very liberal. The most liberal respondents have moved from 10-15% non-heterosexual identification in 2016 to 33% in 2021. Other ideological groups are more stable.
This explosive shift is absolutely unprecedented in larger human experience, a damning indictment on “born this way” dogma.
University of Utah’s Lisa J. Diamond, a ground-breaking scholar in new sexualities and gender studies, explained in an 2018 TEDx Talk that, while she adamantly opposes all forms of change-therapy, “The plain truth is that gender and sexual development show a lot more variability than most people realize, and that variability often leads to change over time in sexual attraction.” She easily confesses, “Sexual attractions show a fair amount of fluidity.”
Diamond has no problem admitting to her audience that the “born this way” assertion was not constructed out of scientific fact, but political expediency. The purpose of her talk is to convince us that this myth should be finally relegated to the graveyard because it “is not scientifically accurate” and is “actually unjust.” It is past “time to retire that argument for LGBT equality” because it has served its political usefulness.
Ritch Savin-Williams, professor emeritus in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, published research in 2017 in his counter-intuitive book Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity in Men with Harvard University Press. He is expanding the ground Professor Diamond broke years earlier on sexual fluidity in women, documenting how sexuality in men is shifting in new ways.
Savin-Williams holds that “mostly straight” has become “a distinct sexual orientation group” of men who are mostly heterosexual in their sexual attraction, but are expressly open to same-sex romantic relationships that turn sexual. This new, but growing finding, took him and his peers by surprise.
Remarkably, Savin-Williams says the evidence suggests that more young men identify as “mostly straight” than identify as either bisexual or gay combined. He explains his findings “have implications for conceptualization of sexual orientation as a continuum.”
Like other scholars, he believes that the popularly held notion of sexual orientation itself is wholly inadequate to explain what his research has been discovering. The “tri-category system (of gay, straight and bi),” Savin-Williams explains, “has outgrown its usefulness and [it is clear] that more groups are necessary.”
Yes, something is happening with human sexuality today that is demolishing what we have all been forcibly told to believe over the past two decades by supporters of the new sexual revolution. What scholars are now newly observing in their careful study is certainly not something rooted in nature, “just the way people are.” Instead, sexual identity is increasingly driven by seemingly new and complex social factors that our larger culture, media and political classes must appreciate and honestly admit.
But one thing is clear: The “born this way” myth is clearly revealing itself as the falsehood it has always been.
Photo from Getty