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Alright, this is the first time I've actually commented on a Substack. I guess this is also where I publicly come out as bisexual since it's relevant to the conversation & can hopefully shed some light. While I find your argument interesting, I think you make a few errors in your reasoning:

You question the decline of closeting by asking: "Why would older LGBTs stay in the closet as the stigma plummets?"

Here, I think you underestimate the power of the status quo. I've talked to quite a few people who have always considered themselves straight, but when the topic of sexuality arises they admit *some level* of homosexuality/homosexual ideation. But these are people with children, sometimes grandchildren, who have been married for decades. There's no conscious or subconscious driver for them to identify as bisexual; they are unlikely to act on it or actualize their sexuality, therefore the risk/reward metric is against coming out. At best, nothing changes. At worst, maybe their spouse or children etc. feel betrayed. I'll specify: I'm not claiming that these people feel repressed against coming out etc. My position is that they've lived as straight for decades, so why bother thinking about their sexuality? They're doing just fine as is.

You then state: "Another weakness of the closeting story is that mainstream stigma against bisexuals was always milder than against any of the other groups. Yet it is bisexuality that has exploded."

I think this fact *supports* the closeting story if anything. Think about it: someone who is only same-sex attracted is more likely to come out regardless of stigma because they are unable to live a romantic life without coming out. However, someone who is able to live a perfectly content life with only opposite-sex partners despite some same-sex attraction has a greater barrier to coming out due to stigma. The decline of anti-gay stigma reduces the perceived costs for coming out, allowing those edge cases (bisexuals) to feel freer to identify as they wish.

Additionally, I would argue that the reduced stigma has further allowed bisexuals like myself to attach words to their attractions. Throughout my entire childhood, growing up in a conservative Christian household with zero engagement/recruitment opportunities, I still held some attraction to my male peers. But in the absence of words to explain these feelings, I viewed these as nothing more than intrusive thoughts, much like the French l'appel du vide (call of the void)—you know, the voice that tells you to swerve into oncoming traffic or step off the cliff despite you having zero suicidal ideation. The reduction of stigma gave me tools to reassess how I feel toward different sexes and realize that while I'm mostly sexually attracted to women, I also hold some sexual attraction toward men.

Additionally, when you say "Younger people’s identities, however, have turned out to be much more flexible than I ever would have imagined back in the 1980s," I wonder what your understanding was of the counterculture of the late 60s and 70s. From the Stonewall Riots to hippie/"free love" culture, I wonder if this is just a failure of imagination on the part of 1980s Bryan and people like him. This isn't a moral judgement, but simply an observation with 20/20 hindsight that the signs have always been there that peoples' sexualities are very flexible, especially at earlier ages where "experimentation" (sexual and non-sexual) is frequent.

You then say "the identity that has grown the most is the identity that asks the least."

I think this gets back to the decline of closeting issue. If my coming out is not necessary for me to live a fulfilling romantic and family life, why would I—a man married to a woman—do so in the face of anti-gay stigma? Now that the stigma is almost entirely gone, it's much easier to come out. Where the only people who came out in the past were those who *needed to* in order to be romantically and sexually active, now people like me are able to come out because, well, it's just how we feel and who cares? Coming out is a much lesser deal for bisexuals now because it's just a matter of "cool, what do you want for dinner?"

Finally, you wrap up with this: "Yet over time, the LGBT phenotype is exploding while the LGBT genotype is imploding ."

I don't know that there's much serious argumentation that homosexuality is heritable. If there is, I haven't seen it. We don't know much about the genetics indicators of homosexuality, but most recent research has shown that it's not *nature VS nurture*, but *nature AND nurture*. Studies have identified a few different genetic markers that *might* be indicators of homosexuality, but they're not entirely reliable. One study estimated that genetics may account for ~25% of homosexual identification. So while you're likely correct that there is some significant cultural impact, I think you misunderstand the opposing view to yours and also overweight the impact of "recruitment."

At the end of the day, homosexuality and its subsets are multivariate in causal nature that we'll likely never fully understand due to the complex nature of the brain that guides them. I think your analysis is likely correct in *some* part, but your weighting is significantly off and your understanding of the motivations of coming out (especially for those of us who are "asked the least") is way off.

Now, I'm just one case of a broad spectrum of different types of LGBT people, but I hope this helps explain some aspects and clarify some confusion. Keep up the interesting conversations and analysis—glad you're on Substack now!

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It has become very high status among affluent teenagers to claim exotic sexual orientation.

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A joke many millenials and Gen-Zs can relate to:

"How can you tell if a girl is bisexual?"

"Don't worry, she'll tell you."

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As Gen Z, this whole discussion doesn't make much sense to me. Sexuality isn't a binary choice, nor is it spectrum, it's person-wise social interaction... I am attracted to some men, but not all. Likewise for women.

Strictly speaking, when asked on a survey, I am bisexual since I've had sex with both genders, but IRL im not "out" in the traditional sense because most people in my life don't care, nor do I.

"Bisexual" is a broad category with a clear threshold, one that in modern times is really easy to cross. Especially when in practice the other options are subsets (most gays have had straight sex), and the cost of answering is zero, you should expect regression to the broader category.

Claiming SDB here is a big deal, since it implies that ~10% of gen z is lying to themselves or others, which from my experience, is just wrong.

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Isn't the best explanation here just social desirability bias? Media says non-straights are great, so it sounds good to say you're not straight. The vast majority of these newly identified bisexuals are just straight people, many of whom of had one or two awkward, unpleasant "experiments" because they felt being gay was virtuous.

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Caplan, there is a serious misunderstanding on your part of what a biologically caused trait is. Heredity isn't the only non-social cause for a phenotype. For instance there are many developmental variations that are non-heritable (look up for organic vs familial retardation for instance) hardness seem to have apattern of heritability similar to homosexuality, for instance, yet it is clearly a fairly congenital trait with little contribution of socialisation. To say that something is non-heritable is not to say that it is non-congenital, let alone to say that it is caused by social aspects of the environment. Those are different things which people get wrong all the time, similar to the misunderstanding you referenced about laymen not getting that heritability is a population bounded measure

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Apr 7, 2022·edited Apr 7, 2022

Im a big fan of this blog and your work but I would suggest as a transgender therapist who works with adults and children, the closeting effect is far more dramatic than you might realize. Also, people stay closeted for reasons including concerns about work, family and friend response, and internalized biases and self-loathing. I base much of this in my own (of course anecdotal) work in therapy where people reveal things they might not anywhere else. This is why I think the issue about generational difference is not so convincing that there is a recruitment factor.

Also, its important to note that another way to look at this is that while people may experience sensory impulses (attraction to the same gender or gender dysphoria, for example) without the language and representation, people will not identify. I know many gay men and women who transitioned to transgender once they made the connection between their internal experience and what the media was showing. Its also worth noting that many institutions are externally very tolerant but internally are not. I don't want to assume your breadth of knowledge on the topic but these are my suggestions. I don't identify as woke or a trans extremist so even if these proposals mentioned in this blog are true, I dont feel the need to disagree due to social desirability bias (hence my enjoyment of this blog).

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Several decades ago, I knew a gay man who got into frequent arguments whenever "we're just born this way" came up in a gay rights group we both worked with. He was very much convinced he had been "recruited" as a youngster by what, from his description, sounded like predatory behavior to me. He didn't feel bad about his sexual orientation. He just saw himself as having been young and not even having sexuality on his radar, and then being shown something he decided he liked.

Who am I to question his experience and evaluation of that experience.

To a certain degree, "born this wayism" seems like a trap for LGBTQ persons. It denies their agency. The proper view, in my opinion, is "so long as you don't harm others, who cares whether your orientation/identity is innate or chosen?"

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I'm guessing if you further broke down the Gen Z bisexuality demo, you'd see it's mostly young women, and the % of young men is comparatively smaller.

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I have teenagers telling their parents they feel like oppressors if they do not have something. One child said At least I am Jewish, to illustrate the protection and coolness of victim idrntification.

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We have data on the prevalence of same sex intercourse. The numbers didn't went up. People identify as LGBT cause it's cool/fashionable. But they're not really lgbt.

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I might disagree. I read some of the literature on sexology and I will share what I know:

Homossexuality is not genetic and it is not socially constructed. Instead, current evidence suggests that homossexuality appears to be a condition of sexual development, a condition that occurs during gestation, where the male fetus (gay male) is undermasculinized and a female fetus (lesbian) receives too much testosterone and masculinizes too much. The reason is that human fetus, including the brain, always begins with a female phenotype (and the brain is attracted to males). As it receives testosterone during gestation, male fetus develops a masculine phenotype (with a masculine brain). Homossexuality in males occurs when this process is incomplete and the fetus remains incompletely masculinized, resulting in a feminized brain which is attracted to other males. This explains why gay men have a more feminine phenotype than heterosexual males. Lesbianism occurs when a female fetus receives too much testosterone and it becomes too masculinized, which is why lesbians have a more masculine phenotype than heterosexual females.

This theory is supported by empirical evidence: For example, machine learning software can even distinguish gay males from heterosexual males based on skull structure of their faces: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/07/artificial-intelligence-can-tell-your-sexuality-politics-surveillance-paul-lewis. This interview with sexologist James Cantor explains it in more detail: https://youtu.be/r6oJj6b5FQM.

It is a fact that there has been a decrease in the average testosterone levels of males over the past 50 years. If that is correlated with exposure to sex hormones in the womb that might suggest an increase in male homossexuality but also would suggest a decrease in female homossexuality, while the reported rates increased. However, sexologists do estimate that around 2-4% of males and 1-3% of females are homossexual which is consistent with reported rates of the younger generation for gay and lesbian identification.

I do agree that bisexual, "queer," and transgender identification is social phenomenon: the vast majority of people who claim to be bisexual, "queer", or transgender are heterosexual and it is caused by social contagion. Bisexual and "queer" identification is just straight people pretending to be "lgbt". While most people who claim to be transgender are either very gender non-comforming homossexuals who adopt a cross-sex identity to escape from homophobia or heterosexuals who suffer from mental disorders such as autism, narcissistic personality disorder or trauma from sexual abuse in childhood. Some are just straight guys with a crossdressing kink and claim to be transgender to manifest their kink in public without fear of social shaming.

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Non-heterosexuality was one of the secular paradoxes I covered, where genetics selection is the opposite direction of the historical trend. https://kirkegaard.substack.com/p/secular-genetic-phenotype-paradoxes

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"Why would older LGBTs stay in the closet as the stigma plummets?"

I mean this is really easy to answer? Objectively it's still much higher cost for older gen to come out.

"Being part of Gen X, I confidently assert that we were far less intolerant than earlier generations."

Bizarre! I am a millennial, and even I grew up hearing plenty of F slurs and remember even in my college years gay was commonly used as a synonym for bad.

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My impression is that actually engaging in sex is in decline among the young. A lot of these teenage identities are pretty nominal rather than actual.

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Homosexuality was once the "aristocrat's disease", and probably not for genetic reasons. Progress and broader access to higher education have made more of us into aristocrats.

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