This event was webcast live.
18 July 2006
19:00 - 20:30
Are people really born gay? To what degree can we choose' our sexuality?
Since the gay gene' hit the headlines in the early 1990s, the nature-nurture debate over human sexuality has become familiar.
Research that's been carried out into the biological basis of sexuality recently hit the headlines. What role does hormone exposure in the womb really play? Can homosexuality be adaptive from an evolutionary perspective? Where did sexologist Alfred Kinsey go wrong, and what impact has this had on the way we view our sexual orientation?
Find out about why women demonstrate greater erotic plasticity than men, and why men generally aren't bisexual from psychobiologist Qazi Rahman. Geneticist Sven Bocklandt will be discussing his findings from the brains of gay sheep and explaining what exactly the big-brother effect' means.
But is sexuality definitely a case of genetic predestination? Surely other perspectives need to be taken into account. Scientists are finding that our brain development is much more flexible than was previously thought. How does the environment affect the way our genes are expressed? What about Freud, or feminism? What can we learn by examining how sexual categories emerge in history? Social historian Jeffrey Weeks will discuss how sexual values and morality have changed over the past 50 years to cast light on how interpretations of sexuality affect our own.
Get to grips with and go beyond the nature-nurture debate. Investigate the grey areas and determine how different views of sexuality impact on our lives today.
Sven Bocklandt, geneticist, University of California, Los Angeles
Qazi Rahman, psychobiologist, University of East London and King's College London
Jeffrey Weeks, Executive Dean of Arts and Human Sciences, London South Bank University