LGBTQIA+, Videos

The Problem With The “Born This Way” Argument (Video)

January 11, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller

Sexual orientation is something that many people consider to be an innate characteristic—it’s something you’re born with. This idea is popular within the LGBTQ community, and it’s something that has been used as a basis for arguing in favor of equal rights for sexual minorities. As the reasoning goes, if you’re “born this way,” then what basis is there for treating people differently based on their sexuality under the law?

There’s a problem with the “born this way” argument, though—actually, there are three problems, as Dr. Lisa Diamond explains in the TEDx video below: “First, it’s not scientifically accurate. Second, it’s not legally necessary. But third and most important, it’s actually unjust.”

I know some of you reading this are thinking: How can that be? There’s a lot of evidence (much of it discussed on this blog and in my other writings) claiming that sexual orientation is linked to genetics, prenatal hormone exposure, and other biological factors, right? Yes—that hasn’t changed and Dr. Diamond doesn’t dispute that. The crux of her argument is really that what we’ve leaned about sexual fluidity in recent years poses some important complications for the “born this way” narrative because the research on this subject shows that people’s sexual attractions, behaviors, and identities can change over the course of the lifespan (although, to be clear, this is not to suggest that sexual orientation can be consciously changed or that we choose our attractions).

Check out the full video to learn more about Dr. Diamond’s perspective and weigh in with your comments below.

Watch more videos on the science of sex here.

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology ? Click here for previous articles or follow the blog on Facebook (, Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit ( to receive updates. You can also follow Dr. Lehmiller on YouTube and Instagram.

Image Source: 123RF/Juan Bernal

You Might Also Like:

Post Featured Image
Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

Read full bio >