Author Topic: If a gay person loses their memory...  (Read 3114 times)

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Offline Rustybeatz

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If a gay person loses their memory...
« on: May 14, 2012, 09:12:53 AM »
I tried doing a search on this but didn't find anything useful, besides I always like what you guys have to say.  I'm wondering if anybody here has any knowledge about this.  If somebody gets some sort of head trauma and loses their memory, when they regain consciousness they don't remember who they are, if they're married, etc.  So if a gay person goes through the same experience, are they still gay?  I know this probably sounds like I'm an idiot or close-minded, but something like this might lend credence to the idea that homosexuality is more genetic than being an environmental factor.  I also the rate of homosexuality in humans is similar to that in animals.  It would just be kind of weird if they lost their memory and then came back straight or something.  Anyway, does somebody know something about this? 

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 09:16:04 AM »
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Offline Nick

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 09:30:44 AM »
What about the reverse.  They were straight and are now gay?   I don't know but it might make a cool movie of the week.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 09:34:57 AM »
good question ....but it does beg the more generalised  ....does  sexual orientation remain the same for amnesiacs?

« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 10:53:03 AM by kin hell »
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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 09:52:56 AM »
I tried doing a search on this but didn't find anything useful, besides I always like what you guys have to say.  I'm wondering if anybody here has any knowledge about this.  If somebody gets some sort of head trauma and loses their memory, when they regain consciousness they don't remember who they are, if they're married, etc.  So if a gay person goes through the same experience, are they still gay?  I know this probably sounds like I'm an idiot or close-minded, but something like this might lend credence to the idea that homosexuality is more genetic than being an environmental factor.  I also the rate of homosexuality in humans is similar to that in animals.  It would just be kind of weird if they lost their memory and then came back straight or something.  Anyway, does somebody know something about this?

sexuality has nothing to do with the memory loss.A straight person doesn't stop being straight because they lost their memory either. I may not say you're an idiot or closed minded, but it sounds silly.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 10:26:08 AM »
The human brain is complex, and I am not going to pretend that I come close to understanding it. 

I know nothing about amnesia, but strokes can cause personality changes.  Most often these changes include depression, apathy and aggressive behavior, and many stroke victims and caregivers of stroke victims report decreased interest in sexual activity. 

There is one rather publicized case of a very young man who had a stroke, and claims that he was transformed from straight to gay as a result. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2130900/Chris-Birch-Rugby-player-woke-gay-stroke-says-hes-happiest-hes-been.html 

In terms of homosexual behavior in animals, I think the "rate" varies by species.  Perhaps some of the resident scientists here can correct me if I am wrong. 

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 05:07:23 PM »
I don't think it was a "silly" question. I myself don't know the answer but I would assume more people would be reporting becoming gay after amnesia if memory and sexuality were related. I don't think forgetting I was straight would make me less heterosexual. I could be wrong but it's an interesting topic nevertheless.
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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 05:37:01 PM »
It would be interesting if this could actually be studied in a way that would yield believable results. We could suppose that if a person were to have a total memory loss that it could be possible for them to "come to" with a clean slate (which I still believe to be innate bisexuality) sexually.

Offline HAL

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 05:41:53 PM »
If somebody gets some sort of head trauma and loses their memory, when they regain consciousness they don't remember who they are, if they're married, etc.  So if a gay person goes through the same experience, are they still gay?

My guess -

Yes they would still be gay. If a straight man or woman goes though your memory loss example, they do not change what gender they are right? I don't believe that happens, so a gay person would still be gay.


Offline Omen

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 08:44:29 PM »
It would be interesting if this could actually be studied in a way that would yield believable results. We could suppose that if a person were to have a total memory loss that it could be possible for them to "come to" with a clean slate (which I still believe to be innate bisexuality) sexually.

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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 08:50:04 PM »
If a person were to lose their memory, they would not remember anything, not even who they loved. I don't think the person would be falling in love with someone of the opposite sex if they've been gay or vice versa because their feelings and attraction didn't change. it's not a part of their memory.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 09:23:00 PM »
Certain medications have been known to make men gay. A muscle analgesic made Ben gay.

 ;)

Memory may not be the confusing factor. Perhaps hormone therapies may flip some.. who knows?
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Offline kin hell

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 10:20:53 PM »
If a person were to lose their memory, they would not remember anything, not even who they loved. I don't think the person would be falling in love with someone of the opposite sex if they've been gay or vice versa because their feelings and attraction didn't change. it's not a part of their memory.

Hold on, you're now answering a question you'd previously implied was coming from someone who might be mistaken for a closed minded idiot.

Perhaps you should first publicly acknowledge the change of perception that now gives enough validity to the question that not only is it not just automatically dismissed out of hand, but you are actually revisiting it to make another reply.



Me personally, I don't think sexual orientation would change, ..............!but I would just be guessing!

No other reply  seems to provide more than informed guesses/opinions, so in fact the OP's question has proven to be one of the better more thought provoking ones Tim that you too can only answer with an assumption that may well be accurate, but for which you can offer no substantiation.
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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 01:51:29 AM »
The Dutch Dr. Dick Swaab, a neurobiologist, presented proof in 1989 that sexual orientation could be deduced with near 100% certainty by looking at certain brain structures. Now, my memory being what it is, I can't tell you which ones without consuting his book (only available in Dutch, I'm afraid). There is one sturcture in particular which is several times larger in gays (both men and women) than in straights. The size of this structure is 100% determined in the womb.[1]
He goes on to make the case that you can make a gay man BEHAVE straight but you can never MAKE him straight ... short of cutting into his brain. If this one particular brain structure is damaged (and it has nothing to do with memory) ones sexual orientation might change.
But, if you take a straight man and wipe his memory, that brain structure will still be of 'straight size' and even with a blank memory, he will still be straight when he wakes up.
 1. This does trigger my alarm bells some. A neurobiologist claiming that some trait or other is purely neurobiologically determined ... that's a bit suspect. Still the limited amount of digging on the subject I've done doesn't seem to turn up any contrasting claims.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 01:53:42 AM by Fiji »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2012, 03:23:43 AM »
.....Dr. Dick Swaab.....

Seriously?   :o   I daren't google that while I'm at work!!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 03:35:31 AM »
^^^^ He only has a Dutch wiki page http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Swaab
And I just googled him and nothing untoward comes out.

Now, if you google Willie Throne the (ex-)snooker player, you get loads of pictures of dicks ... oh, wait, that's his head, sorry! ;)
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 04:24:23 AM »
It's an interesting one. However, much of our emotions, attractions and thoughts derive from the brain and it is possible for parts of the brain to be damaged. It is possible (and has happened) when somebody's suffered from some kind of brain trauma for their personality to change completely. A person's sexuality is still tied to their brain, be it a part of their genetic make up or social, so with that in mind I suspect it is possible for some trauma to occur that'd also affect a person's sexuality. I think if we were to test somebody suffering from amnesia and their sexuality, we'd need to determine if anything else in their brain has changed because of the trauma or if it's simply because they forgot they were gay.Though I've heard of no such cases.

Given it happens in the animal kingdom, I would venture towards homosexuality being nature and not nurture.
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Offline Rustybeatz

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2012, 10:51:35 AM »
good question ....but it does beg the more generalised  ....does  sexual orientation remain the same for amnesiacs?

The way you put it is probably a better wording for the question, I didn't really think it out too much when I posted.  I guess what I was getting at has to do with the thought that being gay is fully nurture (some people think a majority, if not all, homosexual people were at some point molested/abused in some way or didn't have a father figure when growing up or some bs) and I personally have not found that to be true among my homosexual friends throughout the years.  So if somebody's memory were wiped clean and they didn't have those negative experiences (abuse, etc) "stored" away and they were still attracted to those of the same sex it would lead one to expect nature playing a role, not so much nurture.  These have been great responses so far on here, thank you. 

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2012, 11:03:40 AM »
So if somebody's memory were wiped clean and they didn't have those negative experiences (abuse, etc) "stored" away and they were still attracted to those of the same sex it would lead one to expect nature playing a role, not so much nurture. 

Not sure I agree with that.  From what I understand about amnesia, it tends to be declarative memory that gets lost rather than procedural - so crudely speaking you forget "facts" and retain "skills".  That might suggest that although you can't recall the names of your previous partners, or the names of the body parts you most enjoyed interfering with,  :o , you might well still find all the habits and moves and desires remained.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2012, 11:38:02 AM »
so you are saying homosexuality is a skill?  I suppose that is so.  Some seem better at it than others.
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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2012, 12:03:14 PM »
So if somebody's memory were wiped clean and they didn't have those negative experiences (abuse, etc) "stored" away and they were still attracted to those of the same sex it would lead one to expect nature playing a role, not so much nurture. 

Not sure I agree with that.  From what I understand about amnesia, it tends to be declarative memory that gets lost rather than procedural - so crudely speaking you forget "facts" and retain "skills".  That might suggest that although you can't recall the names of your previous partners, or the names of the body parts you most enjoyed interfering with,  :o , you might well still find all the habits and moves and desires remained.

that is what i was trying to say.
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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2012, 12:06:45 PM »
so you are saying homosexuality is a skill?  I suppose that is so.  Some seem better at it than others.

if homosexuality is a skill, then so is bisexuality, heterosexuality, and asexuality  :P!

Oh, when are we going to find someone who is gay and willing to lose their memories for the sake of scientific experiment?  :?
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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2012, 12:30:19 PM »
if homosexuality is a skill, then so is bisexuality, heterosexuality, and asexuality  :P!

Reminds me of an old joke from the days before gays were generally "out".

"Excuse me.  I heard that you're a practicing homosexual.  Is that true?"

"I don't have to practice.  I'm very good at it."
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Offline Alzael

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2012, 01:21:55 PM »

Not sure I agree with that.  From what I understand about amnesia, it tends to be declarative memory that gets lost rather than procedural - so crudely speaking you forget "facts" and retain "skills".  That might suggest that although you can't recall the names of your previous partners, or the names of the body parts you most enjoyed interfering with,  :o , you might well still find all the habits and moves and desires remained.

It depends on the type of amnesia the person possesses. There's anterograde amnesia, which is the inability to form long-term memories. People typically forget facts or information minutes or even seconds after they have learned them.

Or there's retrograde amnesia which is the loss of previously held memories. Typically this targets the patients most recent memories and works backwards with the length of time depending on the severity of the trauma that caused it.

As recollection it depends on the parts affected. There are different separate functions of memory which are located in different areas. What the person forgets depends on where the trauma is. If their amnesia is limited only to their declarative memory then they would forget personal facts and information, but the rest of their memory would not be affected.So such a person would forget the fact that they were gay (at least until they figured it out again). But none of the learned behaviours and mannerisms they had picked up and developed over the years. In other words (assuming being gay is a choice and not genetic) they would still retain an attraction to men because it is a learned behaviour, however they would not factually remember actually being gay or why they are attracted to men. Although I imagine they would figure it out pretty soon.

What could happen is that if a person suffered from a form of dissociative amnesia then they could forget they were gay. Dissociative amnesia is usually brought on by mental trauma where certain memories are repressed or altered. In this case some severe mental trauma (such as long term abuse from a parent for being gay) has caused the person to literally force himself to believe he is and act straight as a defense mechanism. He would likely still technically be attracted to men but he would rationalize the feelings in some other way and find a different means of expressing the urges.

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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2012, 01:29:36 PM »

Not sure I agree with that.  From what I understand about amnesia, it tends to be declarative memory that gets lost rather than procedural - so crudely speaking you forget "facts" and retain "skills".  That might suggest that although you can't recall the names of your previous partners, or the names of the body parts you most enjoyed interfering with,  :o , you might well still find all the habits and moves and desires remained.

It depends on the type of amnesia the person possesses. There's anterograde amnesia, which is the inability to form long-term memories. People typically forget facts or information minutes or even seconds after they have learned them.

Or there's retrograde amnesia which is the loss of previously held memories. Typically this targets the patients most recent memories and works backwards with the length of time depending on the severity of the trauma that caused it.

As recollection it depends on the parts affected. There are different separate functions of memory which are located in different areas. What the person forgets depends on where the trauma is. If their amnesia is limited only to their declarative memory then they would forget personal facts and information, but the rest of their memory would not be affected.So such a person would forget the fact that they were gay (at least until they figured it out again). But none of the learned behaviours and mannerisms they had picked up and developed over the years. In other words (assuming being gay is a choice and not genetic) they would still retain an attraction to men because it is a learned behaviour, however they would not factually remember actually being gay or why they are attracted to men. Although I imagine they would figure it out pretty soon.

What could happen is that if a person suffered from a form of dissociative amnesia then they could forget they were gay. Dissociative amnesia is usually brought on by mental trauma where certain memories are repressed or altered. In this case some severe mental trauma (such as long term abuse from a parent for being gay) has caused the person to literally force himself to believe he is and act straight as a defense mechanism. He would likely still technically be attracted to men but he would rationalize the feelings in some other way and find a different means of expressing the urges.

I was entertaining a similar line of thinking as well. It is possible that the person may have had a complex chain of events leading up to his or her "coming out." If the person forgets the very chain of events, he or she might revert back to a "denial" stage. A very sad place to be all over again.
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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2012, 02:02:58 PM »
Had me a spare minute and looked it up. It's the hypothalamus that's enlarged in homosexuals (men and women).
Long term memory is located in the hippocampus[1] (a part of the temperal lobes) which is an entirely different part of the brain from the hypothalamus.
Damage to the hippocampus won't affect sexual preference. Likewise, damage to the hypothalamus leaves memory intact. The two are unrelated. Damage to both might make it seem that sexual preference and memory are linked ... but that's not the scenario the OP asked about.
 1. In a manner of speaking, suffice it to say that the hippocampus is crucial in the functioning of long term memory.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2012, 09:54:31 AM »
A study has shown that people can identify homosexuals by their face alone with a success rate that makes it more than just random luck. This proves that it is genetic.
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Offline Nick

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2012, 12:24:57 PM »
Interesting.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: If a gay person loses their memory...
« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2012, 01:17:29 PM »
This proves that it is genetic.

Is a twinkle in the eye genetic or is it how one presents oneself?  Perhaps they should have tried to identify homosexuals from photos of sleeping people?
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