Homosexuality: It’s about survival – not sex | James O’Keefe | TEDxTallaght

Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Mile Živković One summer evening, my eighteen-year-old son Jimmy
said he wanted to talk. So, after my wife Joan and I got his three
much younger siblings tucked in and read their bedtime stories, Joan and I sat down in our bedroom. Jimmy came in and closed
the door behind him. And he sat down on a chair across
from the bed where we were sitting, and says, “Mom and Dad,
I have something important to tell you, and it’s not a problem, it’s not
a bad thing, it’s just different.” We said, “Okay.” And he looked at us in earnest,
and he said, “I’m gay.” So, after a few seconds
of deafening silence, Joan takes a deep breath and says,
“Jimmy, we will love whoever you love.” That was about 12 years ago
when he came out to us, and I’ll have to admit that, at the time, Joan and I did think
this could be a problem, for his safety, even. And as his father, I had this feeling
that, somehow, I had failed him, and maybe, because of that, he wouldn’t
have a chance to have kids of his own. So, I’m a cardiologist, and I like to imagine the world through
the eyes of a hunter-gatherer ancestor for clues about how to thrive
in the modern world, but, viewed in the light of evolution, homosexuality seems to be a real
self-defeating non-productive strategy. I mean, gays have 80% fewer kids
than heterosexuals. This is a trait that ought to go extinct
in a few generations, but down through recorded history, in every culture,
and many animal species as well, homosexuality’s been a small,
but distinct subgroup. If this were a genetic error, natural selection should have long ago
called this from the gene pool. So, while I was pondering this, this paradox about the natural
origins of homosexuality, our babies grew up. Jimmy has three younger
siblings who adore him. He has this magnetism
and this charming wit that helps them feel happy and relaxed. And one day, while contemplating
this “Jimmy effect,” it suddenly dawned on me:
homosexuality is not so much about sex; it’s really more about survival,
the family’s survival. So us, Homo sapiens, we are among
the most social species on Earth. For us, it’s not just a kill-or-be-killed
struggle for existence. It’s a snuggle for existence, you know. An ability to love our family
and bond with our group determines, in many cases,
whether we survive or perish. So it’s the survival
of the fittest family, not the fittest individual. So, you share 50% of your DNA
with your siblings. Your nieces and nephews
share 25% of your DNA. Frоm evolution’s perspective, you have the same genetic success
if you raise one child on your own or you enable a sibling
to raise two children. Frоm evolution’s perspective, this is all about
cooperation and altruism. Homosexuality is
genetically-programmed altruism. Gays are designed by nature
to help us be kind to one another, like Ellen DeGeneres says. (Laughter) So, E. O. Wilson, probably the greatest evolutionary
biologist since Darwin himself, says homosexuality gives advantages
to the group by specialized talents and unusual qualities of personality. So, a society that condemns
homosexuality harms itself. So, what does professor Wilson mean
by “unusual qualities of personality”? Well, let me tell you
about our dear family friend Jenny. She is 35, single, straight. She was telling us she is looking
for a man who’s smart and funny, who’s sensitive, who’s a good listener. And she says she occasionally
meets a guy like that, but she complains, “You know,
he usually has a boyfriend already!” (Laughter) So, although people tend to obsess over
what gays do or don’t do in a bedroom, it’s really this distinctive personality
and a strong intellect that are more critical,
from evolution’s perspective. So, scientific studies do indeed show that people in the sexual minority
tend to be intelligent, particularly when it comes
to emotional intelligence. So, this study showed that boys and girls who scored
in a very bright IQ range were twice as likely
to be homosexual as adults as those children who scored
in the low to average range. And, among gay males,
on psychological testing, gay males tend to score higher
in metrics of compassion and cooperation, and lower in metrics of hostility. So, if Michelangelo had been straight, he might have just wallpapered
the Sistine Chapel. (Laughter) Songwriter Sam Austin says, “Homosexuality is God’s way of ensuring the truly gifted aren’t
burdened with children.” (Laughter) But today, in the US, about 2 out of every
25 people are in the sexual minority. Diversity is nature’s secret weapon. If all males were gay,
that would be a problem, but if all males were warriors,
we’d always be at war. The recipe for a successful human culture is a synergy of many
different ingredients. Homosexuality is like a catalyst to help emotionally connect
groups of people together. For heterosexuals, to disapprove of gays is kind of like the white flour
in bread disapproving of the yeast. So, if your genome is your hardware,
epigenetics is your software. You have many different DNA programs
downloaded on your DNA, and epigenetics chooses
from among these to determine which version of you actually is
the best fit for the environment. So, ants, you probably didn’t know it,
but are another highly social species that have epigenetic mechanisms
very similar to humans. These two are identical twin sisters, huh? Even though their DNA sequences
are exactly the same, this one, the worker, is a brainy little scurrier
who goes out looking for food, whereas the one on the right, the soldier, is obviously a brawny one
to fight off enemies. So, the queen ant
epigenetically orchestrates this by placing different epigenetic tags
on the developing ants. So – she places tags
when the colony is under attack to uncoil the DNA and light up
the genes to make the soldier, but when the colony is hungry,
she puts different tags to uncoil the DNA and epigenetically create
the conditions for the worker. So, in this way, the epigenetics – the dynamic power of epigenetics
changes our genetic expression, so that we’re born with traits
that allow us and our families the best chance to succeed
in the current conditions. So, you probably have
gay genes in your DNA, but, unless they were turned on
in your mother’s womb, they remain coiled up and silent. A recent groundbreaking
study from UCLA found that, by looking at a group of men,
some gay, some straight, and looking at epigenetic tags
in nine different sites, they could predict with 70% accuracy
their sexual orientation. So, what conditions in the uterus
turn on those gay genes? So, for a male, your chances of homosexuality
increase in proportion to the number of previous baby boys
who inhabited your mother’s uterus. So, for every older
biological brother you have, your chances of being born gay go up 33%. Long before we invented the pill, nature devised homosexuality
as a prescription for birth control. After four straight, heterosexual males,
nature says, “Enough already!,” and the mom’s immune system
switches on the epigenetic switch so a gay male is born into the family. This one will not be overburdening
the clan with yet more mouths to feed in the next generation
– sometimes more isn’t better – and he’s not going to be
killing his brother in a fight over who gets the girl. Thankfully, the sexual minority
these days have many options for having kids of their own, and I have a hunch my gay son
may bless us with grandchildren before our three straight children do. So, another gene,
this one on the X chromosome, is called a “male-loving gene,” because, when it shows up in a female, she tends to mate early
and have a lot of kids, but, when the male-loving gene
shows up in a male, it predisposes to homosexuality. So, this is another gene
that balances a family destined to have a large brood
of kids and grandkids with an occasional gay son whose natural
tendency to promote togetherness could improve the chances of survival
for the whole family. Now, I apologize. We have a lot more science about
sexual orientation in men than in women, so this talk is mostly about gay males. Though, I have no doubt that female homosexuality
is also a natural variation that is advantageous
for the family and the community. But Jimmy has no older brothers. Why is he gay? So, when Joan was pregnant with him, we discovered a large cancer
growing in her chest. Metastasis in the neck. It was a scary time. She had radiation therapy to her chest while Jimmy was still
in the third trimester. It was a rocky start for little Jimmy. Miraculously, they both survived
and are in great health today. But, in fact, severe prenatal stress
does predispose to homosexuality. In this study, 37% of gay males reported their mothers
suffered severe prenatal stress compared to only 3%
of heterosexual males’ moms. This is kind of like the queen ant, where the mom is placing
epigenetic markers on the baby to change his identity to help
the future welfare of the family. It’s as if the mom was saying,
“I’m in trouble here. I need a kind and clever ally
to help me hold this family together.” So, to summarize, if the family is flushed
with plenty of kids and/or it’s a stressful place and time, nature occasionally flips
these epigenetics switches to turn on the gay genes. This alters brain development, that changes sexual orientation
and also improves emotional intelligence. I have no doubt that Jimmy was born gay. Here’s his first birthday party. (Laughter) When he was three, he said, “Mommy,
when I grow up, I want to marry Daddy.” (Laughter) Now, some parents send their kid away,
you know, well-meaning parents, to a conversion camp
to pray away the gay. You might as well send the kid to a camp to convert his eye color
from brown to blue. Not happening! But Jimmy is like social glue
holding our family together. You know, whether his brother Evan
gets beat up in a bar fight, or his sister Caroline
gets dumped by a boyfriend, or his sister Kathleen gets busted
for plagiarizing Wikipedia – (Laughter) they know Jimmy’s made them feel like they belong to something
bigger than their problems. So, storytelling is the great
survival skill of the Irish, and, right here in Dublin, 162 years ago, one of your finest storytellers was born: Oscar Wilde. Oscar ran away to the University of Oxford where he met a young poet
named Bosie Douglas. Their long-standing
openly gay relationship infuriated and humiliated
Bosie’s father, Lord Queensburry – I’m not making this up – (Laughter) who was so mad that he eventually
had Oscar arrested for gross indecency, thrown into a dungeon
for two years of hard labor. Oscar died three years later, a young man. Oscar wrote, “Always forgive your enemies.
Nothing annoys them so much.” (Laughter) But these days, open homophobia is being
replaced by more of a subtle heterosexism where people in the sexual minority are often considered
second-class citizens. Boy George says, “There’s this illusion that homosexuals have sex
and heterosexuals fall in love. That’s completely untrue.
We all want to be loved.” I agree: among all the things in life
it’d be hardest to live without, love would come first. But indoor plumbing and toilet paper
would be pretty high up there too, right? (Laughter) I want to tell you about one more study, this one a heartbreaking,
nationwide study, from the US, that looked at US teens, and they found
that those in the sexual minority were twice as likely to be bullied, five times more likely
to have attempted suicide. Twenty-nine percent of gay teens
had tried to kill themselves. These days, around the world,
in many countries, it’s illegal to have same-sex
physical intimacy. In many countries,
it’s punishable by death. In the red countries,
it’s punishable by imprisonment. In India, the law states
14 years to life, because “homosexuality
is against the order of nature.” Except that it’s not! Nature prescribes homosexuality
at specific times and places, and endows these people
with special traits that help the people around them flourish. What is against the order of nature is the ongoing persecution
of the sexual minority. These are not confused or defective people that need to be cured,
or punished, or ostracized. They need to be accepted, for who they are, and embraced. They make us better. If you had told me 30 years ago,
as I held my baby boy, that he would grow up to be gay, I would have been devastated, but looking back, I see Mother Nature
knew what she was doing! Her clairvoyant intelligence,
forged during eons of evolution, instinctively knew my family would need
the advantages of a gay son. Now, admittedly, the science of homosexuality
is still in it’s infancy, but as his father,
what I can tell you for sure is that Jimmy is exactly
who he was meant to be, and my family is stronger and happier
because he’s in our clan. How about you? Can you set sex aside? Realize gay men and gay women
are essential to humanity? We’re like the ants. It’s in our diversity where we find
our collective strength. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers)

100 thoughts on “Homosexuality: It’s about survival – not sex | James O’Keefe | TEDxTallaght

  1. there are much worse opinions on gays but iโ€™m afraid this is pretty superficial and not empirical

  2. We are human beings. Our Lord honors us in front of the angels. So should we start disobeying our Lord by force of our own souls.

  3. I can tell you right now many of us gays are NOT all sunbeams and rainbows. And he quoted Ellen for fucks sake.

  4. Always the same propaganda pro homosexuals. The problem is that it does not concern a sub-group, like he pretends but a bigger and bigger one every year. Not only that, but the expansion of muslims and their charia in the world will put them in danger.

  5. What a great speech that came to enlighten more perspectives in our lives…

  6. TED talk: gays are mother natureโ€™s way of bringing together families.

    Me: laughs in chaotic gayness*

  7. Ok I have to say, he makes a pretty strong case for homosexuals in nature, but Iโ€™m sure that there have to be some exceptions, like I donโ€™t know, family extinction?
    In my case, I am an only child and only have 1 cousin, who is also an only child. I already know Iโ€™m not straight, but I have reason to believe she might not be straight as well. That worries me because my grandad has been kinda depressed for quite a while and it might be because he wonโ€™t see great-grandchildren in his life. So, I guess my question is: can family units go extinct with no more offspring?

  8. You made me cried, thank you for you words and all the research, I was not accepted by my mom for 10 years, it was very hard, and I still cannot talk about certain things with her.

  9. "a snuggle of existance."
    Yup, that's basically us. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ

  10. Tears … what an incredible father . What driven him to put so much effort into creating meanings and understandings for himself and his son , their relationship . Iโ€™d cry if my mother wrote this about me … so hard .

    Lucky family. I hope that this will shed lights for other family also.

  11. Mind Revolution. Mind infection. And it's spreading fast! It infects the weak ones, if they do not pay attention to God. Stay clean!

  12. The rotten apple argue to the healthy apples about how good it is to be a rotten. Because it's very natural. Its fine. Stay damned if its good for you. Lol!

  13. Itโ€™s seems to me if we truly accept ourselves and everyone else, you wouldnโ€™t need a ted talk or research and it would be one thing less to burn spiritual, mental and emotional energy on….๐Ÿง

    Give a thought…if we did this for most things that produce positive outcomes for others and ourselves we could solve a great many differences amongst the human population.๐Ÿ’ซ๐ŸŒˆ

  14. I didn't realize nature was a pharmacist… Damn this makes me question everything I previously new ๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’

  15. Maybe homosexuality is a way for Mother Earth to start accommodating life. Survival of the Fittest. Fewer babies means fewer people to support. Food for thought. Those that think I am against the, "Word of God", I am not. I am just stating the obvious. Darwinism. Give Mother Earth a break! She is slowlyโ€‹ dying with too many of us. Darwin's Finches will show you what I learned in anthropology.

  16. Happy to say that as of June this year homosexuality is not a crime in Botswana anymore.

  17. Sorry but this is no science. The guy is constructing a theory with snippets of other theories and half-evidences.
    I dont think that gays have to be nicer or more intelligent nor is their mating practise promiting more togetherness. My impression is that the guy is trying to cope with his sons homosexuality by rationalizing against his fears about it. Just accept that homosexuality exists. The world won't get better nor worse with that.

  18. Jimmy (and all of your kids for that matter) are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful, caring father in their lives. ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Hey guys, Iยดd love to translate this to spanish, but YT is not letting me! How can we make this vid reach more people!!!

  20. the idea that you might fall in love and have a boyfriend, but never a husband :(( hope more people are openminded

  21. If gays are created to help straights flourish, WHO IS HELPING THE GAYS flourish?
    The number of straight people (past and present) that hate and exclude us makes me doubt this.
    …What about us? This is all very noble and unrealistic (for humankind) to me.

  22. India recently scrapped the punitive law for this micro minority. That article was more of a colonial hangover from the British.

  23. I'm writing this with deep depression. The time has proved that Charles Darwin was indeed very wrong. Humans were humans but they transformed into animals by time. Believe me, time is passing very fast, the whole world will end, and when the end comes up, remember what I said.


  25. I watched every second to find any scientific relations, it's obvious that this person knows nothing about genes, I wonder how much money he got to do this talk, whoever understand a little bit of genetics will understand what I'm saying.

  26. I read about this decades ago in Leonard schlains book

  27. I like this video and I wish my own father spoke such words of acceptance. Though the way this man was choking up, the quivering lip, or the pause for words. You can tell through his expressions he didn't believe what he was saying.

  28. Too many families chose their religious indoctrination over their child. They wrongly assume that homosexuality is a choice Who would ever make a choice to be rejected by your own family? For too many people, religion always prevails over logic and science.

  29. Thanks for sharing – got tears in my eyes. I agree that the homosexuality science is at its infancy indeed. Neither my partner or I are the younger sons nor our moms experienced high level of stress.

  30. in the long term everything happens for a reason boi maybe even you watching this video.
    Its only humans that aren't patient enough to see that.

  31. There are 5.9k people who gave a thumbs down on this presentation. Too bad the facts about homosexuality threatens your identity.

  32. "nature devised homosexuality"??? That language is suggestive of intelligence guiding change.

  33. I managed 40 seconds of this, up to the point where he mimed closing a door in case anyone in the audience did not know what closing a door might look like. Who wants to listen to 17 and a half minutes of this smarmy guy smacking his lips?

  34. Homosexuals are deviants that no one really cares about. Do what you want, just stop shoving it down everyone's throats.

  35. Homosexualite is a fact of life. I once had a dream that all men but me were homosexuals paying me to get there girl friends who could not get it of their back. Obviously I do not have those dreams anymore, we mellow down with age. I do not see much thing wrong with homosexuality every thing but the physical part make sense. I simply do not understand it, I can see that it happen but why the physical part and not only the emotional part? In any case it is not because I do not understand something that I find it wrong. We live in a very strange world!

  36. This video reads like a textbook definition of rationalization but that said, what anyone chooses to do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is their own business and I don't really care, just please don't try to justify it with "science" or throw it in our faces.

  37. 3 year old son told mommy he was going to grow up and marry daddy. Back of the line, kid, back of the line.

  38. Everything he says is justified with the characteristics of an average woman. Intelligent but sensitive, with a helping nature. You know why? Because of estrogen. Gays have much more estrogen than an average straight male. That's why they have more "feminine" characteristics. Also If you look at their faces, they look much more feminine. not always, but a lot of gays have really round and feminine features. And this is because in their puberty or when they were born, their mom gave them a lot of estrogen naturally. Another reason can also be the amount of estrogen that exists in the food. And they put it in. For cows to produce milk all the time, they need estrogen, and then we indirectly drink that estrogen. It's probable that homosexuality comes from other places too which I don't know.

  39. Christians need. They have to hear this. So they can STOP THEIR MADNNESS. ๐Ÿ‘ญ๐Ÿ‘ฌ๐Ÿ‘ช๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘

  40. I have an aunt who is married to a woman. She had 3 children from a prior relationship. Her wife also has kids from a prior relationship.

  41. " if all males were warriors we would always be at war" or we would all be dead.

  42. So inspiring ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ

  43. ~ Intellectually, this is a no-brainer! Oh, how I wish the movers and shakers of this world's major "religions" would watch this objectively, and "get" the truth of it. But first, they all, males all, need to get a clue about 50+% of the population, all types of women! Two parts of the population that will save us ALL sociologically: gays and women. Fascinating and 100% true. Cheers, DAVEDJ ~

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