Gay or Straight? That Is the Question

lesbian wedding

Editor’s note: The recent sexual orientation and gender poll indicates that approximately 1 in 4 readers of this blog are queer (i.e., not heterosexual). And for a definition-expanding discussion of queerness, read Eric Francis’ recent post at Planet Waves Daily.

Human sexuality is a fascinating thing. It’s almost impossible to imagine life without our species-wide fixation on sex — we’d have very few popular magazines, even fewer novels and movies, and daytime television would consist entirely of Bob Ross reruns and dog shows. Marketing and modeling firms would all go bankrupt; thousands of pouty, half-naked post-adolescents would wander the streets, attractively grubby, yes, but jobless.

Luckily enough, our obsession with sex is firmly established; there’s nothing more interesting to people than what other people are doing in their bedrooms. Whenever a new person (especially an attractive single) enters the scene, one of the first things we want to know is: gay or straight?

Astrologers are people too, and share the collective obsession. We’ve searched for hundreds of years for factors in the natal chart that might indicate a person’s sexual tendencies, all with questionable success. Well-respected astrologers have offered a whole slew of natal factors as indicators of homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender variance. The more commonly cited include:

  1. A strong emphasis on mutable signs or Aquarius
  2. Squares, oppositions, or inconjuncts between Mars or Venus and Uranus
  3. Strong aspects between Mars or Venus and the Moon
  4. For women: stressful aspects between the “feminine” planets and Saturn
  5. For men: stressful aspects between the “masculine” planets and Saturn
  6. Strong Neptune aspects with any of the personal planets
  7. and others involving Pluto, the 8th House, the 12th House, etc.

As you might guess, even these few factors leave plenty of room for error and misinterpretation. So far, none of the statistical research has provided a clear-cut astrological answer to the gay or straight question.

Perhaps that’s because there is no definitive answer. Researcher Alfred Kinsey (one of my personal heroes) studied human sexuality more thoroughly than anyone else had ever dreamed possible; his conclusions on the hetero/homo issue can be summed up as follows:

Males [and females, he later proved] do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.

In other words, there’s no such thing as gay or straight, not as an either/or proposition. Individual sexual preference ranges up and down an almost infinite spectrum, and tends to shift several times during a lifetime. Kinsey’s scale of human sexual behavior has seven categories, not two, and his research convinced him that even a seven-category scale was too limiting.

Since sexuality is so crucial to our core identities, it’s no wonder that we search natal charts for astrological clues. If we look hard enough, can we can find something there that tells us, once and for all, who and what we really are?

For better or worse, the evidence points to “No.” Decades of inconclusive astrological studies support Kinsey’s assertions that placing people and their traits into static categories is fairly useless. People are funny that way. Maybe what we really are is more complex than we can count or predict.

We may have a Venus square Saturn that tends to sharpen our awareness of all things feminine. We may have a Sagittarius Mars/Venus conjunction in the 5th that tends to increase our desire for novel experiences and sexual adventures. We may have a ton of planets in Pisces, which is just downright confusing all around.

Some of these aspects may wind up describing same-sex relationships, or then again, they may not. Our Venus/Saturn square subject may become a women’s rights advocate, while remaining happily married with three kids. Our Sagittarius Mars/Venus subject may do all her adventuring with members of the opposite sex (maybe every member of the opposite sex within a hundred-mile radius, if she’s really diligent.) Our befuddled Pisces subject may decide it’s all too much and hie herself to a nunnery, where, bad porn plots aside, she remains celibate for the rest of her life.

If astrology teaches us anything at all, it’s that our charts describe the organic process of becoming a unique individual. Even if we do identify a few indicators of LGBT tendencies — statistically or within our own charts — they’re still merely representations of real life’s dynamic, fluid interactions, a process that consistently flips the bird at categorization.

Gay, straight, bi, queer, trans, whatever … regardless of what our path looks like, the experiences reflected in our chart ultimately lead to a sexual identity that grows deeper, clearer, and ever more ours as we mature. And as we more fully experience our unique sexual identity with all its variations and permutations, we more fully experience ourselves.

Is it any wonder we’re so fascinated?

For more info on Kinsey’s Heterosexual/Homosexual Rating Scale, visit the Kinsey Institute (the above quote’s source can be found there as well). And for more information on astrological research into LGBT indicators, the article Astrology and Homophobia by Peter Clamp cites several well-known studies, and is a good place to start.

About the Author
Laura F. Walton is a writer, artist, and arts instructor based in Texas. She has been a practicing astrologer for nearly ten years; she specializes in areas of sexuality, individuality, and creative self-discovery. She has contributed forecasts for print media, and currently provides monthlies on her blog Astro What?

Photo by Patrick Doheny under Creative Commons license.

Comments

  1. angelineelise says:

    Great, great article Laura… 😉

    I have tons of gay friends (very few straight ones)…because well, I’m queer. I may be “bi” leaning towards straight but I am quite queer and come off as queer.

    me?: Strong Aqua (Moon, Venus, Mars)/Moon Conj Venus/Moon & Venus square Saturn/some loose Uranus aspects to my Venus, Mars, and Moon and a Semisqu. to the Sun, you know…some light Neptune fun on my Venus and Mars.

    Now I have a stock hold of queer charts and one other thing I have noticed, on top of those aspects…Strong 11th house placements or a PACKED 11th house. What do you make of this? Maybe I’m sniffing the wrong glue here.

    I use the word queer more than gay because I know a lot boundary ignorer’s on both sides, they’re odd. I’m odd, I guess.

    Ugh, last night I was watching “But I’m A Cheerleader” (one of my perennial favs) in the movie they make the kids find the “root” of their homosexuality..answers included “My mother got married in pants” & “I was born in France”in a way I think trying to find the root of all homos is always going to be a ridiculous task and always offer ridiculous answers, but we press on anyway as inquiring minds want to know!!;) (My old roommate and friend, a m-f lesbian pre-op tranny and I would constantly ask people the root of their “straightness” hehe)

    I once read an article where a psychologist was being interviewed (I forgot whom, where,what ect..) and she discussed the phenom that gay people say they knew they were gay from childhood and she replied…”they didn’t know they were gay, they just knew they were DIFFERENT”.

    I can relate to that, “not being like the others” from a very early age. I think queer people are just queer in general and anyone who has aspects that would create an unusual, different temperament could easily spill into their sex life, or take hold of it.

    I’m almost ashamed to say I fell asleep at the movie “Kinsey” but it was very dry.

    Great article again Laura… 🙂

    A.

  2. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    @angelineelise, FWIW, the 11th house is (1) associated naturally with Aquarius and Uranus, but (2) even more important, I think many queers have to develop families within their social group (11th House) moreso than heterosexuals, who traditionally create family by marrying and having kids. Also, hets may be less likely to be “cast off” by unaccepting family members.

  3. hmmm interesting! my BFF is gay and a Virgo; her partner is transitioning to be a male and is an Aquarius. I would guess the 11th house is packed for him as well due to the characteristics described here but now i really wanna see his chart! 🙂

  4. Laura F. Walton says:

    Angeline and Jeffey: Yes, 11th house for sure! I’m currently compiling some data on the asteroids in the charts of lesbians/female bisexuals, and so far (56 charts) I’m finding that the effects of placements in the 10th and 11th houses are just as strong as Saturn/Cappy or Uranus/Aqua by planet or sign.

    Odd thing: Strong Saturn/Cappy/10th seems more prevalent in female queers than in males. I mean, really prevalent, like the single strongest indicator so far. That’s just a preliminary statement (I don’t want to make statistical statements until I have control groups, more data, etc. to back it up) but it’s still fascinating to me.

    Why would that be?

    (@ Angeline: roots of their straightness, hah! I suppose it happens even in the best of families…)

  5. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    At risk of being psychoanalytically reductionist, maybe it’s a daddy thing.

  6. Shygirl says:

    @Jeffrey, If a woman has father issues/complex ( ‘ a daddy thing’-as described by you), isn’t she more likely to seek relationships with MEN who act out her fears/issues in an attempt (conscious or otherwise) to resolve/master her conflicts? Why would that lead her to choose women as partners/lovers? Are you saying that these women are running away from their problems/issues (‘daddy thing’), by choosing to mate with other females instead of confronting men in relationships? What exactly are you saying? Please explain……:-)

  7. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    My comment was not well thought out. I initially made an association with the psychoanalytic theory about gay men and their devouring mothers, and thought that perhaps there is a lesbian and her father analogue. Granted, all of the above is steeped in the language of pathology, which I do not want to support. Your comment does remind me of the theory contending that some women partner with women because they have been so traumatized by men, but that does not explain genetic factors, as many people are attracted to the same gender at a young age. Maybe the Saturn thing just has to do with an attraction to the masculine, but with it ruling a feminine sign, a woman looks for that energy in another woman? I’m just spouting off the mouth now, so I’ll shut up

  8. I just want to point out one thing – all the Aquarius/Uranus/11th house trends might be representative of a person’s likelihood to be out of the closet – not necessarily his or her tendency to be *gay.* Aquarius often bestows independence and a willingness to look eccentric or different on its subjects. This might translate into a person not really caring if everybody in the neighborhood knows their sexual preference.

    Other signs might be equally queer in terms of the strength of their sexual desire or gender identity, but may be less likely to express it or be really open about it. Like maybe you’ve got a Capricorn rising that’s really into social correctness, or maybe you’ve got some Libra influence and don’t want to cause conflict, or maybe you’ve got a strong Cancer influence and don’t want to upset your mom. (I realize I’m generalizing horribly and not everybody expresses these aspects in the same way, I’m just trying to throw out some aspects that might lead to a heavily closeted life.)

  9. Shygirl says:

    Thanks for explaining your comment, Jeffrey.
    The basic question I have is, what is the astrology of heterosexuality?
    I don’t see too much written anywhere about the astrology of heterosexuality, so then why should we discuss the astrology of homosexuality or bisexuality? If we accept such expressions of one’s sexuality as ‘normal’, then why should there even be a discussion about what could be the astrological causal factors for such preferences/lifestyles?
    If it’s all along the spectrum of ‘norm’, which I personally believe it to be, then why are we trying to dissect it as if it’s something way outside the ‘norm’?
    I’m not sure if I am making myself clear, not, but hopefully people won’t misconstrue what I am trying to say here.

  10. angelineelise says:

    @Shygirl, to analyze homosexuality in astrology is not to separate it from being “normal”…it’s just another part of a persons personality….the stigma is put on by religious and social groups. We’re here for the science of of it.. what is behind it, possible indicators.

    This is an area of Astrology I would personally like to see expanded and studied..very interesting and possibly helpful to me and the many who identify themselves as queer, gay, homosexual, or trans gendered.

  11. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    shygirl does have a point, and the second link to resources in Laura’s post points to an article in which the author indeed addresses that concern: The whole enterprise of looking for homosexual indicators in the chart presumes that heterosexuality is the norm, a premise which in itself is homophobic.

  12. I’ve obviously not in a dimplmatic mood toniught, 🙂
    I said all the above about there being not only 2 categories (gay or straight) myself recently, had no one noticed?
    Anyway..re: queer homo, ambisexual,and all manner of contrarians : I am of the older genration of them and we have many of our charts here in my folder of chart wheels but we don’t that I’ve noticed, have strong 11th Hse issues.(though that’s an interesting observation Angelise).
    🙂
    I have noticed that more than a few of us that are ambis have a particular chart shape, and lots of the either gay, or simply atypical- for- their- gender folks have Venus and Mars conjunct, or in the same sign bit not conjunct.
    Anyone else notice this?

  13. btw, Angeline, what is “But I’m a Cheerleader” about?I dont know it.
    There are actually people that stilll ask why or what “caused” homsexuality or ambisexuality?
    :-p lol

    obviously,it’s just to annoy straightpeople, what did you think?
    😉

  14. yet another comment.I always felt different. not gay.
    My definitely- sure- they- are -gay friends always knew–like since they were about 3 yrs old..

  15. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    @Karen, I only see three comments, so perhaps you tried commenting earlier and it didn’t successfully publish? “But I’m a Cheerleader” is a movie — http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0179116/ — here’s a synopsis (I haven’t seen it) — “Megan is an all-American girl. She’s a cheerleader, she has a boyfriend, etc. But she doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend very much. And she’s pretty touchy with her cheerleader friends. And she only has pictures of girls up in her locker. Her parents and friends conclude that she *must* be gay and send her off to “sexual redirection” school, full of admittedly homosexual misfits, where she can learn to how to be straight. Will Megan be turned around to successful heterosexuality, or will she succumb to her love for the beautiful Graham?”

  16. Laura F. Walton says:

    I agree with you 100%, Shygirl, about looking for factors that would equal “queer as opposed to normal.” But I would suggest that there is actually a huge body of heterosexual astrology out there; this site is just one place that’s filled with it! We constantly analyze our charts to find out who we’re attracted to and why, why we get into the kind of relationships we get into, how our familial background colors our adult relationships, etc.. Usually this is done well within the framework of heterosexuality, but like Jeff said, I would like to see this framework expanded to include the entire range of human sexuality, same-sex factors included.

    Ideally, there should be no such thing as a split between “straight astrology” and “queer astrology”…part of Kinsey’s point (and my infinitely more humble one) is that the dividing line is tenuous and often temporary, at best. It’s just another continuum to keep in mind, just like, oh, say the rational/emotional continuum. We can look at a chart, see a lot of air, and say “This is fairly intellect-based person.” That’s not to say they have no emotions, though! They may tend to be emotional in certain circumstances, rational in many others, but the organic whole of their lives can never be boxed into an either/or category.

    Same thing with sexuality, in my opinion, and I’d love to get to a point at which astrologers could analyze sexuality factors with the same lack of emotionally-charged bias. I include queer astrologers in this too, because there’s just as high a percentage of judgmental “either/or” narrow-mindedness in the gay community as there is the straight, a fact which still totally baffles me!

  17. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    “Just choose a camp, as we won’t accept you if you’re bi.” Perhaps the ambiguity of sexualities in the middle of Kinsey’s scale is too threatening for both straights and gays.

  18. Laura F. Walton says:

    It’s not just sexuality, either. We “people” (hey look, I’m including myself in the human race tonight!) seem to have all sorts of problems with ambiguities of every sort. To a greater or lesser extent, we want things to be all sorted out, once and for all. We’d rather take a good solid “No” than an extended “Maybe” any day, and we lose out on a lot because of it.

    Is it lack of faith, lack of mental flexibility, insecurity, or just plain laziness? I don’t know. I’m guilty of it myself, and wish someone would come up with some sort of Instant Zen Master aerosol spray. “Depress button for two seconds and enjoy instant enlightenment! You too can live peacefully with the ambiguities of the universe! Now in Berry Fresh Scent!”

  19. Instant enlightenment sounds good Laura, 🙂

    I agree 100%–both gay and striaght “camps’ seem to be predujiced against “bi” people.I know it, and all my equally bisexual freinds say so.Thanks for your post.

    Jeffrey, sorry or the mix-up, no, I had not posted on all this *here* and that’s what I was reffering to..We had discussed this on the forum, and Laura, Angeline, and Shygirl were among osme that were there.
    I was being grouchy sorry.

  20. shygirl , thnaks for your intelligent comments also, sweetie.(that you consider it all to be normal.)

  21. Shygirl says:

    Laura, I would like to order the Instant Zen Master aerosol spray, in Lavendar or Jasmine please…..:-)
    Cash or credit?……:-):-)

    Jokes aside, I think the reason we can’t accept the ambiguities in general in other people & in the universe, is because we can’t come to terms with them within ourselves. What frustrates us within ourselves, always sticks out like a sore thumb in others.

    Karen, you’re welcome. I always love your comments too, you know that right?….:-)

  22. Laura F. Walton says:

    Shygirl, I’ll have a 6-pack sent to you right away 😉

    I think the reason we can’t accept the ambiguities in general in other people & in the universe, is because we can’t come to terms with them within ourselves.

    You’re so right on about that one!

    Half of me is idealistic enough to believe that part of our judgmental “either/or”, “us/them” nature is merely convention…a set of habits…and habits can be changed, on a societal level as well as a personal one.

    The other half of me is more pragmatic, and says that human nature is what it is, and we can never totally leave it behind. Even if we could, it might not be such a good idea.

    Now, when I’m able to fully accept this particular ambivalence within myself, I’ll get right on that Zen Master spray!

  23. Shygirl, thank you my friend.:-)I appreciate that.
    My remarks the other night weren’t aimed at anyone in particular, and especially not you.
    I have a ‘thing’ about not being heard or acknowleged, it’s my problem.
    Being older also, I’ve seen that some things change but cycle’round again, and are mostly the same again on another level of the spiral.make any sense?
    I like the Instant Zen Master aerosol too ;-).
    Laura, you could clean up-in more ways than one, with this.:-)

  24. btw, on the issue of people not comfortbale wiht ambiguities…I think yes, it’s what we don’t accpet in ourselve,s but, also I believe that most of us would like to know what’s what, and just don’t like vagueries, or ambiguity period.It’s threatening.
    Now, I hope, and like to think I accpet a lot of ambiguous things and people.
    But I don’t like evasive answers, or prevarication as a rule, and I need to know where I stand with people, if they’re important to me.So, clearly I have soe of that myself.
    But,to me, someone’s sexuality doesn’t have to be either/or to make sense to me.
    Just like was said about lots of “air” in an astrolgy chart not indicating the person has *no* feelings or emotional reactions, I think being pan-sexual(which is what I think human beings really are)doesn’t equate with unreliable or confused.
    But *that* is the reason I hear most gay people, especially women , state for why they do’nt like or acept bisexuality.
    The perosn feels and /or bleeives that dating someone who is attracted to both sexes would not be trustworthy.
    I don’t agree.
    A committment is a committment.
    A date is a date.
    It’s not about the sex.

  25. Laura F. Walton says:

    The perosn feels and /or bleeives that dating someone who is attracted to both sexes would not be trustworthy.
    I don’t agree.
    A committment is a committment.
    A date is a date.
    It’s not about the sex.

    Well said! Asking a bisexual (or pansexual…I like that term better…or omnisexual) to swear not to ever be attracted to a member of another sex is like asking a heterosexual person to never be attracted to a member of the opposite sex. Just because we might still be attracted occasionally doesn’t mean we can’t happily exist within the terms of a monogomous relationship, whoever it’s with.

  26. exactly, Laura!Thank you!
    People are always attracted by someone, but it doesn’t mean it matters that much.
    If we’re inclined to cheat,while were in a committed relationship also, we may do so–heterosexual,homosexual whateversexual.:-)

  27. Jeffrey Kishner says:

    I just had to post this recent quote from Camille Paglia: “I have said many times before that I do not believe homosexuality is inborn but that it is an adaptation to specific circumstances and possibilities. What many gay men are remembering as their innate gayness was in fact some other attribute (often an artistic gene) that may have led to a dislocation from roughhousing male bonding. The sex instinct, which comes later, is in my view heavily symbolic among human beings. (Post-structuralism, among its many pathetic flaws, is helpless with symbolism.)

    Once the symbolism of erotic attraction is deeply implanted in the brain, it is almost impossible to change it. And in a just society, sexual orientation would not be subject to such pressures anyhow. Everyone, in my strong opinion, has the potential for bisexual response and expression. Hence I think both exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexuality do need to be “explained.” I understand the biological imperative of hormones, which drive male and female to mate and reproduce. But why is anyone entirely gay? It seems incontrovertible to me that at root there is indeed a dissatisfaction of some kind with the opposite sex, grounded in early experiences and reinforced in adolescence. There is not a single gay person whom I have known over the course of my life since high school for whom childhood factors played no role whatever in his or her adult choice. And yes, behavior is a choice, even if fantasy and imagination are uncontrollable.”

  28. a little late but hopefully helpful says:

    I know I am a little late with 7 years, but I just want to add some personal information for the record:
    It is hard for me to define my sexuality with complete certainty (maybe it’s because I have strong Libra in my chart and we tend to avoid deciding stuff or proclaiming something for sure), but until now I have fallen in love only with women and while it is not like I dislike guys, I simply have never been so infatuated with them.

    So here I go: Venus(personal planet) square Uranus(personal planet) here. Heavy packed 10 or 11house (depends on the housing system).
    I am surprised that it actually fits and it is already written about.

    I must add something I’ve noticed from personal observations and, of course, is nothing more than an observation eventually.

    I am a Libra with Aquarius moon and at the same time, I don’t know about another Libra with Aquarius moon female who does not have such tendencies (bi/gay). These are observations I have made on stars – 2 current ones (who both define themselves as bi or fluid but also both have been predominantly in one-sex relationships since years) and one who has been a porn star – and in a relationship with a female collegue (I don’t remember if she was lesbian or bi – but it doesn’t matter). I’ve met personally one other female with this constellation and she was chiefly straight. Chiefly. Fluidly, I would rather say. She was willing to have sex with me and our contact (as well as physical one) was strongly initiated on her side.

    It is just an observation, as I said, but I explain it to myself with the Libra, loving and appreciating beauty in all its forms and fine things on the whole, tending also to be very fluid, uncertain and indecisive in their likings and desires. And then combined with the eccentric, people-loving, unafraid to be different and shocking at times Aquarius, it just seems so natural to the natives. To appreciate how gorgeous our own sex can be and to want to show this appreciation.

  29. I have Saturn conj Neptune (Capricorn) in the 11th opposing my Venus. I did have a lesbian relationship and I was very attracted to women since I was 12. Even my parents knew.
    Now it switched off and my slight attraction for men became a lot stronger. Hum. Sexuality is very complicated.
    l still notice some very beautiful women but I don’t even feel sexual about it anymore.
    I don’t who my long term partner will be. But probably a guy.

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