General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Being gay; is it a choice or are you born that way (let's hear it)

Asked by Mama_Cakes (11085points) August 8th, 2013
80 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

We have this fucktard who compares being gay to alcoholism.

What do you think?

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Answers

downtide's avatar

I don’t believe it’s a choice, except for people who are naturally bisexual, then you have the choice if you wish, to restrict yourself to heterosexual-only or homosexual-only relationships. You’re not changing your sexuality but the way you act on it.

But I also believe that bisexuality is a gift; why restrict yourself in such a way?

linguaphile's avatar

Both. I think some are definitely born that way and some choose the lifestyle due to life experiences.
I don’t think many people are 100% gay or straight. I think most of us fall on a continuum because attraction is not clear cut, black and white or easily stuffed in a little box.
I didn’t see the link and can’t access it here so am just answering what the main question says.

Berserker's avatar

Wow, that guy is the biggest douche I’ve ever heard. You can tell he wasn’t expecting to actually have to explain why he thinks being gay is a choice.

’‘Well…hum…I guess…you can chose who your partner is.’’ ...wow.

And alcoholism? Really? What a stupid asshole LOL.

I don’t have an answer, just wanted to comment on this dumbass lol.

Headhurts's avatar

I would say you are born that way. Where I used to live, my best friend was gay. His mum couldn’t accept it, he was so upset. He would say he couldn’t help how he was made. He said he couldn’t even pretend to be straight. It was heart breaking to see.

dxs's avatar

I definitely did not choose my own sexuality or sexual orientation. I tend to believe that it was influenced by my childhood environment. But I also tend to think that it is a natural human trait as well, so maybe my upbringing wouldn’t have made a difference.
In the end, I really don’t care how I got there. All I know is that it was out of my hands. I agree with @linguaphile that it is certainly not black and white.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (1points)
KNOWITALL's avatar

No gay people I know & love have ever said it was a choice. Far from it actually, since some have lost family over it (this is macho man territory ya know) My builder friend still isn’t out in the business community because of the prejudice.

And that guy in the video IS a jerk wad.

syz's avatar

I think it is primarily genetic with environmental/societal influences on expression.

syz (35679points)“Great Answer” (8points)
JLeslie's avatar

Both can be true.

I think some people are born gay, they always knew they were gay, and they are gay their whole lives. There might be genetic reasons, or womb environment, or all sorts of biological reasons we don’t completely understand.

Other people I think fall somehwere on the continuum of gay to straight, and sometimes eventually date someone who is the same sex and it feels comfortable to them. They don’t feel they have necessarily denied themseves being gay previously.

I do think maybe some people are influenced by bad circumstances when they are young and it affects whether they might become gay. I haven’t solidified my thinking on this, and I think there is not one clear answer. I know several gay men who had what I would call same sex pedophilic events happen to them. Sometimes it was an older teen boy, sometimes it was an adult who was much older. I don’t know if they were perceived as gay to begin with and that is why to 17 year old boy targeted the 8 year old boy? Or, if the 30 year old man saw something in the 14 year old boy, but I do know too many stories like this to ignore. Even when I watch some of the men who have come out to say they were molested or raped by priests my gaydar goes off for a lot of them. I am not sure they are actually gay or not.

My summary is I don’t think it matters why. I think it does a deservice to the gay community to argue the point to try to win over the haters. I accept gay people, and I don’t care why they are gay, I just care that they are treated equally and as individuals. Let’s say it is a choice, well it is their choice, why do people think they can question it?

tom_g's avatar

Not a choice. And not that it matters – LGBT people should be treated equally regardless – but I do get a kick out of raging homophobes when they talk about it being a choice. They are publicly admitting their non-heterosexuality (which is fine) in public while drumming up support for their anti-gay agenda. You’d think that one of them would stop mid-sentence and realize that they just admitted that they’re not straight and either laugh or break down crying.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Frankly I think we need to discuss and discuss and discuss until every idiot out there learns that it’s not all about the sex.

@tom_g Are you saying that homophobes are closet homosexuals afraid to face the reality of their preference? I dont’ believe that at all.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I didn’t choose to be gay, and sister, if anyone who thinks I did would take the time to get to know me, they would see I didn’t.

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: ”@tom_g Are you saying that homophobes are closet homosexuals afraid to face the reality of their preference?”

No. I’m saying that if I say….

Homosexuality is a choice.

…I am saying that I had to decide how to act. I was attracted to men and women, and didn’t know what to do, so I had to choose. We don’t consider this to be heterosexual by any stretch of the imagination. So, they are technically declaring themselves to be at least bi-sexual by describing their own desires, which are not heterosexual.

EDIT: To be clear – I suspect many of these homophobes are heterosexual. But they are so wrapped up in their own bullshit ideology, that they fail to hear the words coming out of their mouths.

fremen_warrior's avatar

I wish people would stop treating sexuality so seriously. I think if we were honest with ourselves, and the people around us, we’d all be at least bisexual. The mind is a beautiful and a terrible thing at the same time, creating our own hell and our own paradise. I blame shame. Shame is out of control in society. Stops people from living fully, how they really want to live. Of course we are all part of the problem, not doing enough to thwart shame.

As for the OP by @Mama_Cakes, I think it doesn’t matter. Things just are the way they are.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Master Yoda

gailcalled's avatar

All of my gay male friends had no choice in the matter. They knew, some as young as 6 or 7.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I don’t think it should matter. However, I don’t believe it’s a choice. You can choose who you have sex with, but you don’t choose who you’re sexually attracted to.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m bi. I did not choose to be attracted to both sexes, but I did choose to be in a lesbian relationship for life.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@syz More people should watch that video it’s a great video.

linguaphile's avatar

@tinyfaery I’m bi, too, and this time around happened to be attracted to a male with a very female side.

I have to be mentally attracted to someone before anything else follows… For me, having a mental attraction first is not a choice—that comes natural and is not something I can live without… Then gender falls where it may.

Because of how I am, I don’t see gender as the first attracting factor- and that leads me to believe that what is and isn’t a choice or what others find attractive is a very uniquely individual thing.

Headhurts's avatar

My bosses are married to each other. Both are women. One has always been a lesbian. The other she has been married twice to men. We had a long talk about it once, and I think what she said to me was beautiful. She said, ” I fell in love with Helen because of who she is not what sex she is. I never imagined or ever wanted to be with a woman, but I love Helen and so everything else just comes naturally”.

antimatter's avatar

I think both can be true, I think it’s genetics, the way your brain are wired than you don’t have much choice.
It can be the up bringing, it can be social pressure.
Hell it’s hard to say, perhaps some people got so hurt by their opposite sex partners that they became gay by choice. It’s perhaps the stereotyping that some people choose to stay in the closest. There may be too many reasons, I think what is important is that a person must be able to be comfortable with himself.

Paradox25's avatar

I had a gay brother who passed on a few years ago, and it definitely seemed from an early age that he was just the way he is, not something that he picked up from the media or other people. To me it’s irrelevant whether homosexuality is a biological process or not, because you feel what you are in your mind.

DominicX's avatar

Like many others here, I have never met a gay person who said that they chose to be that way and I myself, as a homosexual, did not choose to be that way. What is possible, is feeling attraction to both genders and choosing to ignore an attraction to one gender and focusing only on another. I’ve known someone who was technically bisexual, but felt more attracted to the same sex and thus only pursued relationships with the same sex; in that way she essentially “chose to be gay”, but she already had the attraction to begin with. It’s the idea of choosing to have that attraction in the first place that is ludicrous and entirely unsubstantiated.

I also agree that it isn’t all that important where homosexuality comes from. I get that some people need it to be genetic so there can be no basis for discrimination in their opinion (as if it not being genetic means that discrimination is somehow okay) and I get others need it to be a choice because otherwise they would have to somehow ascribe homosexuality to God and they know God doesn’t make mistakes and so the only option would be a “sinful lifestyle choice”.

All I know is I never felt attraction to any other gender besides the same one; I started feeling it at around age 11; I never had any contact with homosexuals as a child, I wasn’t molested or abused nor did I have a distant father or overbearing mother, so I have absolutely no clue where my homosexuality came from. And I honestly don’t care.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Need to watch that video again. The title is misleading. Dude said birth has an influence on alcoholism. He said sexual preference is a choice. He did not compare homosexuality to alcoholism.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

(I can see where the leanings of this question is going right off the launch pad so I know there WILL be no open honest communication about it.)
I could not get the link to work for me, not that it doesn’t work at all, so I cannot comment on what the person who posted the video said. I can however, from my own opinion say homosexuality is different from alcoholism, even if the reason for doing do is not inline with the populace, having said that, I will exit before food goes flying. I am glad someone asked, I know if I did, there would not have been the discussion there has been, no mater how slanted; but it is good to have confirmation of what I believed I would hear here.

Neodarwinian's avatar

This is a false dichotomy of a choice.

Why would anyone choose to be gay with all the past and still present trouble this choice would bring.

Educated people have accepted the biological and developmental evidence here and can be extremely certain that being gay is not a choice.

flutherother's avatar

Being gay or straight isn’t a choice as we are born the way we are. The choice is whether to conform to what is expected of us or to be true to ourselves.

DominicX's avatar

And the video just confirms what I said. All he said was “you can choose who your partner is”. Of course you can, no one is denying that. But people who say homosexuality is a choice never get into the nitty-gritty of how one formulates their own sexual attraction.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I don’t think there’s enough in that clip to verify, but it did sound like he only mentioned alcoholism because he was acknowledging that birth could have an effect on vices like alcoholism and homosexuality, but ultimately, you have a choice when it comes to both. That’s how it came off to me, but like I said, there isn’t really enough in the video to determine if that’s what he really meant.

Another issue is that people who say homosexuality is a choice aren’t necessarily saying that the attraction in the first place is a choice, but that once you know you have that attraction, you should make the choice to ignore it or try to change it (which is the Catholic church’s position on homosexuality).

Blondesjon's avatar

It’s both. I believe the choice is made in utero.

spiritual's avatar

It is primarily genetics, however I think you can be influenced by external factors. If I wasn’t a lesbian already, I’m sure I would turn into one, like magic, when I saw my girlfriend ;).

Mariah's avatar

I do not believe it is a choice.

Many people argue against the idea that homosexuality could possibly be genetic, because it would have evolved away. There are good arguments against that case, however.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
KNOWITALL's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central & @bookish1 What does that mean, it sounds awfully ugly?

It matters because people die voluntarily and involuntarily over this issue.
People I love have lost family for life over it.
My friends have truly been hurt to the core over something they feel is natural.
It matters because little children will grow up in a house and have daddy beat the gay out of them or have a church pray the gay out of them.
It matters.

I’m sorry, but I live in homophobe-ville USA a/k/a Mayberry and I see so many people suppressing their true selves just so they can be loved. It infuriates me.

Ron_C's avatar

Being gay is a genetic trait. I expect that its a recessive gene because gay people don’‘t usually reproduce. I don’t understand why people have a problem with gay people. I, personally, don’t give a damn what people do for sex, it’s none of my business.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

“The most graceful and productive response is to just live your life the way you need to and not worry about justifying yourself to anyone.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I roll.

bea2345's avatar

It does not matter. It offends me that I should be forced to take sides in a matter so inconsequential. Did not our Lord say “and thou should love thy neighbour as thyself?”

AshLeigh's avatar

I don’t think you’re born with a set sexuality. I think it’s something that happens to you, just like everything else in life. You aren’t born with your interests, you discover them as you get older.
I tried a lot of different things before I discovered that I’m a writer. My sister tried to date boys, before she realized that she likes girls. It’s kind of the same thing, I think.

downtide's avatar

@AshLeigh I don’t necesarily think that “discovery” is the same thing as “choice”. Even if you don’t discover your sexuality until later in life. I’d hazard a guess that of the people who discover later in life that they are homosexual, that most were unhappy in the previous years of trying to fit themselves into a heterosexual mould.

AshLeigh's avatar

I didn’t say that at all.
I don’t think it’s a choice, or something you’re born with. I don’t think it’s pre-determined, but I don’t think it’s something you choose either.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I never chose it, that’s for sure.

dxs's avatar

@AshLeigh That is an interesting theory. Don’t you have inspiration for other interests, though? Does a really good novel inspire you to become a writer or did you just like writing since you were born? Would a gay person would inspire you to be gay? Sexual orientation seems to be more like a natural “interest”.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (0points)
ml3269's avatar

Sad we have ro discuss that… it is like being straight: I was in love with Annika from the ‘Pipi’-TV-Show when I was 7 (!!!!) years old. You are like you are, not a whish or try or what else. You are like you are… born into it… like the colour of your skin. And so what: It is good like it is.

AshLeigh's avatar

@dxs, I strongly believe that everything about us is brought to us by circumstance. I didn’t choose to be heterosexual, but I don’t think it was formed in the womb.
It’s really hard to explain, but no. I don’t think people can be inspired to be heterosexual or homosexual. It kind of grows in later. It’s something that’s formed, just like everything else about you.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I guess I could decide I “like” to eat rotting fish guts over a good new york strip but it’s a lie. It’s not really a choice, it’s your nature and you are born with it. For some it may be like deciding between prime rib and filet mignon, either will do. Not that I’m lowering a significant other to a piece of meat, it’s a matter of natural drive to a certain taste.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Has there ever been a genetic marker found for sexual orientation? They have been isolated for gender, race, countless traits, propensity to develop or ward off certain diseases, and even certain genetic markers for obesity. It certainly would give credence to claiming sexual orientation was genetic if a gene or marker was discovered.

I tend to relate more to @AshLeigh‘s ideals. I completely understand the attraction to one type of person over another. As a hetero, I’m not attracted to overly pierced women with super goth makeup. No way… I would be impotent to that look no matter how horny I was. I couldn’t do anything with an overly masculine or overly feminine woman either. I’m just not attracted to it at all. So how could I say that a homosexual male should be attracted to women when I’m not even attracted to all women?

I don’t know how, or why, I am attracted to the certain type of woman that I am. Did I identify with a certain cartoon character at an early age? Was there a certain style of woman in my younger life that influenced my current preferences? I really don’t know. All I do know is that I’m completely null to some women, and viciously attracted to certain others. It’s not just something I prefer. I don’t control it. It controls me. I wouldn’t call it a choice. Would be quite immature of me to proclaim anyone else’s sexuality as a choice.

dxs's avatar

@AshLeigh It was a rhetorical question to prove the point that I don’t think “sexual orientation” works in that way. I understood differently what you were saying, though.
Another example that supports your idea is how the times change. I’d find someone more attractive wearing modern day clothes, not clothes from the 1800s. That’s definitely influenced by upbringing and not by genes. Maybe you see someone and your mind is triggered to find him or her attractive. And then it keeps occurring and that’s how your sexuality is determined.
I hate how much of a science people have made of it yet I’m so curious of how it works.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (0points)
Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m gay.

I did not choose it.

It did not develop over time.

I knew I was gay when I was 9 years old.

I knew it.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I agree that we need to discuss and discuss that it is not about the sex. I am not sure ahat that has to do with whether people seem obsessed about if being gay is a choice or not.

I know a few bisexual people who sometimes get a harder time from the gay community than the straight one. Like people can’t be both. There is an implication that bisexual people actually are gay, but in some sort of denial. Which I disagree with, I think people can be truly bisexual. Some people are attracted to both sexes, Sometimes they lean more towards one than the other for environmental reasons or experiences. Sometimes they just fall in love with the person they fall in love with and their gender is irrelevant for them.

@Hawaii_Jake You write that like you hate that anyone would ever suggest or think that sometimes it is a choice for some people. I knew a therapist who said she believed a lot of women later in life get into lesbian relationships. A conscious decision after bad experiences with men. I’m sure some of those women were gay to begin with and societal pressures influenced them, but some of them maybe are just more fluid in their sexuality and the straig relationships are as real as their gay ones.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie I do hate that anyone would ever suggest that my experience is invalid. In my short posts on this thread, I chose my words carefully. I did not imply that my experience was universal. I did not generalize.

Many other posts have generalized, and I don’t think they answer the question at hand.

I am gay.

I also, by a funny coincidence, happen to be a recovered alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety. I can choose to pick up a drink today and end my sobriety and start a path to active alcoholism again, but I choose not to.

I cannot, nor could I ever, make that choice in my sexuality.

Can other people? I don’t know. One of my dearest friends is a woman who came out late in life. I do not know factually, but I have heard anecdotally that women have a more fluid sexuality than men. I’m not a woman, so I can’t speak from that experience. I’m not a scientist who studies sexuality, so I can’t speak from that realm. The only thing I have is my experience. To state otherwise would be wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I completely accept and believe that is your experience, and I think that is true for the majority of the gay population actually.

I know quite a few women who would love to be in a lesbian relationship, but have trouble finding girls they like. A few of them really don’t like men much, meaning they think they are gross, controlling, horrible people in general. A subgroup of those women I know have had really shitty experiences with men, most go back to having fathers they hate. So, that seems like environment might have an infuence. Thing is, I do think even if the environment has some effect, I still think the brain gets kind of wired, we wire our brains throughout life, and then I am back to it being a simple reality for that person that they are gay, even if they were not necessarily born gay. Maybe there is a predisposition for those people, not sure.

I just think we should fight for an adult’s right to choose their partners and it’s no one else’s business as long as there is no coercion or abuse.

bookish1's avatar

@KNOWITALL : I’ve been subject to both kinds of homophobia, as well as transphobia, from my family as well as strangers, some of whom have chased me and thrown rocks at me. I don’t think that if haters knew that “it’s not a choice,” that will suddenly make it OK in their eyes. Neo-Nazis hate Jews and blacks for how they were born; why should vicious homophobes be any different? Theirs is a visceral, primitive emotional response, and not a logical one. I don’t think it should matter if it’s a choice, or people are “born that way,” or become that way.

My comment that was deleted was intended to express deep sarcasm, but apparently was not perceived as such by anyone. An “apologist” is someone who defends something, and @Hypocrisy_Central was manifesting his predictable disgust at how people were defending “the homosexuals” here.

Also, a friend of mine just died, a righteous old gay man who’s been through a lot. So I am not thinking very clearly. I am going to stay away for a while. I am sorry for messing up this thread. Peace.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I think there’s a common misconception that anyone in a same sex relationship must be gay. Or that you have to be gay to enjoy a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex. Not true.

One of my friends is a lesbian and is dating a younger girl that calls herself a lesbian, but quite obviously is not. If she was, she wouldn’t be sleeping with men every few months. She may love my friend and I’m sure she enjoys the sex, but she’s no lesbian. She’s just a 20-year-old girl that thinks all men are jerks and that it’s probably easier being with women. She’ll always go back to men because, once again, we can’t choose who we’re sexually attracted to. I think women like this calling themselves lesbians is an insult to actual lesbians and it fuels the misguided belief that we have some kind of gay switch we can flip on and off.

This is more common among women, it seems. Men aren’t as fluid in their sexuality for the most part. If a guy says he’s gay, chances are he’s gay and that’s the end of it. One of the many reasons men are so much simpler than women.

It’s such a relief to be a straight girl. More power to those that deal with us women.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bookish1 Peace, I’m sorry for you loss, friend. I hope you don’t stay away, we care about you. :)

As far as the physical aspect versus the emotional, I’ll have to disagree. I’ve heard a lot of homophobes talking sodomy and how wrong it is, against the Bible specifically, it’s like they don’t even grasp the emotional aspect at all.

Which is odd to me, because men form close relationships for life with their best friends in school, college, military, etc… Perhaps that’s why it makes them insecure or makes them question their own sexuality.

I’ve seen long-term SSM with men and women both and it’s a beautiful thing, I just wish others could see the beauty and love instead of treating it like 1970’s San Fran pleasure seeking, because although we all know those people in it for the minute, it does a disservice to those in committed relationships.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central You know what they say about homophobes? They’re big, ol raging queers themselves. ;-)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Mama_Cakes Or scared that if they think about it it can make them gay by osmosis…lol, that’s what it feels like to me.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@bea2345 Did not our Lord say “and thou should love thy neighbour as thyself?”How many here truly care, believe or respect what the Lord has to say, they believe about as much as they believe a puff of smoke…..but that is for another place and time.

@KNOWITALL @Hypocrisy_Central & @bookish1 What does that mean, it sounds awfully ugly?
What is ugly about it? I only said 10% of what I could have said. I did not say anything like [redacted], that might have been mistaken as ugly, so knowing what crowd I am among, I said only the which was most palatable.

@Mama_Cakes @Hypocrisy_Central You know what they say about homophobes? They’re big, ol raging queers themselves. ;-)
I have heard that. Strangely enough none of the guys I ever met were gay haters before they came out. I am sure there were some, I have never met any. Thank heavens I am not afraid of them or I would have never met some very nice people. I think homophobes have it mixed up just like racist. I say it isn’t the [redacted] not the person who is gay.

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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] We don’t allow that word, guys.

Blondesjon's avatar

even if we’re only referencing cigs and not same on same sex?

augustlan's avatar

In that context, we’d consider allowing it.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

lol i love you, @Blondesjon.

Blondesjon's avatar

cool

marlboro fags complete me

livelaughlove21's avatar

Nothing like having a nice fag in your mouth. Marlboro, of course.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I used to be in the “It’s a choice, and a sinful one, at that!” right wing fundie camp. Now, I don’t believe it really is a choice. You’re attracted to who you’re attracted to.

@Blondesjon I’m on my patio, with a fag between my lips as we speak. Or type. Whatever…

mattbrowne's avatar

There are significant indications for a biological basis. But biology and environment interact in a complex manner.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Now, I don’t believe it really is a choice. You’re attracted to who you’re attracted to.
Would that train of thought make be hypocritical of the views taken toward other people who are born with appetites, be they sexual or not. They may not be what the majority does but for those who do it, or have the desire to do it, it is normal for them, seeing we want as a society not to define normal in an all inclusive way.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central . . . As long as it’s two or more consenting adults, and they are not doing it with anybody you are in a monogamous relationship with, why in God’s name do you even care?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Blondesjon That’s what I never understood.

On the Christian side, even if some think it’s wrong, wouldn’t you let them deal with their Deity about that?

Blondesjon's avatar

Very true. Judge not lest ye be judged.

I think that ”Let he among us without sin cast the first stone”, is also appropriate.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Listen to @mattbrowne.

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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Blondesjon Very true. Judge not lest ye be judged.
I think that ”Let he among us without sin cast the first stone”, is also appropriate.
Not that I wanted to go there, but since you brought it up and tossed down the gauntlet. In God’s name I do care because to believe one person’s sexual appetite is OK because you agree with it, and another is not OK because you don’t agree with it, make for hypocrisy. If you truly believed the book and scripture you are trying to cleave from context for the purpose of attracting supporters, and maybe lurve to bolster the illusion of correctness, you would never have made the comment in the 1st place; for you would know what God says is the legal form of sexuality. Why do you care?

By the way, did I mention anyone was evil, going to hell or anything? I think you were doing more judging than I

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Blondesjon's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central . . . No answers for you my friend until you answer mine.

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