Gay genetics

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Gay genetics

  1. 1. Gay GeneticsThe Equality Project Learning CenterOctober 30, 1997 The Needle in the Haystack This essay is copyrighted by Katherine Burgoyne Brown. All rights are reserved.The media has been announcing to us for quite a while that researchers are on the brink of discovering a"gay gene" - a distinct genetic difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals that will put to rest allthe stigma associated with being homosexual. This being; it would merely serve to prove whathomosexuals themselves have been saying for a long time - that homosexuality is not a choice, itssomething that they were born with. Yet if we delve a little deeper into this media scandal and look atsome reports on the actual research, we see a raging debate which focuses not on sexual orientation, buton interpretation of data.This raises ethical questions. If we were able to prove beyond all doubt whether or not homosexuality wasgenetic, then it would put everyones minds at rest as to how we should all view homosexuals. Thisresearch was intended settle the issue once and for all. Unfortunately, it has achieved exactly the opposite.Like most statistical data, it can be interpreted to any purpose. And that creates great gaping holes in anysort of self-esteem that homosexuals/bisexuals are trying to cultivate.A "paper" written by Jeffrey Satinover, M.D. about current research into the gay gene suggests that whilehomosexuality may not be directly inherited there may be a number of inherited characteristics that, whenfound together, make for a homosexual or bisexual person. Yet any of these traits on their own are notnecessarily going to denote homosexuality. Just as I may have the same eye color as my best friend, itdoesnt mean that we will both like grunge rock. So perhaps it is the culmination of these unknownattributes in a person that makes them be "that way". Now you can hear the narrow-minded crying "See,see, they can be taught to be normal." And to a certain extent, yes, homosexuals can be "taught" to beheterosexual, but they are no more predisposed to this change of sexual preference than heterosexuals.Homosexuals have been claiming for many years that this is what they are, what they have to be. There isno proof for this other than feelings. Yet it cuts both ways, as is said in So you want to be a lesbian? oflesbian wanna-bes;1. What the hell does that mean?2. If youre bisexual, great. Come out as such and help create the burgeoning bi movement.3. If youre really and truly straight, theres nothing we can do about it. Sorry.4. If youre a lesbian, and youre just not ready to talk about it, dont worry. We probably already know.As flippant as the tone of the book is, So you want to be a lesbian? is intended as a lightheartedlook at a serious subject. Points three and four are the most important in that quote. Point threeillustrates the above comment perfectly. If people are really heterosexual, they cant do anythingabout it any more than homosexual people can. Point four - in a very twisted way - does somejustice to the current genetics debate. The phrase we probably already know would suggest tous that there are some characteristics that an old dyke can recognize that suggest to her that awoman is a lesbian.In essence, genetics doesnt seem to have a lot to offer the homosexual/bisexual community interms of orientation. People will continue to believe what they want to believe about the originsof sexual orientation, but now they will have "scientific evidence" to support their claims - tailorresearched to their individual view point!
  2. 2. This debate is merely an extension of the age old "nature vs. nurture" debate. I believe thatgeneticists should leave our diversity to rest and begin to investigate genetic disease. There isno evidence that homosexuality is any way detrimental to our health (unless, of course, youcount the anxiety caused by the certain minority that cause homosexuals distress), and it shouldtherefore not be considered a disease. This probing into its causes only further segregateshomosexuals as "abnormal".While homosexuality may be evolutionarily beneficial, there are many human traits that aremore conducive the evolution than others which we do not consider to be nearly so important.Women having big breasts, for example, could be considered to be of an evolutionaryadvantage, as this is more likely (so Im told!) to appeal to men. And even though we are tryingto "rectify" this "problem" through the use of silicon implants, no one is actually looking for acause for breast cancer - any pectoral area research is focussed on breast cancer.Homosexuality is targeted as abnormal precisely because it is not evolutionarily advantageous,and yet there are a myriad of other, more "cosmetic" issues that are in the same category, andare unexplored. In my opinion, trying to prevent homosexual children being born is just asperverted as genetically engineering a child to look like Cindy Crawford or some other beauty. Itlimits our capacity for tolerance. We should learn to celebrate humanity in all its diversity. BibliographyThe Gay Gene?By Jeffrey Satinover, M.Dhttp://www.anotherway.com/issues/gene.htmlSo you want to be a lesbian?By Liz Tracy and Sydney PokornySt. Martin’s Griffin, New York.The Gay Gene: Human Handedness & Human SexualOrientation.http://members.aol.com/gaygene/pages/traittab.htmI also talked to people about issues surrounding homosexuality and/or genetics;Jim Burke and Andrea DixonRos and Andrew BrownSarah KnowlesKerrie WillsmoreKaren SuchMark and Emma HutchinsonKlara VerbylaJames FowlerMy opinions and bias have been included in this essay, and it is in no way an objective look atthe "science" of this subject.Katherine Burgoyne Brown is a 16 year old bisexual woman. You can learn more about her byvisiting her personal homepage at http://members.tripod.com/~femgrrl/ or her businesshomepage at http://www.angelfire.com/me/wayoutyouth/.© 1997 Beverly Greene is solely responsible for the opinions expressed here.

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