It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the gay gene!

I recent article on sexuality and genetics ( led me to dig up this post I wrote for a gender studies class blog.

“Everybody, call the fire department. We must extinguish this flamboyant conflagration, this contagious virus that is coming after us, following us to our very homes, and leading us to give in to temptation and sin! If what Friedman said of homosexuality is true–that is, that through therapy, one’s gay nature can “shift on its own,” we may only come to a single conclusion: It’s alive! (Sedgwick 76).
The utter hypocrisy and contradiction in queer causality literature just shows how weak the arguments are. As a general rule, when a particular viewpoint can’t even reach an agreement with itself, it most likely will not agree with any remote patch of reality. In fact, terms like a Sexology contributor’s “X-force” really do sound like they were plucked from some cheap science fiction novel.
If gayness can “shift on its own,” is heterosexuality simply a “shifted” manifestation of this perversion? “My mom told me . . . they were afraid I’d turn into a homosexual,” a patient told Green (Sedgwick 77). So by saying this, is the “mom” in this picture suggesting that there’s a latent gayness inside us that’s just waiting for the opportunity to pounce out of the closet? “I don’t think they should be around to influence children,” he said (Sedgwick 77). If gays are supposedly so irrevocable, straights so morally superior, why this constant fear that straights will turn gay? Why this constant fear that gays will turn straight and then have babies who will also have this gay gene and turn straight and pass it on and have more gay babies who turn straight? Does this “shifting” hypothesis really make the case for homosexuals being inherently inferior (whether it’s biological or acquired early in life) , or does it just manifest the fuzziness of the very line these pseudoscientists are trying to draw?
If straight people were confident in their moral superiority, they wouldn’t be so threatened by the gays trying to “influence” them. Aaron McKinney, one of the murderers of the gay youth Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998–an incident which was clearly a hate crime–was a bit confused sexually himself. Doc O’Connor, a friend of Aaron’s in Laramie, is quoted as saying that Aaron was without a doubt bisexual. His girlfriend confessed that he “was always into trying to talk me into having a three-way with one of his guy friends” (ABC News). It’s quite likely McKinney’s claim that he beat, tortured, and killed Shepard because he was coming onto him resulted from a similar theory of contagion, a fear that he would catch Matthew’s gayness. As the nature of the perpetrator illustrates, this belief is really just a projection: of course McKinney was afraid Shepard would turn him gay. After all, he had gay tendencies to start with. If he didn’t, there would be nothing for Shepard to turn, to “shift,” to steer in that dreaded homosexual direction.
Furthermore, Moll, in his argument that inferior races living in warmer climates have a higher incidence of homosexuality (an argument which he, needless to say, contradicts time and time again), states that the Arab world contains more homosexuals whereas “in all civilized countries this instinct has remained hidden” (Ordover 98). Moreau stated that those in warmer climates were more libidinous and likely to “succumb” to homosexuality (Ordover 98). How much more blatantly can one state that homosexuality circles through his own blood? What they’re both saying, basically, is that many people have gay tendencies, but if you admit to them, you’re a miscreant, a monster, or worse, a homosexual. And then you must be kept away from society, lest you cultivate in others the abhorred gay “instinct”–you know, that one they ironically deny they already have.”

I’ll admit it: There is a lioness in me that wants to dig its deconstructing claws into the nature/nurture debate. I’m tired of theories being published that usually a) aren’t based on valid evidence, b) aren’t accepted by respectable academics, c) create ways of dividing people, d) take social constructs for granted and naturalize them,  e) overlook more credible and intellectually sound explanations for far-fetched evolutionary ones and f) refuse to see all people as first and foremost people.

It is sometimes said that “nature” has taken the role of religion in prescribing social roles for people, and 50 years ago, intellectuals were talking about the “death of God” (funny I bring this up now, because Neitzche first discussed that idea in a book called “The Gay Science”). Could the “death of nature” be approaching? Will the mainstream media and the scientists feeding into them ever realize that it is pointless and destructive to construct fictitious unities within diverse groups, and fictitious divisions between them despite their similarities?

I believe that getting rid of sexism, racism and homophobia in science is the most potentially lasting step toward ending these injustices. Why? Because discrimination in science is what justifies discrimination in other areas. It creates the belief that such prejudice is founded on the very order of the natural world.


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