This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Homophobia: A Worm's Eye View

A couple of days ago I was reading of research into the free-living soil roundworm C elegans. Apparently, tweaking some genes causes homosexual behaviour to develop in these worms. It’s just another proof of the by now quite well-known fact that homosexuality has a genetic basis. If you’re homosexual, you’re not choosing to be – it’s in your genes. You can’t help it any more than you can help your hair colour or the shape of your ears.
Right, so let’s, for the sake of this blog, take that as given. I’m sure no one can have serious doubts about that…no one sane, that is. As for the rest of you, I’ll come to you in a moment.
Now, if genetics determine sexual orientation, it leaves us with one of two possibilities. You must understand that in much of the world a homosexual person doesn’t have the sexual freedom to declare his or her preferences openly – he or she must, oftentimes, live a lie in a heterosexual relationship as a camouflage (I believe the term for this used to be “lavender wedding”). This, usually, ended in the birth of children and thus the probable perpetuation of the genes responsible for homosexuality. Right?
On the other hand, in the rest of the world, where gays do not have to live lifelong in the closet and can contemptuously call us heterosexuals “breeders” (not that I really blame them, what with the terms we fling atthem) – there is no requirement for them to breed. So the gene for homosexuality should disappear fairly soon, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t gays be more or less extinct?
Only, they aren’t. And since there are no longer such strict taboos about emerging from the closet, the numbers of gays show no signs of falling.
This is what leads us to the possibilities I mentioned above:
First possibility: the gene arises de novo so often that it must be one of the most common mutations going round. Or…
Second possibility: We are all, as the psychologists say, bisexual in our heads and we all have the genetic potential to develop into homosexuals or heterosexuals.
So, where does this leave the gays-are-evil brigade? Either your own children or siblings could be mutated into homosexuals, or they could be homosexual simply because of their genes, shared with you, direct them towards it. Where does that leave you in your anti-gay programme? Where does that leave your Catholic Church which says homosexuality is a sin? Where does your Islamic Republic go where there is no such thing as a gay? What happens to India where – like so much else - homosexuality is “against Indian culture”? If your church or your nation doesn’t discriminate on the basis of skin pigmentation or eye colour, can it legitimately discriminate on the basis of something just as genetic? Huh?
Of course, I suppose you could say that your “god” is deliberately blinding our eyes by false scientific evidence, that homosexuality is the work of the devil, blah blah. But as far as I’m concerned, if you say that you’re crossing over into a land where sanity walks no more, and I won’t follow you.

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