Sunday, March 30, 2008

The search for the gay gene is killing our culture

In recent days the anything but new "scientific research" regarding the so called gay gene has been making a lot of news, including garnering a great deal of attention in mainstream press, including this coverage on ABC which discusses this molecular genetic study of sexual orientation

Research into discovering the gay gene seems to run in cycles in terms of the frequency with which it gets mainstream attention. I remember doing research for my senior's honors english class in high school about weather or not searching for the gay gene was ethical, and what sort of impacts it would have on the community. Since then, i've seen the issue crop up a handful of times every few years as new "discoveries" are made. I won't even go into the issues that I have with them searching for this, or why i feel it's damaging for some in the community to seek validation of themselves through it' discovery (if in it does actually exist) i also am a very strong believer in the ideology behind queer by choice, and would not find it powerful or validating to have some scientist tel me that i had no control over who i am.

However there is no doubt in my mind that if at some point in the future they are able to discover "the gay gene" which htey have been looking for for quite some time but seems to make the news every so often i believe that #1 the first place this will go will be a search for a "cure" and #2 parents will have the ability to "determine" their child's sexual orientation before birth---which hypothetically is going to put pro-life conservative christian nutjobs in a hillarious position - do they defend the "life" of the unborn if it's a queer fetus?

this is an issue that i feel really passionate about, we need to stop groveling to mainstream heterosexual society to be seen as "normal" and "just like them" that will never get us anywhere other than theoretically genetically eliminated. queerness shouldn't be something that we need to feel horrific about unless we can say "it's not my fault, it's just my genes" which is complete bullshit.

It's interesting to watch the gay community clammer for approval, practically salivating over the idea that the gay gene could be found, and that their lives, families, and desires could somehow be excused by some doctor in a white lab coat. I understand the argument that this could grant additional rights, could prove that we can't help who we are attracted to, but is that really what we want? From a media perspective the fact that this is being discussed in a positive way is interesting, it's very exciting to have parents of a teenaged gay boy say that they love their son (although I do take issue with them saying they *knew* he was gay from the time he was a toddler) and wouldn't have changed his sexual orientation if they could.

That said, by showing loving and rational parents this mediated portrayal of the issue systematically devalues and dismisses the very real concerns of queer folks who know that their families of origin would have behaved differently. Weather we like it or not there are countless people around the world who, if given the choice would either abort a queer fetus, or would choose to undergo medical care in order to genetically alter that fetus into being straight. The only opposition to this research shown in the news segment was a fundamentalist christian psychologist who took issue with the research findings, and believes that gayness is not a result of genetics. One is left wondering where the voices of queer activists were?

Are we as a community willing to stand by while they debate eugenics? Are we willing to beg to be seen as normal simply so that they can kill our culture?