You know it was Pride Week in Toronto when the media starts resurrecting stories postulating the causes of homosexuality. This past week’s CBC story, Younger brothers more likely to be gay, basically says that a man is more likely to be gay if he has older brothers. They think that some sort of in utero autoimmune response may be at play but, of course, they are not sure.
There have been a lot of theories put forward over the years beginning with the “overbearing-mother-absent-or-distant-father” theory. Since then we have been told various hypothesis. One points to an excess of male hormones in the womb affecting sexual orientation. Another, which focuses on twins, speaks of childhood gender nonconformity to explain why one brother plays with GI Joes while the other likes to play with Barbies. How the hypothalamus region of the brain is stimulated by body odors is another area of study to explain the difference between straight and gay. The oddest study I’ve come across, apart from the one citing the length of ones ring finger, particularly in women (curiously known as the “Finger Papers” – no shit) as a possible indication of sexual orientation, is the one linking differences in the function of the inner ear to the sexual preference of women.
Ok, is it just me but doesn’t it sometimes seem like people are trying to find the “cause” of homosexuality much in the same way they look for cures for cancer? Am I the only one besides Timothy Murphy who questions the rationale or ethics behind these types of studies?
What would happen if they were to find out that “gayness” is caused by a gene, or pregnant women smoking pot or death rays from Mars? Living in a world that presumes heterosexuality, I can only venture to guess that the next step would be to find a cure or way to prevent homosexuality.
My problem with studies like these is that they work from the assumption that heterosexuality is “normal” ergo, any other sexual orientation is not. That’s like saying being Christian is “normal” while any other spiritual belief is not. Or being white is “normal” while being a member of the world majority is not. Awfully presumptuous don’t you think?
Personally, I find my life more interesting when I presume that everyone I meet is gay. That way I can feign sympathy when they disclose they are not and secretly blame their mothers.
Here’s some food for thought:
21 Questions for Heterosexuals
1. What do you think has caused you to be heterosexual?
2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?
3. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?
4. If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?
5. Isn’t it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
6. Isn’t it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
7. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?
8. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?
9. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? Why are they so promiscuous?
10. Do heterosexuals hate and/or distrust others of their own sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?
11. If you were to have children, would you want them to be heterosexual knowing the problems they’d face?
12. Your heterosexuality doesn’t offend me as long as you don’t try to force it on me. Why do you feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?
13. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?
14. Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?
15. How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusively heterosexual lifestyle, and remain unwilling to explore and develop your homosexual potential?
16. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other to narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex-roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?
17. Even with all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
18. How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual like you, considering the menace of overpopulation?
19. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that could help you change if you really wanted to. Have you considered trying psychotherapy or even aversion therapy?
21. Could you really trust a heterosexual therapist/counselor to be objective and unbiased? Don’t you fear he/she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his/her own preferences?