Monday, June 26, 2006

Gayness & Older Brothers

A Dr. Breedlove (I kid you not) says that a new study confirms his belief that male-pattern-gayness is biological. Older brothers, not step-brother older brothers, increase a dude's chances of being gay.

This, say researchers proves that it is the intrauterine environment that causes gayness. And I thought that getting the crap beat out of you by older brothers could cause a man to seek the affection he so lacked from his fraternity or, if you're Freudian, the guy has a repetition compulsion to seek aggressive male behavior. Or both.

But no. It's the mom's fault. Something gestationally is off.

The intrauterine environment can contribute to a host of anomalies but usually some other factor is involved, too. A woman can be exposed to toxins like medications, alcohol, pesticides, excessive hormones and who knows what else or be deprived of oxygen and nutrients and have children missing limbs, or with lowered I.Q. or with sterility or Spina Bifida or Cleft Palate or the child can go on to have a Cancer. No one would argue that these affects are desirable.

I'm noting that the research is steering away from genetics. Is being gay a genetic "defect"? And then there is the dicey double-bind of "woman's body, woman's choice." Imagine finding the gay gene and then parents wanting a "normal" kid aborting or sifting through the genetics to "opt out" of said child. Raising a gay child can be difficult, kinda like Down's Syndrome or Autism or Clubbed Feet. (I'm being sarcastic.)

No one really wants to believe that environment causes gayness either. Troubled marriages, domineering mothers, abusive fathers, absent fathers, mean older brothers, neglect, sexual abuse, etc. certainly couldn't contribute to psychological difficulties. Being gay isn't a psychological difficulty. Parents aren't implicated in their child's gender identification and sexual maturation. "You're born that way." Convenient. For everybody.

Sexuality is such a complicated mix of hormones, genetics, environment, including the gestational environment, socialization, patterning and traumas that trying to say just one element is the cause seems to be reaching for a desired end. And all this still ignores one thing: choice.

For example, my genetics would tend to lean toward the fat and squat Scottish heritage I have on both sides. That is, genetically, I have a greater likelihood to be overweight. Add to the genetic soup, a family environment of emotional eating--obsessively-compulsively reaching for the Pringles and Dr. Pepper--and my chances aren't good. Still, I have a choice about what and how much I eat even when I feel on "autopilot".

Sexuality is similar (not the same--we can survive without sex, individually, not the species--we can't survive without food). Men in all-male environments will turn to homosexuality and not consider themselves "gay." Many men who consider themselves gay marry and, by the way, procreate, because they choose the social structure of marriage and children. There is an element of will and choice to every sexual encounter. Humans are not simply driven by some instinct.

Before people copulate, the cogitate.

Are researchers hoping that by finding the "magic bullet" people will finally believe that cosmic destiny forms sexuality?

For Bible believers, even a "magic bullet" won't do it. God says homosexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication is wrong. It's wrong. No scientifc research will dissuade them. Want proof? Evolution is "Exhibit A".

Why the fight? Why the obsession? Even in a country where a majority believe that Gay Marriage should be banned and most would prefer their children to be straight, gays enjoy safety and freedom. If there is so much oppression and prejudice, why do gays enjoy better economic standing?

What is the ultimate goal of getting to the bottom of the gay mystery, if it's even possible?


vj said...

Bible believer, yes. Judging a "gay" person? Well, it seems to me that God is so much bigger then what we "think" we understand of Him and the scriptures. We don't walk in their shoes. We don't really know. This is a very interesting study indeed.

Some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life have been gay people.

Dr. Melissa said...

My post wasn't about judging gay people. It was about the politics of studying "gayness". The field is so politicized I don't trust any research coming from any corners. My other point is that those who believe homosexuality is wrong will unlikely change no matter the research. Finally, I truly wonder what research outcome gay people hope for or do they hope for any outcome at all? The question wasn't rhetorical. I really want to know.

I have very dear friends who are gay. And many clients, too. This post was not a commentary on the like-ability of gays or my friendships with them.

vj said...

We are on the same page here and perhaps I did not explain myself better. I too would like to know what the gay community is hoping for and then what difference that would even make

MaxedOutMama said...

Nice point about the politics. The problem is that this type of political science ultimately harms people.