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Finding cause for homosexuality not as important as learning to accept it



Why is it so important to figure out why I am gay, anyway?

Why this obsession with finding out the cause of homosexual attraction?

Unfortunately, it's not just intellectual curiosity. If it were, we'd probably see about the same interest in the causes of homosexuality as we see in finding out the cause of left-handedness. (Left-handed behavior is, of course, a deviant behavior pattern that occurs in around 10 percent of the population.)

Gender roles ("The way men and women are supposed to behave") are politically charged issues in our culture. And sexual orientation issues are especially charged, because they involve the way men and women relate to each other sexually.

Religious groups, convinced that their sacred texts are literal truth and that these texts condemn homosexual behavior, are anxious to prove that homosexuality is a sinful choice.

Some even suggest that homosexuality is an "illness" that must be cured and have set out to find proof to back up their beliefs. Their curative efforts proceed from this presumption, which most mental health experts say is invalid.

This is very bad reasoning on the religious groups' parts, especially when most of the data seems to be in conflict with their preconceptions.

The gay political movement is so interested in finding a biological cause for homosexual attraction simply because many gays feel a need to justify their sexual orientation as not being a matter of choice. This is the "I was born gay" argument.

Whole research projects have been set up on this very premise, to find evidence that supports the biological causality of homosexuality.

This, too, is very bad science. You can't make a conclusion, and then try to make your data fit the conclusion. Science doesn't work that way -- you are supposed to make a hypothesis first, gather the data, and then draw your conclusions. If you are not willing to change your hypothesis to fit the data, in the end you are going to have to contort the data in all sorts of bizarre ways to make it fit, which both sides have done on occasion at the expense of their scientific credibility.

Not that either side can be blamed for trying to shore up their beliefs with data. There is a political and ideological war going on over the issue of sexual orientation, and facts make great weapons.

Yes, there is a growing body of evidence that says homosexuality has a biological root. But to be honest, I question how objective the gatherers of that evidence were. What political agenda were they following?

In the end, I suspect that objective studies of homosexuality will not be fully possible until the ideological war is over. Until then, skepticism is the name of the game. All research is suspect.

But what if a biological cause is found for homosexuality? What then? Will a search for a cure be the next logical step? Will a test be devised to determine if a fetus is homosexual?

This very question was addressed a couple of years ago in an off-Broadway play called "Twilight of the Golds." In the show, a pregnant woman is given a new test that determines what the sexual orientation of her baby will be, even before it is born. In this particular case, the test comes back and says the child she is carrying will be homosexual.

The play then revolves around the woman agonizing over the decision to abort the homosexual child or to bring it into the world.

This is, of course, a topic that gay people have speculated about from time to time. What happens if a biological cause that can be tested for is found?< B> Will it lead to widespread acceptance for homosexuality? Or will it lead to a medical holocaust for gay people?

The question certainly gives me pause. Especially since I am someone who believes it is acceptable for a mother to kill a fetus she is carrying.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question about homosexuality. Perhaps we shouldn't be asking, "What causes homosexuality?"

Instead, perhaps we should be asking, "Why should sexual orientation matter at all?"

Michelangelo (1475-1564), Renaissance artist. Michelangelo's sculpture of David, and his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, are celebrated as two of the greatest works of western art.

Kevyn Jacobs is a freshman in art.

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This article was published on Monday, April 3, 1995
Copyright 1995, Student Publications Inc. All rights reserved.
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