On the “gay gene” theories.
I’m led to think about the vaunted or discredited “gay gene” because of a rather frank admission by a barbershop quartet of fine fellows, Frank Muscarella,1 Bernhard Fink, 2 Karl Grammer, 2 & Michael Kirk-Smith, 3 (they got themselves footnotes in their byline – important fellows; I leave them in for fun):
“It is suggested that research into the topic could benefit from an examination of and change in some of the assumptions upon which much past research has been based.”
Well, yes indeedy! So let’s look! It’s quite a haul, be patient.
This quote is from what they think is a learned look at the vast compendium of mush. Ah, their grand title: Homosexual Orientation in Males: Evolutionary and Ethological Aspects.
Published on Dec 2nd 2001 in Neuroendocrinology Letters — an important journal, no doubt. I just found it lately, as the internet is bound to spit up surprises from time to time.
And so yes, let’s look at the first assumption that needs changing — are you ready?
“Sexual orientation, usually categorized as heterosexual,
homosexual, and bisexual, is perhaps the
most compelling, yet least understood, component of
human sexuality. The contemporary scientific paradigm
is based upon the assumption that heterosexual
orientation is the norm. Thus, deviations from
this, particularly homosexual orientation – erotic and
emotional attraction to the same gender – have been
considered abnormal and have required explanation.
Homosexuality has been persistently studied by various
disciplines such as biology, psychology, sociology,
and anthropology with the goal of finding – and presumably
eliminating – its cause.”
Yes, well, I’d say “presumably eliminating” an obviously naturally occurring thing requires a major attitude change. Along with a dash of logic change – sure. Playing God or Evolution to decide what is good or bad for humankind has never been the forte of humans. Alas, most – nay, all! – past research was precisely with the intent of ridding us, or at least the gayness, from this earth; by making sure those who are gay today immediately change, and those who aren’t born yet are prevented. So far, the success rate is an astounding Zero Percent! But, yep, you keep trying.
For when every researcher starts off with assumptions of the past & present about “presumably eliminating” us, then what you look for are the bad things. What you look for is a mistake, or a problem, or some, well, some “maladaptive” something or other – and what you all absolutely have not done is consider that gayness is simply so intrinsic to the species that it should not be “eliminated” but kept very much around. Not “celebrated” – just not bothered with. Nor can it be eliminated, because it is necessary. Besides that, as a species it would be unethically monstrous to eliminate such an obvious good thing — for society has functioned rather well with us around for like, forever. You need us, apparently, for reasons you haven’t grasped. I shall explain, but first, other theories:
Oh, dear heteros, do you folks have theories! It’s an amazing compendium of mush. But hey, you try. No, I think you all really do. It’s just that well, you have so many options it’s not funny. Indeed, it’s rather way too complex for people to even bother to wrap their minds around the plethora and miasma of the issue. But don’t you think if you don’t know either the causes or how many of a thing that you really can’t say “this is why, this is what we must do” and “presumably eliminating” us is the solution? Have you considered what eliminating gayness would mean to humanity? Why, the whole thing might collapse without us! It’s even said, by many a religious fellow, that harassing gay folks is necessary to keep heterosexuals on the straight and narrow, and that to be nice is to endanger society. Obviously we are important – even if only as a “bad” example, no? As some folks to harass, for the good of everyone else, apparently.
You all, each and every one of you, has a unique opinion on gay men and lesbians, complex in themselves on the various facets of the matter. But because there’s a huge number of you folks, each holding a different set of opinions on this murky subject, often strongly, the vast offerings of reasons why and against, or for, or “who gives a damn,” is rather astonishing, especially when you mix them up! There’s a study in this, this need for an “attitude change” away from “presumably eliminating” us. I think, often, that one day I’m going to go through “the literature” as the experts say, and count up a bunch of stuff. This now, perhaps, is the lighthearted view of this mush pile. For this quartet merely rehashes all the past questionable mush and lets us know exactly where to find each. Of what good is this? You admit you know nothing – and send everyone to other people who admit they know nothing. Know nothings of the world unite, indeed.
For instance, how many studies have there been to add to the alleged vast compendium of data these folks have collected? – the quartet doesn’t quite say. How many gay guys were studied to such fruitless inconclusiveness? So I counted up the number of guinea pigs involved in each study that the paper brings up: less than a 100 per study. Each study is unique – so we don’t get too much replication of studies, such as we get a new theory requiring a new study of another 100 gay guys, or less. Indeed, not one study ever done was ever done again by someone else – always there’s some different theory involved, and thus the confusion compounds and the comparisons elude us. They admit it’s so. There’s been three or four twin studies – and each configured differently, so even they are not truly comparable. So, in the studies compared by the quartet collectively they have studied less than 1,000 men. And 6,200 gay men if one gives 100 for each of the 62 studies in the bibliography. While for the coffee gene 47,000 men were studied. And coffee, as well as the gene to like the stuff, is more important than the lives and welfare of gays, for sure, right?
And too, lets count up and compare how these people were recruited for these studies. And wonder why no one ever rounds up gays to study where gays of all kinds might be — the gay bar. Just go in and ask; we’re pleasant folks. I would think, from personal knowledge, that many gay men would leap at the chance to help you folks figure it out. Or at least have you chuck every blessed theory you folks have conjured up so far, for none of them are true, and they certainly can’t all be true.
For instance, the birth order theory: gay men occur anywhere in the birth order without rhyme or reason. From 100 or less people you can’t see this, perhaps. From 1,000 maybe. From 10,000, well, that theory would be blown out of the water. Still, it lingers; brought up anew just recently, too. Somehow the supposition is that the youngest son winds up gay – because the mother is worn out or something – and yet, what then of the oldest son as gay? Doesn’t that just upend the whole theory immediately? Sure it does – still, onward come the birth order studies. This is where I like to bring up two kings of England – Richard and John. They were brothers, born about 10 years apart. The first the greatest, the second the worst, kings of England. The first gay as a goose, scandalizing Europe by sleeping in the same bed as the king of France for years and his wife died an admitted virgin. The second so randy, so rambunctious, that the barons rose up against him partially because he was befouling their daughters, wives and mistresses, and leaving behind a trail of royal bastards. Yet, by birth order theory (and “gays are evil” theory) Richard should have been hetero and John gay. Oh well, such does fact debase theory.
Well, bits and pieces of each theory I suppose might have some relevance. But not enough to theorize about the intrinsic nature of gayness, for they look in the wrong direction. In a sense you heteros look at us and wonder what happened to one of you. You know, what went wrong and who’s at fault. Then you demand we be more like you, especially with that yechy girl-smooching stuff. You figure: two heterosexuals should produce a heterosexual which can go reproduce more heterosexuals, ergo, something went wrong.
Instead, what you should be looking for is why heterosexuality needs to produce gay folks.
So, yes, go, ask, count, examine, do research – on a really big sample of real gay folks – we’re in gay bars and clubs and businesses – that’s where you’ll find us. Hell, ask everyone in one parade! But don’t find us in the psychologist’s office. Those are crazy folks, not real, rational, reasonable, average, normal gay folks. Oh, don’t worry, no one is going to harass you or grab your pretty little tuckus. But still, it will take a large survey of people to help figure it out. And figure it out must be done — for both our sanity. We’re tired of being picked on. I’m sure you tired of wondering why we keep saying don’t pick on us. It’s absurd and flies in the face of all facts and reality in front of you: God or evolution wanted us; and this is why gay is good.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking of counting up the whole number of studies and comparing them all. Then, because it’s quite a smorgasbord, or a really big Chinese menu, or just a pile of mush, it requires a careful counting of the various sorts of theories proposed. For instance, in the bibliography of this one paper there’s 62 other papers, or theories of this, that and the other about “homosexuality,” that each looked at one tiny segment of what they theorize is the heart of the issue: something went wrong.
Then, because all these primary and subordinate theories both contradict each other (mother bonding, father bonding – which? Both?,) yet cross reference themselves, no one who writes any of this stuff admits to knowing a darn thing, but says — alas, the subordinate theories are in some other discipline, talk to them. But weirdly, it becomes the case that each main-theory has multiple subordinate theories. And whichever discipline of science produces the theory of their expertise, the other disciplines are quoted with their theories, as possible mitigating, or ancillary, or appendages to the main theory, all while saying, “Beats me, go ask them, maybe they know.”
So, each discipline, these biologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, geneticists, and who knows what other hobgoblins of the religio-scientific community might arouse themselves to look at us, says their theory is paramount, but all the other theories have some merit, and some demerit, but well, “Beats us, go ask that other fellow, he has a good theory.”
Yep, theories galore – all with one strong proviso: “Not conclusive, more research required.” Then, no more research done. Yet, every one of them is right, and the others are only partially right, each says, maybe. Meanwhile, all the disciplines which are positive that they are “not conclusive and more research is required” are sort of sure that we should, um, “eliminate” the “problem.”
Still, the theories!
Like, it’s part genetic, part nurture;
Or part predisposition and part environment;
Or, it’s part hormonal and part cultural;
Or, it’s part genetic, biological, and psychological;
Maybe it’s all psychological;
Dad, mom, uncle, stranger down the street;
Recruited, abused, swayed;
Or even metabolic;
Or 10% of each, or 50% of one, 25% of two others, or 15%, 15%, 20%, 40% & 10% of this and that – it’s a mash, I tell you – and always a dash of “choice” of course, which can’t be scientifically explained, and ergo the “moral element,” and usually only in the US and Europe, so the “cultural element,” ignoring gayness everywhere else in the world. Back in the Cold War there was a “gays are from Godless Communism – gays are from Decadent Capitalism” rivalry, too. Marxists blamed being rich, the elites blamed being poor.
One group proposed a germ. Yes, a germ! But still, they needed a dash of psychology, and biology, for only gay guys get “sick” from the gay germ – which is just too weird. After all, how could a free wheeling germ only affect the exact same percentage of random geographically worldwide spread folks? If one son caught the gay germ, why not the other sons? No other germ acts like this – ask a school full of mumpsy kids.
Then there’s the pure “choice and sin” set. They are legion, like unto a plague. Yet even they, while poo-pooing any “gene” and hence “nature” – and always “Sin” – always fall back on “predisposition,” “environment,” “hormones” and other things of nature, which, for gays, they claim, are um, “unnatural.” That’s comical, of course, but they are deadly earnest in their insistence that it should definitely be eliminated, and not “presumably,” I assure you.
Sociology, biosociology, endocrinology, hormoneology, schmology even — everyone’s in on the act of issuing theories. Well, not that many — amazingly few for such a momentous thing. We study lizards with greater ferocity.
Meanwhile, some combo of biology, genes, hormones, environment, predisposition, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, birth order, and of course the man down the block lurking behind the tree in possession of the magical key that causes teenagers to activate their inner homo and choose to be gay – the famed “predisposition” versus the “recruiter” – with the referee being the kid himself making momentous life decisions – the “choice.” Yes, weirdly, a gay man, under the plethora of these theories, seems to require a predisposition, some nurture, some environment, and a recruiter, and a choice – at the same time. That this quintuplet would occur in the exact same percentage everywhere is quite amazing, no?
But that predisposition! Bad. Yes, if only we can prevent this pernicious destroyer of heterosexuality from occurring, then we’ll be in high cotton. I think we have a name for it. Yes, Eugenics – only instead of the Aryans running the lottery of whom is to be “eliminated” it’s going to be these fine scientists who blithely admit they have no clue and need some fresh perspectives on presumably eliminating us.
Here’s one, pals: It’s the totality of humankind which brings about evolution, and gayness. It’s not one individual who makes the change that is evolution, it’s a lot of individuals having nothing to do with each other. Some reproduce, some don’t, some less, some more – humankind has survived rather well with this arrangement. These geneticists and theorists almost presuppose that all heteros have the same number of kids – the aggregate average of 2.3 kids to increase the whole number, of course. And that all heterosexuals reproduce. Which is, of course, not true: Richard the Lionhearted > no kids. John, his brother > at least 18 or 20 we know of.
And because it’s the totality — the given percentage of each biological thing making up humans, than that which is not good for the species as a whole is eliminated – this you agree on. And that which is good for the species is maintained – this you agree on. Not that which is good or bad for an individual, but the whole of us. And still, clearly, beyond all reasonable doubt, or suggestions, or supposes, or theories du jure or du annum, the same percentage of people keep showing up gay in every culture on earth since the dawn of time. By your own admission – if it is maintained it is good – and we are maintained – and yet we are still considered “Bad.” Weird, yes?
There is no variation – our percentage grows only in the exact proportion as the totality of humankind grows: more heteros, more gays — in the exact same percentage of each. And therefore it has to be good for society, for the species, or it would have been bred out of the population eons ago. And that’s you folks’ bugaboo — we don’t reproduce. Lots of heteros don’t reproduce – hey, not a problem. We don’t, we got to be “presumably eliminated.”
Still, we’re here, rascally and craft fellows we be, what with just completely bumfuddling so many. So, where do we come from? We come from you. What you haven’t admitted is that you reproduce us — for you, as all humankind — requires us. Many of you think gay folks beget gay folks – and yet – the heteros of the species simply keeps making us, at the same rate. It’s not us. Yes, heteros, you make gays because gayness is required for the species as a whole. We have nothing to do with it, except to the be recipient of your largesse. And what you science folks have done is simply ignored this reality. You are looking for “cause” that happens to an individual and not an “is” that is required by everyone. You are looking for what “changed” the good hetero into the “evil” or “bad” or somehow “maladaptive” gay. (You want to eliminate it, eh, docs? Presumably?) You are looking for something that doesn’t exist.
Nothing “maladapted.” Nothing “changed.” Nothing went awry, or bonkers even. What happened is that for some reason you are not looking for, because you think it is a “deviation” from your “norm” as individuals, we are really a “well adaptive positive trait” in the totality. We are a “norm.” That’s why every given number of heteros spits out the exact same percentage of gays. It’s normal. You are consistent in producing us, but just mush heads on the “why?” because you are looking for where we went wrong – and not where you went “wrong,” and thus where we went right for you. We somehow benefit heterosexuality, the entire species and shebang of it all – and you can’t believe it. You just can’t.
In a sense — you are looking for what isn’t there — a gene, or a biological/psychological happenstance that went wrong for a gay guy individually — what you should be looking for is what went right for heterosexuality and the species as a whole by having us around.
For instance, suppose there’s two parents who each have some genetic defect, but it’s not manifested. But it only surfaces if some other genes are there too – and these two sets of bad genes, when combined, with a few other handy genes, then it would be bad if it got to everyone. Still, despite mishmash there in the gene pool as to who gets what when sperm and egg kiss – nature decides to put that combination of bad genes, or “maladaptive genes” – into a fine human commonly called many things, but for your purposes: the “homosexual.”
Lets look at it chart like.
Dad has his half of gay, gene A, the sperm – and some of a few bad copies of any genes C through M.
Mom has a half gay, gene B, the egg – and some of a few bad copies of any genes N through Z.
Not the same bad genes in C-Z – just any random corresponding genes.
They smooch. Genes get mixed, but some C through Z don’t get in the mix, because not every sperm nor every egg carries the same genes; some are missing a few letters, in my simple example. And some genes get pretty battered in the process, so are bad copies or good copies. Still, without an A and a B – no kid at all – they are fundamental – it’s the C through Z that can be any old mix. It’s the latter set that makes us different as individuals, the first two that make us male or female, and have the same number of arms and legs and eyes. Of course, there’s way more genes than 26, yes?
Because there’s two halves that go into the mix, it might be said that each gene from mom has a complimentary gene from dad – for they are not mutually exclusive in their complimentary natures – that is, a C might fit a G, or a D, or an L or others. And a D might fit a Q, X, W and Z. And so on, until a Z might fit a G, H, I or another Z for all that matters. This endless mix gives us two diverse sets of genes that can mix in any order to compliment each other, gives us our individuality. Together they make us whole as humans.
If sperm and egg each always had the exact same genes from each parent each time, then each kid would be identical to the next from any two parents, right down to their fingerprints. This is obviously not the case. Not even for twins; indeed, fraternal twins makes this obvious: two sperm, two eggs – two different kids. (when I learned that hottie Ashton Kutcher has a fraternal twin who is plighted with health issues, that just shows how true this is.)
So, when the right combination of A+B meets up with the right combination of bad copies of C through Z – well, there you go, and here we are. And the bad copies of C through Z don’t even have to be the same. It is more probable that you might need say any combination of 25% or 50% of the genes to be bad, or maybe as few as 10%, or 1%. That is, if there are 26 genes with potential to go bad, it might be only four or five to go bad, or one. Or maybe different sets of complimentary bad genes have to come together. This “going bad” process happens because genes are fragile things. Though nature doesn’t like too many bad genes, but can live with a few, so it tries to slough away any combination that gets too out of control. Which is why bad traits disappear and good traits remain; and why some less than good but still not really bad traits remain too.
In twin studies it’s said “identical” twins should both be gay or both straight if there is a gay gene – when everyone knows and admits that even “identical” twins are not “identical” 100% – their finger prints are different, after all. Their penises are different (trust me, I’ve looked.) Many things are subtly different. This is because as the egg splits it’s a bit confusing, and one or two of those bad copies of C through Z genes wind up in one or the other. And therefore the gay combination occurs in only one twin, or both, or neither. You won’t find consistency in twins for the potential numbers of combinations are too big to calculate. And it’s too random, this splitting and handing over bad copies of genes.
And evolution recognizes, or rather, doesn’t care, when this build up of bad human genes occurs in heterosexuals, but knows it’s got to be stopped, and presto: a gay guy! Just to make sure that’s the end of that scenario. But the possible scenarios being so high, it comes out so randomly. In essence, gay men are the repository of the genes that nature doesn’t like or need. Genes combos that aren’t necessarily fatal, but not exactly good – the runt theory, if one may. There’s not a lot of this, so it only happens rarely. But it’s consistent, because there is indeed a finite, though large, potential bunch of bad copies of genes – it has to happen at a steady rate because there’s a steady rate of potential mixing. It happens in males more often because men are XY. While woman are XX – there’s mores chances of mistakes with guys (same with Autism, and many other learning disorders.)
Nor does it run in families – nor is it really heritable – it’s not something which resides in one person and passed down: it’s something like two halves first residing separately in two heterosexuals, male and female – and when those two factors come together – bam! > Gay guy. We’re not what went wrong with a heterosexual male’s or female’s son, we’re what went “wrong” with a heterosexual couple’s two halves of the puzzle. We’re what went right for the species by being, weirdly, the collector of all these “wrongs.”
Gay men are like the pretty excrement (bold, no?) of the human race. We’re like nails or hair — sort of a pretty excrement. For hair and nails are indeed that — they are pulling out bad stuff out of your body, just like from other places. Just prettier, and more agreeable, that’s all. We are where bad hetero gene combos go to end their existence. This too is why gays are so randomly sprinkled around you folks. Just everywhere, and yet, well, so few. And the reason for this is that there’s all sorts of genetic things floating around in a vast pool of you, 95% pretty good stuff. When you reproduce the genetic pool gets more mixed. And when that combination of genes gone bad, that key, that lurks in every heterosexual sperm, gets inserted into the safe, that egg, that holds the gay man’s heart, well, when key turns lock, door opens, and that’s what you get, a golden gay guy.
You folks are looking for an inheritable trait like straight blond hair or curly black hair, or blue eyes, or tall or short – you are looking for something that is unimportant to human survival – hair or eye color or size – and you are not looking for two halves of a puzzle: you are looking for a whole piece. You are looking for something handed down one generation to the other within a certain blood line – but gayness is never found to run in families. Oh, supposedly gay uncles lead to gay nephews or something, which then leads to the “see, the gay uncle made the gay nephew” bit. No family is ever, however, um, immune to a gay scion. It might not occur for a 1000 years in some families (doubtful,) it might occur more often – but the potential is always there – for the gay half-gene is in everyone. It’s needed, just in case.
Remember all those movies where there’s some golden broken bit of a puzzle piece on a string around some guy’s neck? You are looking at that half of the puzzle, his piece – and wonder why it’s there and what it does. But you are ignoring the girl in the movie (they are usually romances, no?) with the other half of that puzzle on a string around her neck. Such that when the two halves meet up in the climatic scene the portals to some mysterious place is opened. And it’s the randomness of the meeting which causes the two halves to meet (contrived by design in the movie, of course.) If the two halves never get together at the same time and place, the portal would never open. There would be no movie, of course, if that happened. But these two halves – which lurk in everyone – just float around randomly until they accidentally meet.
Gayness is sort of like genius in a way. No, not that gays are geniuses (trust me, they ain’t,) but that genius requires some odd mix of two halves. It does not run in families. Look at Beethoven – he had brothers, they could barely get out a decent scale on the clavichord. How did the genetic make up of his parents mix two or three times – three sons, after all – and two were plodding putzes and one wrote Ta Ta Ta Dummmmm!? Nor do geniuses beget geniuses. And often astounding dullards produce astounding geniuses. Well, astounding heteros produce gay folks like geniuses come – randomly – for it is not an inheritable trait within one slice of humanity, but a random trait for all humanity.
Because there is a vast pool of potential bad genes floating that require two halves, and yet those rarely meet, you get heteros – but, when they do meet up – then nature tries to make sure that they simply are um, excreted from the totality. And because there are near endless combinations of this potential for the right amount of bad copies of genes to coalesce in the right proportion, no two gay men will have the same set of arrant genes given by our parents. We get the AB, not a problem – it’s our C through Z’s that matter. But what might be oh, C-G, J-F, K-M and U-P for one gay guy, it will be G-H, K-L, Q-S and I-S for another. For the gayness is not in a specific gene, but a preponderance of bad copies of any genes – and our purpose for humanity is to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And when you look for the same set of genes in a group of gay men you won’t find it – but you will find a group of arrant gene combos within each gay man – that is different from the next gay guy.
Again, look at Beethoven – he and his brothers were 99.9% genetically the same. And their A & B halves produced a rather normal three sons. But something in the combos of the C-M and N-Z from mom and dad mixed in just such a way to produce the Ninth Symphony, while in the other two sons the combos produced sales clerks.
Even when you consider that some gay men have children, passing down their genes (and I have yet to see a study of the biological children of gay fathers, or even a supposed count of them,) because the gay guy still has only half the situation, half the key, because sperm are different than regular cells – only ½ and not the whole – his collection of bad genes will stop – especially if his woman (sometime wife, sometimes not,) might not have the right half, or might. And especially because not every sperm of the gay father will have the faulty genes – but only some. And so when the two get mixed you get hetero kids. For from what I can tell, anecdotal of course, is that out of all the gay fathers I have known only one has a gay son – the rest all have hetero sons.
But again, has anyone ever looked at the biological sons of gay fathers to see if they are gay or straight? If the heritability of gayness was real, one would imagine that a vast preponderance of their sons would be gay. And that gay sons should have had gay fathers, and gay brothers. Oh, the theories abound that gay fathers must make gay children – which is weird, for that would be almost direct inheritable genetics. Or, if one chooses any of the so many other theories it would seem that gay fathers are accused of making a gay son. But why would the gay father do that? What would be his purpose? Oh, yes, recruiting, promoting, the usual. Balderdash.
Still, what is being looked for, somewhat, is some gene, or gene theory, which says there’s a gay gene(s) that is/are passed down intact – generation to generation. And what is not even considered is that gay guys don’t get a “gay gene” so much as we get two halves of “all the screwed up genes.” And our job is to save the rest of your from your errors.
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