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Thursday, November 17, 2005

& Debates - Origin of Homosexuality

Star Alliance forums are back up, and I've got a new debate to go with them:
So, I was looking for articles on gender roles for a psychology class paper. Well, I found something really interesting, because it totally NOT what I was expecting to find. First of all, about the person being interviewed:
"Dr. Anne Fousto-Sterling, 56, a professor of biology and women's studies at Brown... lesbian... Her 1985 book, 'Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men,' is used in women's studies courses throughout the country."

Q. Among gay people, there is a tendency to embrace a genetic explanation of homosexuality. Why is that?
A. It's a popular idea with gay men. Less so with gay women. That may be because the genesis of homosexuality appears to be different for men than women. I think gay men also face a particularly difficult psychological situation because they are seen as embracing something hated in our culture - the feminine - and so they'd better come up with a good reason for what they're doing.
Gay women, on the other hand, are seen as, rightly or wrongly, embracing something our culture values highly - masculinity. Now that whole analysis that gay men are feminine and gay women are masculine is itself open to big question, but it provides a cop-out and an area of relief. You know, "It's not my fault, you have to love me anyway."
It provides the disapproving relatives with an excuse: "It's not my fault, I didn't raise 'em wrong." It provides a legal argument that is, at the moment, actually having some sway in court. For me, it's a very shaky place. It's bad science and bad politics. It seems to me that the way we consider homosexuality in our culture is an ethical and moral question.
The biology here is poorly understood. The best controlled studies performed to measure genetic contributions to homosexuality say that 50 percent of what goes into making a person homosexual is genetic. That means 50 percent is not. And while everyone is very excited about genes, we are clueless about the equally important nongenetic contributions.
Q. Why do you suppose lesbians have been less accepting than gay men about genetics as the explanation for homosexuality?
A. I think most lesbians have more of a sense of the cultural component in making us who we are. If you look at many lesbians' life histories, you will often find extensive heterosexual experiences. They often feel they've made a choice. I also think lesbians face something that males don't: at the end of the day, they still have to be a woman in a world run by men. All of that makes them very conscious of complexity.

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