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The "gay" gene

Article in free train rag, reminding me why never to waste money on a newspaper: although gayness is a natural phenomenon, scientists have finally found the "gay" gene. They now know what causes gayness in fruit flies and consequently, it's implied, in humans, since humans are also buzzing pests with small brains. And that means, though it's emphatically not explicitly stated in the article, that we are only a small step away from a cure for gayness! Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Science has a use after all!

I repeat: the article emphatically avoids any suggestion of homophobia, but of course this insistent research into what causes gayness is itself homophobic. There has been research into many aspects of the genes, like what makes humans age and at which rate, what causes which necessary enzymes to be produced in which quantity, and what makes a person a genius. But there has never been publicized research into what gene makes a person heterosexual. Such research would be futile anyway, since "homosexual" and "heterosexual" are inaccurate labels used to present a false picture of human sexuality. Nevertheless, when AIDS was still known as the "gay" disease (nowadays it's spread most aggressively by heterosexual men) doctors plunged like vultures on the piles of corpses, not so much to investigate the disease and its effects on the human body, as to determine what makes a person "gay". Consequently, one of the disease's effects, a cavity in the brain, was pinpointed as a sign of gayness. It was then discovered that the cavity also occurred in "straight" corpses. Once again, the medical profession had made itself as ridiculous as those doctors in the Victorian age who earnestly believed, and told their patients, that masturbation causes blindness. I'd sooner say homophobia causes blindness, because scientists are still trying to find what gene causes "gayness", in the way that they are trying to find what gene causes cancer.

The article distantiates itself from the hilarious and by now fully discredited idea that homosexuality is "unnatural" by stating right at the start that it has been observed in various animal species, and follows this up with pseudo-Darwinian explanations how gayness is just another genetic survival mechanism, aimed at preserving one's sibling's genes rather than one's own, since sex is of course strictly for reproduction and gay people with intact reproductive systems who know where babies come from, are so much less able to breed than straight couples who use contraception or get sterilized, and straight men who masturbate over a Playboy centerfold. This notion that gay people must be so frustrated and unsuccessful in realizing our common goal: multiply & be fruitful, itself rests on two contradictory notions: i. because sex is purely for reproduction, gay people must, like "normal" people, have a drive to make babies irrespective of their own wishes concerning their sex lives, and ii. because gay people, unlike "normal" people, wish for a same-sex partner, they are incapable of coldly reproductive "normal" sex to fulfill their wish for a child. The free will of gay people is simultaneously presented as an obstacle to self-fulfillment, and as nonexistent. The truth is: sex is not about reproduction. Gay lovers don't care that they can't get babies this way. Straight lovers using condoms don't care that they can't get babies this way (in fact, that's the idea of condoms). People who amuse themselves with dildos, inflatables and pocket pussies don't care that they can't get babies this way. If anyone in either three groups wanted babies, they would take the relevant steps and then go back to having gay sex, using condoms and/or amusing themselves with toys. Neither gay sex nor any other way of getting sexual satisfaction are genetic survival strategies. The sex drive itself, controlling the unwilling individual like a heroin addiction, may be a genetic survival strategy, but humans have clearly taken this yoke off their shoulders and made it work in their favour. The same goes for all other species showing sexual behaviour that is clearly not reproductive, like mallard couples mating outside the breeding season when they are both sterile.

After this homosexuality-apologist drivel comes the discovery of the gay gene in fruit flies, which works like this. Males and females give off certain smells. The F smell is agreeable to males and the M smell possibly to females, needless to say the article wasn't about what women want. The M smell is disagreeable to other males. The "gay" gene is the gene that evaluates the smell. If this gene is altered so that male fruit flies like the M smell, they will approach and try to copulate with other males. Eureka! They're gay! Switch the smell-evaluating gene back to disliking the M smell, and they're straight again, their gayness has been cured. Hallelujah! A gay-free world is in the making!

As with the AIDS-related blooper, this obvious misinterpretation rests on the foolish notions about sex and homosexuality that these scientists so uncritically hold. To explain at length: I think I'm "straight" for being totally UNattracted to 100% of same-sex humans I've known, as opposed to only 99.99% of other-sex humans I've known, and that's leaving out of account the tiny group of intersex people I've met or known of. Considering I can only feel sexual interest for fictional characters these days, I'd call myself "fiction-sexual" or "fantasexual"; that this will never lead to babies hardly bothers me. I certainly don't approach every other-sex human with "sniff sniff - you're male, let's boink!" and neither do gay people indiscriminately bed every same-sex person they see. This is a far cry from the mechanical way in which fruit flies seek whatever other fruit fly they can combine genetic material with. Thinking that human sex and fruit fly reproduction are the same thing, these scientists believe they have made fruit flies homosexual when in fact these fruit flies are still heterosexual, but have had their sexing ability tampered with, and stupidly rely on smell rather than observing their prospective mate's actual genitals. Humans just as stupidly rely on sight: as Lou Reed cynically sings in Walk on the Wild Side, "shaved his legs and then he was a she". Slap a disguise - false boobs, kinky dress, make-up - on a man in a nightclub, and watch the straight men in the audience whistle and hoot, until they realize their mistake. Transsexual males after their gender-changing operation, provided with all the secondary sexual characteristics of females, and none of the primary (ie. essential to reproduction) ones, can be wooed by adamantly straight males who have no idea they're lusting after a mutilated man. Of course it doesn't matter because human sex is generally not about reproduction (if it was, a fertility test would quickly bring out the truth: "uh, where are your ovaries?") but the oh-so-straight man will both be fooled by appearances, and demand a "real woman" to avoid being called "gay", when the very fact that he feels fooled proves that he's not after men. Just as this error in judgment by both insect and human males gets them labelled "gay", so "gay" people are clearly seen by these scientists as straight people with a defective sexing ability. Take it from me that people who prefer same-sex partners are keenly aware of their partner's sex!

There was a blissful time in a far past when sexual activity was not divided into "hetero" and "homo", and in some societies considered primitive, it is still considered perfectly acceptable and even normal that the men, at least, have a bisexual lifestyle, dividing their affections between a wife and male lover. Yet at some point in history, for reasons of repressive religion, the second kind of relationship was, on nonsensical grounds, declared forbidden and persecuted wherever repressive religion had the power to do so. This is why people who call themselves scientists are still searching for the "gay" gene. I'm surprised scientists don't apply themselves so zealously to finding the "bestiality" and "pedophile" genes, but that may be because pedophilia and bestiality are both practiced by adherents of the repressive religions that forbid homosexuality. Not every Christian humps little boys and not every moslem humps donkeys, but it does happen, and when it does, it's considered acceptable as long as no one finds out. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is considered a damning taint even when the person labelled "gay" has no sexual relationships whatsoever. In fact, having no sexual relationships whatsoever can be considered proof that a person is "gay"! Has there been a search yet for the gene that causes having no sexual relationships whatsoever, I wonder?

(Update: -sigh- there has, by now. Men who can't sustain a happy relationship - with a woman, of course - can stop blaming their assholish character; it's all in their genes. Reported in a time when a rabidly Christian goverment attempts to force everyone, male or female, into Family Life. Science, subject to a social agenda? Never!)

May I suggest that these scientists, if they are not into ways of limiting fruit fly populations but genuinely interested in tracing characteristics to a gene, investigate what genes cause stupidity and hypocrisy? These genes should be easy to find, they're present in the vast majority of the human population.

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