And why we need to stop looking for it.
Homosexuality has existed in societies across the globe for as long as we can go back in time. The Greeks, Romans, indigenous tribes, Europeans, and even early Americans had a level of fluid sexuality that permeated throughout their cultures, and that existed on a spectrum that most weren’t fixated on the way too many people are today.
Homosexuals have played important roles in communities as leaders, religious figures, inventors, artists, politicians and a number of highly important social developers. However as the need to neatly organize and make sense of things has become a common occurrence in modern society due to religious ideals, a shift in how we view a relationship that isn’t between one man and one woman has become unholy, and therefore unwelcome, unnatural, and sinful.
Thus, we began the search to find out what makes someone a homosexual. We began asking all sorts of questions about how something so “wrong” could happen: Is it nature or nurture? Does it come from the mother or the father? Is it hereditary? Is there a gay gene?
There must be a reason why some men and women become homosexuals, and we are on a quest to answer this mind boggling occurrence.
Why is it that we feel the need to determine how or why someone could be attracted to someone who shares the same genitalia?
As someone who struggled for years with his sexuality, I get why so many people are so obsessed with finding out what makes a lot of us “different,” but the thing is, who cares? Once I accepted this part of myself that really isn’t that big of a deal, I no longer cared why I was “this way.” Furthermore the fact that we spend millions of dollars of research to try and decipher this unimportant thing is ridiculous, and ultimately tells an entire population of people that something is wrong with them.
Are we trying to find a gene, so we can then find a cure?
While some scientist my argue that pinpointing a gene could allow for medical breakthroughs, I have to argue that there seems no real benefit to pinpointing a gene. Yes, gay men deal with certain types of diseases more commonly than straight men, but these illnesses usually comes from the act of sex, and/or years of mental hardship that are correlated to constantly hearing you’re less than from those around you.
Excuse me while I geek out for a second, but lets look at something like the X-men.
While X-men isn’t explicitly about homosexuality, there are tons of articles, papers, and commentary about how the sci-fi superheroes represent a metaphor for homosexuality, and it’s beyond apparent when you take a deeper look at what is going on within this graphic novel. A minority group of individuals that are different are subjected to ridicule, persecution, and experiments to cure them. They struggle to accept themselves at younger ages, and eventually grow up to find that what makes them different makes them powerful, strong, and heroic.
If you ask me being gay has been an amazing gift of self-exploration, self-discovery, and has forced me to look deeper into what matters at a younger age than many of my straight counterparts. I’ve been introduced to amazing men and women who are changing the way our world operates, I have a network of friends internationally, and I’ve found empathy, compassion, and love in extremely deep ways because of what makes me different. I’m not saying that this is what being gay is all about, or that everyone who is a homosexual feels the same way.
What I am saying is that we need to stop spending valuable dollars to pinpoint what makes someone a homosexual, a top, a bottom, more feminine, or more masculine. Jezebel recently released an article, Born To Bottom, that breaks down a study done in Toronto, and a few others that looked to discover why some men may be more prone to being a top or a bottom. The author is clearly intrigued, but writes with a slight air of distaste. Overall this piece feels like feeding into pointless fodder.
Again, I must ask, who cares?
To be honest, I think the better question is, if you do care, why? Why are you so interested in knowing what makes someone the way they are?
In our modern culture we are starting to see a greater acceptance for homosexuality, but there still is a huge population of people that think of homosexuals as deviants, monsters, and inhuman. Right now as I write this piece, gay men and their allies are being beaten, tortured, and killed in Chechnya. Concentration camps are being discovered, and Russia and the rest of the world is doing pretty much nothing about this.
Because gay is still not ok. Because politicians rather look out for profit than for humanity. Because projection, deflection, and avoidance are ways to avoid one’s own shame. Because by putting down one group of people another is able to lift themselves up without looking in the mirror and questioning what they can do to change their own lives for the better. We’ve seen it with race, so why wouldn’t we see it with sexuality?
It is even a practice within the gay community. Certainly not to this extent, but gay communities segregate themselves based off of skin color, age, perceived levels of masculinity and felinity, and the list goes on. Certain subgroups of gay men self appoint themselves as better than other subgroups because they need to put someone else down because they feel put down by their own insecurities, another group of people, religious beliefs, heterosexuals, or whatever reason you can come up with.
At the end of the day what we need to be focusing on isn’t what makes us different, but what unites us. The conversations about nature versus nurture, a gay gene, or where does homosexuality come from need to stop immediately. This is demoralizing, destructive, and leaves impressionable minds thinking negatively about themselves or their peers. We need to focus our energy, time, resources, and money on real issues.
Homosexuality has been discussed as natures own way of dealing with overpopulation, and as a random occurrence that “affects” about 5 percent of the American population. We may never know why some of us are attracted to the same sex, and why others are attracted to the opposite, and that is ok.
I don’t want to find the gay gene so I can spread it, I don’t want to find the gay gene so I can cure it, and I don’t need to find out there is a gay gene to make sense of myself or others, so I think it’s time we all agreed that there just isn’t a gay gene, and went on to discuss more important issues.
Personally, I think it’s better if we never fully understand everything. Life is a mystery, and whether we’re gay or straight, rich or poor, white or black, we have the opportunity to be good, kind, lovingpeople that look out for one another, that fight for what is right, and that help bring about the positive change our world is in desperate need of.
I think it’s time that we finally close this case, and move on once and for all. The sooner we stop worrying about trivial things, the sooner younger generations won’t think twice about loving whoever they want, and just look to love, and that is a healthy world.