Blame the mother

Jun 28, 2006 by     10 Comments    Posted under: politics, social issues

You know it was Pride Week in Toronto when the media starts resurrecting stories postulating the causes of homosexuality. This past week’s CBC story, Younger brothers more likely to be gay, basically says that a man is more likely to be gay if he has older brothers. They think that some sort of in utero autoimmune response may be at play but, of course, they are not sure.

There have been a lot of theories put forward over the years beginning with the “overbearing-mother-absent-or-distant-father” theory. Since then we have been told various hypothesis. One points to an excess of male hormones in the womb affecting sexual orientation. Another, which focuses on twins, speaks of childhood gender nonconformity to explain why one brother plays with GI Joes while the other likes to play with Barbies. How the hypothalamus region of the brain is stimulated by body odors is another area of study to explain the difference between straight and gay. The oddest study I’ve come across, apart from the one citing the length of ones ring finger, particularly in women (curiously known as the “Finger Papers” – no shit) as a possible indication of sexual orientation, is the one linking differences in the function of the inner ear to the sexual preference of women.

Ok, is it just me but doesn’t it sometimes seem like people are trying to find the “cause” of homosexuality much in the same way they look for cures for cancer? Am I the only one besides Timothy Murphy who questions the rationale or ethics behind these types of studies?

What would happen if they were to find out that “gayness” is caused by a gene, or pregnant women smoking pot or death rays from Mars? Living in a world that presumes heterosexuality, I can only venture to guess that the next step would be to find a cure or way to prevent homosexuality.

My problem with studies like these is that they work from the assumption that heterosexuality is “normal” ergo, any other sexual orientation is not. That’s like saying being Christian is “normal” while any other spiritual belief is not. Or being white is “normal” while being a member of the world majority is not. Awfully presumptuous don’t you think?

Personally, I find my life more interesting when I presume that everyone I meet is gay. That way I can feign sympathy when they disclose they are not and secretly blame their mothers.

Here’s some food for thought:

21 Questions for Heterosexuals

1. What do you think has caused you to be heterosexual?

2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?

4. If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?

5. Isn’t it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?

6. Isn’t it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?

7. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?

8. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?

9. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? Why are they so promiscuous?

10. Do heterosexuals hate and/or distrust others of their own sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?

11. If you were to have children, would you want them to be heterosexual knowing the problems they’d face?

12. Your heterosexuality doesn’t offend me as long as you don’t try to force it on me. Why do you feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?

13. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?

14. Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

15. How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusively heterosexual lifestyle, and remain unwilling to explore and develop your homosexual potential?

16. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other to narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex-roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?

17. Even with all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

18. How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual like you, considering the menace of overpopulation?

19. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that could help you change if you really wanted to. Have you considered trying psychotherapy or even aversion therapy?

21. Could you really trust a heterosexual therapist/counselor to be objective and unbiased? Don’t you fear he/she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his/her own preferences?

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10 Comments + Add Comment

  • Ok, is it just me but doesn’t it sometimes seem like people are trying to find the “cause” of homosexuality much in the same way they look for cures for cancer? Am I the only one besides Timothy Murphy who questions the rationale or ethics behind these types of studies?

    Honey, you are so *not* the only one who feels that way!!!! I have been beating that particular drum for years (even in an Orlando LGBT magazine called Watermark, before I moved up here.)

    I wrote this into a friend’s blog about one of these studies a month or so ago:

    I think it’s cool, but at the same time, I have some basic problems with these studies.

    1. Bisexuals and bisexuality are buried–we are described as gay or straight depending on who we’re with at time of survey.

    2. Why can’t we look at effects on a life, not causes? Why can’t we merely respect others’ right to make romantic/sexual choices for themselves, even if they would not be our choices for them?

    3. Everyone knows race is genetic. Racism has so far failed to be eradicated because of this knowledge.

    4. Nobody’s checking into the origins of *heterosexuality*. Which just demonstrates that…

    5. In many ways, our society considers same-sex attractions a problem that must be explained away somehow. Because of this…

    6. Should a gene be found, future LGBT people just might be aborted before they even get to breathe.

    But apart from that… ;-)

    It’s so nice to see another one! :-)

  • Great questions!! I think I’ll take them home to my parents on my trip north this weekend!! ;-)

  • btw…you look very familiar. Have you been to any Adlerian Conferences?

  • Familiar? Perhaps you have seen my picture on a post office wall? LOL

    Adlerian Conference? Nah, the last conference I attended was a CALM (Cdn Association of Labour Media) a few years back.

    I don’t do conferences of any kind since I gave up social advocacy work in favour of menopausal dotage. Although I still talk to myself and suffer the occasional spastic twitch, I am much happier.

  • I really like those questions, maybe I’ll use some of them on my redneck sister this weekend. I haven’t come out to her yet and this might be a good opportunity.

    I hope scientists never find a gay gene or a “cause” for homosexuality. It’ll just give the homophobes something else to use to point out our defects.


  • I was just thinking that you may wish to read a book by Jennifer Terry called An American Obsession. It’s about the various attempts to explain or cure homosexuality done over the past century or so. Despite the title, it’s not *just* about America. It will completely make you lose any faith you have in the idea that our civil rights can be found in a laboratory.

  • Right, it was the post office wall…lol Someday it will come to me. :-)

  • I love this–it’s always been my question too. I tried the reverse psychology bit on a friend of mine once, before I came out, when I was already known as a flaming liberal, and she flipped. Total Exorcist-style flipout. “How dare you compare people like that to normal people?!”

    Needless to say, that friendship faded.

    You are a voice of sanity, Barbara.

  • :o )

    I’ll be smiling for days thinking of these!


  • Well said. I doubt heterosexuals actually think this way because they (we) have been brainwashed into believing that we are “normal” and everyone else is “not.” Such a sad state of affairs, but I truly loved what you had to say. Thanks very much because some of what you said had never actually entered my consciousness; such as aborting a baby if they found the “gay” gene. Hmm, gave me much to think about. Coming from a very homophobic society, living in the US has taught me much which I’m grateful for because I know I wouldn’t be this way had I not moved here many years ago. But thanks for once again making my grey matter work.