the gay gene
The notion of a “gay gene” disturbs me in two unhappily familiar ways. First, it reinforces the common and simplistic notion that people belong to one of two “teams.” Such thinking denies the experience of people like me and Jane and millions of others like us; it would be merely annoying if it weren’t for the hurt it can cause. Bi teenagers feel pressure to choose sides, bi adults hear from gays that they’re in denial, and much dialogue about sexuality is unnecessarily polarized. It’s politically very convenient for gay activists, Christian fundamentalists and social conservatives to put everything in “us versus them” terms, but sexuality is much more fluid than that. Second, it is just one more tiresome example of genetic absolutism—not that scientists subscribe to this, but everyone else seems to. To deny that environment, upbringing, friendship or chance have any significant role in shaping an individual’s development is simply pernicious.