Columnist Brandon Baker says the GLBT community shouldn’t stand behind a sexuality gene.
Scientists have spent the bulk of the past few decades arduously studying to determine whether a “gay gene” exists and to prove homosexuality’s biological roots. But while understanding where we come from can be comforting and reassuring, is it necessary?
While the track might not be artistic brilliance, it may be more cunning of a political tactic than the average critic would give her credit for. It is the first pop “anthem” from a multi-platinum-selling artist to directly and unabashedly address the rights and biological nature of the GLBT community.
“When I think of [the phrase] ‘born this way,’ I think of something genetic – the nature versus nurture debate,” said Carolyn Thorn, a freshman music therapy major. “It’s a good excuse to be like ‘Oh, I’m born this way, so that’s why I’m gay.’”
The GLBT community notoriously hides behind the strength of genetics and biology to bolster its argument for equal rights. But when it comes right down to it, how relevant is the question of “nature versus nurture” in the fight for equal rights?
A recent study performed by Korean geneticists showed that upon alteration of one particular gene in female mice, their sexuality did a complete and immediate flip.
Conversely, numerous other studies argue that while genes do in fact play a role in determining sexual orientation, it is a combination of these genes and our social environments that create sexual preferences.
“[Genes] don’t really mean you’ll end up certain ways. It just means that you’ll have a greater predisposition,” said Brian Taylor, a junior psychology and religious studies major. “It’s the environment acting in accordance with your genetics that really affects you. You are who you are because you’re 100 percent nature and 100 percent nurture.”
Regardless of the cause of homosexuality, it doesn’t seem logical for the GLBT community – both individually and as a collective – to rely on genetics for any kind of comfort.
I don’t recall the black community needing to prove and pinpoint its exact biological differences between other races in order to gain rights. And if the GLBT community truly believes its members are born homosexuals, it shouldn’t need statistics or studies to prove its points.
“The idea of whether I was born with my sexuality or wasn’t, it’s myself,” said Ian Evans, a junior English major. “I’ve come to like myself for who I am. Whether it was a choice or whether I was born with it, does it really matter?”
The idea of needing a concrete genetic basis for homosexuality to overcome personal struggles with accepting one’s sexuality, or to politically charge the GLBT base, is silly. The GLBT community can’t wait for meaningless facts on a piece of paper to dictate the direction of the movement.
But for now, as we wait for that one conclusive study to tell us where our sexual orientation originates, we can all just take Lady Gaga’s word for it and assume our sexualities are in fact determined at birth. If you believe otherwise, then my advice to you is simply this:
“Don’t be a drag, just be a queen.”
Brandon Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.