Those whom the gods would destroy, they first render in the unconditional declarative on Facebook:
Click. The same revelations reappear, hedged around by caveats like the lonely straight girl in a gay bar. Oh, our genes—notice the plural?—could make us gay . . . or straight. The flight from pure causality continues in the text, which departs even the territory of sexual difference for an and-everything-in-between taxonomy of non-classification. Evolutionary biology, ladies and gentlemen, where some (or all) of our characteristics and behaviors are determined (in part, possibly) by some (or all) of our genes (among other factors).
By the end, we’re back in Kinsey scale territory:
It’s a bit like height, which is influenced by variants in thousands of genes, as well as the environment, and produces a “continuous distribution” of people of different heights. At the two extremes are the very tall and the very short.
In the same way, at each end of a continuous distribution of human mating preference, we would expect the “very male-loving” and the “very female-loving” in both sexes.
Gay men and lesbian women may simply be the two ends of the same distribution.
The desire to ratify scientifically our moral and social and economic postures and preferences is part of a generally cowardly morality that takes a look at some vile human prejudice and goes off searching for a pipette and a bell curve as a counter-scripture to whatever Bronze-Age prejudice a misunderstood God re-dredged up every time a louche Hellenism threatened to make Western civilization vaguely civilized. I’m glad that this fuzzy evidence is being wielded in favor of gay equality; I’m gay, after all. But I can’t help but see it as the boneheaded inverse of all the The New Republicans, Dark Enlightenment dweebs, and other direly self-afflicted determinist assholes forever trying to prove with the modern-day phrenology of intelligence testing that The Blacks Are Stupider. “We’re just asking the questions!” Yeah, yeah. Some of my best friends are black.
I’m sure genetic inheritance and gene expression do influence sexuality; likewise, intelligence and hair color and the desire to eat, or not to eat, cilantro; but the desperate reductivism that keeps popping up to declare that this or that immensely complex trait is the result of some butterfly-pinned nucleotide—and the attendant desire to draw some kind of socioeconomic conclusion therefrom—reeks of both the alchemical and the eugenic. God, remember the study about the genetic basis of American political affiliation? That’s what I’m talking about.
This is like when that weird-looking National Review gnome appeared a few days ago to declare that Laverne Cox is biologically not a woman and the Internet bravely rushed in to declare that scientifically she is. “He doesn’t understand the complexity . . .” And we were all treated to a series of semi-coherent expostulations on various human intersex conditions, as if that has anything to do with the social right of an autonomous human individual to decide whether she wants to live her life as a man or a woman or both or neither, less yet to determine against which physical expression of our species rather aesthetically unfortunate genital she wishes to press her own. If we make the concretized and inevitably temporary axioms of popular (I emphasize) science the preconditions of moral acceptability, then we are in big trouble, people. If Laverne Cox decides tomorrow that she wishes to be referred to by the pronoun Qfwfq and that her gender is henceforth Parthogenetic Quintsexual Proteus Universal then it’s still no skin off my ass, whether ratified by double-blind or by dungeon-master.
Consider the study at hand. What it proposes, in fact, is that with the exception of a relatively small population on the long tails of the normal distribution, human sexuality exists along a fluctuating continuum, and even as one of those, ahem, long-tailed lovers myself, I can assure you all that some element of choice is involved in the expression of sexuality, gender, etc.—for me, to a lesser degree; for the Kinsey 4s out there, perhaps more. I went through periods of greater and lesser effeminacy (apologies for the word choice), especially earlier in my life; I’ve never been especially sexually interested in women, but I’ve certainly be attracted to them, sometimes, especially with close friends, with an intensity that shades into eroticism. Sexual morals should be built on the tripartite foundation of autonomy, self-determination, and consent, not on some fanciful on-off switch in the cells.