April 02, 2008

From Bill Schemmel :

Re: A function for “gay genes” after all? (Feb. 8): I read with interest the article on genetic study of homosexuality. As a gay man, there is no doubt in my mind a genetic origin or predisposition for homosexuality exists. Those individuals who claim it is a choice are generally motivated by a variety of religious/cultural beliefs that prompt and validate such thinking. It is a difficult task to grow up and thrive as a gay person in the majority of cultures around the world due to the homophobia, prejudice and outright hate that exists. Subsequently, it is not surprising the one Western study focused on determining whether or not gay uncles were more inclined to aide their nieces and nephews found negative results. The majority of gays have been alienated from their domestic cultures and are often not a welcome addition to many of their families, as well!

The Samoan experience appears to be a rarity in today’s world. There is evidence that some Native American cultures welcomed gay members of their tribes. They were often thought to have female and male spirits and were often healers in their communities.

It is my hope that genetic studies will eventually show that homosexuality is just another version we humans assume. There is virtually nothing about we humans that is either this or that. Every aspect of what makes up a human is on a continuum. Why would sex or sexual expression be any different? My fear, however, is once a genetic determination is found, homophobia will prevail and people will abort gay babies! And if that is the case, we will see if society hates abortion or gays more.

Bill Schemmel
Department of psychiatry
MetroHealth Medical Center
Cleveland, Ohio


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