Subscribe to TrevorHoppe.com





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License


February 6, 2010

Gay men make great uncles?
FILED UNDER: "Pop Culture"
TAGS: David Halperingay geneSaint Foucault
By Scott

Discussion about the "gay gene" is still happening. The health section of the Los Angeles Times recently published an article that tries to account for the existence of male homosexuality from an evolutionary perspective. According to the article, the gay gene survives, because gay men perform an important social function: they "make great uncles." Well intentioned, the author is trying to debunk a popular conservative view that explains homosexuality as a lifestyle, a choice, or a sin. She writes,

And if you don't believe in evolution--or that homosexuality in men may have biological roots, but is rather a lifestyle chosen to affront--well then, this study won't help explain anything for you. Good luck finding an alternative.

I appreciate the author's confrontation of right-wing and Creationist perspectives. Still, I have been wary of biological explanations of homosexuality ever since I read David Halperin's book Saint Foucault. In the first place, the "pink gene" theory is scientifically specious. In the second place, it's kind of offensive/heteronormative to argue that gay people should be allowed to exist because they're good babysitters. As much as I look forward to being an uncle, I have trouble imagining that my genes made me gay so that I can be a "helper in the nest." Third, the attempt to establish certain forms of sexual desire as "natural" implies that other forms of desire are "unnatural." People cannot so easily be divided into the categories "homo-" and "heterosexual." Some of us identify as bisexual; some of us prefer to sleep with transgender individuals; some of us prefer cross-generational intimacy; some of us get our kicks by licking black leather boots. Although these kinds of desire cannot be traced back to a gene, they're still legit.

Thanks to Lady Bartlett for the link.

PERMALINK | Posted at 3:03 PM | Post a Comment (2)

2 Comments

Your concern hits directly at the "nature vs. nurture" question: "Is being gay a choice?" Ex-gay preachers and social constructionists believe that being gay is a choice or at a minimum it is defined by society or the individual. Biological essentialists believe that sexual orientation is hardwired in either at birth or very early in the development of an animal. Many people believe discrimination against a "gay lifestyle choice" should be legal. Some believe that such discrimination against gay people will be outlawed if it can be proved that sexual orientation is immutable as the color of your skin. However, others believe the "nature or nurture" question is irrelevant because even race is a social construction and they point out that religious discrimination is illegal despite the fact that you can choose your own religion.

In my opinion, social constructions AND biological or developmental genetic factors are both useful to explain being gay. To reject one or the other puts one at risk of rejecting good science (either social science or biological science).

Race is a good example. Yes, genetics can explain the color of somebody's skin, but it won't explain the cultural fact that many people do not see President Obama as being "black." Being "black" is a social construction that only has a loose connection with genetics.

Author Profile Page Thomas Kraemer User Profile | February 6, 2010 6:47 PM

Scott, I'm with you 100% on this one. Plus, aren't uncles, gay or straight, suppose to be helpful to their nieces and nephews? Until they get their own kids of course--which in the case of the gay ones may not happen for a while.

Saying that nature created you to be a babysitter seems pretty far fetched especially once you take into consideration that for much of human history in particular pre-Christianity were homosexuality, or to be more specific men having sex with men, was openly tolerated we haven't seen any substantial evidence to support these "super uncles".

And while you have the fa'afafine in Samoa, who are embraced, you similarly have the Hijra in India, except unlike the fa'afafine they are marginalized and often kicked out the family. Which of course makes them incapable of being well sought after babysitters.

Author Profile Page J. Clarence User Profile | February 8, 2010 4:40 AM


About Us
Trevorade is a community of people just like you who spend their days thinking about sex, gay men's health, and HIV/AIDS. Welcome!

We Need Your Support
We're supported almost exclusively by donations from generous souls like yourself. So please, if you enjoy the content here, shell out a few gay dollars to help us cover our hosting bills.










Clips N' Chips
Liberal-Minded. Antillean-American. Queer. Non-PC Feminist.
Joe. My. God.
Gay Culture, Short Stories, & More! NY-Based.
Kaleidoscope
 Fellow Ann Arborite and Gay Blogger. Sexuality & Human Rights focus.
Knucklecrack
Gay Activist Eric Levin's Fabulous NY-Based Blog.
Lifelube
Gay, Sexy, Healthy - Just Like You!
Pam's House Blend
She's a fabulous North Carolinian blogging about politics, LGBT and women's rights, the influence of the far Right, and race relations. What more can I say?


19th Century
ABC
abortion
abstinence
academia
Acapulco
ACLU
ACT UP
activism
Adam Lambert
Adam4Adam
Adrienne Rich
advertising
aesthetics
Africa
age of consent
AIDS in Culture
AIDS Inc
airlines
Alan Cumming
Alice Newton
Alix Olsen
Allan Berube
Amanda Blank
Amazon.com
Amber Hollibaugh
America's Next Top Model
American Idol
American Sexuality Magazine
Americans
anal queefing
anal sex
Ancient History
Anderson Cooper
Andre Cavalcante
Andrew Sullivan
Ann Arbor
Antiretrovirals
Apple
archival research
Argentina
Armed Forces
Art
art fair
astrology
atlanta
Australia
AutBar
bacon
Badlands
banned
bareback
barebacking
Barry Adams
bathhouse
Batman
Bay Area Reporter
BBC
Bea Arthur
bears
Berkeley
Bette Midler
Better World Advertising
Betty White
Beyonce
Beyond Masculinity
bi-curious
bigotry
bikes accidents
Bill Clinton
Bill Frist
Black gay men
Blackness
blogging
blow job
body image
Boston
Bottom identity
bougie white people
Brazil
Brent Corrigan
Britney Spears
Broadway
Brokeback Mountain
Bruce LaBruce
bullying
Bush Administration
Butt Magazine
California
call for papers
Calpernia Addams
Cameron Diaz
Camille Paglia
camp
campaign financing
Canada
cancer
capital punishment
capitalism
Carribean
Castro
Catholic Church
Cathy Cohen
Cazwell
CDC
Celine Dion
censorship
charity
Charlize Theron
Charlotte
Che Guevara
Cher
Chicago
China
chlamydia
Chris Bartlett
Christina Aguilera
Christina Applegate
Christopher Columbus
Chronicle of Higher Education
CIA
circuit boys
circumcision
civil rights
class politics
clubbing
CNN
cocaine
coming out
commodification
community
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project
condoms
Congress
Connecticut
conservatives
cooking
copyright laws
Cornell
corporate welfare
corruption
Cortland Review
counterpublic health
country music
Craigslist
Creating Change
criminal justice
cruise ship
crystal methamphetamine
CTOPS
Cuba
cultural studies
D&X Abortions
daddies
Daily Beast
DailyKos
Dan Savage
Daniel Reeders
Danny DeVito
David Halperin
David Kaufman
David Letterman
David Malebranche
democrats
Denmark
Desperate Housewives
Destiny's Child
Detroit
Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe
Dick Cheney
dieting
disclosure
disco
discrimination
disidentification
Disney
divas
DOMA
douche bags
douching
drag queens
drugs
DSM
eagle
Ebay
Economics
economy
Edmund White
elderly
elections
Elizabeth Pisani
Ellen DeGeneres
England
epidemiology
epistemology
Eric Leven
Eric Rofes
español
Ethan Suniewick
Ethel Merman
ethics
ethnocentrism
European Union
Eurovision
Evan Wolfson
exams
Facebook
facial
family
Family Guy
fascism
Fashion
Father's Day
fausto fernos
FDA
feastoffun
FEMA
femininity
feminism
Feminist men
Ferndale
Film studies
Fiona Apple
fiscal responsibility
fisting
fitness
Florida
flow
foreclosure
FOX News
Frameline
France
free speech
Frontiers
FTM
Ganymede
Gary Dowsett
gas prices
gay bashing
Gay bitch
Gay City
gay gene
Gay icons
gay male culture
gay marriage
gay men
gay men's health
Gay Men's Health Leadership Academy
Gay Men's Health Summit
Gay Pride
gay sex
gay stuff
Gay.com
gayborhood
Gayle Rubin
geisha
gender identity
genderfuck
genetics
George W Bush
Germany
Gilbert Herdt
Giovanni's Room
GLAAD
GLBT Historical Society
GLBTSA
GLEE
Glenn Beck
GLF
global health
Gold Coast
Golden Girls
Golden Globes
goldstar
Google
graduate school
Grindr
Guillermo del Toro
H1N1
Haiti
hanky code
Harlequin Superromance
harm reduction
Harry Potter
Harvard
Harvey Milk
hate crimes
HBO
health care
Heather Cassils
Helen Goddard
herpes
heteronormativity
heterosexism
high school
higher education
Hillary Clinton
hipsters
HIV
HIV / AIDS
HIV Panic
HIV Prevention
HIV testing
HIV-positive
Hollywood
homofobia
homophobia
Homophobia
hooking up online
hospitals
HPPC
HPV
Human Rights Campaign
Hurricane Katrina
identity politics
Illinois
IML
immigration
India
individualism
Indonesia
inequality
Inga Muscio
insomnia
Institutional Review Board
insurance companies
intergenerational intimacy
International Mr. Leather
Internet
intersex
Iowa
iPhone
Iran
Iraq
Islam
Israel
iTunes
Ivy League
Jackson Bowman
James Baldwin
James Schuyler
Janet Jackson
Japan
Jean Genet
Jim Pickett
Joe Lieberman
John D'Emilio
John McCain
Jon Stewart
journalism
Juanita More
Judith Butler
Julia Serano
juventud
Juventud
k.d. lang
Kane Race
Kansas
Kansas City
Kanye West
Karl Rove
katastrophe
Kathy Griffin
keith green
Kevin Jennings
Kim & Cookie
kitsch
Kylie Minogue
LA Gay & Lesbian Center
Lady Gaga
LAMBDA
Lambda Literary Foundation
lark ballinger
Larry Kramer
Las Vegas
latino
Lauryn Hill
lawyers
leadership
leather
Legends
Les Natali
lesbians
LGBT Cinema
LGBT culture
LGBT history
LGBT politics
LGBT youth
lgbti health summit
LGBTI Health Summit
libertarianism
Lifelube
Lisa Marie Presley
literary
Liza Minelli
LOGO
London
long term nonprogressors
Longtime Companion
Lord of the Rings
Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times
love
lube
Madonna
Magnet SF
Maine
malaria
Malaysia
ManAlive
Mandy Carter
Manhunt
marc felion
Marilyn Monroe
Marion Cotillard
Mark Snyder
Mark Wunderlich
Married Men
Martha Nussbaum
Martin Luther King Jr.
masculinity
Massachusetts
masturbation
Mattachine Society
Matthew Shepard
Medicine
mentorship
Meredith Vieira
methodology
Mexico
Michael Hurley
Michael Jackson
Michael Moore
Michael Petrelis
Michael Scarce
Michael Warner
Michel Foucault
Michelangelo Signorile
Michigan
Michigan Daily
Microsoft
Middle East
Mika
military
Million Dollar Bill
Minnesota
monogamy
moral panics
morality
Mormon Church
Moscow
Movable Type
Movimiento LGBTTT en México
MRSA
MTV
museveni
music
music videos
mythology
nair
NAMBLA
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Sexuality Resource Center
NBC
Necto
needle exchange
Needles Jones
negative men
neo-nazi
neoliberalism
Netherlands
New York City
New York Times
New Zealand
newspapers
Newsweek
NGLTF
Nicole Kidman
No Doubt
North Carolina
Obama
obesity
okcupid
Olympics
Ongina
Oprah
oral sex
orgies
Original Plumbing
Out Magazine
Outfest
Outkast
Palestine
Pamela Conover
Pansy Division
parenting
Paris
Paris Hilton
Pat Califia
Pat Robertson
Patriot Act
Paul Newman
Peaches
Pedophilia
Perez Hilton
perfume
Peru
Peter Tatchell
pharmaceuticals
Philadelphia
Philippines
philosophy
photography
piercings
plagiarism
Planned Parenthood
pleasure
podcasting
poetry
police
police brutality
poppers
pornography
positional identity
Post exposure prophylaxis
post-race
postmodernism
Powell's
Poz Magazine
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
PrEP
President Obama
Pride
Princeton
print media
Prison-industrial complex
progressive
Project Runway
Proposition 8
prospect theory
psychology
public health
public sex
Puebla
Puerto Rico
Queen Latifah
Queer as Folk
queer identity
queer politics
queer studies
queer theory
QueerToday.com
Question of the Day
Quotes from People's Profiles
Rachel Maddow
racialized desire
racism
Racism
Radical Faeries
radio
raid
Raleigh
Rape
recording industry
rectal microbicides
refreshing
religion
RENT
Rene Zellweger
reproductive health
Republican Bastards
Republican party
research
retreat
Richard Labonte
rimming
risky business
Rita Hayworth
Road Trip
Robert Novak
Robyn
Roe v. Wade
Rome
Romeo Void
Royal Oak
RuPaul
RussaYog
Russia
russian river
Saint Foucault
Salon.com
Sam Sparro
San Francisco
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
San Francisco State University
Sarah Palin
Sasha Baren Cohen
Saturday Night Live
Scarlet Johansson
School violence
Scissor Sisters
Scooter Libby
Scott's life
Search engines
Seattle
September 11th
seroadaptation
serosorting
Sex and the City
sex education
sex offenders
Sex Panic
sex work
sex-negativity
Sexism
sexology
SexPols
sexual ethics
sexual health
sexual scripting
Sexuality & LGBT Studies
Sexuality & LGBT Studies
SF Weekly
silver foxes
sissyphobia
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
size queens
smoking
social justice
social marketing
social networking
social science
socialism
Sociology
Sordid Lives
South Africa
South America
South Park
Spain
spanish
sports
Starbucks
statistics
Steamworks
stem cells
stereotypes
stigma
stock market
Stonewall
stop AIDS
straight people
suburbia
Sue Hyde
superinfection
Supreme Court
Susan Kippax
Susan Stryker
Suzanne Pharr
Switzerland
syphilis
Taiwan
taso
technology
Ted White
Telephone
television
terrorism
Thailand
Thanksgiving
The Advocate
The Anonymous Gay Sex Column
The Bottom Monologues
The Gayest Podcast in Michigan
The L Word
The Netherlands
The Onion
the South
The Today Show
The Vatican
The View from the Bottom
The Village People
threesomes
Time Magazine
Tina Fey
Toe up
Tom DeLay
Tony Valenzuela
tops
Toronto
Transamerican Love Story
transgender
transphobia
tricks
Troy Wood
Tucker Carlson
Twilight Series
twinks
Twitter
uganda
Ugly Betty
UNC Chapel Hill
unemployment
Union Square
United Kingdom
United Nations
Unity Conference
University of Michigan
Urvashi Vaid
Utah
vacation
vaccine
Vagina Monologues
vaginas
Valentine's Day
vampires
Vermont
Veteran's Day
Viagra
Victoria Beckham
Village Voice
voting
Walmart
Washington DC
wax
Wendy Brown
Whitney Houston
Wicked
William Way
Wisconsin
women of color
Women's Studies
World Health Organization
Xtube
yoga
young gay men
youth
Youtube
Zimbabwe
zines
zoology
mile Durkheim