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Shirts advocate respect, love for homosexuals

Hristo Hristov | Monday, March 22, 2004

In response to Gus Zuehlke’s March 22 theological argument against the “social promotion of the homosexual lifestyle,” which is “counterproductive to the true interest of homosexuals,” and “results in monstrous” human behavior, I provide a simple scientific response (although I am aware that theological arguments are strictly irrefutable): there is overwhelming experimental data that social pressure and coercion cannot alter the sexual orientation of a homosexual. Homosexuality is not a disease that can be cured either by Mr. Zuehlke’s preaching or by any other medicine or physician.In fact, as Chandler Burr states in his book “A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation,” homosexuality is no more a disease than human handedness. Inferences about the genetic origin of both of these behavioral traits have always resulted from empirical observations, because neither the gene for human handedness nor the gene for homosexuality has been discovered. Burr provides evidence, showing that there is a striking similarity between the trait of human handedness and homosexuality: both have a majority and minority orientation (right- and left-handed, and hetero- and homosexual people, respectively); the minority orientation is much higher in males than in females for both traits (there are 100 percent more homosexual men than there are lesbians); age of first behavioral appearance of both traits is two years; there is an elevated rate of minority orientation in families with other minority-oriented members; the minority orientation seems to be maternally inherited, implying a X-chromosome linkage. But the most striking statistically determined fact suggesting the genetic determination of homosexuality consists in the following: if one of two monozygotic (identical) twins is homosexual, his or her sibling has a 50 percent chance of being homosexual as well (12 percent in the case of human handedness, meaning that there is more indirect proof that homosexuality is genetically determined than human handedness is). And yet, we intuitively agree that human handedness is a genetic product, while strongly oppose and refuse to admit the notion that homosexuality is simply a genetic variation.One can argue that homosexuality is a disease in a Darwinian sense, since homosexuals cannot actively reproduce and have offspring. However, since our society does not sanction biologically sterile individuals, why would it have to sanction gays?Ongoing studies and research on the heated topic of homosexuality, such as Burr’s, incline me to disagree with St. Paul’s centuries-old description of homosexuality as a punishment from God. It is not a disease, it does not inhibit a person from working or performing any other social function, it does not make people commit more crimes or other illicit acts. And finally, it is not chosen, much in the same way that human handedness is not chosen. So why, then, call it “monstrous” and why not accept a homosexual lifestyle? It is high time that we stop basing our arguments solely on theological constructs (which in this case engender nothing but unfounded discrimination), and cease ignoring the current scientific developments, which scream at our faces: “We are all human, and we are different. Learn to live with it.”

Hristo HristovjuniorStanford HallMarch 22