Eugenics By The Backdoor? Analyzing Perspectives on the Gay Gene

By: Shivesh Shouria

If a gay gene were to exist, what would that mean for reproductive technologies?

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We are in an era where even “homophobic Christian ethicists” have changed their view to be more progressive and accept a biological homosexual identity with the recognition that it is not a sin (Murray 2016). The slow acceptance of the LGBTQ community has allowed for concepts such as essentialism to emerge which states that one does not have control over their sexual expression, and you are essentially born gay (Murray 2016). However, some argue that resting human rights on the sole fact that one is born a certain way is counterproductive (Murray 2016). Hence, it is clear that the concept of queerness and how to define it is going to be extremely hard because it is not a scientific anomaly meant to be measured and studied scientifically. Therefore, any search for a “gay gene” will be hard to do under the shadow that eugenics has had in the past decades since, it can lead to the elimination of one’s own voluntary homosexual behavior since, the fetuses’ parents will determine their child’s sexual orientation (Murray 2016). On a similar note, the emergence of “reprogenetics” was an attempt to merge reproductive and genetic technologies and became a prime example of how these technologies are borderline eugenic in their nature (Murray 2016). For instance, the only difference between now and the past is that the eugenics movement then was aided by state coercion whereas now, it is the individual parents who want to “improve” their children according to their own preferences (Murray 2016). It is also important to recognize that finding a genetic cause for homosexuality is not going to change social stigma overnight. In fact, this hyper fixation on genetics being the sole determinant for all human traits can actually perpetuate racism and discrimination (Sheldon 2015). It will create more stigma against the LGBTQ community by reducing them to scientific data that can be improved by the deletion of one gene.

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