Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good for us or Bad for us?

There has been much conversation and debate about the gay sheep experiments going on in Oregon. "Science told: hands of gay sheep"
SCIENTISTS are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of “gay” sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The experiments introduce hormones into the systems of male sheep that are oriented towards sexual intercourse with other male sheep. The hormones appear to change the orientation and the once gay sheep start having intercourse with female sheep.

On the one hand it is good for us because the right wing religious conservatives cannot start bleating "see, we told you homos can be cured" because this would validate the premise that homosexuality is biological. This is good for us because it can now be proven that attraction to the same sex is a biological function; we are gay not by choice but by design. According to religious conservatives the only biological “designer” out there is God, in fact, religious conservatives believe that God’s law is natural law and that nothing occurs in nature that is not the will of God. God is the ultimate designer (look at any argument for intelligent design and creationism). Therefore, if homosexuality is in fact biological then homosexuality, by this definition, is God’s will because God “designed” us to be gay.

Coincidentally, there are 28,200 Google results for the search “gay sheep Oregon” and the leading ultra conservative activist group “Concerned Women of America” (who are immediate to respond to any gay findings) have absolutely nothing on their website in response to the scientific study! On the ultra-conservative-facts-be-damned World Net Daily website (fondly referred to as “wingnut daily” by progressive bloggers”) there is only one article regarding the gay sheep. Because they know they will lose the argument if they acknowledge homosexuality as occurring by design, the following is the best they could come up with:

Lesbian tennis star slams 'gay sheep' research
OHSU researchers found a difference between "straight" and "gay" rams in one region of the hypothalamus. While the region is generally twice as large in rams as in ewes, in male-oriented rams it was nearly identical in size to hat in normal females. Similar differences have been found in the brains of homosexual men, but since most of those studied had died of AIDS-related illnesses, scientists were unable to say whether the condition was related to disease or sexual orientation.

In true wingnut fashion, they do not cite the study that was conducted of gay men so this "study" is likely loosely based on fact or completely fabricated.

This issue has been going on since 1995! Only recently did it come to the forefront and start receiving media attention as a result of Martina Navratilova’s letter to the President of Oregon State University. The study itself is a punch to the face of the religious conservatives because it is scientific proof that homosexuality is biological in nature.

NOW – Bad for us.
The fact that homosexuality is a biological function and, according to the Oregon State University scientific research, can be treated with hormone therapy, would place homosexuality squarely back on a “treatable disease” list, just like diabetes. This was Navratilova’s objection to the experiments. What is to stop a pregnant woman from treating her unborn child with the “anti-gay hormone” therapy? This would put an end to gay men being born and ultimately end homosexuality (in theory).

The big hole in the experiment that I see is that it has been conducted on male sheep ONLY! What about female homosexuality? Does the same condition with the hypothalamus occur in women? No studies that I have seen have been conducted on lesbians.

Also, being gay is not just sexual attraction; there is the psychological and emotional attraction as well. The studies only indicate that the sheep will convert to heterosexual physical interaction (and it was not conclusive that the sheep became exclusively heterosexual). What about the emotional aspect of gay relationships? No, treatments to fix the hypothalamus will not eliminate homosexuality; after all, humans are not sheep! We have emotions and loving bonds that transcend any physical relationship. Gays have existed thru ought history and will exist until the end of time, the OSU is further proof of this fact. This is what the religious conservatives are afraid of and why they are not acknowledging the existence of the OSU research.

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