Pat Richards    

  ... notes on the "Gay Gene" concept


These are notes, not polished articles...

The concept of a
 "gay gene" is gaining a lot of
politically-correct traction these days as the gay community desperately seeks new legitimacy after the disasters of the general elections in 2004. Look, folks, I sympathize, but bad politics is no excuse to indulge in bad science.



Who needs a "gay gene" when you live in a submarine?

Hmmm... the "gay gene" sounds like an interesting springboard for an sf novel, but I'm inclined to doubt there is such a physical thing. On the other hand, I'm sure that for most gays it is not a "choice", but a very real psychological and physical drive which I  don't think results from any emotional or physical stress -- either at birth or in early childhood. Here's my theory to fit the available facts:

Many wild animals in captivity will not breed. They've only started having limited success with many species as they have developed more spacious, naturalistic habitats in zoos and even so the breeding rate for many is not high. There is a classic biology and behavioral experiment performed in college that if you put rats in a cage, they will breed to the extent of the available food and water supply and then they will start eating their babies.

I think you can see where I'm headed with this. In a world overpopulated with humans for our current resource base and ability to grow food (and with the supply of fresh water getting perilously thin in many places), I think there is a sub-conscious psychological imperative at work, a form of "mental birth control" being imposed.

But wait, you say, there have always been gays. Yes, but as a race we are almost always pushing our population to exceed the available food supply... throughout our history as a species we have done this. Always expanding outward, looking for new hunting, grazing and growing land. Inventing tools to increase our capacity to hunt and grow food.

Man is a thinking animal -- both consciously and probably more deeply and profoundly sub-consciously. I think being "born gay" is our sub-conscious racial mind trying to get us to balance out and restrain our population growth without completely putting the brakes on it as happens in most other species when they hit the limits of growth. This sub-conscious imperative to "be gay" is always there in the background, but becomes more pronounced sporadically and "in spurts" because as a race we keep bumping up against the limits of growth, but then thinking our way around them (so far).

You can couple this idea with the "pleasure principle" -- which is to say that the sex drive is so strong and sex so pleasurable that men deprived of female company for extended periods of time (as in prisons and ancient army scenarios) will still want to satiate the drive and experience the pleasure. This is particularly true in "young men" of the under-30 persuasion, and so even men primarily inclined towards heterosexuality will sometimes go for a little gay play under the right circumstances.

Put these two theories together and I think you can explain all of the available facts about gay behavior in humanity throughout the ages and into our modern era.

I think this explanation is more reasonable than climbing out on a scientific limb and postulating a "gay gene" which would serve no biological purpose other than the population-control aspect I have outlined above -- and it seems kind of silly for evolution/god/fate to go to all the trouble of creating a specific gene for this purpose when a sub-conscious psychological imperative would suffice.