Being born is the ultimate surrender since nobody was ever asked to be born. And while we are at it, did you choose to be left-handed, right-handed, long-legged, round-faced, with glorious wavy hair? We all seem to easily accept these givens as biological, and therefore “givens.” But when it comes to sexuality, we all have opinions and beliefs. Many think that there are only two directions to sexuality so any deviation must be an abomination or at least, a temporary crisis. Many people think that being gay is either a disease or a choice.
As a disease, they think it can be treated or at least managed (as if it were a virus.) But scientifically, which means after you have studied a lot of data and seen the evidence, there is no reasonable cause to say that gayness is a mental or physical disorder. As a choice, we think gays are just misguided to making a “diseased choice” as they have been influenced by the “wrong people”. This also puzzles me because it is as if “choosing” makes who we are, including being gay, less valid as human beings.
Dr. Robert Spitzer, one of the most famous scientists who was one of the proponents of the idea that gayness is a mental disorder and therefore can be treated (presupposing it as a disease) made an effort to apologize 3 years before his death for treating his gay patients so that they could recover from it. He admitted that he misinterpreted the data and caused sorrow to those who were treated for gayness. He later championed this realization and helped drop it from the professional manual that once included gayness as a mental disorder.
But what if what we have detailed evidence that biology does play a part in being gay? And it happens even BEFORE the male fetus appears in his mother’s womb?
The minute you are conceived, you are at the mercy of biology to get you to become more than just a cell into the multicellular fireworks who will be brought out of your mother’s womb. Just the basics – your father’s 250 million sperm cells all start gunning for your mother’s egg cell with only one making it. It is a journey of a lot more than just a thousand steps, involving speed and health for that victorious sperm as it meets the egg with its own set of health ups-and-downs depending on the genes it bears. Imagine the grand raffle of Mom and Pop genes to produce the mixed set of “winner” which makes up the “biological you”. But that story is just the beginning. A whole lot more happens after that. In fact, scientists have found out that even who was in your mother’s womb before you were has a lot to do with who you will be. And for many gay men, this is the case.
Just like why you are left-handed or right-handed, when you recognize the role of biology in the uncountable different ways we could become as human beings in the many aspects of ourselves, gayness is rooted in part in biology. And one recent study has pinpointed the exact mechanism as to how who your mother’s womb hosted before could increase the chances that a male fetus would turn out gay.
The study is recent but is part of at least a 23-year journey marked by other important studies that led to this finding. Since 1996, the same researchers, Blanchard and Bogaert, have posited that a significant number of gay men are so because their mothers had sons before them. They referred to biological sons. They had then reason to suspect that it had to do with the immunity of the mother. They continued research on this cause and effect and published other papers related to it which has brought them to this new important finding.
They have now found out that yes, indeed, it had to do with the mother’s immunity. Our immunity generally works this way – something “new” comes up that our body is not familiar with and it immediately puts up a defense (“antibodies”) so that it does not invade our system and cause disruption. That “new” thing does not necessarily mean it is bad. But the body gets defensive because nature always plays it safe for anything that is new.
The study found that when a mother hosts a male son for the first time, the male fetus produces proteins that the mother’s body has not encountered before. But until delivery, this encounter does not happen because the placenta keeps all these new proteins from the male baby contained in the placenta. When the mother gives birth and the placenta breaks, then the mother’s system encounters the new proteins and puts up a defense and produces “antibodies”. These antibodies then become part of the mother’s system which will affect the next one to be conceived in her womb.
These antibodies then do an amazing thing. It attaches itself to a protein that is supposed to partner with another protein in the male fetus. When antibodies do that, they prevent the “partner proteins” (the ones, among others, known to contribute to the sexual orientation in the male brain), from locking with each other. That is why the evidence showed that the more older brothers that your mother bore, the more antibodies she has which increases the likelihood of later male fetuses to be gay. This evidence held across populations and cultures around the world. This evidence was not found when they investigated gay males who had older adopted brothers which implies that there are other things we have to know about what makes us gay. The evidence on antibodies also only held true for gay men but not gay women.
This does not mean that many older brothers will automatically make a younger brother gay. We should remember that biology alone, is another many-splendored science and many other links between biology and being gay (whether male or female) are being studied. Not because it is a disease but because science is a lot about understanding what it is to be human. Many things about biology and the many other things about the human condition are being studied.
This biological finding expands the range of the human condition, by dismantling the often-used opinion that to be gay is unnatural and therefore, immoral. To be gay is as natural as being straight. We just do not understand nature as quickly and as clearly as we do this part now. And you can hold on to your belief on the contrary but nature does not care. It is deaf and blind to your opinion. Otherwise, it would have asked you first before you were born. – Rappler.com