Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gay Sheep

This is an interesting article written by a gay man about the study of gay sheep.

Zoologists have known for many years that homosexuality isn't uncommon among animals. (My own cat has raised suspicions ever since he tried to mount a cowering male dachshund.) But I was surprised to learn recently that male sheep exhibit homosexuality at least as often as humans: roughly 8% of rams turn out to have sex exclusively with other rams.

This little piece of faunal ephemera might otherwise have gone unnoticed outside the rarely intersecting subcultures of gays and shepherds. But a few months ago, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals launched a p.r. campaign on behalf of gay sheep. PETA claims that researchers in Oregon are killing gay sheep and cutting open their brains in order to learn how to turn gay rams straight. A few weeks ago, London's Sunday Times picked up the story in an unnerving article that states the research "raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual."
The more pressing question for me is, What would happen if research like Roselli's did lead to, as the Sunday Times imagined, "a 'straightening' procedure [such as] a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn like a nicotine patch"? I hope scientists have better things to do, but would a Hetero Patch be so awful? It would allow bigoted women to get what they want--straight kids--and ensure that gay kids grow up with moms who, at the very least, didn't try to prevent their existence. Gay people seem to fear we would die out if such a device existed. But the elaborate combination of genes, hormones and psychology that produces same-sex attraction has persisted, against all odds, through the millenniums. Gays have survived Darwinian selection, Nazis, the dulling effects of Will & Grace. I don't think a little patch would ever keep some rams from wanting other rams.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, my girlfriends mother had a dog that seemed to be gay. The dog had to go in for surgery and guess what they found - both male and female parts.

Closer to proving it's genetic all the time.

Sun Jan 28, 02:14:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gays never stop pushing do they?

Sun Jan 28, 07:13:00 PM EST  
Blogger Spitfire said...

Anon # 1: You're confusing trans-sexuality with homosexuality. Obviously if you're born with both parts/hormones you're going to be confused about to whom you're sexually attracted; however, that doesn't mean that people who are gay are transgender/trans-sexual.

Anon # 2: I'm not sure what you mean by your comment, but it came off as offensive.

Wed Jan 31, 12:10:00 AM EST  

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