Tuesday, March 14, 2006
by Wayne Besen
Gay men are limp-wristed and may have a Queen Gene, according to a controversial segment on CBS's 60 Minutes, "The Science of Sexual Orientation." The show suggests that gay men are prissy and prance and wear lavender pants while they lisp and dance. Which can certainly be true, in some cases, but is this just crass stereotyping masquerading as science?
The segment featured two sets of twins. The fist pair - Adam and Jared - was nine years old. Jared was tough as nails and had a collection of G.I. Joes, while Adam painted his nails and dreamt of pantyhose.
Steve and Greg, the second pair of twins, were adults. Steve, who is straight, grew up playing sports, while gay Greg "liked helping out in the kitchen."
The idea of studying identical twins is to show that upbringing has nothing to do with the outcome of sexual orientation. Indeed, one has to be a dolt with an agenda to still believe the outdated myth that homosexuality is caused by bad parenting.
"Psychologists used to believe homosexuality was caused by nurture - namely overbearing mothers and distant fathers - but that theory has been disproved," reporter Leslie Stahl authoritatively said.
"Today, scientists are looking at genes, environment, brain structure and hormones. There is one area of consensus: that homosexuality involves more than just sexual behavior; it's physiological."
Identical twins with differing sexual orientations suggest that there are other factors at work than just genes.
"There's also the environment that happens to us while we're in the womb," said Northwestern University researcher Michael Bailey in the segment. "And scientists are realizing that environment is much more important than we ever thought it was."
Michigan State University's Marc Breedlove drove home this point by showing Stahl how he can take a rat that scurries and make him sashay with a shot of hormones or castration.
"I wouldn't call these gay rats," explained Breedlove, who has the perfect name for a vermin sex researcher. "But I would say that these are genetic male rats who are showing much more feminine behavior."
The show also pointed out that for every older brother a man has, his chances of being gay increase by one-third. Additionally, Bailey addressed the lie that gay men are more promiscuous by nature. He said both gay and straight men are "shallow" and tend to focus on looks, but gay men simply have more opportunity.
"They're [gay men] just more successful at it, because the people they're trying to have sex with are also interested in it," Bailey said.
I applaud this dose of truth, because anyone who has spent five minutes around straight men, know that they are just as frisky as their gay counterparts. The only people who deny this are uptight fundamentalists. And they are really no different, except they have hang-ups and feel guilty after the sex.
Whether Bailey has hit the scientific jackpot or is a crackpot is open for debate. Many people bristle, for example, when he claims that gay people walk and talk differently. True, one's gaydar does not have to be finely tuned to figure out Richard Simmons or Clay Aiken is gay. Oh, wait, is Clay gay?
Before Bailey makes such broad assumptions, however, he should put on football pads and collide with former NFL player Esera Tuaolo. This might rattle him out of his one-dimensional mind-set and lead him to expand his research to include gay and lesbian people who are not borderline transgender.
There are also critics who rightfully question Bailey's potentially dark motives. He once told The New York Times that if it became possible for parents to determine sexual orientation in the womb than, "selecting for heterosexuality seems to be morally acceptable....Selection for heterosexuality may tangibly benefit parents, children and their families and seems to have only a slight potential for any significant harm."
"His research is highly questionable," said Lisa Mottet, a transgender rights attorney with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Bailey's work is simply not credible." NGLTF has criticized his research on transgender people and bisexuals calling it shoddy and filled with unscientific assumptions.
Still, the 60 Minutes segment, as a whole, was very helpful to the gay rights movement. It brusquely dismissed the inane pseudo-science of our opponents. But in the process of neutralizing the right, it neutered gay men. While we are cheering the segment, Bailey should know that most of us aren't using pompoms.
I saw the segment, and was equally amused by the aptness of Dr. Breedlove's name. But before passing judgement on Michael Bailey, I note that it is very difficult to get the news media to report science stories correctly, especially stories dealing with human behavioral science.
This field is always dealing with trends, tendencies, percentages, and probabilities, and hardly ever with absolutes. I think Bailey knows this, when he talks about the greater chance of a man being gay the greater number of older brothers he has.
Getting that reported accurately is difficult, as the news media greatly prefer absolutes. So if a study like this finds a 60-40 imbalance, or 55-45 or even 52-48, some papers will cry out, "Gay Men Have Limp Wrists! Science Has Proved It!" Which it most emphatically has not.
60 Minutes is a lot better than that, though sometimes the visuals it chose to illustrate the segment were pushing it a bit. But it's best to judge Bailey by what he's actually published, not by what is said about him on the news.
BTW: The nine year olds, Adam and Jared, were actually fraternal twins, not identical, which changes the genetics picture entirely. 60 Minutes did mention this, but it went by so fast that I think most people missed it.
posted by Jean Lafitte, at
Welcome to our company which sells all kinds of maple mesos, very cheap mesos, and the more cheap mesos. If you have to buy some maplestory mesos, please come to our company, we can give you the best maple story mesos and best service.
posted by , at
I get a lot of rohan crone and the rohan gold is very important for anyone who wants to play the net game. Most of the rohan online croneis the access to the net game. If you have the rohan online gold, you can make good use of the rohan moneyto enjoy yourself in the game.
posted by cool, at
It is the Rose zuly which make me very happy these days,
my brother says rose zulie is his favorite games gold he likes,
he usually buy some rose online zuly to start his game most of the time he will win the rose online zulie back and give me some Arua ROSE zuly to play the game.
posted by xhsjsss, at
It is the Entropiauniverse ped which make me very happy these days, my brother says Entropia Universe Gold is his favorite games gold he likes
, he usually buy some Entropia Universe Money to start his game and most of the time he will win the Buy Entropia Universe Gold back and give me some cheap Entropiauniverse ped to play the game.
posted by derfefww, at