Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Playing god with children's sexuality....

Clayton Cramer has a post up about some interesting research that is being conducted at Oregon State University. Seems researchers have been able to "cure" homosexual rams by altering their hormonal balance. The article goes on to speculate that such "straightening" might be accomplished by giving expectant mothers a hormone supplement. Gay people, such as Martina Navratilova, have decried the research, claiming that it denies people the RIGHT to be gay. My beef is not with that at all. If a parent can prevent their unborn child from developing what can honestly be called a socially and psychologically debilitating attraction to the same gender, I think parents have a duty to do so. However, that means that if a child can be "straightened" in such a manner, it also means they can probably be made gay in a similar manner, and this frightens the hell out of me. Why? Because the same idiots that claim that this denies people the "right to be gay" may make a conscious decision to make their children gay in some kind of perverted political statement. That would be tantamount to child abuse. Let us be honest with ourselves. How many gay people, if they had the ability to chose, would honestly chose to live a life of social scorn and psychological rejection and trauma? Probably only a few who have drank deeply of the "if it feels good, do it" kool-aid. What kind of parent would intentionally cause their child to experience all of the angst, rejection, scorn, ridicule and abandonment that a person coming to grips with an altered sexuality have to deal with? It would take a person who would choose to further their own distorted political and social agenda over the health and wellbeing of their own child. But the sad fact is there are people that would be happy to do so, and those people deserve nothing short of a bullet to the brain.

Another ethical problem I have with this is that this procedure currently only works for males. (and for the time being, only on sheep. Which begs the additional ethical question of how to test this on a developing fetus.) Currently, the sex of a child cannot be accurately determined until 17-18 weeks, and then only when the child decides to cooperate with the ultrasound operator, without an invasive and somewhat dangerous amniocentesis, which would allow for genetic testing. But the fetal brain starts to form within the first 4-6 weeks of life. What would happen if a hormone regime designed to ensure a healthy boy were inadvertently given to a female fetus? would she become lesbian? What about cases of fraternal twins where both sexes are present?

I applaud the researchers in their attempts to decode the mystery of homosexuality, but this path is also fraught with dangers as well and not all of them are medically driven. We as a race will be forced to come to grips with the meaning and the ethics of this knowledge. I hope we choose well.

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