Conventional patriarchal thinking says that a father who raises a son who is more interested in being Frank Ocean’s “Forrest Gump” than partaking in 2 Chainz’ birthday wish is a failure. It doesn’t take Tracy Morgan’s abhorrent joke, detailing the lengths he would take to sex the gay out of his son (and if that didn’t work, kill him), to understand how most men view having a LGBTQ offspring.
Well just in time for the holidays, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) dropped this little Christmas nugget:
“Instead of a specific gene, my colleagues developed a theory that homosexuality could be inherited due to certain epigenetic triggers,” said evolutionary biology and mathematics professor Sergey Gavrilets at the University of Tennessee.
To provide some context, many scientists have tried to find the gene that is responsible for homosexuality in humans, but they have had no luck so far, despite multiple investigations. Instead, this new research suggests parents may pass on epi-marks that are normally erased between generations and cause the fetus to receive male hormones differently.
Basically, as Dr. Gavrilets explains, epi-marks are compounds that sit on DNA and regulate how active, or inactive certain genes are, and also control when during development these genes are most prolific.
“Our theory is that some families can have very strong canalization that can be beneficial in one sex but detrimental if passed to the opposite sex. These strong ‘switches’ can make a female very feminine or a man very masculine. But sometimes the switches can be passed down to the opposite sex instead of being erased. So if a mother passes her epi-marks to a son, then the male will be less sensitive to testosterone and more feminine. Or if a daughter inherits her father’s epi-marks then it can cause the female to become masculinized and affect sexual behavior.”
For now this a controversial theory, as some folks in LGBTQ community express their rancor over science still trying to explain their existence, biologically.
Conversely, the Christian-right interpret the finding to mean that homosexuality is a birth defect. Earlier this morning, Christian radio host Bryan Fischer claimed that the presence of epi-marks meant homosexuality is a “birth defect” and now LGBTQ community was scared because parents could know their child was gay and abort their child, bringing the aforementioned Tracy Morgan-style parenting full-circle:
“This is a birth defect,” Fischer declared. “I think homosexuals are afraid, and I think with good reason, that if there is some kind of gay gene and it’s found, parents are going to want to know,” he said. “‘Does my kid in the womb have the gay gene? If it does, I’m going to abort it.’”
Who would have thunk it? Homosexuality helps the pro-life folks find it in their hearts to allow women the choice to have an abortion, but only if said child is gay. How sad …
“It’s been a controversial topic,” Gavrilets says. “There is a lot of misconception in the world about the topic of homosexuality.” Still, he says, “One of the roles of science is to clear up misconceptions, to explain different phenomena or different patterns.”