Barrett Pall: Why Finding The Gay Gene Is A Big Problem

Barrett Pall: Why Finding The Gay Gene Is A Big Problem

Originally published on

Homosexuality has existed in societies across the globe for as long as we can go back in time. The Greeks, Romans, indigenous tribes, Europeans and even early Americans had a level of fluid sexuality that permeated throughout their cultures, and that existed on a spectrum that most weren’t fixated on the way too many people are today.

Homosexuals have played important roles in communities as leaders, religious figures, inventors, artists, politicians and a number of highly important social developers. However as the need to neatly organize and make sense of things has become a common occurrence in modern society due to religious ideals, a shift in how we view a relationship that isn’t between one man and one woman has become unholy, and therefore unwelcome, unnatural, and sinful.

Thus, we began the search to find out what makes someone a homosexual. We began asking all sorts of questions about how something so “wrong” could happen: Is it nature or nurture? Does it come from the mother or the father? Is it hereditary? Is there a gay gene?

There must be a reason why some men and women become homosexuals, and we are on a quest to answer this mind boggling occurrence.

But why?

Why is it that we feel the need to determine how or why someone could be attracted to someone who shares the same genitalia?

As someone who struggled for years with his sexuality, I get why so many people are so obsessed with finding out what makes a lot of us “different,” but the thing is, who cares? Once I accepted this part of myself that really isn’t that big of a deal, I no longer cared why I was “this way.” Furthermore the fact that we spend millions of dollars of research to try and decipher this unimportant thing is ridiculous, and ultimately tells an entire population of people that something is wrong with them.

Are we trying to find a gene so we can then find a cure?

While some scientists might argue that pinpointing a gene could allow for medical breakthroughs, I have to argue that there seems no real benefit to pinpointing a gene. Yes, gay men deal with certain types of diseases more commonly than straight men, but these illnesses usually comes from the act of sex, and/or years of mental hardship that are correlated to constantly hearing you’re less than from those around you.

Excuse me while I geek out for a second, but let’s look at something like the X-men.

While X-men isn’t explicitly about homosexuality, there are tons of articles, papers, and commentary about how the sci-fi superheroes represent a metaphor for homosexuality, and it’s beyond apparent when you take a deeper look at what is going on within this graphic novel. A minority group of individuals that are different are subjected to ridicule, persecution, and experiments to cure them. They struggle to accept themselves at younger ages, and eventually grow up to find that what makes them different makes them powerful, strong, and heroic.

Sound familiar?

If you ask me, being gay has been an amazing gift of self-exploration, self-discovery, and has forced me to look deeper into what matters at a younger age than many of my straight counterparts. I’ve been introduced to amazing men and women who are changing the way our world operates. I have a network of friends internationally, and I’ve found empathy, compassion, and love in extremely deep ways because of what makes me different. I’m not saying that this is what being gay is all about, or that everyone who is a homosexual feels the same way.

What I am saying is that we need to stop spending valuable dollars to pinpoint what makes someone a homosexual, a top, a bottom, more feminine, or more masculine. Jezebel recently released an article, Born To Bottom, that breaks down a study done in Toronto, and a few others that looked to discover why some men may be more prone to being a top or a bottom. The author is clearly intrigued, but writes with a slight air of distaste. Overall this piece feels like feeding into pointless fodder.

Again, I must ask, who cares?

To be honest, I think the better question is, if you do care, why? Why are you so interested in knowing what makes someone the way they are?

In our modern culture, we are starting to see a greater acceptance for homosexuality, but there still is a huge population of people that think of homosexuals as deviants, monsters, and inhuman. Right now, as I write this piece, gay men and their allies are being beaten, tortured, and killed in Chechnya. Concentration camps are being discovered, and Russia and the rest of the world are doing pretty much nothing about this.


Because gay is still not okay. Because politicians rather look out for profit than for humanity. Because projection, deflection, and avoidance are ways to avoid one’s own shame. Because by putting down one group of people, another is able to lift themselves up without looking in the mirror and questioning what they can do to change their own lives for the better. We’ve seen it with race, so why wouldn’t we see it with sexuality?

It is even a practice within the gay community. Certainly not to this extent, but gay communities segregate themselves based off of skin color, age, perceived levels of masculinity and femininity, and the list goes on. Certain subgroups of gay men self-appoint themselves as better than other subgroups because they need to put someone else down; because they feel put down by their own insecurities, another group of people, religious beliefs, heterosexuals, or whatever reason you can come up with.

At the end of the day, what we need to be focusing on isn’t what makes us different, but what unites us. The conversations about nature versus nurture, a gay gene, or where does homosexuality come from need to stop immediately. This is demoralizing, destructive, and leaves impressionable minds thinking negatively about themselves or their peers. We need to focus our energy, time, resources, and money on real issues.

Homosexuality has been discussed as nature’s own way of dealing with overpopulation, and as a random occurrence that “affects” about 5 percent of the American population. We may never know why some of us are attracted to the same sex, and why others are attracted to the opposite, and that is ok.

I don’t want to find the gay gene so I can spread it, I don’t want to find the gay gene so I can cure it, and I don’t need to find out there is a gay gene to make sense of myself or others. So I think it’s time we all agreed that there just isn’t a gay gene, and went on to discuss more important issues.

Personally, I think it’s better if we never fully understand everything. Life is a mystery, and whether we’re gay or straight, rich or poor, white or black, we have the opportunity to be good, kind, loving people that look out for one another, that fight for what is right, and that help bring about the positive change our world is in desperate need of.

I think it’s time that we finally close this case, and move on once and for all. The sooner we stop worrying about trivial things, the sooner younger generations won’t think twice about loving whoever they want, and just look to love, and that is a healthy world.

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  1. Delle
    May 07, 08:49 Reply

    Is there a heterosexual gene? ?

    • Henrie
      May 07, 09:29 Reply

      Good question. I don’t really know why bigots ask the question and why gay people feel obliged to find answers.

    • Mandy
      May 07, 12:51 Reply

      Exactly! If the question of a straight gene doesn’t exist, then what’s with the fascination with a gay gene.

    • ambivalentone
      May 07, 17:58 Reply

      Ever heard the expression “I am wired this way”? That’s a result of released proteins/hormones coded for by the arrangement of genes on the DNA. The potential is astounding as well as limitless AND should be studied. So yes. There should be a heterosexual gene.

  2. Iliana
    May 07, 09:54 Reply

    Delle boo I would like to know u better

    • Delle
      May 07, 13:04 Reply

      PP would do the honours.
      I look forward to hearing from you ?

  3. IBK
    May 07, 10:03 Reply

    Well if the gay gene was found it’d give better footing for the “born this way” mantra. We can at least tell those people who call it a choice to shut up while waving the facts at them.
    Also humans looooove to find out why. We like things in nice little boxes. I wouldn’t call the search for a gay gene pointless. Needless? Perhaps in an ideal world where we learnt to love each other regardless of differences.. But not pointless. Information leads to knowledge, knowledge equals (potential) power. The power that knowledge brings is reason enough for me (I know, I sound like a slytherin ?)

  4. Mandy
    May 07, 12:48 Reply

    At the end of the day, what we need to be focusing on isn’t what makes us different, but what unites us.

    This! ☝ I feel like the straight people who are pursuing this gay gene quest are too focused on how to tell us àpart, another proof of us vs. them.

  5. Bain
    May 07, 13:22 Reply

    What if some of us want a cure?…
    Don’t we all want answers?…
    but I believe they are searching for something that’s not there.

    • Delle
      May 07, 17:07 Reply

      Why would anyone want a cure? Do you regret being you? This country may be damning and all as regards my sexuality but I don’t think I’d have been as complete as I am now, as far gone as I am in life had it not been my sexuality.

      Heterosexuality is boring. Monotonous something that can never push anyone out of their comfort zones. If anything, I’m proud to be a rainbowed being and would wanna come back to the world a second time gay and fabulous.

      No regrets here. None whatsoever. ??

      • Bain
        May 07, 17:51 Reply

        Lucky you…

        Not everyone likes or wants to be different.

        Homosexuality is so fun we are perfect unicorns running over rainbows.
        I don’t regret nothing (I’m lucky I don’t have to) but I’d choose to be hetero without thinking twice.

        • John
          May 07, 21:18 Reply

          I agree with you on that. No ih here but If I had my way I would choose to be heterosexual right away. Would love to have a wife and children but I’m just not wired that way . Please don’t come after me , you’re entitled to your opinion and so I’m I .

  6. Quinn
    May 07, 14:41 Reply

    Stole my heart at “X men”!!! I’m so in love with the franchise! i always perceive a sort of undertone for the plight of us LGBT people, Favourite character? STORM!…but yeah, I don’t think its wrong in finding out how we turn out to be different, not that there’s anything wrong with us at all! loved that recently posted TEDx talk about how special and needed we are in nature’s cycle, if what the guy said was really true. I strongly believe, just like death and many other natural phenomenon, we won’t find answers, so yeah happy finding. all we need is love and self acceptance. Really feel bad about this brutality happening in Russia. Still, love this platform.

  7. John Adewoye
    May 09, 19:58 Reply

    I can always say there is a need to prove this. Because I have come to know that no amount of prove can convince the narrow minded due to the years of engrained prejudice that has become flesh and culture in many societies through religion that does not carry common sense and compassion with it.
    Despite the above, my research of prove came from self-examination:
    I look at my family and I found that I am not the only one who is created this way there.
    I look at the society and I found that people like me are there too and many too.
    I look at researches, I found that my likes even exist among animals and birds. What else or what other prove do I need?
    But for the sake of those among us caught in the web of self-doubt it may be necessary. Finally, you are not alone, so stop being a lone man at Dugbe market.

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