Will homosexuality disappear?

I saw an interesting thing on the news the other day. In some remote parts of India about 20 years ago or so, sonograms were introduced to the population. Pregnant women could finally tell the gender of their child before they were born. Unfortunately, a large number of pregnant women who were gestating girls chose to have the female children aborted, believing that boys were preferable to girls. Now, 20 years later, the men have a shortage of girls to marry, precipitating a sort of social crisis.

That got me thinking…

Assumption 1 - homosexuality is a result of some unknown occurence in the brain. I think most reasonable people agree that homosexuality is not the result of some conscious choice.

Assumption 2 - at some point in the future, technology (perhaps the knowledge gained from mapping the human genome) will reveal the cause of homosexuality (perhaps a gene, perhaps because of something going on in the hypothalamus).

Assumption 3 - science will be able to reveal the evidence that a fetus will be homosexual in the prenatal period. Considering that homosexuality is still a taboo in the U.S., I can foresee many women choosing to have their homosexual fetuses aborted.

Could this happen? If it did, would there be legislation to prevent this practice should it happen (which might anger pro-choice women). What would be the societal ramifications?

Or is this too far-fetched?

There is a lot that could be said in response, but a simple answer is that those who are most likely to want to abort their fetus because it will be homosexual are also those most likely to be morally opposed to abortion.

Problem solved.



Interesting thought this because we’re talking about the eradication of a trait independent of the eradication of adult humans who display the trait - it isn’t that you’re wiping out the trait, you’re making it so that it never even comes into existence.

In order to curtail possible derailments, lets replace the trait with lef-handedness and replace abortion with some magical scientific McGuffin that can detect and prevent left-handedness before conception.
Whether we would legislate against the technology would seem to hinge on whether we need individuals with the said trait in our future population, but I’m well aware that we’re verging on eugenics with this and the human race has run into difficulties with that in the past.

It could happen. I grant you that. But it could also be the fact that future researchers discover heterosexuality is the abnormal sympton and develop a “cure” for that.

As the saying goes… Que Sera Sera

It depends on attitudes in the far off future. If this technology were available right now there’s no doubt in my mind that many parents would abort a fetus they knew would turn out to be homosexual. Even some pro-life parents, I suspect, if they knew the end result to be inevitable.
No, there would be no law. How on earth could conservatives justify a position on either side of this question?

Sounds like a Phelpsian version of Brave New World to me.

Problem solved? Do you think it’s that simple, Sua? What we have here is a moral conflict. What would they be most opposed to, abortion or homosexuality?

Don’t be so sure Sua. There’s plenty of people out there willing to kill abortion doctors, or at the very least willing to voice support for those who do. If it comes down ot a choice between protecting life and killing off some group they hate, it’s a pretty easy bet which the fundamentalist loons will opt for.

I doubt it could be made to vanish. It’s not like homosexuals are genetically linked to heavily religious families, and as long as there’s a good percentage of people tolerant of homosexuality mass abortion wouldn’t eliminate the trait. You could see a drastic decrease in population though.

I think there’s a problem with the premise of homosexuality being purely genetic. If that were the case, the “gene” responsible would be self-terminating.

Then again, with modern technology and society’s growing acceptance of homosexuality its possible that such a gene could reproduce in same sex parents.

:slight_smile: Don’t take this too serious folks, it was just a thought.

I think the assumption that is a genetic flaw is wrong. If that were the case then it would be naturally correcting, as homosexuals don’t (usually) reproduce. It seems more like a cultural fluke (with maybe a LITTLE help from certain genes here and there) to me. So when will homosexuality end (absent a bloody purging by fundamentalists)? When it goes out of style.

If anyone here is gay and finds that horribly offensive, let me know, I’ll apologize. But is it any worse than saying you’re a genetic freak?

We’re all of us genetic freaks in at least some respects.

The idea that we’re not is yet another vestiage of Plato and is obsessive desire to try and simplify reality down into essential types, regardless of whether reality was like that or not.

How can homosexual attraction and sex be a merely cultural fluke when it’s been around for all of recorded human history? When it is found throughout the animal kingdom?

Genetic traits don’t necessarily deep six themselves because they’re self-terminating. As long as the gene isn’t dominant it can float around forever, popping up only occasionally when the right combination of parents have offspring.

Genetic infertility is still around. Horrible genetic disorders that kill children before reproductive age are still around. The only way you deep six a gene trait for sure is active eugenics, which is what the OP is talking about.

What makes you think homosexuals don’t usually reproduce? For most of human history most homosexuals got married and had kids, because almost everybody got married and had kids, period. Even in cultures where homosexuality was pretty much accepted you were still expected to marry (though you might still be having gay affairs on the side).

There’s also a recent theory that even exclusive homosexuality may offer an evolutionary advantage in social species. (As Apos noted, homosexual behavior - including lifelong monogamous pairings in species that are into that sort of thing - has been observed in the wild in many, many animal species - almost all higher-order mammals and several bird species, at least.) An exclusively homosexual animal that lives in a group consisting of its family members will have no offspring of its own - and therefore, it’ll spend its time helping protect and provide for its siblings’ offspring. (Remember that your nieces and nephews still carry some of your genetic material, even though they don’t have as much of it as your own children.) Since there’s fewer offspring in the group to divide resources among, and since the nieces and nephews have an extra protector, they have a better chance of survival than they would if the homosexual animal had offspring of its own. So the gay animal’s genes are indirectly passed on. It’s a tradeoff - the young that survive are less closely related than direct offspring, but they’re more likely to survive than direct offspring would be.

Even if homosexuality was genetic but conferred no direct evolutionary advantage itself, it could easily be preserved by evolution if it was linked to a beneficial trait; think of sickle-cell trait.

I didn’t know it was recorded in animals. Anyone have any cites on non-human homosexuality? Also, I didn’t really mean CULTURAL so much SOCIETAL fluke. More like a side-effect of civilization, not a temporay fad. Guess I was a little misleading there. Really, though, I suppose I don’t know enough to make an informed estimate, I knew its been around throughout history, but you, particularly, king of spain, make it sound like it was PREVALENT where I imagined a very minute percentage. Any cites on that, as well?

I understand the old school of thought based on a '93 study indicated that homosexuality was a sex linked recessive gene. This study was disproven recently http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/Human%20Nature%20S%201999/study_questions_gene_influence_o.htm
the new study found no significant evidence that a “gay” gene exists.


Sorry, I don’t buy it…you may be able to genetically determine a persons predisposition for something. But we ALL possess genes with a potential which may or may not develop. That is determined by the culture, environment and many other variables which cannot be determined at gestation.

BTW I’m not gay and if you are that’s your business.

Regarding the OP: No, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
and laigle FYI my wife and daughter have a form of muscular dystrophy that is sex linked recessive. It is usually non-fatal but in severe repeats of the gene it can be. Even then it usually doesn’t occur until after they reach maturity.
My daughter has an unusually high count. I pray that genetic surgery is perfected soon. They’ve been promising us for about five years now. 'til then it’s lots of trips to the hospital.






As to the OP, today we have the ability to tell if a child will have a wide range of conditions, and people make the decision to have the child anyway. I don’t see how homosexuality is going to be much different. Some people will abort the child, but not everybody, and my guess is that as homosexuality becomes more and more acceptable, fewer people will choose the abortion.

A movie called Twilight of the Golds was made with this premise.

I once read a science-fiction story with the exact same scenario. It involved industrial spionage and murder and a gay detective that gradually came to realize that a by-product of the technology in question would allow parents not to have gay children (and there wasn’t even need of abortion since homosexuality involves both genetics as well as in utero chemical circumstances and the technology acted on the chemistry).

Pretty good story. Bittersweet ending. The detective succedes in finding the technology.

Homosexuality has been a factor in AFAIK every culture ever studied. As to animal homosexuality there’s an article here: http://archive.salon.com/it/feature/1999/03/cov_15featurea.html

Just so other Dopers are clear as to my personal feelings, I hope by the time this type of technology exists (and I think it will, probably in my lifetime [I’m 32]), societal attitudes will evolve to the point where homosexuality will be recognized as quite normal, and that gay people won’t confront the type of shit they face today from mainstream society.

I realized after posting this that some folks might infer homosexuality “disappearing” would be a desirable result of emerging technology, according to me. Please know that I did not mean to imply this, and I eagerly await the day that the vast majority of people accept gay folks as equal, productive, and necessary facets of our society that they actually are.

I would regard the scenario posed in my OP, should it ever come to pass, as horrifying as what happened in the remote parts of India.