A pill to cure homosexuality?

There was quite a hoopla in the news recently over a story concerning a scientist working with gay sheep. Apparently, about eight percent of rams are only interested in same-sex mating. Dr. Charles Roselli, a researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University, has been slaughtering and dissecting the sheep in order to determine which part of the brain is causing this behavior.

Once the story broke, PETA and gay rights groups went ballistic, accusing the scientist of animal cruelty and playing with nature. They also believe that the ultimate goal of the research is to come up with a “cure” for homosexuality. A statement by the scientist only made matters worse.

A release quoted Dr. Roselli as saying that the research “also has broader implications for understanding the development and control of sexual motivation and mate selection across mammalian species, including humans.”

After the vocal outcry, Dr. Roselli vehemently denied that his research is working towards erdicating homosexuality, or even allowing a person or parents to choose the sexuality of a human. World-renowned tennis player Martina Navratilova, who is closely associated with PETA and an out lesbian, remains unconvinced. In a statement to the press, she said:

“The more we play God or try to improve on Mother Nature, the more damage we are doing with all kinds of experiments that either have already turned or will turn into nightmares. How in the world could straight or gay sheep help humanity?”

Whatever the goal of the research may be, it did cause me to think about the possible implications. If homosexuality can be linked to genetics and have physiological factors, then it would only stand to reason that someone in some lab will try to find a way to correct those “flaws.”

If they did come up with a pill or surgery to “cure” homosexuality, would I be willing to take it? I’ve thought about that possibility many times over the years. When I was struggling with my sexuality as a young teen, my answer would undoubtedly have been a passionate “Yes”. It was hard enough being that age without the added bonus of being gay. The strict religious background and Christian school didn’t help matters, either.

Now, since I’ve been out and open about my sexual preference for several years, my answer would be much different. I do not feel that my sexuality is a handicap, but something that has made me a stronger, more empathetic person. If I don’t want people to judge me then I should return the favor, which isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Sexuality is such a part of who I am; the way I feel about myself, the way I interact with other people. It has shaped my views of the world, government, politics and social issues. It makes me question everything, especially religion. Why would so many denominations discriminate against people who have no choice in the matter?

So, at this point in my life, I would definitely refuse a pill. I would be giving up my identity, my way of thinking, and turning my back on all the pain and distress that I have suffered because I am different. This is my journey, and even though I’m not sure where it’s going to end, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

14 thoughts on “A pill to cure homosexuality?”

  1. Jim Newman from the university doing the research here.

    Much of what you have heard about the research is incorrect.

    I should also correct you on something you said. It is true that Roselli is denying the false claims by PETA regarding a “cure” for homosexuality (a truly sickening idea that the animal rights group came up with.) However I should also note that Roselli’s published research backs his statements up.

    The quote you provided:
    “also has broader implications for understanding the development and control of sexual motivation and mate selection across mammalian species, including humans.”

    It clearly states that the researchers hope to understand how the brain works (not manipulate it) The word control refers to the body’s controls. It takes a great leap (like the one PETA made) to suggest that this sentence is sinister.

    The researchers have never tried to “cure” gay animals or humans. The suggestion that this basic science research could be used to develop a cure is science fiction.

    If you are interested in the topc – here are a few things worth reading. – thanks for the chance to comment – Jim

    The Guardian: Gay sheep? Let’s get the facts straight

    TIME Magazine: Yep, They’re Gay

    National Post: How I fell for PETA’s gay ram scam

    New York Times: Of Gay Sheep, Modern Science and Bad Publicity

    ABC News: Are Some Sheep Gay?

    Sunday Times apology and correction:

  2. Jim,

    Thanks for the reply. I certainly wasn’t expecting anyone from the university to read my post, much less reply, but I appreciate it. There are a couple of more questions I would like for you to address.

    First – If the goal of this research is not to alter or predetermine sexuality, then why is it being done?

    Second – In the apology from the Sunday Times (which you have linked to above), it clearly states that the scientists have had no success in altering sexual preference in rams. Doesn’t that mean they have tried?

    Unless the objective of this research is to prove homosexuality is genetic and irreversible, I do not see how it is beneficial to man or animal.

    Also, you stated that most of what I had heard was incorrect, but I’m still not sure what you were referring to specifically. My source (which I linked to) is exactly the same as one of the links you provided for me to read. The bottom half of the article is hypothetical, and I think any reader would understand that, as I refer to myself several times.

    If I have provided incorrect data, please let me know.

    Sincerely,
    Brian

  3. A so-called “cure” (whatever the hell that means) would do nothing but cause problems…mostly mental problems. A “cure” would require a person to become someone completely different…that alone would probably screw someone up in the head for life.

  4. So does that mean that people who are clinically depressed and are taking medication to correct it are turning their backs on who they are; the way I feel about themselves and the way they interact with other people?

    Taking a pill and liking the opposite sex wouldn’t erase your empathy or your questioning of the world. You wouldn’t be giving up your identity, your way of thinking, or turning your back on all the pain and distress that you have suffered because you were born with a mental illness.

    That’s like saying, even though we’ve lost all these lives in Iraq, we can’t turn back now, it would have been for nothing. You’re a stronger person now, so obviously your pain wasn’t for nothing.

    I respect all gay people and I do not propose legislation to restrict their rights as human beings, but I do consider it a mental illness no different than depression or anxiety disorder.

    Most of us would not be ashamed to tell others if we had a malfunctioning pancreas and that we took insulin to correct the abnormality. The problem is that we as emotional human beings take mental illnesses like depression or homosexuality as an insult that our most prized possession, the human brain, is functioning incorrectly. According to the American Psychological Association, “Most mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, lack of intelligence or poor upbringing.” Many people try to justify their dispositions as, “just being themselves.”

  5. @ Bob: But the American Psychological Association also has this to say about homosexuality:

    Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, a mental disorder, or an emotional problem. More than 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that homosexuality, in and itself, is not associated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems. Homosexuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information.

    In the past, the studies of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people involved only those in therapy, thus biasing the resulting conclusions. When researchers examined data about such people who were not in therapy, the idea that homosexuality was a mental illness was quickly found to be untrue.

    In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association confirmed the importance of the new, better-designed research and removed homosexuality from the official manual that lists mental and emotional disorders. Two years later, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution supporting this removal.

    For more than 25 years, both associations have urged all mental health professionals to help dispel the stigma of mental illness that some people still associate with homosexual orientation.

  6. The coment of “The more we play God or try to improve on Mother Nature” that Martina Navratilova made is completely idiotic. Mother nature is designed to let life continue via procreation. Therefor homosexuality in itself is NOT NATURAL. I’m no scientist but if there is any way to rid the world of homosexuality then we MUST as a society investigate it. Homosexuality is probobly a disorder or disease that we created by what we put in our foods or all the medications we take anyway, Mother Nature does not include homosexuality.

  7. We as humans are part of that animal kingdom, so we are no different from other animals, there are abnotmal things in all life, but for life to continue, homosexuality CAN NOT APPLY. IT IS AN OBOMONATION TO ALL ANIMALS. And i am educated

  8. @ Troy: Your original statement was “Mother Nature does not include homosexuality.” That is completely false, as is your assumption that it is a disorder or a disease. Whether you think it is a “obomonation” (check the spelling on that one) is entirely a matter of personal opinion – one that is quickly becoming obsolete.

  9. It may be becoming obsolete in our society because most of us have accepted homosexuality. But compare our societies birth rate to others that dont accept homosexuality and you will quickly learn that OUR society is slowly becoming obsolete and being taken over by other countries people. I.E. most muslim and Indian cultures birth rates are 5-8 times larger than the average American. Our birth rate is less than 2 children per couple. There are other factors than homosexuality that contribute to this but it definitly isnt helping.

  10. what the h*** cure it. its not a dieses its some peoples way of life one cant help who they fall in love with. theres no cure because theres nothing to cure its not a problem and im straight love isnt suppose to be judged and theres only one person who can anyway and he will one day. love everyone judge noone life is short.

  11. It’s curious when someone is diagnosed with depression that it’s a disorder, can be corrected with a pill and people acknowledge it as a disorder, which it is. Yet when someone is gay, it can’t be seen as the same way. The gay community has done a tremendous job convincing society that you are born gay.

    What if Depression was to be viewed the same way? You would have more and more people taking their own lives, self loathing, violent and much more. Are we discriminative to each one who has depression because we provide a pill to balance the equation in the brain?

    I do not suggest a destruction of the way of life, but, if people ask others to accept homosexuality, then there is no harm in asking others to keep an open mind about the possibilities that homosexuality can be considered in the same family as any other brain disorder.

    And yet, everything said, I have always had a conflicting perplexity to the queer lifestyle; I have never liked or disliked the actual people and dislike censorship and the communist mentality.

    1. Having personal experience with both depression and homosexuality, I would have to say that the two things are nowhere close to the same thing. You can become depressed by events in your life, stress, or a chemical imbalance in your brain. People don’t just wake up gay or become gay because they are going through a difficult time.

      The definition of a psychological disorder (or brain disorder, as you called it) is “a disorder of the mind involving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that cause either self or others significant distress. Significant distress can mean the person is unable to function, meet personal needs on their own, or are a danger to themselves or others.” While this definition could easily be attributed to depression, the same is not true of homosexuality.

      Simply being homosexual does not negatively impact a person’s life like depression does. The only reason gay people are more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts is because of society’s treatment of them. I would venture that if we could all accept one another as unique individuals without trying to medicate each other into conformity, suicide and depression rates would drop.

      The possibility that a homosexual’s brain is anatomically different from a heterosexual’s is interesting to me, but no more so than why some people are far more intelligent than others or why some prefer their left hand over their right. I think we can safely say no two brains are identical, so what defines “normal” anyway?

  12. Having read all the above comments, I think both sides of this discussion have some valid points…

    It’s an interesting topic which I have tried to discuss in the past on various different forums. (usually resulting in a reaction of outrage from members of the LGBT community at the very suggestion of a civilized debate on the issue)

    For this I would commend the author for actually having the intellectual curiosity and bravery to address the subject.

    Personally, although I’m by no means 100% certain of my convictions on the matter, I would be inclined to consider homosexuality as being some kind of mental disorder/disability. (despite what the APA etc classify it as)

    Without even thinking too deeply about it, one can clearly conclude that same sex individuals are not anatomically designed to copulate together… The same is true of all examples in the animal kingdom. (The exception being creatures who display ‘dual’ sexuality)

    Just because homosexuality exists (both in human species and other creatures) does not make it natural – or more specifically – doesn’t make it the ”natural ideal’ for want of a better term…

    The danger of making homosexuality a socially acceptable norm, is that it might potentially deny many people the chance of any such ‘cure’ in the future.

    The hostility that this suggestion often creates in the LGBT community is clearly a sign of deep insecurity. We live in a society of extremes – we don’t like uncertainties or grey areas – we like things to be clean, clear and uncomplicated.

    The thought that some people might CHOOSE not to be gay – if that were possible – makes many people very uneasy. This suggests, to me at least, that many in the LGBT community are not as comfortable with their sexuality and lifestyle as they might want the world to think.

    If they were, the mere suggestion of such a CHOICE would not incite such hostility.

    btw – Regardless of my position on this issue, above all I believe in love & compassion for every creature on this planet. :)

    Peace,
    Joey

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