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After years of study,
however, behavioral scientists have failed to come up with a theory or a cure
for gayness; indeed, they have gradually thrown in the towel. In 1973 the
American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental
disorders, but psychoanalysts persisted in describing homosexuality as a perversion
well into the 19905. Finally, in December 1998, the American Psychoanalytic Association,
in its annual meeting in Manhattan, acknowledged its "own past homophobia,"
in part because of the coming out of a prominent Atlanta psychoanalyst.
But does this mean the spectre of a "cure" has disappeared? No. It's latest guise may be the promise of selective abortion of gay babies. A quotation from Time illustrates how claims of medical virtue can camouflage a social agenda: "Parents can use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to avoid having kids with attention-deficit disorder, say, or those predestined to be short or dull-witted or predisposed to homosexuality." Notice the clever-and dangerous-juxtaposition of homosexuality with dull-wittedness and attention-deficit disorder. Hollywood, too, has taken up the issue of aborting a supposedly gay baby in the popular movie Twilight of the Golds, starring Faye Dunaway. Selecting babies to fit political specifications could fire competition among various biological constituencies, each with its own genetic agenda. If anti-gay groups breed gayness out of babies, pro-gay groups might breed gayness back in, thus conserving, or even expanding, the presence of gayness in the human gene pool. Thank goodness there isn't a simply gay gene.
be clear: you can't cure homosexuality because there's no disease to cure. But
I hesitate to become overconfident, assuming that the standing of our gay sisters
and brothers as normal people has been permanently enfranchised by the vote of
psychologists. What can be won by a vote can be lost by a vote. The value and
naturalness of homosexuality must be as scientifically clear as the fact that
the earth is round. Then the acceptance of homosexuality will not crumble when
the political pendulum next swings.
Reflection Exercise #5
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