This new report revisits an old question: What causes sexual orientation? I personally side with nature over nurture as a cause along with many other gay, lesbian and bisexual people. Others claim they had a choice. This study also raises new questions:
- Whether sexual orientation is determined by genes or epi-markers on genes, what do we do when and if that question is settled?
- What would parents do, if their doctor tells them that an epi-marker test projected they will have a gay or lesbian child?
- What if we had the medical technology to ensure that certain epi-markers were "switched on" for a particular orientation?
- Would such knowledge lead to genetic engineering to eliminate homosexuality or bisexuality in newborns?
Our society needs to explore these matters more deeply before a cause for sexual orientation is known. We need an ethical framework for new discoveries that will have profound social and political consequences for gay, straight, lesbian and bisexual people. What do you think?
- Jonathan Cole