Gay changes nothing

February 21, 2008

by Mandy Thomas

It happens every time I visit my mother. We get into an argument about homosexuality. She says it’s a choice. I say it’s genetic. She says it’s a sin. I say it’s not an issue of morality. She says it’s against God’s will. I say God loves everyone.

Each side of our debate is always well researched. Her source is a Bible: A piece of literature which she believes was written by men who were directly inspired and enlightened by the God of Christianity.

My only source is a hand full of newspaper clippings about incomplete genetic testings and birth order studies happening at a Canadian university.

The Bible tells her that marriage is defined as being between a woman and a man. My clippings tell me homosexuality may be linked to a so-called “fraternal birth order effect” that says a boy has greater chances of being born gay if he has older brothers.

“I just don’t understand,” she’ll say. “I know he is a good Christian man, but I just can’t figure out why he could choose to be that way.”

“But it’s not a choice,” I say. “There are studies. Research. They think there’s something happening in the womb. A change in the mother’s immune system after being exposed to male fetuses.”

The discussion usually ends there. No winner. No changed minds. Just silence. We both know neither of us is wrong, but neither of us want to admit that the other may be right.

Sometimes I’ll try to bring the subject back up by saying something like, “Did you know a lot of gay people don’t want to know if it’s genetic, because they fear people will try to alter the gene or even have abortions to try to eliminate homosexuals all together?”

But she just changes the subject. She asks me if I want to stop for coffee or if I need to take anything to the dry cleaners.

I suppose I don’t blame her for not seeing my side. All the facts I present have holes.

Partial results that say, “We think it’s something that happens in the gestation period,” or “It’s a prenatal biological phenomenon.” Halfway hopeful statistics that say things like, “90 percent of males with older brothers will still be heterosexual – but one in four can trace their sexual orientation back to the older brother effect.”

I wonder if there is anything I can say to make her see my side. Make her see that gay people aren’t awful or defiant or purposefully sinful.

I wonder what she would think if I were gay?

I wonder if it would change anything? If she would feel differently about me? Love me any less? I don’t think she would. In fact I know she wouldn’t. So then why does being gay have to change everything?

Mandy Thomas is a senior journalism major from Shreveport who serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to ajt008@latech.edu.