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Apples and oranges

Published:Friday | July 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM

By Peter Espeut

A few months ago, I attended a meeting at which the chairperson announced the egalitarian credentials of her organisation. Some people are white and some are black, she said; some have blue eyes and some have brown eyes; and some are straight and some are gay. Since being gay is not a choice, in her organisation, she would brook no discrimination in word or deed against lesbians, bisexuals, gays and transgender (LGBT) people.

This well-meaning lady is a victim of LGBT propaganda. We learn in Logic 101 that we cannot compare apples with oranges, and we have apples and oranges here.

Our skin colour and eye colour is determined by our genetic make-up, and these traits pass to the next generation through the commingling of the genetic material (DNA) of parents. Being short or black or brown-eyed are innate characteristics over which we have no control, no choice in the matter; we are born that way. Let us call these the 'apples'.

One of the important components of LGBT propaganda is that people are 'born that way', and, therefore, homosexuality is 'normal' and 'natural', and, therefore, should not be stigmatised. Because they are 'born that way' (the argument goes), being gay is 'natural' (i.e., according to nature); and how can something 'natural' be made illegal? Therefore, the buggery laws should be repealed.

The trouble with this argument is that despite decades of scientific research by gay scientists, no gay gene has been found, and there is no scientific basis to the claim that anyone is born lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It is illogical at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst, to place sexual orientation in the same category as skin colour and eye colour. Apples and oranges!

Gay propagandists wish us to assume with them that the gay gene will soon be found; and so - in anticipation of the discovery - we must act as if homosexuality is a natural, innate phenomenon. Pure propaganda and wishful thinking!

Genetics can explain how sex (male/female) is transmitted from parents to child, but it cannot explain how gender (masculine/feminine behaviour) is transmitted.

SOCIALISATION

Socialisation is the process of transmitting behaviour and beliefs from one generation to the next. The thing about socialisation is that it is not a conscious process; we adopt personal traits, but we do not experience that we have 'made a choice'. We observe and copy the behaviour of our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, and our peers. We are taught our gender identity by the names we are given, by the clothes put on us, and by the games we are taught to play.

Gender-conforming children grow to feel similar to children of their own sex, but different from opposite-sex children; while gender-non-conforming children will feel different from children of their own sex; this may evoke physiological arousal when the child is near members of the sex which it considers as being 'different' (opposites attract). This will later be transformed into sexual arousal. Socialisation does not always work the way it should; so many people are improperly socialised, and this leads to socially dysfunctional behaviour.

But what causes gender-conforming and gender-non-conforming behaviour? Hormone (chemical) imbalances may be one explanation; others suggest that domineering mothers and ineffectual fathers may interfere with socialisation; and still others suggest that homosexuality may be triggered by having sexual encounters with members of one's own sex at an early age that prove to be very satisfying.

These psychosocial explanations of the origin of same-sex attraction are inconvenient for LGBT activists, for they do not support the claim of being 'born that way'.

Online Gleaner columnist Keiran King also has difficulty distinguishing between apples and oranges. In his last column (The buggery law is an offence to us all, July 9, 2014), he likens the present struggle against Jamaica's buggery law with the struggle against the Jim Crow laws in the United States of America.

The comparison is invalid because race (which has a genetic basis) and same-sex attraction (which has a psychosocial origin) are apples and oranges. There are few crimes worse than racism, and in the context of our post-slave society, to liken our aversion to homosexuality to racism is disingenuous and the lowest form of ad hominem psychological propaganda.

In his article, Keiran King asserts that we have "a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws". Go ahead, sir, if you must.

Peter Espeut is a sociologist and Roman Catholic deacon. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.