Perhaps what Melissa Healy should investigate next is what "causes" straightness, since she did such a smashing job of uncovering the causes of homosexuality in her hard-hitting article "Pieces of the Puzzle" (March 21).
As I read the article on the "tantalizing clues" of some signs of homosexuality (e.g., finger length), I remembered being an adolescent 25 years ago and hearing the same type of banter among my classmates in junior high school. We compared our fingers then so the "homos" could be identified and ridiculed.
Contemporary research that seeks to identify telltale signs of homosexuality, rather than the ramifications of and solutions for social intolerance, seems as childish now as our bantering obviously was then.
RICHARD G. WIGHT
Whether to a member of the same or opposite gender, the sexual and romantic relations and actions between consenting adults are sacred and private. They ought not be the subject of public scrutiny or judgment. Likewise, when represented in the media, those relations should be represented in proportion, fairly and accurately. Fueling the war of words on the cause of homosexuality only detracts from its greater lesson for society: privacy, tolerance for diversity, and freedom.
Melissa Healy leaves out a key element in her look at scientific research into the formation of sexual orientation: the existence of bisexuality. Like most biological traits, sexual orientation does not easily fall into exclusive categories. To oversimplify the complexities of sexual orientation limits the ability of researchers to explore their origins, just as it limits your readers' ability to have a fully informed point of view on the issue.
Gay & Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Shouldn't these scientific researchers focus their energy toward finding causes (genes) and cures for cancer, infectious diseases and the like? It seems this is the least of society's worries--what causes a baby to become or be born gay. The percentage of men/women who are homosexual is still and will always be rather low. So I say that these people research something that will be of value to the general population.
One piece of the puzzle that is missing in Healy's article is the volitional attribute that proves gays and lesbians have the choice to be what they are and to follow the lifestyle they choose. It is not scientific to spin science when the result is a rationale that has great holes in it. Except for the truly sick sexual deviant, everyone has the choice about their sexual behavior. That is a fact!
The answer to "one of evolution's most curious mysteries: Why has a trait that inhibits sexual reproduction endured" seems quite simple to me. The earth is a finite piece of land that can only support life for so many life forms. With the population constantly growing, with all of the Earth's resources being depleted, homosexuality seems to me nature's way of curbing the population. So, heterosexuals need not be afraid; it just creates more space and resources for everyone.
Other than "to carry on the family name," why would we want to change anyone's sexual orientation, even if we could? We will always have enough breeding couples to more than sustain the species.
I think we would lose more than we would gain. We are just beginning to recognize the rich diversity brought to society by persons who, by our very nature, tend to think and feel outside the machismo of the straight-white-male-dominated-box.
So what is it we fear, really?
DOUGLAS M. FRYE
With a straight face, the article describes some of the most ludicrous quackery since the 19th century (finger length as an indicator of sexual orientation?) Its flip comment that taking pills and "tinker[ing] with a gene" will someday allow the medical profession to eliminate homosexuality from society reeks of the days of aversion therapy, electroshock treatment and lobotomies for gay people.
The article ignores the paranoid, insecure and homophobic impulses that instigate so much of this research. Researchers should redirect their energy toward understanding and eliminating homophobia from society rather than trying to stave off a harmless, inevitable and normal part of the human condition.
The implicit message underlying all the arguments is that we are different and deserve to be studied and (perhaps) extirpated, which introduces yet a deeper question and incalculable factor: Why are these questions being asked to begin with?
SUE CARROLL MOORE
Being gay is one of evolution's curious mysteries/evolutionary oddities? Even more unbelievable, being gay or lesbian can be ascertained by measuring fingers? It smacks of Nazi experiments on people with oddities and measuring people's heads to "prove" they were Jewish or Aryan. And we know what happened to them.
I was surprised that for all the work Melissa Healy put into the article, she neglected to mention the chief cause of homosexuality--musical production numbers featuring Dolores Gray.
Yes, it's true. I was a perfectly normal heterosexual child until that fateful day in 1955 when my unsuspecting mother took me to see a matinee of "Kismet."