I must apologize to my faithful readers for last week. I’m afraid that I was swamped in all aspects of life, and that resulted in my writing damn near nothing all week. There were several scratched attempts at blog entries, but I would lose the thread of what I was trying to say due to the crush of other pressures, and the writing wasn’t worth publishing by the time it was finished. So as much as you missed me, I missed having coherent thoughts.
However, this morning I stumbled across an article on NeuroLogica about some fascinating findings in the area of sexual preference that I thought I would share. It turns out that the pattern of same-sex relations in mice can be impacted by manipulating the way their brains handle serotonin.
Now, this is one study and it is not on humans, so it is definitely premature to start shouting “ZOMG WE FOUND THA CAUSE OF GAY” or anything like that. Like everything in the human experience, it isn’t quite as simple as saying that if we give gay men serotonin injections, they’ll suddenly enjoy tractor pulls and nailing honky-tonk girls. Honestly, I don’t know that gay men by and large would want to be cured. And by that I mean I really don’t know, not that I’m dubious. I’m a straight male, and it seems rather silly for me to assume that I know what gay men want.
Serotonin is an important little chemical, and one that we know is integral to a variety of our personal wellness and interpersonal interactions. Recent findings suggest that low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, aggression, OCD, and anxiety disorders. However, messing with serotonin is an equally messy process with many potential problems.
Would parents want to increase their child’s serotonin levels to combat homosexuality? Obviously, the answer is “sometimes”. Some parents like their children just the way they are, while others will always want their children to fit whatever mold they consider to be important. Assuming for a minute that there is a true causal link between serotonin levels and homosexuality, is it moral for a parent, assuming all other behaviors are normal, to treat homosexuality like any other chemical imbalance?
In my own circumstance, I can say that one of my children has been having some difficulty figuring out her own sexuality. At the same time, she has recently been diagnosed with anxiety problems. These problems are not presently medicated, but it is interesting to me. If her anxiety issues were sufficient to require treatment, I would not hesitate, but her sexuality is another issue entirely. I would not want to chemically alter my child as a means of assuring her sexuality. She’s just fine the way she is.