chasing amy

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Feb 9 12:36:38 PST 1999

Don't anti-essentialist arguments assert that sexual preference is not genetically determined , but socially constructed ?

Charles Brown

>>> Miles Jackson <cqmv at> 02/09 3:13 PM >>>

On Tue, 9 Feb 1999, jf noonan wrote:

> While I, of course, agree that the notion of getting laid properly as
> a cure for lesbianism is repulsive, I don't understand the stubborn
> allegiance to the assertion (and it is an assertion -- there is
> precious little science to back it up) that sexual orientation is
> genetically determined.
> Why is this such an appealing prospect to so many?

I teach college level psych and soc courses, and I get this all the time from students. Both gay rights advocates and opponents argue that it all hinges on genetics: if sexual identity is genetic, then gays and lesbians deserve equal rights.

Huh? I still don't follow this argument. We are only granted freedom if--we're born with a particular propensity. Apply this to other areas of life and it's clearly proposterous: we should only have laws against religious discrimination if Catholicism or Judiasm is encoded in our DNA. The question of whether or not sexual orientation is genetic is completely irrelevant to the political question of civil rights for gays and lesbians.

Miles cqmv at

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