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Darwin's children.

Science is the engine of queer history. That's true first in a purely technical sense: Discoveries in physics and chemistry, from the steam engine to artificial fertilizers, promoted industrialization industrialization

Process of converting to a socioeconomic order in which industry is dominant. The changes that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th century led the way for the early industrializing nations of western Europe and
 and the growth of large cities--the breeding grounds where gay people found each other and thus found themselves. That process continues today, as computers, satellites, and fiber-optic networks draw gay men and lesbians into an ever tighter, ever more electric web of queerness.

But it's also true in a moral sense. Science is part of a great rebellion in human thought--a shift--from a reliance on authority to a reliance on reason and evidence. Homosexuality is forbidden not just in the Bible but in many of the world's sacred books. If today we can safely ignore those proscriptions, it's thanks in large part to the rise of science. We queers, however we evolved, are truly Darwin's children.

And finally, science has propelled us by naming us. If you read the French philosophers, you'd think that was some kind of tragedy. Nonsense! The recognition and description of gay men and lesbians by sexologists (especially by my particular hero, the German gay rights pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld Magnus Hirschfeld (May 14, 1868 - May 14, 1935) was a German physician, sexologist, and gay rights advocate.

He was born in Kolberg (modern Kołobrzeg) in a Jewish family, the son of a well-beloved physician and 'Medizinalrat', Hermann Hirschfeld.
) began the long but necessary process by which mainstream society has faced us and is coming to terms with us. Yes, there were many individual tragedies along the way, as doctors misused science to "treat" homosexuality, but the overall course of events unleashed by that naming has been enormously beneficial.

So what does science have in store for us in the future? Experience tells us that it's impossible to predict where science will be more than five or eight years from the present. So I'll just indulge in some fanciful speculation, trusting that you'll take it for what it's worth.

The Human Genome The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is composed of 24 distinct pairs of chromosomes (22 autosomal + X + Y) with a total of approximately 3 billion DNA base pairs containing an estimated 20,000–25,000 genes.  Project will have run its course in a very few years from now. We'll finally have the Book of Life in our hands--but it will be written in an unknown tongue! It will take decades more work to decipher its 100,000 pages--to understand, in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, how a unique mix of genes leads to the creation of a unique individual. And parallel to this great task will be another, perhaps even greater one: to understand how the human brain works--how it generates thought, emotion, memory, self-consciousness, personality, and desire. But when these twin tasks are accomplished, we will finally be in control of our own biological destiny.

And what will we be able to do with that awesome power? Certainly, with one tiny fragment of it, we will be able to tell something about an embryo's chances of becoming gay. And, very likely, to be able to do something about it too. Maybe we will even be able to change an adult man or woman's sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces.
. Scary? Well, scary enough for me to write a thriller on the subject.

In fact, though, I'm not that much concerned about such things in this country. I'm optimistic op·ti·mist  
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.

2. A believer in philosophical optimism.

 enough to think that by the time this kind of technology becomes reality, few Americans will be interested in using it. I'm more concerned about other parts of the world. Fetal ultrasound imaging was a Western invention, but India is where it's being used to abort (1) To exit a function or application without saving any data that has been changed.

(2) To stop a transmission.

(programming) abort - To terminate a program or process abnormally and usually suddenly, with or without diagnostic information.
 female fetuses. It will take a worldwide effort to stop the same thing from happening to fetuses that are queer.

On the more positive side, science will transform reproduction, and greatly to our advantage. I see cloning, of course, as having significant benefits for gay people in some circumstances. But there could be much more--true homosexual parenting, for example, in which two men or two women each contribute genetic material to a single embryo. Surely many gay couples would use this technology, which should be available within 30 years if people want it enough. And xenopregnancy--having a human fetus carried to term by an animal of a different species--could be of enormous benefit, especially to gay male couples, who currently have to pay $40,000 or more to have a child via a human surrogate. The idea revolts you--but why? I'd take the uterus of a sober, drug-free, nonsmoking non·smok·ing  
1. Not engaging in the smoking of tobacco: nonsmoking passengers.

2. Designated or reserved for nonsmokers: the nonsmoking section of a restaurant.
 pig over a prenatal prenatal /pre·na·tal/ (-na´tal) preceding birth.

Preceding birth. Also called antenatal.


preceding birth.
 environment any day.

It's not just human biology Human biology is an interdisciplinary academic field of biology, biological anthropology, and medicine which focuses on humans; it is closely related to primate biology, and a number of other fields.  that will change things. Physics and chemistry will have to do so too, unless we are all to die. The profound disruption of the earth's carbon and nitrogen cycles, of which global warming global warming, the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution.  is but one symptom, threatens to bring us to chaos and even to extinction. Technological fixes (safe nuclear power, new materials, self-fertilizing crops) are part of the answer.

But we will also develop, by wise intention or by dire necessity, a new and more modest way of inhabiting the world. Vegetarianism vegetarianism, theory and practice of eating only fruits and vegetables, thus excluding animal flesh, fish, or fowl and often butter, eggs, and milk. In a strict vegetarian, or vegan, diet (i.e. , human-powered transportation, collective living. An unlikely combination of science and simplicity will be our salvation. I see gay people leading the world through this difficult transition.

There's one science that truly promises to revolutionize human society, and that's astronomy. Eventually--in three, 30, or 300 years--we will come into radio contact with extraterrestrial civilizations, and that will be a great day for gay men and lesbians. Not because of meeting queer aliens (who knows whether they even have sex?) and not because of anything we may learn from them (we may learn nothing) but because the simple knowledge of living, thinking worlds beyond our own will greatly strengthen humanity's own sense of family--a family of earthlings to which even gay people belong.

Whatever science may bring, human beings will stay the same. People will go on wanting what they have always wanted: bread, circuses, and a main squeeze main squeeze
n. Slang
One's primary romantic partner or sweetheart.
. But the paths by which we seek these three necessities will be laid out anew.

LeVay, a neuroscientist neuroscientist A researcher, often with an advanced degree–MD, MS, PhD–who investigates neural and brain-related phenomena  well-known for his study of the hypothalamus hypothalamus (hī'pəthăl`əməs), an important supervisory center in the brain, rich in ganglia, nerve fibers, and synaptic connections. It is composed of several sections called nuclei, each of which controls a specific function.  and how it relates to homosexuality, is the author of The Sexual Brain, City of Friends (with Elisabeth Nonas), Queer Science, Albrick's Gold, and the forthcoming The Earth in Turmoil (with Kerry Seih). He also writes a syndicated column, Queer Science.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Liberation Publications, Inc.
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.
aaa.bbb (Member): A litle stupid prediction 8/15/2009 10:33 PM
What a nice vision of future world where majority are homosexual vegetarians that use pigs for making their genetically selected homosexual babies instead of using them for food.

I prefer to dream about future where everybody owns spaceships that each consume more energy than currently nuclear power plant can produce,
not some future with bicycles and windmills.
How are you gong to make contact with extraterrestrial civilizations using bicycle?

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
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Title Annotation:homosexuals and the advent of scientific innovations
Author:LeVay, Simon
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Oct 14, 1997
Previous Article:Happy, healthy, and gay.
Next Article:Searching for that perfect pair of genes.

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