This article was written by our guest contributor, Rachel Rigley.
It’s Tuesday morning. I’m between jobs as the polite folk put it, munching on a Wheat Thin, trying to clean my apt. and using TED talks to add to the feeling I’m trying to create of being an accomplished adult. Then this talk queued:
Homosexuality: It’s about survival – not sex | James O’Keefe | TEDxTallaght
“This should be good I thought” — I’m gay, he wants to talk about being gay, it’s TED, let’s do it. Mr. O’Keefe is your humble Cardiologist whose son came out as gay. He proceeds to break down, through scientific research and anecdotal experience, how gays are designed by nature to ensure the survival of their family unit as a whole. He addressed the question I have wondered ever since I realized I was gay:
If homosexuality is abnormal, if it’s a weird one-off thing that doesn’t serve humans — then why, consistently, has the percentage of homosexuals in any population been a steady 3-5%? (Sci
This is Evolution 101: genetic traits pass on if they help the species survive. One parent is born clever, the other strong, their children survive. It’s why in a modern-day environment that is no longer hunter/gatherer, we have over-evolved to become essentially tall and anxious monkeys. In other words, gay people clearly aren’t reproducing that much, so if we’re not passing on genes, why are we being born at all, at such a measured and consistent rate? O’Keefe argues:
“Homosexuality is like a catalyst to help emotionally connect groups of people together– for heterosexuals to disapprove of gays is like the white flour in bread disapproving of the yeast.”
Research, while limited, at this point shows three interesting patterns in homosexuality.
1. The Secret Gay Protocol
There isn’t a “gay gene” yet– but there sure are a lot of epigenetic genes and flags. In other words, there’s almost like this gay-protocol locked in a person’s genes, and there are environmental triggers that cause this protocol to be fired. Calm down nurture-theorists, your son isn’t gay because he did ballet instead of baseball. These triggers happen specifically in the mother’s womb.
2. The Small Balance in the Grand Scheme
Building on point #1: The more boys the mother has had, the higher the chance of her next son being gay. In addition, the higher prenatal distress the mother is in the higher likelihood of her son being gay. Unfortunately, us lesbian-ladies are not getting as much love with the research (Ellen feel free to step in with your millions), but the studies of other animals have created a fascinating theory by Plum that gay females are born to socially balance out male sexual-hostility and strengthen matriarchies. This is aside from the fact that there is conclusive research both that homosexual brains physically function like the opposite sex. Including sexual hormones.
3. The Way of the Gay
Homosexuals also possess unique personality traits. This includes higher intelligence quota, lower hostility, and stronger tendencies to be altruistic and supportive of their family unit. See how all 3 of these points would build into a very useful little social adaptation to preserve survival? O’Keefe adds:
“To summarize, if the family is flush with plenty of kids, and/or it’s a stressful place in time, nature occasionally flips these epigenetics-switches to turn on the gay genes, this alters brain development that changes sexual orientation and also develops emotional intelligence.”
How cool is that?! All this research makes a strong argument for gays not only being 100% organic, but a purposeful adaptation to ensure survival.
This begs other questions. How much of our species’ evolution accounts for social genetics? Or, what about ADD or Autistic people being a hidden survival mechanism? Aside from developing more education to protect minorities, we need more research to start developing a better understanding of the more complex aspects of our genetic survival.