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The idea that discovering biological causation leads simply and automatically to an erosion of discrimination is patently false and has been challenged repeatedly and insistently by any number of critics.
A narrowly determinist position can be challenged on many grounds: the veracity of the studies themselves (small sample sizes, not replicated, definitional issues from the start); the gendered assumptions that are built into the very studies and the idea of causality; the inability to account for competing narratives such as bisexuality, changes over life course, gender differences, and so on.
The fact is that most of these studies, in searching for "gay" causality, leave heterosexuality and its compulsory nature unexamined. Addressing these complex challenges is more important in the fight for real inclusion than the short-term tactic of exploiting essentialist arguments for political gain.
But if the public debate (and much of the legal argumentation) is set up so that "tolerance" is dependent on immutability, it is hard to challenge either, because they become wedded to each other in a relation of means (immutability) to end (tolerance).
As Ed Stein noted in The Washington Times:
Linking human rights to some scientific theory as yet completely un-proven is risky. All that you'll get with the gene theory is the right with things you don't choose, but homosexuals want things they do choose: to be openly gay and hold a job and have same-sex marriages. […]
My concern is that as soon as we start to encourage and embrace as part of a political agenda scientific research in this area, we lead to re-medicalization of sexual orientation. Jumping on the genetic bandwagon is hurting our cause. The point is, nothing's wrong with homosexuality, so why try to take it on with science?
If we do believe that sexual desires and choices are fluid and complicated, then surely we must assume that a world in which heterosexuality is not the default norm—not promoted—would perhaps open up the door to a wider variety of sexual expressions and choices. And isn't it the case that difference does, in point of fact, matter?
While gay teachers may not "turn" kids gay (just as my hetero parents failed to turn me hetero), can't we also offer up the possibility that openly gay teachers (or neighbors or mothers or firefighters) may create environments that encourage expansive thinking about sexuality and gender?
Challenging both the fear of homosexuality and the ideology of immutability that attempts to refute that fear depends on a very different set of assumptions: that being gay is just fine, thank you very much; that gayness is not a problem to be understood, or solved, or even tolerated; and, more to the point, that there is a positive benefit to an expansive and open approach to human sexuality and gender. In other words, the framing of "gayness" as an issue of nature versus nurture or destiny versus choice misses the point about sexuality and about civil rights. It's not our genes that matter here but rather our ethics.
This post is adapted from Suzanna Walters' The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality.