An article published last week in the LA Times reports that a drug used to treat congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a condition that causes ambiguous genitalia (also known as the condition called intersex) can have the secondary affect of decreasing the likelihood that females with the disorder will be gay and increasing the chances that she will have more feminine behavioral traits.
Adrenal hyperplasia causes the accumulation of male hormones (testosterone). Medical science is increasing their understanding of the effects of hormones in the development of sex and gender. Apparently the effects of testosterone only affect female fetuses.
The larger question for me is, if given the chance, should a parent exercise the option of impacting the development of his or her child’s sexual orientation. The question itself presupposes that there is something wrong with one sexual orientation and that the other is preferable, and therefore any action that leads to the preferable outcome is justified. I find this line of thinking morally dubious.
The irony in all this is that the opponents of gay rights have consistently argued that sexual orientation is merely a choice, not an immutable characteristic. This research seems to demonstrate that there is something that happens physiologically that leads to homosexuality. If true, then I predict it wont be too long before the opponents change their tune, agree that homosexuality is a biological predisposition, but that it is inherently pathological and requires any available treatment, such as this new one to treat congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
We’re entering into very interesting waters here and I believe the only option is to be well informed. I hope this entry is but a small step in that direction.