The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the Editor: Homosexuality common today, throughout history

I would like to comment on a few points of a submission by Mark A. Peter titled, “Being gay is a choice, not a hereditary trait.”

While I appreciate and respect the opinions of others, I feel compelled to point out the flaws in those opinions so that those who share in them have no excuse to cling to their beliefs.

The first argument that doesn’t seem to make sense is that homosexuals are somehow denigrating the Civil Rights movement. Say, hypothetically, that homosexuality is indeed a choice. Do we as Americans not reserve the freedom to live as we choose? Is that not the basis of the freedom of the pursuit of happiness and liberty? The reference to Dr. Martin Luther King was an especially ironic one.

As a Baptist minister, King not only represents the struggle for equality for African-Americans, but also is the product of our forefather’s struggle for religious freedom. Liberty isn’t granted to us because we choose the “right” religion, are born into a particular race or belong to a specific tax bracket. Each individual is equal to every other individual. Choice plays no part in the equation.

However, that is only for those who refuse the wisdom of science. The claim was made that there is no empirical evidence for belief in a genetic causation of homosexuality. There is absolutely no reason to believe that since there are plenty of published research studies indicating otherwise.

Anyone with access to a university library and its research database who continue to make the claim that homosexuality is a choice is simply lazy. So I’ll make it simple. Here is your reading list: “Potential for homosexual response is prevalent and genetic,” Biological Psychology 2008. “Epigenetic transmission of the impact of early stress across generations,” Biological Psychiatry 2010. “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 2012. I also encourage everyone to read Biological Exuberance which explores the well-documented cases of homosexuality in numerous other animal species, for which sexuality is driven by instincts and not by choice.

And, finally, we come to the age-old argument that because something has never been accepted before that it shouldn’t be accepted now. That argument in and of itself is a fallacy called the “appeal to antiquity fallacy.” The use of such an obviously irrelevant argument (by an English professor might I add) is made worse by the fact that the statement is inaccurate. Homosexuality is not widely accepted in this moment in history, but it has been all over the world all throughout history. Women in Lesotho have same-sex relationships called motsoalle. Native Americans recognized and revered those that were thought to have “two-spirits.” The same is seen in Asia, Europe and elsewhere.

Hopefully, knowing these things will help to dispel some of the ignorance that leads to intolerance and force our opponents to truly examine their opinions.

—Thomas Lance Fulghum, USC School of Medicine, Certificate of Graduate Biomedical Sciences


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