The basic conclusion of the argument of “against nature” — as thrown around by Anti-LGBTIQ+ proponents — is that non-heterosexual orientations are not natural. Allow me to reiterate that this argument is fallacious and built up simply to support discrimination against sexual minorities.
But before I start discounting this fallacy, I will briefly discuss the term Natural. Natural is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:
1. existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind
2. in accordance with the nature of or circumstances surrounding someone or something.
Dictionary.com defines Natural as:
1. existing or formed by nature
2. based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature.
It is based on the above definitions and many others which are beyond the length of this write-up that the argument that other minority sexual orientations are unnatural sits: That queer sexual orientations are not found in nature, not formed by nature, and, ultimately, are not part and parcel of the make-up of individuals who identify as queer.
One of the basic tenets of the “against nature” argument is that homosexuality cannot be natural because the basic requirement of nature from sexuality is procreation; so nature could not have created homosexuals because they cannot procreate. A question I once heard asked at a conference which goes thus: “How can you say ‘contrary’ sexual orientations are natural when nature requires heterosexual orientation to prevent humans from going extinct?” exemplifies this stance.
First, there is no such thing as a ‘contrary sexual orientation’, as evidenced by the absence of this term in any modern scientific journal on the topic of sexual orientation. Indeed there is a common sexual orientation and other less common but equally valid ones. The phrase ‘contrary sexual orientation’ is heteronormative—assuming that everyone is/was born heterosexual and everything is about heterosexuality—and connotes a Heterosexual versus Non-Heterosexual war of orientations—the one striving to end the other. This is not so.
Also, species do not ONLY need to procreate to ensure their survival but must function as a community to transfer genes that are overall favourable onto the next generation. That means that procreation is not the only contribution that members of a species have to make to prevent the extinction of the species. This is explained by the concepts of the gene-centered theory of evolution, and the “Helper in the Nest” hypothesis. These theories hold that the genetic contribution to homosexuality has been preserved through time because this helps support other related genes that favour propagation of the human species. My point here is that there is no need for nature to procreate numerous offspring without favouring them for survival; they will just die off and this is evidenced by the fact that Neanderthal man and other older fossil records of man showed smaller skulls (corresponding to smaller brain size) and were less intelligent.
A study done by Andrea Camperio Ciani and Elena Pellizzari in 2012 found that non-parental females (aunts and grandmothers) in the maternal lines of homosexual males were more fertile than those of heterosexual males, suggesting that the genetic contribution to fertility in women was being carried along by nature with male homosexuality. This study agreed with other similar studies reported by the New York Times, Science Magazine, and the Guardian, which found out that homosexual males were more related on the maternal side and also found similar genetic regions in about 97% of gay men in a locus on the X chromosome (Xq28) which was usually contributed by the mother for genotypic males. The research helps throw some light on the fact that female fertility and homosexual tendencies are relevant to preventing extinction as a pair. It is evident therefore that nature has persistently preserved both heterosexual and other sexual orientations through generations because nature requires heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and other sexual orientations to prevent humans from going extinct. This is because other orientations obviously contribute to the propagation of the Homo sapiens species and no way result in its extinction because they exist in balance with heterosexual orientation which can still procreate. This, however, doesn’t even mean that people of other sexual orientations are infertile and cannot reproduce. In the US, 37% of LGBT people have a child, about 60% of which are biological.
If we know anything about nature and science, it is that history has shown how much of nature science is still yet to uncover. So I can imagine there are many more unknown contributions of the diverse minority sexual orientations in nature that science is even yet to explore.
Another basis of this argument comes from the direction of the anatomical forms of male and female animal species. It states that there are no Homosexual or Bisexual animals. Examples of this part of the argument include statements like: “Have you seen two male dogs having sex before?” “Even animals have male and female, and it is male lion mating with female lion, not male and male or female and female.” “God made man with penis and woman with vagina for a reason.” This argument has long been refuted by nature itself which has offered more than enough examples of Homosexual and Bisexual behaviours in the animal kingdom. Nature has also fortunately blessed our diverse world with intersex members of species (regarded in certain parlances as hermaphrodites) who have natural anatomical sexual organs conforming to neither Male nor Female strictly (ambiguous genitalia) or having both.
When the Anti-LGBTIQ+ proponents see these scientific facts stacked against them, they say, “Just because animals do it doesn’t mean we should adopt animal behaviours.” Well, the point is: Homosexuals, Bisexuals and Other sexual minorities are not “doing it” because animals do it; they are just being their innate self while referring Anti-LGBTIQ+ proponents to the animal kingdom as a genuine and untampered—at least in this aspect, unless someone is of the opinion that people are converting animals in the wild into gay animals— part of nature.
Finally, scientifically speaking, man is classified under the Kingdom Animalia. If the Homo sapiens species were the only member of the kingdom to exhibit non-heterosexual orientations, we would have questioned the scientific validity of these orientations being natural. But this is not so.
What is however impossible to find in the Kingdom Animalia is the hate directed against people of minority sexual orientations.
Heterosexuals always say they “came into” their sexual orientations naturally, irrespective of how they first explored sex, and they are believed. And yet, promoters of the “against nature” argument find it hard to believe Homosexuals, Bisexuals and Other sexual minorities when they say they “came into” their attractions and not from any learned conscious behaviour and irrespective of what their first sexual explorations were. The funniest thing is that some Anti LGBTIQ+ supporters say homosexual tendencies are strong desires with genetic predispositions—and so are stealing, murder and criminal behaviours. The comparison however is not apt because it is trying to equate Homosexuality, Bisexuality and Other sexual orientations to behaviours that are harmful to society. No sexual orientation is in itself harmful and several studies have shown that Homosexuality, Bisexuality and Other Sexual orientations are no more harmful than Heterosexual orientation. Even if stealing, murder and other crimes can be said to be natural, these behaviours are not acceptable because they are harmful. However, non-heterosexual orientations are both natural and harmless and are not crimes against humanity.
I also hear supporters of the “against nature” argument claim that there is no gay gene and so there is no genetic support for other sexual orientations. Permit me to say that people who say this are just brandishing their ignorance on the subject of genetics and its research. In medicine, there are numerous conditions and traits with known genetic predisposition for which there are no pin-point single gene culprits. The absence of a particular gene culprit for all cases in conditions such as Schizophrenia, Down’s syndrome and Parkinson’s disease does not dispute the fact that it has inheritance and genetics as a major contributor in its etiology. In the area of sexual orientation, research has not been extensive for obvious social reasons but the evidence in support of a genetic predisposition is just as strong as that for other conditions in the science of medicine, so this “show me the exact gay gene” argument is as invalid as saying, “Show me the exact straight gene.”
One very common type of genetic research which helps scientist to understand the impact of nature and nurture in a situation is the twin studies. One such study by J. Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard studied male homosexuality among monozygotic twins (MZ), dizygotic twins (DZ) and non-related adopted brothers. The study found that 52% of MZ twins both identified as gay, while 22% of DZ twins and only 5% of non-related adopted brothers were so. This showed that the more closely genetically linked people are, the more likely they exhibit the same sexuality. This evidence was repeated by another study and found to be true, however not in the same percentages. Obviously, nurture also contributes to what an individual becomes albeit, as far as sexuality is concerned, nature surely contributes a great quota.
Perhaps in another discourse, I will debunk the Anti-LGBTIQ+ argument which says that Homosexual, Bisexual and Other sexual orientations are learned behaviours from the media and Pro-LGBTIQ+ societies. The shocking truth is, in many extremely homophobic countries like Uganda, Nigeria and many countries in the Middle East, where there is almost zero show of homosexual affection in the media and most representations of any non heterosexual orientation is usually negative, there exists a significant LGBTIQ population. Even in Nazi Germany where homosexuality was punishable by death, love letters were still recently unearthed of two gay veterans from the German army.
Considering how being gay is regarded as such an abomination the world over, the question then is: Why will so many people ‘choose’ to be hated outcasts? My only plausible answer is NATURE, NATURE, and NATURE.
Written by I.L