Hypothetical Homosexuals raises the scenarios, "homosexuality as pathogen" and "homosexuality as anti-creator," attempting to create schisms between different facets of your belief. The details of the examples themselves--scientists prove gay is disease v. Yahweh verifies creator-sponsored gay immorality--are mere cultural variations, unimportant in essence to the underlying themes.
Thought Experiment 1: The Pathogen
(a) Now that we know it's caused by a pathogen, the pathogen must be entirely eliminated, so that it doesn't affect anyone anymore. In modern America, that first choice is, deceptively, probably the hardest option to consider choosing. Decades of propaganda--however well-meaning--has year after year of successive humans being completely, or at least publicly, A-OK with homosexuality, while older non-public-approvers die off. Corporate entertainment, state education, and politicians push various forms of "acceptance," lending everyone the feeling of social progress while the bankers continue in the background, doing the same thing they've always been doing. So for many Americans, particularly superficially comfortable gay ones, even contemplating the utterly-fantastic thought experiment at issue--"does some really hard-to-find virus cause homosexuality?"--is a Complete. Intellectual. Stop.
It's like trying to get Christians to answer variations on the second thought experiment. They can't answer the question because their subconscious perceives the trap waiting farther ahead, so indignation is used to distract the conscious mind from its own ability to contemplate a true analysis of the issue, with offense justifying the inconsideration of something purely imaginative. There, it becomes very easy, and potentially absolutely necessary, to associate the question itself with the asker of the question--a much easier target for anger than the question itself.
A superficially confident gay man, of course, could have imagined the scenario by himself. And many, no doubt, have. "What if gay was a disease?" It's not hard to imagine. Being angry with someone for voicing the question is a way to shelter the mind from contemplating things it doesn't want to contemplate. In a phrase, cognitive dissonance.
That's not a response unique to queers or Christians, though. Adjust the knife in a few different directions:
Variation 1: In 2027, using powerful new microscopes, scientists identify a pathogen which is proven conclusively to be the cause of heterosexual inclinations. Humanity, it turns out, is naturally homosexual--a population control measure, biologists say, that was pivotal to our survival for tens of thousands of years, allowing us to breed heterosexually for deliberate reproductive purposes only, and prevent excessive strain on our environment. However, scientists say, five thousand years ago, the "heterosexual virus" was passed to us, and we began drastically overpopulating the planet, which will lead to our eventual doom.
See? Only a thought experiment. Do you A, disinfect everyone, B, disinfect everyone except a small population of lucky straight breeders, or C, commit suicide in horror?
Oops--did I just become an angry queer, calling straight people "breeders" and hiring low-income Hispanics to watch the Mongolian orphans I adopted for image purposes? Or would that be just as incorrect a leap as the earlier question being associated with any kind of anti-homosexuality? Now you see her, now you don't. Stop seeing her. Irrelevant.
On policy grounds--disease is bad--it's easy to pick "a," because it's "not fair" that people got infected and made gay. And the earlier, gay-pathogen example specified that no one already gay would be forced to be purified to straightness; rather, that future generations would be the ones saved from infection, and allowed to develop on their own (which in the thought experiment means zero future gays, because it's been hypothetically utterly proved that the only way to be gay is to be infected by the example-pathogen).
Could you be comfortably gay, want to stay infected, and want to live your life on your own terms, yet be able to choose (a) so that others could develop in their own natural way? Or is that too eerie--if you're gay, and you're presented with the example, does it sound so much like a mean-spirited accusation ("You're infected, it's not natural!") that you actually can't bring yourself to consider it? Why? People get polio; people get Alzheimer's; science does occasionally discover new things. People with degenerative neural conditions can forget what their spouses look like; forget how to drive; completely lose any trace of lust or sexuality. It's not entirely outlandish to contemplate sexuality being linked to something environmental. So why so afraid?
Do you imagine such an outcome as "the end of gayness"? (Which, if option [a] is chosen, it would be?) Is that unacceptable to you? (A world where no one else ends up that way.) If you didn't choose option (a) for a reason like that, and if you have the intellectual gumption to concede the truth to yourself, then you've learned something important about yourself: that your self-identity of "gay" (or whatever term you like) isn't actually about each person choosing/developing the way they feel inside. Rather, your self-identity has become something of a barrier against the outside world, which needs to be reinforced by others. If (a) is rejected for that reason, you're Franklin Roosevelt reintroducing polio into the water supply and banning the vaccine, so that you don't need to be alone in your wheelchair.
The same bitter result applies to straight people who wouldn't choose A in "Variation 1" above, where it was heterosexuality, rather than homosexuality, which was caused by a pathogen. If you were the only straight person in a world full of happy, thriving, content, successful gay people, would you be driven to force your sexuality on others? What if you were an astronaut whose ship crashed on an alien planet where a four-sex species of aliens nursed you back to health, and then you discovered, a-la Planet of the Apes, that Earth had been destroyed in a nuclear war centuries ago, and that you were the only remaining human in all the cosmos. Do you suddenly drop your straight identity and start having foursomes with the elephantine slime-trunks of your hosts? Can you maintain your sexual identity as the last survivor of your kind (and, do you even believe you have "a sexual identity"?)?
Discovering that you are the Sick One
(Imagining) Discovering that you are the sick one is meant to aid in contemplation of the nature of sickness and identity. Some of the wheelchair-bound can nobly advocate against the disease (or transportation policies) that crippled them, while still being content in their lives and personas; would the "diseased straights" or the "diseased queers" be able to be similarly noble? Or would they be too supportive of their respective lifestyles--their respective interest in different types of intercourse--to permit the mere thought of anyone freeing those to come? When you look at it that way, not eliminating the pathogen would be a terrible act, like randomly hammering legs in the nursery. Is your sexual identity so vitally important, yet so tenuous, that it must be assumed or forced on others in order to validate what you think you believe about yourself? And if so, what does that say about who you think you are, sexually speaking, that it would require forcing children to be like you in order for you to be content with yourself? If you're any gradation of anything that might potentially be called queer by a supportive community, you're probably aware of the ways that many sick straight people need to validate their insecurities by forcing children to mimic idealized behavior. So you certainly wouldn't want to refuse (a) for that reason.
Similarly, if you would choose (a) because homosexuality is bad in and of itself, then confront the thought experiment variation where the sexual "natural state" and the consequences are reversed. Cognitive dissonance appears in some straight people, now, because they cannot contemplate ever learning--even under the arms of an all-powerful (not "kind of" powerful, and not "only powerful in the ways I like, my own personal Jesus who approves of what I approve and disapproves of what I disapprove") God--that they were the flawed ones. So dissonance occurs, shielded by anger. "It's impossible!" Yet, imagination. If you're anti-homosexual, but have a developed enough character to consider the scenario, ask yourself--if I would eliminate the gay pathogen for interfering with the natural order, and the pathogen caused straightness, would I be willing to make the exact same choice in the other direction?
Could you be happy being the sick one?
(b) The pathogen should be eliminated from an uncontrolled spread, but it should be carefully stored, so that parents can choose if they want to infect their child and raise her/him to be homosexual or bisexual.
This one seems to be, essentially, a throwaway about parental control, as to homosexuality/bisexuality in the current climate. But it gets more fun if we vary it to heterosexuality, and assume that straightness is the disease. Is it then acceptable to force enjoyable-breeding status on a kid, so that a gay couple could enjoy their adopted child's biological grandchildren, and/or aid indirectly in the perpetuation of humanity?
The sneaky aspect to this answer is that it's just a variation of (a)--but with "parents," rather than "society," exercising the same degree of control over the not-yet-living. Of course we wouldn't feel that parents should have the power to pre-select their child's sexuality, but why would we be more comfortable with politicians doing it? You know the story--Obama has twelve-year-olds held in prisons in Turkey, getting raped and beaten and starved and killed. And no one gives a damn, because there's some kind of rationalization. If the guy across the street did that with a twelve-year-old, then tried to claim that he did it because "the Muslims" were out to get him, well...you know the consequences would be different for that particular murder. Even inside your own head. You'd at least call the police on the guy next door, but have you tried, even once, calling the police to make a report about the mass murderer in D.C. who needs to be hospitalized right now to prevent future slaughters? No, me neither, and I'm not going to. Why? Because it's the Milgram experiments, and Obama's wearing such a nice coat. Except none of the children are actors.
(c) Parents should be prevented from making the choice to infect a child with homosexuality, but once a person reaches the age of majority, s/he should be able to decide whether or not to be infected and become homosexual.
Easy "right answer," right? Except, how many men are going to hit 18, then decide that, instead of the cute girls on the cheerleading squad, they'd like to pay for a series of injections, which will make them become disinterested in said cheerleaders, and interested instead in going down on other men? Given modern America, it seems at first blush like a lot of people would choose that option, but really--if everyone was completely, totally, 100% straight (which, in the hypothetical, they are), then they'd approach the decision of becoming interested in [insert suitably appropriate, gross metaphor here, as to the opposite of your own preferences] with about as much enthusiasm as you would unpaid sex with John Kerry.
You might get a few nihilists or extremely depressed people choosing it, but if you'd grown up as a sexual straight, developed your own fantasies and desires over the years, the thought of being suddenly "made gay" by a shot, and completely becoming a different person, is almost never going to be chosen. Homosexuality would effectively end, just as in (a), until the (c) orientation-change labs shut down for lack of interest.
And, for the superficially confident homosexuals out there, are you comfortable with that? Can the thought be borne that, just as you wouldn't accept an injection to "become straight," a bunch of future straight generations would never accept injections to be changed into different people and "become gay"? (Or, that 0.4% of people would choose gay, and because they'd be very troubled beforehand, "gay" would become, in the future, a guaranteed definition of non-well-adjusted, just like it has been in the past?) Same issues as (a), and same resulting prompts about your own self-identification, if it requires some kind of social perpetuation to maintain.
Lots of really cool, weird possibilities inside that answer, though. Like, what if you and your business partner realized the business was doing really well, and wanted to be able to trust each other, so you went to the doctor to get injections to find each other irresistibly attractive? And then you got married, and for the rest of your life, you thought you were having the greatest sex ever with the hottest partner ever, but if you could ever "go back," you would have to immediately kill yourself out of shame? Imagine what happens if you gradually went off your meds...
Also, imagine what the Super-Duper Evangelicals could do, if they ever got their hands on the same technology. Forget India's arranged marriages--the right kind of drugs could make sure that every child born in an approved facility gets a genetic profile matching them to their future spouse, whom they will find (mutually) irresistible. Gayness solved! (Or straightness solved, depending on your dystopia.) In a thousand years, we could all look like Al Franken (with either long or short hair, depending on the sex the parents chose), yet find ourselves incredibly hot. We could become so committed to our looks that to alter them would be a crime. And everyone would have a sexy partner. And no one could complain about models anymore, because they'd all look like Al Franken.
There's a cool sci-fi series based around the premise of genetically arranged marriages, actually, but I've already written it, so don't even think of stealing my idea.
(d) The pathogen should be distributed to everyone, so that everyone becomes equally homosexual (or bisexual).
A touch of mandatory enforcement. Easy "no" answer, right? Of course, advocates of homosexuality itself would say, "but (a) is just the same, only for straightness!" Yes, but in this example, the pathogen is responsible for gayness. Therefore, pathogen goes, because pathogens must be bad.
Does that really change things? What if you believe that (A) God, or (B) super-cool randomized evolution, was the one who created the pathogen? Is it (A) part of God's plan that we turn gay, or (B) part of science's non-plan that we turn gay to better survive?
If you'd choose (a) not based on a generalized disapproval of homosexuality, but on an understanding of pathogens as bad, do you also eliminate straightness in the variation? If you don't want to eliminate the straightness trend, what does that say about your (a) answer?
Another wrinkle: if you're a Christian who adheres to upholding the Torah while accepting the ancient rabbis' murderous propositions for male on male, or someone who otherwise-devoutly believes homosexuality is evil, who should carry out the elimination of the "gay disease"? Government bureaucrats using tax dollars? Private citizens either eliminating or hoarding the pathogen based on their own wishes? Should wars be started to eliminate the pathogen from countries which refuse to remove it from their own ecosystems?
(e) The pathogen should be studied further, then mutated into different varieties, so that, upon reaching the age of majority, people can choose whether to remain heterosexual, or to become homosexual, bisexual, ambisexual, pansexual, attracted to desired species of animals, or attracted to inanimate objects or situations of their choosing;
(f) The pathogen should be left alone, meaning that many people will be infected when they didn't choose to be, and that others will not be infected if they would have chosen to be.
(e) is a trick right answer; the mutation stuff, just like the "choose to be gay" situation in (c), is a throwaway. The pathogen should be studied further, and until then, otherwise left alone.
A concession to gayness? Hardly. Either extreme of a deranged moral stance misses the interconnected nature of the ecosystem. Does the pathogen, or does homosexuality itself, effect a kind of natural balance vital to humanity's survival? It's a bit cheap to ask that question of the pathogen, within the context of these thought experiments, but homosexuality is the real variable of interest, here. The pathogen is just its pawn. Around here, we generally understand something about what homosexuality looks like, just as we know the same about heterosexuality, but we understand little-to-nothing about what they actually are. Determining that homosexuality is "linked to genes" is as worthless to Earthlings as their current plays at spaceflight, because under a rubric of randomized capitalistic evolution, this solar system hasn't even begun to understand what genes are doing; it's like translating a written language as a project of representative visual art without realizing that all the pretty shapes are a language.
Going Further with Pathogens
I. Does homosexuality increase as population density increases out of proportion to sustainable growth, reducing birthrates in a healthy way, without requiring conscious eugenics? (Cheat sheet: yes. Ships, prisons, Greek city-states, Louis and Philippe. But treat this parenthetical as a typo if you prefer.)
II. Does homosexuality increase as social sanction for life-pairing heterosexual mating relationships decreases, filling antaphological voids in unwillingly isolated individuals, and providing thereby a temporarily corrective aggregate influence on the reproductive process?
III. Does homosexuality increase in proportion to parentless-ness, providing child-unburdened adults for parent-unburdened children?
If any of this were true, then new contemplations would arise:
Firstly, does being a homosexual under such a model mean being a mere tool of nature? If so, yes--but so does being straight. There's no offense to be taken. Ride the lightwaves.
Secondly, would eliminating homosexuality when it naturally occurs be a precursor to a system crash? Not necessarily, but it could/would certainly be a component of one. Triclosan and MRSA come to mind, as there's a tendency in the ignorant to see a problem and think, "The problem is the problem." That's how both modern medicine and white supremacists work: there are no causes, only problems, ergo destroying any given symptom is considered curative. Our only mistakes (if any), they say, are not taking swifter action to redress symptoms, and to hell with the causes. E.g., if homosexuality is a gross problem, but it was brought on by a bunch of idiot straight people who couldn't maintain a healthy ecosystem, will eliminating homosexuality improve anything? More likely (in such a hypothetical situation, which would dovetail with the rise of the Athenian Empire, the proliferation of boy-rape, and the cult of Western Civilization), the anti-homosexuality crusaders are, ironically, the equivalent of AIDS for Earth (or not so ironically, if you've read Dark Alliance and connected the dots to other elite-targeted communities of the era, such as, say, Africa).
Treating symptoms instead of causes is merely palliative; it is something done in preparation for death. Ergo its attraction to antilife.
Such a point of view--offensive in hundreds of ways--seems to lead to the idea that homosexuality is a disease resulting from infection, but in such a hypothetical situation, nothing could be farther from the case. Homosexuality, under such a thoughtform model, would be akin to an antibody; a manifestation of a healthy ecosystem compensating for the predictable results of a bunch of creditor-priests, just like heterosexuality is a different kind of healthy manifestation. So don't be offended at being a cell in a body, or a symptom of something; we all are.
There are easily-imaginable ecosystem consequences for homosexuality, but there are many others that aren't so easily imaginable, which is why somehow "eliminating" it would be like making everyone drink triclosan for breakfast each morning. E.g., bad. People will people, including feeling inexplicable inclinations to do stuff like reproduce or not reproduce, and trying to drug ourselves to dampen immune response (which remains, non-coincidentally, medicine's preferred response to many of those wackily random post-industrial diseases that just popped out of nowhere), centralizing reliance on singular health networks, will prove just as unpleasant for the planet as immunotherapy (e.g. immuno-killing) for the human.
Continued in Part 3.