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He showed that pairs of brothers who were openly gay shared a small region at the tip of the X, and proposed that it contained a gene that predisposes a male to homosexuality. Gay men were divided: Similar studies gave contradictory results. A later search found associations with genes on three other chromosomes. This has unleashed a new flurry of comment.
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But why such a furore when we know of gay gene variants in species from flies to mammals? Homosexuality is quite common throughout the animal kingdom. For instance, there are variants that influence mating preference in mice and a mutation in the fruit fly makes males court other males instead of females. There are several theories that account for the high frequency of homosexuality.
The classic case is the blood disease sickle cell anaemia, which leads to disease and death if you have two alleles, but to malaria resistance if you have only one, making it common in malarial regions. We have many examples across many species.
Maybe the gay allele is just another of these. If their sisters, mother and aunts have more kids who share some of their genes, it would make up for the fewer children of gay males. And they do. Lots more children. An Italian group showed that the female relatives of gay men have 1. We were bussed to another school to learn about gymnastics. I loved it. I was a natural and I was one of the best on the pommel horse. I never continued with it because I was afraid. I was afraid of being labelled gay if I expressed interest in gymnastics.
This was the early 80s in Mississauga a suburb outside of Toronto and everyone in my high school who was a boy called everyone who was in gymnastics a faggot.
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I thought I was the only one. Probably because I could finally do a sport where I was competing only against myself. I was building my muscles and making myself stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. Another surprise was that I grew out of most of my allergies starting after puberty and during my teenage years.
What a relief to not be sick all the time. When I first came out and started going to gay bars in Toronto in , I started to feel more secure, because I was having a lot of sex and getting a lot of positive feedback about my body and my sexual energy.
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Other attractive men liked me! At the time there was something frightening happening in the gay world and it was too early to know what it was exactly. It was called GRID from to Just as I was starting to feel comfortable about myself there was a fucking disease that was killing gay men; the same gay men who were making me feel self-confident and attractive.
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It was a disease the Christian fundamentalists and right-wing politicians could use as evidence that I was not a human being and thus I was not entitled to equal rights. The struggle now was a greater one. The struggle was to disassociate gay men from sickness in the media and in the minds of weak-minded and ignorant people.
It was no longer an individual struggle for self-acceptance.
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My body became part of the gay body collective. Towards the late 80s, pornography and the representation of gay men changed dramatically. The hairy man, the butch man, the moustached and rugged man was celebrated in the late 70s and early 80s, especially in places like New York and San Francisco. Subtly, pornography changed all that. The perfect male image was of a buff muscular man who may or may not be taking steroids who was shaved perfectly smooth, which somehow equated with cleanliness and being disease-free.
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