Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Zeitgeist Alert: Gaydar, neuroscience, and hair orientation - I can't help it!

David France has written an informative and easy-to-read piece for this week's New York Magazine on what the latest research says about biological identifiers of sexual orientation:

A small constellation of researchers is specifically analyzing the traits and characteristics that, though more pronounced in some than in others, not only make us gay but also make us appear gay.

Handedness, the density of your fingerprint, the length of your ring finger and... ahem, other things, the sound of your voice, and the direction of your hair whorl all matter. Once the genetic basis of sexual orientation is better understood, many fear genetic engineering to change it. Given the fact that only 60 years ago, teachers were still punishing children for writing with their left hand, I can only imagine their fears will be realized. Some people will never give up their terror of being different and their effort to repress it in their children and themselves at all costs. But before we discover how to engineer out gayness, I can see developing a special skill for hairdressers - training the whorl of children's hair to go the other way. Beware - gay hairdressers may refuse.

No comments: