It’s Gay Genes After All
Recently, a scientific report published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center revealed LGBT people are not born that way. I’ve always believed we were. So, I asked myself, “What happened?” and began to ponder my causal influences.
My family was matriarchal, the men having the misfortune of an early demise in war or industrial accidents. Others just got up and left. My gay education probably started with my sister’s illustrated book, 50 Centuries of Art. Therein I discovered Michelangelo’s David and some Renaissance Saint Sebastian in the erotic ecstasy of martyrdom. At the time, I didn’t know much about art but I certainly knew what I liked.
Then there was TV. Raised on programs in artsy black and white, I was exposed to a host of gay role models. Homoerotic TV movie reruns featured the many incarnations of Tarzan (I liked Jock Mahoney best) and, of course, gladiators. Western shows in particular explored same-sex relationships. In “The Wild Wild West” Artemus Gordon and James West shared their adventures in a private train excessively decorated in fussy Victorian plush. I envision the pair obsessively flipping through books of velvet swatches and their eye roll-punctuated bickering over the selection of just the right patterns and crimson shades. On the more rugged side, “The Rifleman” featured the square-jawed Lucas who lived on a ranch with his boy, Mark (who affectionately called Lucas “Paw”). Of course, there was the daring interracial duo of the “Lone Ranger” and his Native American boyfriend, Tonto.
There were gayish sit-coms, too. “Bewitched” had an alternative relationship, pairing the mortal Darrin with Samantha, a witch who had a smart-alecky gay warlock Uncle Arthur just like me (although mine wasn’t a warlock, he did conjure up many a mean pitcher of Manhattans). Speaking of decorating, Uncle Arthur and his partner lived in a sophisticatedly appointed New York City flat done in high ’50s decor featuring a harlequin motif.
My Catholic upbringing played a significant role as well. It was veritable font overflowing with gay inspiration: stained glass windows, clouds of incense and exotic ritual. Being Irish, my mother encouraged a priestly vocation, helping me contrive vestments of sundry bits of repurposed apparel and providing the altar accouterments to play “Mass.”
In the midst of all this my parochial grade school summarily marched us off to the American Shakespeare Theatre just down the road for lofty gay cultural indoctrination. Then came the all-male cast of minor seminary where our gay English teacher introduced us to Broadway shows on class trips (we saw Mame with Angela Landsbury, among others).
And then there was baseball…the New York Yankees in particular. Shortstops were inevitably handsome, as were first basemen. For that matter, most of them were. I collected baseball cards. They were like little votive icons depicting our idols (the cards of not so attractive players wound up clothes-pinned onto our bicycle wheel spokes for that motorcycle sound effect).
All in all, I had lots of environmental influences to orient me into the ranks of the gays. So, that explains it, I guess.
Wait a minute. As it turns out, that study was debunked and discredited within days of its release. It is about genes. Never mind…