Saturday, April 9, 2016

How Genetics Can Influence The View on Homosexuality

 Last year on June 26, 2015, gay marriage in the USA was deemed legal, and the entire country was a flurry of excitement and activity for the rest of the month, if not for the rest of the year. However, just because something is legal does not mean that everyone accepts it at face value and is completely supportive of it.

That is where Mark Joslyn and Don Haider-Markel, researchers at the KU Department of Political Science, come in, showing a different and more promising outlook on the perceptions of homosexuality as it pertains to genetics. After gathering data from a 2014 survey of 1,010 Americans and compiling it for a study for the Social Science Quarterly journal, it was discovered that there is a social behavior at play called immutability that convinces people that behaviors are not chosen, but exist as they are, so there is no changing it.

How does this relate to homosexuality? Joslyn and Haider-Markel found that when people perceive homosexuality as an immutable genetic situation, like receiving a certain hair color or eye color when an individual is born, these people were more likely to see homosexuality in a different and more positive light then they would if it were attributed to a certain environment or the choice of the individual.  In these cases of genetically immutable homosexuality, people thought that it was more acceptable, and this has been the trend examined over the years. This type of genetic attribution could be the reason for the increased support of gay marriage and the events of June last year.

As Joslyn explains, "the genetic attribution [is] thus a key factor in challenging the status quo and helped produce the tremendous changes we see today regarding gay rights." If all goes well and more research is conducted, then this type of genetic attribution could be used to reduce the stereotypes for many other groups. Things like intelligence of certain races or how certain people act if they are part of an ethnic group could be examined and lessened, even relieved, which would be beneficial to the global community. It would allow people to see each other more as humans and equals instead of being biased against them. A good deal of progress has been made, and hopefully even  more will be made in the future,

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