‘Queer Science’ author speaks to CSUN students

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Writer, lecturer and gay rights activist Simon Le Vay gave a colorful and comical multimedia presentation to professor Juan Herrero’s ethics class, on the biological, psychological and social views of homosexuality Monday.

In his book, “Queer Science,” published in 1996, Le Vay addressed the controversial question of what causes homosexuality. In the book, he said to question what it means to be gay is equivalent to questioning what it means to be straight.

Before Le Vay began his PowerPoint presentation, he conducted a brief poll.

He asked how many people were in favor of legalizing gay marriage. When the majority answered yes, he stated, “Young people tend to be more gay friendly, especially since you live in a big city.”

With that, Le Vay divided up his presentation into three sections: the history of the ideas towards homosexuality; the evidence for biological influences of homosexuality and how beliefs about causation may influence one’s attitude toward homosexuals.

Le Vay covered the theories of many intellectuals. He started by describing Plato’s “fanciful” theory that homosexuals and heterosexuals descended from creatures that were once joined together in three different ways: double females, double males and the male-female hybrid.

Once they were separated, these individuals spent the rest of their lives searching for their other half, thereby determining their sexual orientation.

Le Vay went into great depth about his ideas of what causes homosexuality and how to “cure” it through psychoanalysis.

He also discussed the attitudes of traditional Christian moralists, how homosexuality is portrayed in the Bible, and the natural versus unnatural behaviors in comparison to animals.

Le Vay covered the biological influences of sexual orientation. Based on his own research, he went into great detail about how homosexuality is determined by genetic and prenatal factors.

He gave examples on inheritance by parents and the chances of two identical twins being gay, due to their identical genetic makeup.

Students looked at one structure of the brain that is larger among straight men than in homosexual men and women in general. Le Vay also explained the evolutional aspect of homosexuality and why it hasn’t been “selected out” of our society.

Le Vay said he has mixed feelings toward the possible effects of researching the cause of homosexuality.

He showed a clip of an interview he conducted with a German doctor who believed he could operate on the human brain to change a person’s sexual orientation.

Le Vay commented that he is afraid that this kind of research can lead to “nightmarish consequences.” However, he also believes that it can lead to positive effects on society.

He showed how much his (and many others’) research has influenced people to agree that homosexuality is not a choice, but a predetermined phenomena.

Throughout his presentation, Le Vay encouraged students to ask questions and make comments.

When asked if he envisioned a society in which sexual orientation was not an issue, Le Vay responded, “I would like to see the gay community survive and prosper. There is more to homosexuality than being left handed.”

Although the presentation was held in Herrero’s classroom, everyone was welcome.

“It was such a great and unique opportunity to have a truly world figure (like Le Vay) enlighten our community,” Herrero said.