The same reader asks:
Incidentally, what do you think the odds are that, once a germ or a gene for homosexuality is found, heterosexuals will abort us out of existence?
It's hard to say what the effects of discovering a gay germ would be, but it's certainly less likely to lead to large-scale eugenic abortions than would the discovery of a gay gene. A gay gene would probably elicit responses similar to the modern responses to the chromosomal abnormality that causes Down Syndrome -- and you'll notice that there are a lot fewer Down Syndrome people around than a few decades ago, due to pregnant women having eugenic abortions.
In the prestige press, everybody talks about eugenics as something that existed only in the bad old days, but it's going on right now all around us.
None dare call it eugenics, but private eugenics is highly popular with liberals. Dave Shiflett wrote on NRO:
Jocelyn Elders, just prior to being named Bill Clinton's surgeon general, famously proclaimed that abortion "has had an important and positive public-health effect" because it reduced "the number of children afflicted with severe defects." She pointed out that "the number of Down Syndrome infants in Washington state in 1976 was 64 percent lower than it would have been without legal abortion."
I'm sure lots of fashionable people would say that they would never abort a fetus with a gay gene, but then you don't hear a lot of people boasting that they would abort a Downs syndrome fetus either, but it sure happens a lot these days. In both cases, parents would have to decide whether they want to go through all the hard work of raising a child without much chance of getting grandchildren in return. This calculus would especially be likely to be true among blue state liberals who are only planning to have one or two children, and therefore don't feel they can afford to invest in kids who won't pay off fully ... and grandchildren are about the biggest payoff you can get out of childrearing.
A seldom-discussed paradox is that if male homosexuality is proven to originate in a particular "gay gene," then it's likely that the continued existence of gay men in future generations in America will primarily be due to Christians who oppose abortion on religious grounds. Kind of ironic, no? Gays might want to think about that before denouncing Christians.
On the other hand, if the gay germ theory is proven true, then this would likely only lead to numerous eugenic abortions if both the infection was ascertainable during the first few months of pregnancy and if it wasn't readily preventable or curable. At this point we have no clue when the infection (if there is such a thing) might occur: the likely timespan would be about the first 30 months or so after conception, with only the first 20% being in the window when a first or second trimester abortion would be feasible.
It's a fascinating example of the raw stupidity of the politically correct, such as Garance Franke-Ruta, that they generally consider the gay gene theory progressive and pro-gay and the gay germ theory absolutely beyond the pale, when the discovery of a gay gene would probably lead to far more eugenic abortions of gay fetuses than would the finding of a gay germ.
On the other hand, the discovery of a gay germ would probably lead to searches for vaccines or antibiotic/antiviral agents, which eventually might lead to fewer male homosexuals, but that hardly compares on the morality scale to the tide of eugenic abortions that the identification of a gay gene would set off.
If a clear path of transmission was discovered, such as being sneezed on by a gay man while pregnant, that might cause some change in behavior during the susceptible periods, such as pregnant women or women with babies staying away temporarily from gay friends or gay service workers like hairdressers. (One of my readers recently checked, at my suggestion, for seasonality in the births of gay males, which could be the sign of transmission via cold/flu mechanisms, but found no seasonality, lowering the possibility of sneeze route). I'm sure many people would consider that a horrific possibility, but it strikes me as one that people could adjust to.
In the long run, a decline in the number of male homosexuals, from whatever cause, would have various consequences. For example, a decrease in the number of young gays would mean that more old homosexuals would have to be satisfied with each other for company. Certain professions, especially in the arts, might be set back, but I suspect society would compensate, just as it has adjusted to the far more horrible impact of the AIDS epidemic that gays inflicted upon themselves through massive promiscuity. For example, a large number of Broadway choreographers were killed by AIDS in the 1980s.
If the number of gay men coming of age each year dropped significantly, I suspect that more women would step up to fill the gap in professions like choreographer where gay men currently tend to have an advantage in professional competition over women due to their greater male aggressiveness. Straight men might even return to the profession, as in the days of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, and Gower Champion, before the "straight flight" that has rendered Broadway so much less popular than in the past.