Singlish Bloggers - The Gay Gene (no relation in these topics)

It's time E@L took on the BIG issues.

Once again, apparantly, the Singapore Blogosphere has to defend itself from charges of being trivial and infantile - and this time the attack is from a local journalist, nicely deflated by Mr Miyagi here, and not some bitter and twisted ang moh (whatever that means).

And E@L can't really understand why. No really! He can't understand! Because 99% of Singapore Bloggers don't write in English! All these "humorous" Singlish expressions totally confuse and non-plus him to a negative extent! In fact he doesn't read a lot of the local popular blogs (oops confession time!) because, truly, he can't!

But those good ones written in TQE like the SPG, sigh...

You see, E@L doesn't work with people who speak Singlish - it'd be a worry if his Japanese boss spoke it! - at least they don't speak it to him. Plus he is the S-EAsian/SouthAsian/Middle-Eastern/African/Australian/Oceanian Area Representative [trainer, clinical support] - 40 countries and counting! - therefore he travels around 75% of the time. That makes him only marginally a Singaporean resident anyway (tax-wise that's GOOD). When he gets "home" to Newton, he doesn't go out much - for the first few nights back in town he just lies down and clutches the edges of the mattress of his extra-king-size sleigh-bed screaming, "THIS is my bed! THIS is my bed!"

And when he reads, he likes to read English. Because it is the universal language of the Internet, not some insular, self-absorbed pidgin suitable only for local gossip and self-reflecting invective. Other than that, no opinion...

Anyway, that's not the issue he wanted to blog about, so digression over.


Serious issue. Big issue.

In discussion with someone else last week the subject of homosexuality came up. No, not like that! No-one put the hard word on anyone! It was a discussion on Evolution. The question was asked, "Why has homosexuality not been 'evolved' away, as it does not contribute to the generation of the species. It doesn't help those selfish genes making new copies of themselves, because isn't that the meaning and purpose of life?" Or WTTE.

Then the discussion digressed into why "Sodomite" caught on as an expression, but not "Gommorhite" or "Gommorhean". Where they up to different Brimstone-worthy Mortal Sins in those Cities Of The Plains? Then we started on various other portmanteau words that E@L can't remember, but which seemed hilarious at the time. (Note to self: write these fucking things down straight away you forgetful moron!) There was also a discussion of the mutual antipathy of socks and coat-hangers. For every sock that disappears while being washed and dried, a coat-hanger mysteriously appears in the cupboard. Coincidence? We didn't think so! Obviously some inter-universe exchange program is under way.

Oops, one digression goes away and another come to take its place!


The first part of the homosexual question is one E@L thought he knew the answer to, pointing out that there are lots of examples in nature of things which do not contribute positively to this primary goal. Why are peacocks' tail-feathers so colorful and so ridiculously impractical? Why do we still have appendices (some do anyway - want to come up and seeE@L's scar?)? But that is not really an answer that satisfies, is it? Unless we are talking about my circumcision scar, yar yar.

In order to answer why homosexuality exists, you must also answer the more interesting question of why it CONTINUES to exist, generation after generation, because let's face it if your parents didn't have children, chances are you won't either.


And incidentally, E@L did not look up the Wikipedia entry on homosexuality until well into the first draft of this, and decided to leave most of the howlers and factual errors in situ just so you could see what a total ignoramus he really is.


There are in fact at least two three four (4) major possible reasons that have been advanced for explaining the continued existence of homosexuality in the human species (do you mind if I say 'gay' from now on, because it is easier to type).

E@L knows about these arguments from various readings, discussion and sojourns to the steamy bath-houses of SanFrancisco back in the 70's... (JOKING!!!)

Firstly: Nurture. Gays are made not born. Overbearing mums. Pushy mums. Guiding little Johnny away from those nasty girls who'll only steal him away from his ever-lovin' momma! OK most people disregard this reason as some Freudian lunacy, only held by lunatics and Freudians. [It seems Freud actually thought we were all bisexual! Oops@L] And people who have never seen an episode of "The Osbourns". Lacking any logical skills, E@L is not going to demolish this argument, but just safely ignore it as the claptrap E@L is certain you, gentle reader, recognize for what it is.

Secondly: Perversion of the pleasure principle. People have decided that they'd rather shag their own sex, because the sex is better that way. This obviously doesn't hold water, because why would FEMALE homosexuals decide that sex with women is better, while MALE homosexuals say that sex with men is better. Surely they both can't be right? Q.E.D. Next.

Thirdly Genetic: There is a gay gene. OK, a possibility. If one fraternal twin turns out to be gay, there is a 25% chance of the other being gay, whereas with identical twins, the risk is 50%. That may seem to be conclusive (or at least strong) proof. But read on gentle soul, and don't judge this evidence yet, for of course while identical twins share the same DNA, they may also share a placenta and a blood circulation, as well as a mother!

So, why would we have a gene that creates a person who is not attracted to the opposite sex? Where is the evolutionary advantage in that?

Well, for one thing, "advantage" is not necessarily the only driving engine of evolution. There is also Lack of Disadvantage. Once a gene mutates and is hereditable (not all mutations are) it will be bred away only if it puts its owner at significant enough disadvantage - like being slower or dumber, or having some metabolic dysfunction. Even genes that do this can survive for long times if, depending upon the strength of their expression - their variability of effect on the owner - they don't kill you until after you've had your own kids. The gene for Parkinsons for example. Certain brain cancers are hereditary - one of the best doctors in our hospital (the guy who gave E@L his appendix scar), his father and also his son died of a certain type of glioma.

Some mutations may even convey other benefits. When the sickle-cell anaemia gene is inherited from one parent it conveys immunity from malaria, but inheritance of the severe form in genes from both parents can cause nasty coagulation disorders in childhood and youth and lead to early death from a variety of complications. Another example is Down Syndrome. For all its difficult consequences, people with Down Syndrome seem not to get lung cancer!

So what E@L is saying is that being gay won't necessarily kill you, but it won't necessarily make you stronger either. If it exists, it's just bleh, evolutionarily speaking. Without wishing to sound too trite or offend anyone (else), however it certainly does not convey immunity from HIV.

Another thing E@L read somewhere is that if there is a gay gene, while it may not do much for species survival if it appears in a man, it may confer some great advantage if it occurs in a female. There are plenty of people who say that such a gene could possibly not be on the X (male) chromosome anyway.

And you could reasonably argue that there is no great risk to the survivability of the human species if a couple of the males (some say 4%) do not shag women preferentially or as regularly as others, or if a couple of the women (ditto) decide that truck-driving is more in their line than maternity.

You see, it not the number of times that men have sex that counts in population growth - it is the number of times women can get pregnant and carry babies to healthy term. Men can shag all around the place as often as they like or are able to find stimulation, but women can only realistically deliver a maximum of one baby per year each (not counting twins and triplets). And once she's pregnant, she's 100% pregnant. Having sex again is not going to get her more pregnant.

We have to realize also that for much of the history of our species and still in the societal structures of many of our ape cousins, the majority of HETEROSEXUAL males have gone without female sexual companionship for most of their lives. Either there is an Alpha Male who controls a harem of women and does all/most of the shagging, or the other men are addicted to masturbating to porn on the Internet and never go out. So if a small percentage don't participate in the struggle to be the Alpha Male, but struggle rather to screw the Alpha Male themselves, it won't make enough difference to the success of the population and the race as a whole.

An argument against this genetic theory is of course, that if your dad wasn't a gay, why should you be one? The number of gays is estimated at about 4% and that figure doesn't support the case for Mendellian inheritance, but of course it could be explained by more complicated forms of genetic linkage, such as the gay gene being on genetic material in the mitochondrial DNA, not in the nuclear DNA (chromosomes) at all.

There are genes in insects which suppress male characteristics to create sterile drones who do the housework and act as cannon fodder in the colony. There may be some of that in our species as well. Who the fuck knows?

Fourthly: Gestationally. The time spent in utero will have an effect on the development of lots of things, and that may very well include certain things which convert females (the natural state of embryonic mammals) into functional males.

As St Augustine asks (E@L is remembering badly here) "Was I alive somewhere else before this life? Was it the time I spent in my mother's womb? How can I know what went on in there?" Or WTTE.

Things are really happening fast in the intrauterine environment and it is a terrific battle for dominance and survival - the fetus is REALLY a parasite, running a fine line between overtaxing its host mother and keeping her alive long enough to maintain him/her to delivery and hopefully for a while afterwards! Diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, venous issues (all over and inside, not just the legs!) can afflict the mother, not to mention the (once often deadly) trauma of delivering such a relatively huge-headed baby...

Specifically though, E@L is talking about the levels in the mother of offspring derived antibodies to testosterone. It has often been noted that it is later-born male children who are more likely to be homosexual. Birth-order and "mummy-ing" (see above) were thought to be the reasons in some theories. E@L has several male relations and several friends who are homosexual and second sons.

The theory E@L heard while he was working in a Feto-Maternal Medicine Unit was that the mother of a male fetus may develop antibodies to testosterone. Like many other such auto-immune situations, this is not an issue for the current pregnancy, but for the next one. So when mum lands pregnant with second male fetus, particularly so if it is the very next pregnancy, that baby's testosterone is attacked by the mother's antibodies. This can occur because there is a small but significant exchange across the maternal and fetal circulations in the placenta. There are only four (or is it two?) layers of cells between each other's circulations. So, once the antibodies get across into the baby and do what they do best - kill - the level of fetal testosterone can drop to below a certain threshold, and there might be a failure to trigger an alteration to that part of the brain which will eventually tell him that girls are cute and not boys.

Ta dah! Problem solved! Well, an answer has been proposed...

One problem with this theory is that it doesn't explain lesbianism. Or macho hyper-male homosexuals. And it doesn't explain why some homosexuals are first born sons, or sons after daughters...

But it's a goodish theory, E@L reckons. Better than the over-mummy-ing one anyway.

Now E@L will go and read the Wikipedia entry and all his other books on sex, human nature, desire and promiscuity (see list on this blog entry) to see where he is totally off the mark.



Posted by: expat@large on Aug 05, 05 | 12:28 am | Profile


You've got a very interesting take. I've always thought that genetics could play a part, but am also open to the possibility that some people are gays because they are conditioned to be like that.

Posted by: Idler on Aug 05, 05 | 2:42 pm

Speaking of lesbians, here's an interesting article discussing why they're more socially acceptable than gays. (Methinks the main reason is simply that straight men are horny.)

Posted by: chlim01 on Aug 05, 05 | 2:55 pm

Damn, I was thinking you were linking to lesbian photos, etc!

That article's a good read, much more learned than my little rant...

Nice web-site.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 05, 05 | 3:08 pm

Idler - what you say about "conditioned" - certain behaviour being encouraged by a positive feedback mechanism (physical mental and social, from people you trust) resulting in a 'habit' or 'conditioned' response - that is probably also true for many people. I was a Skinnerian Behaviourist myself for a while there back in Psych101.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 05, 05 | 3:12 pm

u no lyke how w3 writz? bart itz unik lei! w@t i5 dis p1g1n t4ing. c@n e@t 1 n0t h@r? \/\/()()T!

Now that everybody's eyes are bleeding, I'm somewhat confused. Assuming homosexual genes precludes heterosexual copulation (well they could still bang around, I'm just assuming), how would it be a evolutionary advantage for the lesbian? It's not going to get inherited isn't it? Kind of a dumb gene.

For your second argument, they can be both wrong, in which case the argument would be trivially true. I think.

Posted by: WJ the II on Aug 05, 05 | 11:07 pm

I was not referring to the impenetrable typographical stuff - but the Singlish/Malay/English mixture on several "ultra-popular" blogs.

Anyway they generally just gossip about childish things amongst themselves - Being the oldest blogger around (!) I can't relate to much of what is going around so I just gossip amongst myselves. But in English.

I haven't really addressed the lesbian question, but I might get a chance to do so this weekend... Hopefully I'll get some photos to post!

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 05, 05 | 11:36 pm

I had a friend who used to say:

"Two guys doing it...that's just plain sick. Now as for two girls having sex, well I'll pay money to see that."

However, having seen a doctor this year to have prostrate checked cured me of any illusions about homosexuality. Girls for me any day of the week!

Or as Sam Kinison said, " I just don't get it, what a guy sees in a man's hairy ass..I'll never understand."

Does not matter how it comes to be, it just needs to be kept as a private matter. That's what gay political groups have yet to grasp......

Posted by: Skippy-san on Aug 06, 05 | 7:28 am

The link in chlim01's comment explains the fascination with females very well.

Fletch: "Soooo, Doc? Got both hands up there?"

Perhaps this will help with the hairy ass issues...

And so long as no-one grasps MY private matters...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 06, 05 | 10:01 am

No way that thing is going anywhere near my ass.

Posted by: WJ the II on Aug 06, 05 | 10:40 am

Well, if you want a rimjob it's only polite to keep your butt nice and smooth.

Posted by: chlim01 on Aug 06, 05 | 9:21 pm

Mr Lim!

Here at E@L GHQ we refer to such evil practices with nice polite euphemisms.

Such as "I got a 'trip up Moon River' from this skanky Vietnamese whore last night!"
Please show some respect in the future.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 06, 05 | 9:31 pm

OMG what have you done?! I'll never be able to listen to "Moon River" in the same innocent way again!

Posted by: chlim01 on Aug 06, 05 | 10:41 pm

It's just that she was humming it as she performed...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 07, 05 | 12:39 am


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