A. Elphick wrote:
>What worries me is that issues are being discussed by the comparrison of
>the sub group or counter culture 'homosexuals' with the sub goup or counter
>Strength to bring about social change in terms of a more inclusive, less
>heirachical society in terms of the 'worth' of different individuals surely
>comes from demonstrating how much we each value others who are different
Well this is one way of putting it, but the 'counter culture' approach only
happens in societies that view disabled people and 'homosexuals' as
homogeneous minority groups, always already social identities and as social
categories that don't overlap i.e. in most western societies because of
their problem with ontological pluralism. I think that historical changes
in the way we theorise both disability and 'queerness' (because the
approaches I refer to tend to be conceptualised within queer theory rather
than lesbian and gay theory) tend to begin from the perspective that
disability and queerness are pervasive forms of social knowledge that are
constructed into society and although often perceived in terms of
difference and a politics of identity, have a great deal of common ground
in the way they are conceptualised. Sometimes working from this common
ground helps to break down and destabilise 'normal' social hierarchies that
seem to construct people with multiple differences as x first and y second,
with the order itself being contextualised, sometimes along a dimension of
value/dis-value. This seems to me to be a very inclusive way of looking at
things, but valuing difference has to be learned, often in a climate that,
unlike your school, is far from democratic.
>Incidentaly a study in Canada has demonstrated a statisticaly significant
>relationship between the chances of a male being homosexual, and the number
>of elder brothers he has. The more elder brothers, the greater the chance
>of the youngers males being gay. It is postulated that the mother builds up
>antibodies to the male chromasome over sucessive pregnancies, and 'blocks'
>the development of full 'maleness' in latter male foetuses. (My idle
>speculation is as to whether this in turn relates to the development of
>dyslexia which is four times morre common in males than female and is
>supposed to be developmental in origin. I wonder what the incidence of
>dyslexia is amongst homosexual men?)
Another study recently suggested a genetic parallel between lesbianism and
deafness. I'm aware of the study you talk about. However, it was shown as
part of a TV documentary over here and the opposing evidence i.e. 'culture'
rather than 'nature' was equally compelling. This is sometimes the problem
with 'scientific' research. We feel we have to regard it as 'the truth'.
Experience suggests however that we should be skeptics. Most scientific
research, however rigorous, swings from one extreme to the other with
alarming regularity if viewed historically. It is hard to see any 'reality'
that takes into account time and space other than the one in the middle.
>Of course the Sociobiologists will argue that it is socially important to
>have homosexual younger siblings in larger families to reduce agressive
>competition for females whilst giving the non procreative males a vested
>interest in the survival of his brothers' children as they share the same
>genes (if not Jeans).
So what that seems to say is that sociobiologists tend to stereotype gender
Senior Research Fellow in Deaf and Disability Studies
Department of Education Studies
University of Central Lancashire
Preston PR1 2HE
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