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Socialist Review, December 1993

Tom Delargy


Wrong focus

From Socialist Review, No. 170, December 1993.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

To suggest that we are all naturally bisexual, as Steve Hack does (November SR), might fit the experiences of many more people than are prepared to admit it. But, unless the majority of people are consciously telling lies, it does not fit the experience of everyone.

To argue that genetic factors might play some minor role in sexual orientation is not to say that heterosexuality is any more natural than homosexuality. I would not be at all surprised to find that virtually everyone is to some extent bisexual. What I am concerned about is attempts to stigmatise people who believe themselves to be either exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual.

Steve admits that in a future socialist society many people might choose not to engage in same sex relations.

In a socialist society no one would waste a penny trying to discover whether there was any evidence for a genetic component to sexual orientation. But can we rule out the possibility that some statistically significant link will be discovered before workers take power and end this obscene waste of time and money? To categorically deny this possibility is either to imply that our support for gay rights is conditional on there being no genetic component involved, or else revealing ourselves as academic Marxists.

No one suggests research is done into uncovering some tenuous link between our genetic make up and our different tastes in food or music. By concentrating research on sexual orientation rather than either of these, there is an implication that sexual orientation has a special significance. Just as immigration controls imply that the problem is race rather than racism, research into sexual orientation implies that the problem is homosexuality rather than homophobia.

Revolutionary socialists could end up very politically disorientated if the statistically significant evidence they deny does indeed become available. There is only one way of preparing ourselves against this, and that is an attitude of complete indifference to such evidence.


Tom Delargy

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