These are excerpts from a blog post and comments by Dr. Sven Wilson, a BYU Associate Professor who advocates scientific research to stop people from being born gay or cure them from being gay:
“I am struck by how little there has been in the past couple of decades, especially given the importance of gay rights as a social concern. But perhaps the politics explains the lack of science. It would be disconcerting, at least, to embark on a field of study where an increasingly large group of politically motivated, influential and often angry people are already convinced they know the answer: sexual orientation is innate and immutable. The activist community wants acceptance, not understanding. Hence, most people will avoid doing science that will cause people to hate them if they get unpopular answers (or, even worse, label them as hateful for even asking the questions).”
“Both the innate and immutable claims might prove to be true, but as more and more people buy the hype, the science gets harder and harder to do. What if, perchance, this new epigenetic research leads to a medical or other treatment (perhaps prenatal hormonal therapies) that could “turn off” the development of homosexual orientation in utero or sometime thereafter? How would this affect the gay rights movement?”
“Shouldn’t even people who are gay rights activists be in favor of the development of knowledge that might lead to such a discovery? A consistent theme I hear when homosexuals tell their stories about coming out is how hard it was to admit, first to themselves and then to others, that they are gay. Many of them tell stories of great pain and anguish prior to coming out (and sometimes thereafter). Wouldn’t eliminating that pain be wonderful?”
“The obvious response to this is that it isn’t homosexuality that causes the pain, but is instead the “homophobic culture” we live in. Fair enough. But consider the thought experiment where the culture is completely accepting of homosexuality. It seems that even in this homophilic wonderland, there are compelling reasons to prevent homosexuality. First of all, the desire to create biological children that are related to both parents seems a powerful (and biologically rooted) urge. Second, mate selection is much harder for homosexuals purely for statistical reasons. Third, the social self-sorting of homosexuals into urban environments, where mate selection is easier, can be costly, especially for individuals who don’t like those environments for other reasons. Finally, there is always stress (sometimes a lot) for growing up as a minority, whether minority status is defined, by race, religion, ethnicity, or sexuality.”
“In short, a central claim of the gay rights movement is that homosexuals do not choose to be gay. But if they could, would they? If there were a simple treatment that their mothers could have chosen, wouldn’t it be desirable? Sure, many activists are going to say, “No Way. Gay life is wonderful. We are proud of who we are.” I believe they are sincere. Yet I wonder, even for that group, what they would tell their mothers to do if they could go back in time. Would not even people who are completely accepting of homosexuality choose heterosexuality for their children if given the option? Certainly some would not, but I wager that the overwhelming majority would.”
From his comments:
“I can understand you love your son very much. But I find this idea that you wouldn’t change anything about him if you could very strange. I adore my kids just the way there are, but there are definitely things about each of them that I would change if I could.”
“A main point I make is that there is huge amount of pain associated with this issue. My conjecture is that it rather obvious to most reasonable people, therefore, that it would be very desirable to have methods to prevent homosexuality from ever occurring in the first place or to potentially reverse it (I’m absolutely not arguing for any of the past “therapies” here, which seem to be mostly damaging to people). However, this would require open-minded study of the topic–not assuming the answer. Individuals can always (and should always) be treated with love and respect. But to establish political walls against learning about the origins of homosexuality is a pretty “hateful” thing to do to people, in my view. We can love and accept people without accepting the unfounded rhetoric.”
“I can understand the moral value of treating homosexuals with the love, dignity and respect that is due to anyone. But I don’t see the benefits of homosexuality itself, holding other factors constant, and I think there are considerable costs.”
“If you read my post you will note that the claim is that homosexuality is a human characteristic that most anyone would want to prevent or reverse. It can make life very painful because of the harassment and rejection you mention. But even in a world where there was none of that abuse or discrimination, it would not be desirable for the reasons I mention (the most important being the issue of children). I will not re-post those claims, since you can actually read them above, if you’d like to take the time.”
I appreciate the disclaimer at the end of his biography on the blog:
“Wilson’s views expressed in this blog are entirely his own and should not be attributed to his university, its sponsoring church, his wife, children, neighbors, friends, or anyone with any sense.”
I find the previous paragraph in his bio rather ironic:
“Wilson’s large family leaves an enormous carbon footprint, but he buys no bogus eco-credits. Instead, he is trying to help his children be net-producers and nice people.” (My emphasis)
Okay, here are my limited questions and comments:
If you were LGBTQ and Dr. Wilson happened to be your bishop, would you go to him for counsel knowing that he advocates scientific research to do away with a core aspect of you?
Do you think he is a “nice person?”
Do you think there are things about him that his children would change if they could?
Doesn’t what Dr. Wilson proposes sound a lot like the rhetoric used by Adolf Hitler to support his “research” on creating a superior race?
Dr. Wilson claims that he loves gay people and that gay people should be treated with courtesy, but I do not see that in his blog post or his remarks. BYU and the church castigated the professor last year who brought up the “fence-sitting” argument as the reason for withholding the priesthood from black men before 1978. I think the university and church should issue a similar rebuke to Dr. Sven Wilson for his call to use science to create a world without LGBTQ people. That is my opinion.