Recent research involving steroids, pregnant women could lead to genocide against LGBT community

Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

Would you trade being gay, lesbian or bisexual for being straight? I suppose many people have asked themselves that question. I have, and though I followed the hetero-normative path while growing up, I ended up coming out and coming to grips with who I really am.

I am gay, and I have no regrets about that. I wouldn’t trade it if I could. Being gay or lesbian or bisexual is something with which you are born, like blue eyes or wavy hair.

Now, I know there are people who mistakenly believe that sexual orientation is a choice, but they are wrong. If you want proof, a researcher in Florida has decided to tinker with the sexual orientation of fetuses in an effort to prevent babies from becoming lesbians.

Maria New, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is using dexamethasone, a risky steroid, on female fetuses to cause these girls’ behavior to be closer to the expectation of heterosexual norms. In other words, they are trying to prevent lesbianism or “masculine behaviors” in these children.

In a paper published in “The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,” New and Nimkarn state the following:

“Gender-related behaviors, namely childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences in adolescence and adulthood, maternalism, aggression, and sexual orientation become masculinized in 46,XX girls and women with 21OHD deficiency [CAH]. These abnormalities have been attributed to the effects of excessive prenatal androgen levels on the sexual differentiation of the brain and later on behavior.”

“We anticipate that prenatal dexamethasone therapy will reduce the well-documented behavioral masculinization …”

Aside from the scientific details about Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, CAH, a condition that results in an excess of androgens, the purpose of the study is clear. These researchers are not so much breaking new ground as practicing something very old fashioned — eugenics.

Back in the early 20th century, the eugenics movement sought to create perfect human beings. It was a process of selective breeding much like that used to breed better milk cows or fatter hogs. The movement, popular in America as well as Europe, reached its peak with the German experiments in creating what they considered a “master race.”

Of course, the whole process involves elimination of “inferior traits,” which are arbitrarily decided by the people conducting the program. Inferior in Germany meant Gypsies, Jews, and gays, who at first were restricted from having children and later sterilized and exterminated.

The whole idea of using science to breed out genetic “defects” may seem like a good idea, but once you and your fellow LGBT people are seen as “defects,” it gets to be a different story.

This all goes back to my original question, “Would you trade being gay, lesbian, or bisexual for being straight?” The answer to that question goes right to the heart of this issue.

Society may have burdened us with a hetero-normative view of the world, which makes our very lives seem like aberrations. If you buy that line of thinking, you might end up in an “ex-gay” program and struggle with the natural orientation you were born with.

If you accept yourself as LGBT and embrace it as another facet of yourself, you are more likely to live a happier life. Moreover, you are far more likely to see this research as something threatening, which it is.

The idea of a world without LGBT people horrifies me. It would be a world without our sensibilities, our creativity, our unique attitudes toward sexuality and what constitutes a family. In short it would be a world less better off.

What this study foreshadows may be something good or something bad. My suspicion is that in the hands of the wrong people it will become the latter. Genetic tinkering is only a short step from genetic engineering, and in the case of seeking to eliminate LGBT babies, it is easy to name: Genocide.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.