What if homosexuality was a ‘disease?’ What if a cause was isolated, and a ‘cure’ found?
This was the common way of thinking for some time, and many were sent to (or chose to go to) halfway houses where they would be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality. Whether homosexuality is caused by genetic, psychological, environmental or other factors has yet to be determined. Perhaps it never will be. Considering that it has become a social, rather than a scientific, issue of significance with many making it a part of their intrinsic identity, I rather doubt too much work will go into discovering the cause of homosexuality for some time. Not until things calm down on the social front, anyhow.
If homosexuality was discovered, scientifically, to be curable, what would happen to Gay Pride parades?
I’m not entirely sure what conclusions a story based around this might lead to, but here’s how I’d start. The story takes place in the present day, focusing on the scientist- the doctor?- who discovers the cause and figures out the cure. He does not immediately reveal his findings, and instead leaves the office/lab early in order to contemplate the significance of his findings. He’s heterosexual. I’m not sure I could write this from any other perspective. I’m not up to the challenge of writing this from the perspective of a homosexual man (or woman) making this discovery. I get confused just thinking about it.
The doctor has one- at least one- close friend who is homosexual. Also, let’s set this in San Fransisco. He goes to confide in his friend- potentially his friend was part of the group of test subjects he got the results from. The friend compares being gay, in light of this discovery, to having a non-critical medical condition. A hammertoe (my own affliction), acne, or anything along those lines. Anything that might cause someone to want plastic surgery as well. The medical technology exists to ‘fix’ these conditions, but to what end? To make the person more ‘normal,’ to work the way we believe the human body was designed to work? When asked, the friend decides that he would not seek treatment if such a thing was made available.
Now, let’s also have the doctor’s teenage son- or daughter- be homosexual. My first notion was to have it be a son, but at this rate the entire cast of characters will be male. Either way, they will make the opposite position. For them being gay has been anything but. They have found it to be a hardship. After the father informs his child of the possibility of a ‘cure,’ the child will ask whether the father would want them to seek treatment. The doctor considers telling the child that they should- he wants grandchildren. Instead, he tells them that the choice is entirely up to them. They decide that, if it were to be made available, they would seek treatment.
The doctor goes to bed, but cannot sleep. He feels guilty that he might have pressured his child into the decision, and is still unresolved as to whether or not to publish his result. Late into the night he calls his homosexual friend on the phone and asks if he can come over to talk. The friend says yes (of course) but chooses to meet him at a 7-11 or some similar all night location, likely within sight of a ‘gay bar.’ He doesn’t want to reveal the results to his partner, who for a long time was uncomfortable with his homosexuality.
The discussion now revolves around the potential aftermath of revealing the doctor’s findings. The doctor is a researcher at heart, and few things matter to him more than the truth. At the same time he realizes that such findings would make the movement for gay rights nearly impossible, which he believes would be unfair. He asks his friend whether he might not wait until gay rights at been achieved, and then publishing the results. The friend says that might not be a bad idea, but that like as not it might cause a reversal (Any law which can be passed can also be revoked.) The friend okays the publication of the results saying that “If it’s the truth, people might as well know. I believe that the cause is in the right. This will change the minds of some other people, but I wouldn’t have you hide the truth. Perhaps I’m hopelessly naive, but I’d like to believe that the right side should be able to win by being fully honest. Otherwise they shouldn’t win. Now, maybe I’m not right… I’m as capable of doubt as the next person. But I’m invested. This is who I am… etc.” In short, while the research will make progress more difficult, he won’t stand in its way.
Walking around the city until the sun rises, the doctor contemplates each side of the argument and, as the first rays of light illuminate the city, reaches a decision.
I don’t choose to reveal what that decision might be. That will be left to the reader.