A National Geographic article entitled "Sexual orientation is genetic in worms" shows that some people are very attached to the idea that sexual orientation is monolithically a gender inversion based on genetic.
Researchers at the University of Utah were able to make hermaphroditic nematodes behave sexually like male ones, that is, chase each other around instead of being chased. The article, though tries to turn this into a far-reaching study that will have implications for the study of human sexuality. Uh-huh. Forget the facts that nematodes are so distantly related to humans that they don't even have a coelom, that their brains are only several hundred unmyelinated neurons instead of our hundred billion myelinated neurons, and that they experience sex differently (females can self-fertilize). Sure, there are some genes that are shared between nematodes and humans, but can we even say that they are experiencing sexual orientation the same as people, much less that whatever causes theirs is the same cause for ours?
Like all of these gay gene articles, you get the same silly gender inversion bits:
This tricked [female/hermaphrodite nematodes'] brains into acting like male brains. As a result, the hermaphrodite worms adopted male sexual behavior and became attracted to other hermaphrodites.
"They look like girls but they act like boys," study lead author Jamie White, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah, said in a statement.
Because that's what sexual orientation's about, acting like your own or the Opposite Sex.
And there are the references to debunked studies:
Many scientists believe that such sexual behaviors stem from parts of the brain that are larger in each respective gender.
Are they really referring to Simon LeVay's gay hypothalamus study brains that took 19 men who died of AIDS-related causes as representative of all gay men and just assumed that the other 16 men studied were straight? I can't think of any other that's been about the sizes of parts of the brain between genders.
It just seems like we have to have one of these articles a month trying to oversimplify sexuality, which if you read a bit deeper into doesn't really say what the headline says it does. This makes me wonder just why we want it to be so simple, but that's too big of a question for me.
I don't really have a problem with the study, which is interesting, and even one of the co-authors said:
You might think this is a study about sexuality, but it's really our foothold on understanding the brain.
But the title of the article, the link directly to a study of human lesbians, and imposition of a human, Western understanding of gender, sex, and sexuality on nematodes shows a whole lot more about what we want to believe than what actually we've actually proven.