Dr. James O’Keefe MD recently gave a TEDx Talk in Dublin, Ireland about how evolutionary science can explain the persistence of homosexuality throughout time. According to O’Keefe, homosexuality continues to show up as a sexual minority throughout time and history because gay men and women are essential to the survival of the human race.
O’Keefe shares the story of his own son coming out as gay to him and his wife at 18, a moment that left him to try and understand the science behind what makes a person attracted to the same sex.
Quickly, O’Keefe began to see that homosexuality is not a fluke of nature. “If this were a genetic error, natural selection should have long ago culled this from the gene pool,” O’Keefe says, explaining that homosexuality actually increases a family’s ability to survive as a whole.
“Homosexuality gives advantages to the group by specialized talents and unusual qualities of personality,” O’Keefe says. “So a society that condemns homosexuality harms itself.”
But what exactly are these specialized talents and unusual qualities? According to O’Keefe they include an ability to help humans be kind to one another, a high emotional intelligence, and the ability for compassion and cooperation.
“Homosexuality is like a catalyst to help emotionally connect groups of people together,” he says. Therefore, “for heterosexuals to disapprove of gays is kind of like the white flour in bread disapproving of the yeast.”
O’Keefe dives into how certain factors can predispose a person to be born gay based on a number of conditions that might be present in a woman’s uterus during pregnancy. In other words, nature is purposely choosing to make individuals gay because of the specific strengths that gay people will bring to their families and their communities.
Nature prescribes homosexuality at specific times and places and endows these people with special traits to help the people around them flourish. What is against the order of nature is the ongoing persecution of the sexual minority. These are not confused or defective people that need to be cured, or punished or ostracized. They need to be accepted for who they are and embraced. They make us better.
He adds, “gay men and women are essential to humanity…it’s in our diversity that we find our collective strength.”
Watch O’Keefe’s moving talk, below.