When we are able to genetically engineer “designer babies”, I think we should engineer away homosexuality, trans people (if being trans has a genetic cause), and other abnormal sexual orientations, and I think any good liberal should agree with me. I believe this not because of a religious belief, nor because I think homosexuals are ‘evil’ or somehow less worthwhile than heterosexuals, but for utilitarian reasons that I think any secular humanist could agree with.
Although I don’t think it is wrong to be gay, I do think that you’re better off being straight. Homosexuals have higher rates of STDs, drug addiction, depression and other mental illnesses, suicide, youth homelessness, and significantly lower life expectancy. And that’s just in Western countries—it’s even worse to be gay in, say, Afghanistan.
That homosexuality is just as good or worthwhile as heterosexuality, or that these negative effects are the result of social stigma, is irrelevant. Imagine that liking chocolate ice cream resulted in higher rates of drug addiction, depression, etc, because there was a negative social stigma associated with it. Perhaps it would be better if people could just get over their prejudice about chocolate and realize there’s nothing wrong with it, but if that didn’t happen, and we could genetically engineer away the preference for chocolate, surely we should. In fact, it would be cruel and wrong for any parent to not engineer away this preference, rather than subject their child to a significantly less happy life.
One might object that even if gays are better off being straight, forcing them to be straight is still wrong. But genetic engineering is not forcing anyone to be anything, because you’re only altering potential people—you’re not violating the rights of any actual person. No actual gay person is harmed, a potential person just becomes a different potential person. If you don’t think abortion is wrong, then it’s absurd to claim that genetic engineering violates anyone’s rights.