Homosexuality Again Linked to Biological Factors
OK, we’ve seen this data before, but it’s nice to see the extra twist of it being reported in Forbes.com:
MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) — Adding to the theory that homosexuality may be hardwired and not the product of environmental factors, new research again confirms that the more older brothers a male has, the more likely he is to be gay.
Researchers have known for years that a man’s likelihood of being gay rises with the number of older biological brothers. But the new study found that the so-called “fraternal birth order effect” persists even if gay men were raised away from their biological families.
Bogaert and a colleague first reported the older-brother effect a decade ago. According to Bogaert, men with no older brothers have about a 2 percent to 3 percent chance of being gay. If they have three or four older brothers, the rate goes up to about 5 percent.
Stephen Colbert made fun of this study, noting that he has seven older brothers, yet he’s straight. Then I noted that my one gay brother-in-law is the youngest of eight brothers.
About 20 studies have reinforced the link between fraternal birth order and male homosexuality, Bogaert said. However, no similar link has been found in lesbians.
Bogaert said he launched his new study to better understand the fraternal birth order effect. “Is it a biological phenomenon? Or is it psychological or have to do with rearing?” he said.
Must… resist… urge… to… type… off-color… pun…
To find the answer, Bogaert examined surveys of 944 Canadian men, both gay and straight, about their sexuality and their families.
The older-brother effect was constant regardless of whether the men were raised with natural, adopted or stepbrothers. It also didn’t matter if they weren’t raised with their biological mothers.
If gay younger brothers and older brothers don’t have the same home environments, what do they have in common? “They shared the same uterus, the same womb, the same mother,” Bogaert said.
Bogaert has also co-authored some research that shows genetic differences between women who have multiple gay sons and those who don’t.
As always, this research into gay genetics is a double-edged sword. On one side, it’s nice to have the “nature” argument prevail as a foundation for equal treatment under the law. On the other side, it is scary to think of the sci-fi future where gay genes can be located in utero and “treated” in order to produce a straight baby.
I’ve always been a proponent of the “gay” = “religion” argument; people shouldn’t be treated differently under the law because of how they choose to believe and what morality they possess, so long as they don’t harm others. Nobody’s “born” Christian, yet they get equal rights. Shouldn’t gay people (whether “born” gay or “chosen” gay) get the same treatment?