Causes of Male Homosexuality

Ash over at Odd Psalms has posted a video that’s a year or two old from the American “60 minutes” slot. It raises some issues as to the causation of male homosexuality.

The statistics about older / younger male siblings is probably the best bit of research in this area and, unlike hypotheses like Hamer’s gay gene, has been replicated in multiple repeat studies. As the video shows though, just because we observe an effect doesn’t mean we know the cause. Shouldn’t stop us speculating though should it?

These are some of the suggestions that have been made for why this effect is observed. Can you think of any others and can you also think of reasons why these causes may or may not be actually the root of male homosexuality?

  • Later male children respond to increased female hormones in the womb after multiple pregnancies (but this notion is challenged by identical twins who are not identically gay)
  • Later released female gametes have a greater tendency to react with the womb so the body releases higher levels of female hormone during pregnancy (this theory suggests the number of previous pregnancies is not as great a factor)
  • More children leads to younger boys having less one-on-one time with their significant role-models leading to developmental issues
  • Some combination of the above

What do you think?

Doctor Who / Torchwood’s John Barrowman explored some of these issues in a BBC documentary a few years back. You can watch the first part of that piece here and then following the links to the other five. As you listen to the discussion of causes that occurs later on, ask yourself whether all the options are being properly discussed.

Posted in Identity, Science, Sexuality, Statistics Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,