Lets start this off by stating that I’m no scientist or statistician. I’m just a guy that happened to catch an episode of CBS 60 Minutes a few weeks back and thought it was very interesting.
The subject matter might be a bit controversial and is yet still unproven but it seems science is getting very close to an answer or at least one of the answers to the age old question “What makes you gay?”
First off all, the study only addresses gay males so sorry to all you Sisters of Saphos, I’m sure your time will come.
What got my ears ringing was the following quote taken from one of the researchers by the name of Michael Bailey from Northwestern University.
"The more older brothers a man has, the greater that man's chance of being gay,"
At first, I thought it sounded ridiculous but as the segment went on, it seemed to start making more and more sense and has been validated in study after study. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because the older brothers were bullies or were picking on their younger siblings, it all takes place much earlier than that.
When it comes to crunching the numbers, a first born son has an approximately two percent chance of being gay. For every subsequent brother that the first-born son has, the subsequent brothers chances of being gay increase by one third. Older sisters aren’t a factor at all.
The latest theory is not that there’s a so called “gay gene” or it was product of your upbringing but all of it takes place inside the mother's womb while the fetus is still developing. The theory is that the woman’s body is releasing some kind of antibody when it realizes it’s carrying a male. The woman’s body is acting like it’s seeing something new for the first time (and it is, the Y chromosome and associated proteins) and trying to defend itself against it. If she gets pregnant again and the fetus is male, her body recognizes it and releases the same antibodies only in greater quantities. The numbers keep going up exponentially each time a male fetus is detected. Nobody knows for sure what all of these antibodies do but the theory is that they might have something to do with brain development.
The researchers think that exposure to those antibodies might help unlock the mystery of what makes some of us straight and some of us gay. I don’t think they’ve even begun to try and explain the whole “bi” thing.
So what does it all mean?
Well, for starters many gay advocate groups are taking the “See, I told you so” stance on the matter. They’ve been claiming for years that they were born this way and were not conditioned one way or another. When you think that some people still regard homosexuality as a sickness or a perversion against God, hopefully data like this will change some minds. I know it’s a long shot with the religious zealots but you gotta start somewhere.
So, to some of our gay friends out there who might be questioning themselves about how they got to be the way they are, the “older brother effect” might just be one of the many answers to the question.
To all of our other gay friends out there who don’t give a shit and are just happy to be who they are and couldn’t care less about what made them that way, well, more power to ya!
Note: I’m sure many of you out there don’t fall into the criteria or meet the circumstances that I’ve tried to describe. For those of you who might fall into that category you gotta figure that this science is pretty new. They haven’t covered all of the bases yet and truth be told, I doubt they ever will. There are just too many wild cards in the deck and ya know what?
I like it that way…
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/ 03/09/60minutes/main1385230_page4.shtml - 80k -