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Mormons More Likely To Be Gay

Posted on 04 December 2008 by admin

Excerpt from The Hastings Center:

Discussions and debates over the origins of homosexuality have tended to focus on two possibilities: you’re either gay because you’ve got a ”gay gene,” or you’re gay because of some aspect of your upbringing.

(The latter option is usually imagined to involve something nasty, like a pedophilic priest.) These two options—gene-gay and turned-gay—fit neatly in the (yawn) nature-nurture debate, and that
probably explains why almost everyone seems to keep ignoring a third option, one for which there is astoundingly robust data: womb-gay.

The official name of the womb-gay idea—bestowed by Ray Blanchard, the man who articulated the phenomenon—is the fraternal birth order effect.Blanchard is Head of Clinical Sexology Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and Professor of Psychiatry
at the University of Toronto.

The upshot of the fraternal birth order effect is this: “In men, sexual orientation correlates with an individual’s number of older brothers, each additional older brother increasing the odds of
homosexuality by approximately 33%.” And this isn’t because big brothers somehow socially pressure their little brothers into becoming gay. Another sex researcher,Anthony Bogaert of Brock University in
Canada, has shown decisively that it isn’t due to family environment; adopted male siblings don’t show the fraternal birth order effect, and the effect holds even when biological male siblings are raised
separately. It doesn’t happen in females, and female fetuses don’t add to the effect. The effect happens only among male siblings who have inhabited the same woman’s womb.

So if you are a man, the farther down the reproductive chain you were in terms of male fetuses inhabiting your biological mother’s womb, the greater the chance you are gay. Blanchard estimates this effect accounts for the sexual orientation of somewhere around 15-29% of gay
men.

Why on earth would this happen? That’s not at all clear, but the researchers who have looked at this phenomenon think it may involve some kind of immunological response a woman’s body exhibits to
carrying male fetuses, a response whose effect on male fetuses grows stronger with each successive male-fetus pregnancy. This etiology remains theoretical. But the effect does not. In spite of the long-running “gene-gay versus turned-gay” discussions of homosexuality, we have far better data evidencing womb-gayness than we do gene-gayness or turned-gayness.

So what does this have to do with Mormons? Well, given the relatively large size of Mormon families, on average, it is highly likely that gay men are relatively more common among Mormons than among the general population, where family size is, on average, smaller. It’s not just that each Mormon family would have, on average, more sons than the average American family; it’s that the population of Mormons would include more gay men per capita than the general American population.

60 Minutes did a story on the “womb” theory back in 2006. A portion of that story is shown below.

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