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Scientists search for the cause of queerness

A recent study seems to add credibility to the myth that a boy’s likelihood of being gay increases with the number of older brothers he has.

The findings, which appear significant whether or not siblings are raised together, suggest genetic or prenatal factors may influence sexual orientation more than how boys are reared or socialized, said the study’s author, Anthony Bogaert. Bogaert is a professor of psychology and community health sciences at Brock University in St Catharines, Ontario.

The study, based on data collected from 944 Canadian men, appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US medical journal. The research may support a two-decade-old idea that mothers, after having one or more sons, develop immune reactions that may affect the development of further sons, says a commentary published along with Bogaert’s article by scientists from Michigan State University.

“I interpret that study to be bunk,” Vancouver queer community activist Velvet Steel tells Xtra West. “I know a lot of people who have no brothers or sisters that end up being gay. How does the study account for them?”

Steel is also leery of where the study results might lead.
“I also think it could lead to the creation of a vaccine to correct the ‘problem,’ especially for mothers who see homosexuality as a bad thing,” she says. “Homosexuality is not a disease.”
Steel also questions the study’s motivations.

“What group of people is the study going to benefit? People that are so phobic that they’ll try to create a vaccine to prevent children from being gay? What relevance does this research have?” she asks. “You should love your child whether they’re gay or straight.”