Monday, June 26, 2006

Homosexuality influenced by biological factors

This should cause those who adamantly insist that homosexuality is a disease, or some abomination of biblical proportions, to get their Pampers™ in a twist. From Jonathan Montpetit: (all emphasis mine)

Homosexuality influenced by biological factors, Canadian researcher says

A new study suggests a male's sexual orientation is not the product of his environment but rather is influenced by biological factors present before birth.

Researchers at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., have found evidence that "a prenatal mechanism(s) . . . affect men's sexual orientation development."

The study's author, Prof. Anthony F. Bogaert, explored the causes behind what is known as the fraternal birth order, research that shows a correlation between the number of biological older brothers a man has and his sexual orientation.

But that concept leaves unclear whether older brothers have a socializing effect on sexuality, or if biological factors are at play.
Bogaert's study has been peer reviewed and will appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"These results support a prenatal origin to sexual orientation development in men and indicate that the fraternal birth-order effect is probably the result of a maternal 'memory' for male gestations or births," Bogaert writes.

Bogaert, who teaches in both the community health science and psychology departments at Brock, studied more than 900 heterosexual and homosexual men in Canada who had either biological or non-biological brothers.

Dividing his sample into four groups, Bogaert examined the impact of all types of older brothers, including step and adopted siblings, and the amount of time brothers spent together while growing up.

His research found that only the number of biological brothers had an impact on sexuality, regardless of whether the boys were raised together.

"The number of biological older brothers, including those not reared with the participant . . . increases the probability of homosexuality in men," the study reads.
No doubt we'll hear from Big Daddy Dobson and his pack of raging homophobes on this.

And if you happen to get most of your news from the Fox Network, you'll see that the headline is a little different than most other outlets.

Study: Older Brothers Increase Chances Men Will Be Gay
If you don't read the whole story, you'll find you're left with a different sense of what Bogaert's study was actually all about. But then, you can't argue with fair and balanced™. And I wouldn't suggest that Fox News fans are likely to limit themselves to reading only headlines.

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