What makes you you? For decades scientists, religious leaders, politicians and even your mother have wondered what goes into the making of a gay, straight or somewhere in-between. 60 Minutes recently gave the topic a thorough workout. And with some surprising results.
You may have heard of the big brother theory. The news broke last summer: boys with older brothers are more likely to grow up gay. Australia’s ABC reported:
The study, led by Dr Anthony Bogaert of Brock University near Toronto, found that having older brothers increases a man’s chance of being gay, even if the older brothers don’t live with the younger sibling.
Adopted or step brothers don’t appear to have an effect.
“The most consistent bio-demographic correlate of sexual orientation in men is the number of older brothers (one has) and not social influences,” Bogaert reports.
“Only biological older brothers, and not any other sibling characteristic, including non-biological older brothers, predicted men’s sexual orientation, regardless of the amount of time reared with these siblings.”
There’s no evidence that older sisters have an effect on boys’ sexuality, nor do scientists have similar data for lesbians.
With regard to the brother mystery, scientists believe that the answers may lie in the mother’s womb. When a pregnant woman carries a son, her body create antibodies against the man’s Y-chromosome. Those antibodies may alter subsequent sons. This research, however, remains incomplete. Scientists have learned, however, that the older brother effect only effects right handed men. How queer.
60 Minutes‘ Leslie Stahl also takes a look at twins Adam and Jared. Jared conforms to masculine archetypes, while Adam enjoys more feminine past times, like painting his nails. Why? Well, no one knows. Despite all the research into homosexuality, so much of the gay essentials remains a mystery. And, like all mysteries, this one’s filled with speculation, theory and, most of all, intrigue.
Watch 60 Minutes‘ investigation here.