Sexual orientation and gender conforming traits in women are genetic

Sexual orientation and 'gender conformity' in women are both genetic traits, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

It is well recognised that there consistent differences in the of boys and girls; for example, boys engage in more 'rough and tumble' play than girls do.

Studies also show that children who become gay or lesbian adults differ in such traits from those who become heterosexual – so-called gender nonconformity. Research which follows these children to adulthood shows that between 50 to 80 per cent of gender nonconforming boys become gay, and about one third of such girls become lesbian.

Writing in the journal PLoS One, Dr Andrea Burri and Dr Qazi Rahman from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences report that a shared set of genes and shared set of random environmental factors is partially responsible both for gender nonconformity and female sexual orientation.

The team followed a group of 4,000 British women who were one of a pair of twins. They were asked questions about their sexual attractions and behaviour, and a series of follow up questions about their gender nonconformity. In line with previous research, the team found modest genetic influences on sexual orientation (25 per cent) and childhood gender nonconformity (31 per cent).

Dr Qazi Rahman, co-author of the study, explains: "We found that there is a connection between these mental traits and how sexual orientation develops. One idea is that there is an association between these psychological traits and because they all develop under common biological drivers; like the development of brain regions under the influence of genes and sex hormones."

Dr Rahman adds: "We think environmental factors and genetics drive other mechanisms, like exposure to sex hormones in the womb, to shape differences in gender nonconformity and sexuality simultaneously."

Dr Rahman is mindful that the results may carry the risk of stereotyping, adding: "Stereotypes like 'sissy' or 'mannish' have not been helpful in promoting respect for gay people, and those who don't match those stereotypes may find it hard to accept they are gay or lesbian."

But he believes the team's findings are increasingly important to researchers concerned with the mental health of sexual minorities. Dr Rahman concludes: "We know that gay people who are strongly gender nonconforming report more anxiety and depression symptoms.

"Poor mental health in populations is partly due to societal stigma and victimisation. Our results suggest that being gender nonconforming and lesbian comes from 'within'; there is little you can do about it. So gender nonconformity does not cause mental health problems, but it may trigger negative reactions from other people (like parents and peers) leading to problems."

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Citation: Sexual orientation and gender conforming traits in women are genetic (2011, July 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from
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Jul 08, 2011
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Jul 08, 2011
Which particular God are we talking about here? There are so many... I've looked through the Bible of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (May Her Holy Hooves Never Be Shod) and there's nothing there about it.

Maybe it's because I'm Intersex - born with a body neither wholly male nor female, that I have difficulty treating this whole Gay/Straight issue seriously.

Yes, I know that people like me are theologically impossible according to some belief systems. Nonetheless, we exist. In some parts of the world, one or another of the genes that cause a narural sex change are more common than the CCR1 mutation that causes red hair. See for example http://www.usrf.o...ces.html

Jul 08, 2011
The closet is a dark, lonely place Kevin.

Jul 08, 2011
In fact to ameliorate the mental agony it's best to find one's peace in the love and care of the one who created us.

They suffer from the stigma because people like you impose the stigma. So to ameliorate mental agony, the segment of society which is unable to accept anything other than their imagined reality could cease their bigoted rhetoric and actions and let those individuals live a normal life like anyone else. Makes a little more sense when considering human rights, hm?
This is where science tends to fall flat on it's face: one can only go so far into addressing the psychological issues before the only solution left is a spiritual one.

No, actually psychologists, or books or friends or just self-reflection for that matter, help people, everyday, to work through any issue they might have through means that have nothing to do with faith (or medication even).

Jul 08, 2011
the team found modest genetic influences on sexual orientation (25 per cent) and childhood gender nonconformity (31 per cent).

The title of this article is a little silly. It should say
"Sexual orientation and gender conforming traits in women show slight genetic correlation, but in all honesty nothing conclusive."

There may be genetic influences on gender conformity, but in all honesty there's no such thing as the gay gene. I'm not a fuckin x-man.

And anxiety and depression symptoms are easily explained by a cultural clash in a society that still fundamentally rejects homosexuality, no surprises there.

Jul 09, 2011
This article is so poorly written that it is not a valid scientific article. The methodology is not explained, but it apparently uses twins for comparison. How do they account for the tendency for twins to have similar environments as well as very similar DNA?
If they have truly found a genetic basis, then DNA testing has reached the stage where researchers increasingly will compare genomes to isolate causal genes -- ie, the Gay Gene. Tell us which one is the gay gene, so that it can be scientifically tested.

Jul 09, 2011
"even though one tends to have attractions to the same sex and as a consequence suffers from the stigma it does not absolve one from abstaining from sexual immorality as required by the God of the bible."
You're addressing, of course, the priests in the Church that molest children.

Jul 10, 2011
Don't feed the holy-troll, just report his post as inappropriate. His post should disappear much like his delusions do when he takes his meds :)

Jul 10, 2011
See what a little faith -in the system- does

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