Last week, RealJock initiated a survey of its members about a study into the link between having older brothers and homosexuality. Our survey results reflect that this is a hot topic.
The study, reported in both Time and Science magazines, says that the likelihood that a man will be gay increases the more older male biological siblings they have (whether they were raised together or not). Basically, any man has a 3 percent chance of being gay, according to researchers (obviously, the debate rages around whether this figure should be as low as one or as high as 10 percent). If a man has one older brother, that number rises to 4 percent; two older brothers, the number rises to 5 percent; three or more older brothers, the number rises to 6 percent.
The research, conducted on 944 men by Brock University psychologist Anthony Bogaert, says that being raised with step-brothers doesn't increase the propensity for homosexuality.
"Well, I do have two older brothers and I'm gay, but why isn't the youngest brother gay?" one RealJock asked.
According to researchers, having more older brothers doesn't guarantee you'll be gay, it increases the likelihood that you'll be gay.
"It could be a common coincidence, but it doesn't explain situations like mine," one RealJock wrote. "I have no brothers, so that defeats this theory right there. I don't really believe this is true, I do believe it is genetic and/or biological."
While RealJocks were equally divided as to the validity of the researchers' findings, many of you thought the reason given for the correlation was hogwash. Bogaert proposed that the more boys a mom gives birth to, the more her immune system creates antibodies to the male proteins that affect the regions on the fetal brain controlling sexual orientation. Nobody liked that theory much.
"There seems to be a correlation to the birth order, but the reasoning behind is crap," another RealJock said. "Also, the results are inaccurate because there may be more closeted gays who are not reporting themselves to be gay."
Of the 122 RealJocks who took our survey, 93.4 percent said they are gay. Of all respondents, 83 percent said they had brothers and 55 percent said they had two or more brothers. RealJocks are most likely to be the second (28 percent) or third born (27 percent) in their families with first born a close third (24 percent). Of the respondents with brothers, 15 percent of RealJocks say they have a brother who is also gay.
The birth order research rubbed some RealJocks the wrong way. "I think that it doesn't matter what the birth order is," another RealJock wrote. "If birth order had something to do with it, then every child of the same birth order (2nd, 3rd) would be gay and that's not the case."
Other RealJocks thought the birth order reflected reality. "I can see the reasoning," one RealJock wrote. "And a lot of my gay friends are the youngest child or son."
One RealJock doesn't really care why he's just happy that he "got the better 'gay' genes in the pool."
Editor's note: More than anything, the survey shows that RealJocks are smart, thoughtful and engaged in the news. Thank you all for your comments and questions.