gay "biology"

F. Frank LeFever flefever at
Thu Jul 3 22:30:50 EST 1997

I thoroughly agree with all of Mako's (Masami's?  is Mako a nickname?)
points below.  re his (her? sorry! not sophisticated about that type 
of name) point about more than one way to be gay or bi: it will be
interesting to see if there can be any connection made between genetic
influences and any or all the different flavors.

  There is the obvious stereotype of the "effeminate" man, but I don't
think that known feminizing influences necessarily produce same-sex
erotic orientation, so speculation would be wide open as to possible
mechanisms/avenues of influence, etc.

If some shared genetic influence(s) are eventually found involving the
various flavors one  would have to look beyond body type or type of
behavior (preferred roles, etc.).  Howabout enhanced potential to
respond erotically to male pheromones?  Nice thing about this is that
it is closer to known gene functions (i.e. influencing biochemical
activity) than some behaviorally more complex possibilities.

To the extent that some brain organization beyond erotic aspects might
be associated with homosexuality (and there are some suggestive
neuropsych findings along these lines), he question of evolutionary
advantage opens up a bit.

Remember: it is not the individual's advantage, but the species'
advantage.  Besides the possibility that homosexuality might be
nature's way of controlling population explosion  (which might
eventually endanger the species), there is the advantage a greater
variety of styles of thinking confers on a species--promoting its
adaptation to varied conditions.

n.b.: this advantage accrues regardless of whether it is based on
relatively direct gene influences on brain organization ("direct" but
assuming of course the gene/organism/environment interaction alluded to
below), or simply as a result of growing up with urges and interests 
different from what society expects on the basis of gross anatomy.

Frank LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group

In <Pine.SUN.3.93.970702164717.25006A-100000 at>
Masami Voelkel <voelkel at> writes: 
>On 25 Jun 1997, James Woodson wrote:
>>    Kin selection theory is not a sufficient argument against the
>> by some that a gay gene would be selected against by evolutionary
>> The proposal is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is
>> reproductively maladaptive for the individual, and this assumption
>> be the target of any criticism.  Should the homosexual behavior be
>> exclusive, the assumption that homosexuality is reproductively
>> might stand.  However, in the event that heterosexual activity
occurs once
>> or even twice in the lifetime, the potential for producing an
>> number of offspring to an exclusive (yet perhaps less successful)
>> heterosexual still exists.
>Dr.Dean Hamer has hypothesized that a "gay gene" could be matrilinear,
>thus explaining how a "reproductively maladaptive" trait could be
>> I do, however, maintain that homosexuality is a complex combination
>> behaviors, and is therefore of necessity the product of multiple
>> and environmental influences.
>I completely agree. Human beings are incredibly plastic, especially
>it comes to such complex behaviors as sexual ones. And, there are a
>number of ways to "be gay" (or bi).
>Mako Voelkel
>University of Rochester
>Brain & Cognitive Sciences Department

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