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It’s in the Blood

Timothy Kincaid

January 13th, 2008

A reader drew my attention to a study released last month that did not get much press (if any). Using a sample of over 7,000 participants, sociologists at Minot State University in North Dakota identified a correlation between sexual orientation and both blood type and Rh factor.

Heterosexual males and females exhibited statistically identical frequencies of the A blood type, while gay men exhibited a relatively low incidence and lesbians had a relatively high incidence (p < .05). In the case of the Rh factor, unusually high proportions of homosexuals of both sexes were Rh- when compared to heterosexuals (p < .06). The findings suggest that a connection may exist between sexual orientation and genes both on chromosome 9 (where blood type is determined) and on chromosome 1 (where the Rh factor is regulated).

This study adds to the now convincing argument that the bases of orientation lie at least in part in biology. Someone needs to tell Dr. Dobson that regardless of the amount of time a father spends doting on his son, it isn’t going to affect his blood type or his Rh factor.

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quo III
January 13th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

You wrote ‘regardless of the amount of time a father spends doting on his son, it isn’t going to affect his blood type or his Ph factor.’

This is undoubtedly true, but I don’t see how it shows that there isn’t something to what Dobson is saying.

Erica B.
January 13th, 2008 | LINK

Minor scientific nitpick: pH indicates how acidic or basic something is. Rh factor has to do with blood type. When I read your first sentence I was wondering how much the acidity of people’s blood really varied ;)

Pretty interesting, especially since they know which genes this works with. It also shows that any biological basis for homosexuality is extremely complex and works with multiple genetic factors — which is really no surprise at all.

Timothy Kincaid
January 13th, 2008 | LINK

Thanks Erica,

It’s been corrected.

Suricou Raven
January 14th, 2008 | LINK

How long because a degayification church starts offering blood transfusion as a ‘cure’?

CPT_Doom
January 14th, 2008 | LINK

Well, Suricou, I don’t think that would work either. I am gay as a goose and happen to have blood type A+, so it is clear that blood type is not a definitive indicator of sexual orientation, though the finding is still cool (and right in line with other biological findings).

Ben in Oakland
January 14th, 2008 | LINK

Though I would very much like for gay to be found to be genetic– and absolutely believe that it is inherent in some sense that, if not genetic, is certainly very much like that– I am nonetheless very suspicious of studies that “prove” that it is genetic by means of correlations with other kinds of genetic traits.

for me, the problem is one of definition. Who is gay? Who is straight? I too am a really big fag. Though I have had sex with a woman, and enjoyed it at the time, I have no real desire in that direction. If i did, I would be “straight” in the same way that numbers of men are “gay”– able to function, maybe really itnerested in functioning, but not where i live my life or how I see myself. I would always be a gay man who “slips” once in a while. That doesn’t make me straight.
ultimately, I don’t think the labels mean anything.

Having said that, it is clear to me that it doesn’t matter whether it is genetic or not, because for the people like J&Y, Throckmorton, et al, and the more out there and obvious bigots, that isn’t the issue. They think it should be made to go away, period.

It all starts with the ideological position that GAY IS BAD. Everything else flows from that to confirm that basic position…

…just like it does for me in the opposite position, GAY IS GOOD.

Jason D
January 14th, 2008 | LINK

Ben I agree, the research is “interesting” at best, but I just don’t see anything good coming of finding a the cause or causes.

I’m left-handed, so is my brother. Nobody else in the family on either side is left-handed and quite frankly, nobody cares anymore. It was neat when we were 6 and 8, it’s boring as hell now.

I’m not interested in finding out how or why I am left-handed. And we no longer live in a world where people care. Science hasn’t found out why or how, so clearly it was something else that made people get over it.

In much the same way, I think we should really stop relying on the genetic/scientific argument because it is just going to shoot us in the foot.

Think about it, what do the ex-gay ministries and anti-gay folks do already? They have a supposed cause or causes and they treat accordingly. Finding scientific evidence will merely make them change tactics.
They will give up on “reparative therapy” and start focusing their efforts on “gene therapy” if that is determined to be the cause. If they find out it’s womb factors, there will be pre-natal “treatment” options for women concerned their child might be gay. If it’s a gene, they’ll want to replace or destroy it. It will be added to the list of reasons why a woman might wish to terminate her pregnancy. It won’t end with a medical discovery, it WILL turn even uglier than it already is.

homer
January 14th, 2008 | LINK

I’m another A+ homo.

Suricou Raven
January 15th, 2008 | LINK

A+ here too… not that it means anything :>

I didn’t say that transfusion would work. I just said that someone might give it a try, out of ignorance.

If someone did find a gene that correlated highly with homosexuality… it wouldn’t really change anything. Try finding a lab that would offer a prenatal test. The anti-gays wouldn’t be put off by a biological basis, any more then the racists were – they would probably argue that some people are biologically inclined towards rape and murder, and gays should control their immoral nature just like those examples. Biological cause is just a big red herring. All it would do is make LwO change their rhetoric a bit, from ‘bad parenting makes people gay’ to ‘Only good parenting and Christ can save people from the gay gene within them.’

simon
January 17th, 2008 | LINK

yeah, i don’t think finding the gay gene would actually benefit me or most of my friends and lovers that much either. most of our lives are more complicated than gay or straight. i’d rather start with the complexity and work from there rather than work to attain full rights for a specific group that fits into some genetically defined box.

John
February 12th, 2008 | LINK

my blood is Rh-
and I’m not gay.

John
February 12th, 2008 | LINK

O Rh-

Isaac
October 1st, 2009 | LINK

Blood Type: O
RH Factor: Negative
Orientation: Gay
Gender: Male

I’ve always thought about this(blood types, etc.) being a possiblity in being gay. I know green eyes is a possibilty(like mine, depending on the blood type and rh-factor)

Burr
October 1st, 2009 | LINK

Hmm didn’t see this before.

It should be noted that Rh negative is more often found in Europeans (35% of Basques in particular are Rh-), and almost never found in Asians and Africans.

So unless there’s dramatically fewer gays in those populations (and a LOT of gay Basques!), I don’t think this has any merit.

William
October 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Quo III is right. There may be something to what Dobson is saying. And then again, as seems to me more probable, there may be absolutely nothing.

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