gayprideDespite the constant berating we receive on Aaron Jackson’s “Homosexuality Is Natural” text, the fact remains that people are not only not given the choice of their sexual orientation, but that homosexuality has a natural precedence in the animal and human context. For years, the voices of scientists have echoed the understanding that sexual orientation likely has a primary genetic component. Of course, this doesn’t mean that environmental factors don’t play a role, but means that predispositions (or the likelihood of a certain condition) exist.

Now, the largest ever study of homosexuality using 409 pairs of gay brothers (which means there are fewer “degrees of freedom” when calculating the statistics) has found 2 gene regions on 2 chromosomes that appear to dramatically influence the emergence of homosexuality in men. Specifically, mutations within these genes seem to be directly connected to homosexuality, underlining the theory that it is primarily genetic in nature.

One of the genes is found on the X chromosomes (Xq28) had been suspected of playing a role since Hamer’s 1993 study into 114 families of gay men earmarked it as potentially having importance. This is interesting because it would mean that the mother is actually potentially passing on the “gay mutation” to her sons, and that a gay man could make his daughter a “gay carrier.” The second gene is found on the 8th chromosome (making its inheritance sex-independent, so able to be passed on by either parent) and is called 8q12, which has been much less researched than the X-chromosomal gene.

Aside from homosexuality, the men in the study shared no common traits. This was again reflected in their genetics: with mutations in those two regions of those two chromosomes appearing almost ubiquitously among the gay men, unlike essentially every other genetic marker. Scientists have thus potentially confirmed the existence of two “gay genes”. Although, like almost everything in science, it isn’t yet definitive: this puts another nail in the coffin of the idea that homosexuality is a choice. Still, it may not be entirely genetic, and could for instance be regulated through population density: meaning homosexuality may be more likely to develop in a city than in a village.

Hatred for, or laws banning, homosexuality will not do anything to reduce its incidence. At a time when the human population and our ecological footprint is higher than ever: is it really that horrible that some people are not aiming to reproduce? Is it not the right of consenting adults to maintain any type of sexual orientation that they feel is appropriate? Certainly, this evidence adds to the argument that homosexuality is simply a difference, and not one that people can do much about: it may be wise to simply accept them as who they are and concentrate on our own lives.