Homosexuality and genetic mutations

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Mutations result from errors during the DNA replication process or other types of damage to DNA (such as may be caused by exposure to radiation or carcinogens).

Left-handedness is a good indicator of a high mutational load.[1] People who are left-handed higher incidences of autism and schizophrenia.[2]

In 2000, The journal the Psychological Bulletin published an article entitled Sexual orientation and handedness in men and women: a meta-analysis and the abstract for the journal article declared:

The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 20 studies that compared the rates of non-right-handedness in 6,987 homosexual (6,182 men and 805 women) and 16,423 heterosexual (14,808 men and 1,615 women) participants. Homosexual participants had 39% greater odds of being non-right-handed. The corresponding values for homosexual men (20 contrasts) and women (9 contrasts) were 34% and 91%, respectively.[3]

Dr. Neil Whitehead writes about left-handedness and homosexuality:

Using their results it is possible to derive a number, which shows the extent of any link there may be. Here's how it's done. Given that 2.7% of adult Western males are homosexuals and 1.7% of adult Western women female homosexuals, (both figures including bisexuals, and defined as activity in the last 12 months3 we can calculate by standard methods that only 3.9% of left-handed males are homosexual and only 3.3% of left-handed females are lesbian.4

In other words the overwhelming majority of those who are left-handed when young do not become homosexual. The strength of any underlying factor producing both is weak. Something unusual happens to a small number of left-handed people and their sexual-orientation development is atypical.

What might that be? Are there alternative psychological explanations of the effect described in the paper?

I suggest at least one - everyone knows that left-handed people feel in a minority, and different. Very many homosexual people attest to feeling different and not belonging when they were growing up. Left-handedness could increase feelings of difference and be one important factor in the complex leading to homosexuality. This could apply to both men and women and the authors quote a study in which non-right-handed women rated themselves as less feminine. Additionally feeding into this could be altered brain hemisphere dominance and the psychological effects of atypical gender-specific skills.


Most left-handed children do not become homosexual. Conversely and importantly, most homosexual people are not left-handed. So the main routes to homosexuality are not via whatever causes being left-handed. There is a link or correlation to homosexuality but it is weak.[4]

The causes of homosexuality in individuals suggests that a person's free will is the ultimate arbiter of whether someone chooses to be a homosexual (see: Causes of homosexuality and Homosexuality and choice and Homosexuality and genetics and Ex-homosexuals).

See also