Sexuality at Hand

Is sexual orientation in the genes? Yet another indication might be at hand.

According to Kenneth Zucker, a researcher at the University of Toronto's Center for Addiction and Mental Health, homosexuals are more likely to be lefties than heterosexuals. Zucker analyzed data collected in 20 different studies over the past 50 years and discovered a correlation between left-handedness and homosexuality. The findings indicate that lesbians have a 91 percent greater chance of being left-handed or ambidextrous than straight women, while gay men are 34 percent more likely than straight men to not be right-handed. While Zucker says the research provides empirical evidence that links homosexuality to left-handedness, he also adds that "we don't have a definitive answer as to why the relationship exists."

The study raises a red flag for Bonnie Spanier, director of women's studies at the State University of New York in Albany. "What biases do these researchers take with them in the lab?" she asks. "There is a long history of using biological differences to call people superior or inferior."

Simon LeVay, a neuropsychologist who studies the biological differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals and is both gay and left-handed, is also reluctant to jump to conclusions. "The data obscures the fact that most homosexuals are right-handed, and most left-handed people are heterosexual," he points out. Still, he is not offended by the study. "The biological approach is helpful in understanding that sexual identity is a given," he believes.

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