Sexuality at Hand

Left-handers are more likely to be gay. Is there a genetic link?

By Nicole Bode, published on November 1, 2000 - last reviewed on July 28, 2008

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.