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Ramon Johnson

Gay Twins

By August 3, 2007

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I knew gay identical twins in college. Only one was out when I met them, but the other soon followed suit. This seemingly odd scenario often raises a few questions:

First: If one twin is gay, what's the likelihood of the other being gay?

Well, the most widely used numbers are cited from a 1991 study by Northwestern University psychologist Michael Bailey and psychiatrist Richard Pillard of Boston University School of Medicine in which identical and fraternal twins were studied. At least one twin in each pair was gay. The study found that 52 percent of the identical twins were both gay as opposed to only 22 percent for fraternal twins. In other words, there is a 52 percent chance that if one identical twin is gay, both are; and a 22 percent chance both fraternal twins are gay if one is gay.

Second: Does this prove that homosexuality is genetic and people are born gay?

The data collected about the identical twins provides the most insight since their genetic makeup is more closely linked. Interestingly enough, the "50/50 chance" findings have been used to support both sides of the nature vs. nurture debate. Some argue that since 52 percent of near genetically identical twins are both gay if one is gay, then homosexuality must be genetic. Opponents to the "born gay" theory cite the remaining 48 percent as support for their claim that genetics alone don't account for homosexuality. The answer will continue to be elusive as the ongoing "born or made" gay debate continues.
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Image: Gay twins Jacob and Joshua Miller from LOGO Channel's "Jacob & Joshua: Nemesis Rising" pose at the launch party for LOGO © Vince Bucci/Stringer/Getty Images.
August 11, 2007 at 3:29 pm
(1) Vanessa Wood says:

the strongest evidence for the nature side is in identical twin studies where one is gay and one isn’t…they were both raised in the same household and, presumably, were raised in the same way (unless if the mother subconsciously raised the other child differently)

April 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm
(2) JAMES says:

I have an Identical twin but I am gay and he is straight. But that has not stopped the fact that we have been LOVERS since BEFORE Birth.

September 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm
(3) Jo says:

I am female and both me and my twin brother are gay. Where as he is 100% gay I would count myself as being more open. My mother has always brought us up to be very open but we have older and younger siblings that are 100% straight. I do believe that people are born gay ans it isnt in the upbringing or through choice.

January 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm
(4) Steve W says:

It appears that a study by Bailey et al (2000) reveals that the number is smaller than a 50/50 chance. Using the Australian Registry of twins, a much larger sample was obtained and this sample avoided the volunteer bias. Consequently, we can assume that this study provides a better insight into the actual numbers. The findings were that 11% of identical twins were both gay while 5% of fraternal twins were both gay. Similarly, 14% of of identical twins were lesbian and 10% of fraternal twins were lesbians. I know this simply because I am taking a course on this subject at UVA. While many may disagree with these numbers, it may be something that people would like to consider. I, myself, am straight while my identical twin brother is gay. Perhaps the number is lower than 50/50.

September 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm
(5) dartwin says:

but what about twins, whether fraternal or identical, who were separated at a young age and thus not exposed to each other or similar environments? it’s not terribly shocking that twins who share the same environment and genetics also share the same sexuality. there are more variables for variety when less is shared.

February 27, 2011 at 11:03 am
(6) Anne says:

Hi,I’m an identical twin.I’m 21 and for the past few years been sexual attraction towards woman.but i have never been with a woman.My twin sister is a 100% straight,does make me gay or just confused????

March 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm
(7) Matthew says:

My brother and I are gay, but he’s two years older. Just a fun fact.

June 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(8) Donald says:

I am an identical gay male twin and my brother is also gay. I was out to him several years before we found out that both of us were sleeping with the same guy a best friend. It was a surprise to me because up till then he always said he likes girls. I think that it just took him longer to accept himself as being gay, after all in this society it can be very difficult to be considered different and especially gay. I have met other identical twins and most of the time if 1 was gay so was the other one, but I also know of gay brothers that are years apart. Who really knows? I just accept myself and enjoy my life like everyone else.

September 16, 2012 at 1:33 am
(9) Blank blank says:

I have a identical and mirorimaged twin and we are both bi sexual. But I have faternal twin friend boys that one is gay and one isn’t and I have always wondered if bother twins are gay because their DNA is almost 99% the same.

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