Homosexuality: where does it Come From? where does it Go?
Roughly ninety-four to ninety-eight percent of men and ninety-eight to ninety-nine percent of women have a primary orientation towards heterosexuality. If any likelihood of lowering successful reproduction would be selected against by nature why is homosexuality a thing that exists in the world? One explanation of this would be the kin altruism theory by Edward Osborne Wilson in 1975. This theory would suggest that genes for homosexual orientation could have been evolved if they led homosexuals to invest heavily in their genetic relatives to offset the cost of not directly reproducing. This was proven wrong by David Bobrow and J. Michael Bailey in 2001. They found that gay men did not differ from heterosexual men when funneling resources towards kin and they found that gay men were more estranged from their genetic relatives. This would suggest the opposite of the kin altruism theory. Another theory that supports homosexuality is the female fertility hypothesis.
This hypothesis suggests that the genes for male homosexuals can be evolved if they increase reproductive rights in female relatives. This happens by having more male relatives around causing the boyfriend of the female relatives to experience sperm competition which would cause the males to produce more sperm and increase the likelihood of the female to reproduce. In 2009, Francesca Lemmola and Andrea Camperio Ciani found that, in fact, female relatives of gay males produced significantly more offspring than female relatives of heterosexual males. Another theory that supports that existence of homosexuality is the alliance formation theory made by Frank Muscarella in 2000. This theory suggests that male homoerotic behavior by young men with older men provides a strategy for gaining more resources and higher social status and ultimately giving them a greater excess to reproducing with women. Although, there is no evidence that young men who form these alliances with older men succeed more than those that do not form alliances. (BUSS, 2016, pg. 151)
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These theories help us understand why homosexuality exists, but how do homosexuals choose their mates? In an article published online on April 4th in the journal Behavior, Howard Russock of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences studied the differences in mate preferences in heterosexual and homosexuals. (Brill, 2011) In Howard Russock’s study of 800 personal ads from print and online media to determine the mate selection criteria of heterosexual and homosexuals, Russock found that heterosexual males prefer younger mates, cared about attractiveness less often, and were more committed and sought resources less often than heterosexual females. Homosexual females differed from heterosexual females by the same four criteria in the same way as homosexual males, this would suggest that homosexual males differ from heterosexual males in only that heterosexual males seek attractiveness more than homosexual males and the fact that they offer fewer resources. In conclusion of the study, homosexual males valued attractiveness more than heterosexual males because they were unaffected by female sexual strategies.
Homosexual males were also found to provide resources less than heterosexual males in relationships. Homosexual females were similar to homosexual males in their differing from heterosexual males and females in the same four criteria that the males were assessed in. (Russock, 2011) Another study that supports this is the study by Kyle L. Gobrogge, Patrick S. Perkins, Jessica H. Baker, Kristen D. Balcer, S. Marc Breedlove, and Kelly L. Klump. This study was composed of two groups of internet ads that were placed on lavalife.com, they recorded the reactions of people to the two different ad groups, they found that Russock was correct in his finding of the differences between heterosexual and homosexual males and females, further supporting his statement that homosexual and heterosexual males and females only differ in two categories. (Gobrogge et al., 2007)
These theories give us an understanding of why homosexuality exist but what are the consequences of its existence. A parent having a child that is homosexual is reported to invest less in the child’s development and is more likely to abuse or neglect the child which may hinder or stunt the child’s growth. This can be caused because parents will view the kids as not being as useful since they are unable to carry on the parent’s genes so, the parents will not view their homosexual child as successful and will be more likely to neglect or even harm their child. This is supported by the parental investment theory because, as the theory states, the parents don’t want to waste any time or investments on a child that cannot carry on their genes. Because of this, they will neglect or even abandon the child so they can put their time and resources towards another child that will be able to carry on their genes. A study by Evans R. B (1969) found that homosexual male and females were often accepted less than other siblings especially by the father and were emotionally distant to both parents when compared to their heterosexual siblings. This led to increased suicide rates in homosexual children due to the increased emotional and physical abuse many of them endured. This increased rate was found to directly correlate to the parent’s ability to identify their child’s sexuality. When the parent was able to identify the child’s sexuality easier it led to an increase in the emotional and physical abuse of the child. This was particularly strong for biological mothers, and for biological fathers who were still contributing to the child’s development.
Robert Trivers found that parents often disputed over the allocation of resources due to differences in genetic interest, this allocation of resources is known as parental investment and is defined as “any investment by a parent to an offspring that increases the offspring’s chances of survival and reproductive success, at the expense of the parent’s ability to invest elsewhere, including in other offspring.” (Trivers, 1972) When parents detect homosexuality in their offspring they often decrease the resources that are available to the child and they decrease their investment to them. In a “normal” heterosexual family the cost for supporting the child outweighs the burden on the parents slower than in a homosexual child where the cost to support the child could be considered to outweigh the cost to the parent much faster, thus causing the parent to stop supporting the homosexual child faster than a heterosexual child. (Trivers, 1974)
When the child detects this change in the parents’ behavior they often attempt suicidal acts in an attempt to regain the parent’s involvement this is supported by the parent-offspring conflict. These attempts have caused an outcry in the United States and around the world to increase awareness for homosexuality and other sexuality in an attempt to increase the support that these communities receive from their family and community. The increase in the awareness of homosexuality has helped to decrease the suicide rate among homosexual children. By increasing the acceptance of the children’s sexuality by their parents, the difference in resource allocation between the homosexual and the heterosexual siblings is minimized. Sexuality is often a disputed and touchy subject in many cultures and societies across the world. Some view sexuality as a choice that people choose to make when they ‘decide’ to like a certain gender, while many others have come to accept that sexuality is not a choice and that it is, in fact, a trait that is beyond our control. This change in sexuality in males can be evolved if they increase reproductive rights in female relatives. Sexuality is a cause of conflict between parents and children as many parents divert some of their resources from the homosexual children to the heterosexual children enforcing the parent investment theory. A consequence of this is the increased suicide rates in homosexuals. Sexuality exists in the world due to our genetics and is completely uncontrollable, our response to this is also genetic however and many parents do not realize they are reacting to their child’s sexuality in a negative way.
Now that we know this information we are able to make a life for homosexuals easier. If the parents know that homosexuality is normal and that it cannot be controlled. Just because there is a homosexual child in the family does not necessarily mean that the genes will not be passed on. One thing that I would like to do is to research the fertility theory to see if, in fact, genes for male homosexuals can be evolved if they increase reproductive rights in female relatives by having more male relatives around causing the boyfriend of the female relatives to experience sperm competition which would cause the males to produce more sperm and increase the likelihood of the female to reproduce. This will show that having a homosexual child doesn’t mean that they can’t pass on the parent’s genes. Hopefully, parents will think of their homosexual children as a successful gene “passer” and will treat them the right way and that will decrease the number of suicides and the amount of abuse between the parents and homosexual children.
- Brill. (2011, April 11). Evolutionary interpretation of how gender and sexual orientation affect human mate selection preferences. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2019, Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411084330.htm
- BUSS, D. (2016). EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY. 5th ed. 711 Third Ave, New York, NY 10017: ROUTLEDGE, p.151.
- Gobrogge, K., Perkins, P., Baker, J., Balcer, K., Breedlove, M., & Klump, K. (2007). Homosexual Mating Preferences from an Evolutionary Perspective: Sexual Selection Theory Revisited [Ebook]. Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.515.9009&rep=rep1&type=pdf
- Russock, H. (2011). An evolutionary interpretation of the effect of gender and sexual orientation on human mate selection preferences, as indicated by an analysis of personal advertisements. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/23034195?read-now=1&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
- Trouton, G. Factors Influencing Parental Investment: Does Parental Financial Allocation Vary As A Function Of Perceived Child Sexual Orientation? [PDF]. New York. Retrieved from https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/bitstream/handle/1951/61399/Grant_Trouton_Thesis.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=yquence=1&isAllowed=y
- Trivers, R. (1974). Parent-Offspring Conflict [Ebook]. Cambridge: American Zoological Society. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/icb/article/14/1/249/2066733