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This doctor has an interesting theory about why people end up queer

A doctor has given an interesting theory on why people end up queer, and it is not to do with a ‘gay gene’.

Dr James O’Keefe talks anecdotally about his son, now 18, coming out as gay.

He admits that he felt he had failed Jimmy, and that he thought his son wouldn’t have kids of his own.

Illustration from O'Keefe's Ted Talk

But he talks about his thoughts at the Ted X Talk, as coming from an evolutionary standpoint.

He says: “Viewed in the light of evolution… homosexuality seems to be a real self-defeating non-productive strategy. Gays have 80 percent fewer kids than heterosexuals.

“This is a trait that ought to go extinct in a few generations, yet down through recorded history in every culture and many animal species as well, homosexuality has been a small but distinct subgroup. If this were a genetic error, natural selection should have long ago culled this from the gene pool.”

But the cardiologist has done his own research, first talking about the conditions under which it appears that gay kids are more likely to be born, such as prenatal stress or a high number of male children.

Pointing to epigenetics, which says genes can express themselves differently depending on circumstances

“If the [human]family is flush with plenty of kids and/or it’s a stressful place in time, nature occasionally flips these epigenetic switches to turn on the gay genes. This alters brain development that changes sexual orientation.”

“You probably have gay genes in your DNA,” he adds. “But unless they were activated in your mother’s womb, they remained coiled up and silent.”

Going on, he suggests that genes could become activated, to ensure that male siblings do not fight over female mates, or so a family will not become so big that it is unable to feed everyone.

But he also puts a positive spin on it, saying that genes could be activated as gay people tend to contribute positively to the emotional health of a family.

“An ability to love our family and bond with our group determines in many cases whether we survive or perish,” O’Keefe continues.

“So it’s survival of the fittest family, not the fittest individual.”

O’Keefe goes on to criticise countries with anti-gay laws such as India.

Check out the talk below:

The question of whether being gay or bisexual is caused by a gene is one that has been looked at by many studies over the years.

Last year a study suggested that a ‘gay gene’ was present in more than half of humans, that it was dormant and could be passed from generation to generation.

Scientists in 2014 said they had uncovered the strongest evidence yet in the debate of whether people are ‘born gay’.

Another study in 2015 also concluded that it had found evidence of a ‘gay gene’.

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