Athletes are more likely to be gay

A repost

This is obviously true, and i?ve been saying this for a long time. And I?m not talking about the butt-slaps and sharing chewing tobacco and stuff.

To a certain extent, digit ratios seem to be a reasonable indicator of the kinds of hormonal environment in which a person develops in utero. It turns out that the indicator of homosexuality is the same as the indicator of athleticism, only turned up even more. In other words, a certain kind of hormonal environment in which a male fetuses develops can result in a higher likelihood of that person growing up to be an athlete. But if that hormonal ?conditioning? is turned up a bit more, you get a higher likelihood of that person being gay. How strong is this effect? Well, it?s statistically significant but not large. Is it genetic? That is not at all clear. How does this work with women? That?s not clear either.

Anyway, from this we can speculate that there should be a higher percentage of gay-osity among athletes than among other men. And now there is some new information that supports this model.

A study of former high-school American Football players has found that more than a third said they had had sexual relations with other men.

In his study of homosexuality among sportsmen in the US, sociologist Dr Eric Anderson found that 19 in a sample of 47 had taken part in acts intended to sexually arouse other men, ranging from kissing to mutual masturbation and oral sex.

There is, as always a twist:

The 47 men, aged 18-23, were all American Football players who previously played at the high school (secondary school) level but had failed to be picked for their university’s team and were now cheerleaders instead.

Like George Bush, right?



  1. #1 Abstruse
    October 13, 2009

    Gay male cheerleaders? Shocking, just shocking.

  2. #2 MadScientist
    October 13, 2009

    “… now cheerleaders instead.”

    Did they have sex change operations or do they just shave and put on a bra and skirts?

  3. #3 Tim
    October 13, 2009

    In college there are lots of male cheerleaders.

  4. #4 MattXIV
    October 13, 2009

    Am I reading this wrong or is the population they sampled (college level male cheerleaders who also tried out for the football team) a very specific subset from the population they’re generalizing about (atheletes) and thus the generalization not supported by study?

  5. #5 becca
    October 13, 2009

    Maybe male cheerleading former athletes are just more honest than other men.

  6. #6 mk
    October 13, 2009

    “Like George Bush, right?”


  7. #7 Greg Laden
    October 13, 2009

    Matt: No. The digit ratio data is from numerous studies (not cited here but it is a huge literature) and the cheerleader study is different.

  8. #8 steve s
    October 13, 2009

    Is there correlation still there if you exclude womens golf and softball players?

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    October 13, 2009

    Steve, I don’t think there are too many men in those sports. But if there were…
    … it would be complicated.

  10. #10 catgirl
    October 14, 2009

    It’s an interesting study, but a pretty small sample size. Did they even use a control group? I guess they could compare the 19/47 (about 40%) to the rate of homosexuality in the general public, but I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. Simply kissing another man wouldn’t necessarily make a man identify himself as gay. How do we know that non-athletes haven’t done those things at a similar rate?

  11. #11 MattXIV
    October 14, 2009


    I don’t get what you’re driving at with the cheerleader study – it looks like its design is sufficiently flawed that it’s non-generalizable. It doesn’t support its own conclusion about the population it is generalized to, so the fact that that conclusion would support the androgen exposure hypothesis doesn’t matter. Also, haven’t studies found that in some populations the digit ratios for homosexual males are actually lower than the corresponding hetrosexual male population (and even more oddly that the homosexual males have similar digit ratios regardless of population 1) – this combined with the significant interpopulation differences in digit ratios among males as a whole and strong birth order correlations suggests that the relationship between prenatal androgen exposure and sexuality in males may be a bit more complicated. I suspect receptor phenotypes may have to be taken in account to make sense of the relationships.

    1 A reanalysis of five studies on sexual orientation and the relative length of the 2nd and 4th fingers (the 2D:4D ratio).
    McFadden D, Loehlin JC, Breedlove SM, Lippa RA, Manning JT, Rahman Q.
    Arch Sex Behav. 2005 Jun;34(3):341-56.

  12. #12 Thom Krawford
    October 14, 2009

    Yes, of course the study is flawed, but it does raise some interesting questions not just about Homosexuality in organized athletics, but the possibility that any context of team performance may either be enhanced, hampered or not at all effected by the widest possible general accommodation of ALL aspects of diversity in the public arena.

    The possible correlation between someone being Gay and the success or non-success of the “diverse team” in which our gay sisters and brothers may find themselves, will say a lot about the argument that what James Madison called “natural Law” applies directly to the inherent nature of Gay men and women everywhere..

    The actual study will be cool when it happens. And if it hasn’t happened yet, it should happen soon.

    It is my guess that the findings of such a study will be one more piece of the puzzle the lawyers who will finally argue before the U.S. Supreme Court will need to maintain that gay marriage is a Constitutional Right and NOT a question of lifestyle choice.

    Something like this has to happen sooner or later, because Gay people are here and they are not going away. And in the final analysis, it is neither smart nor useful continuing to believe the contrary.

    Just a thought from
    Ann Arbor.