Friday, October 17, 2008


from Queer & Lefty by Jesse Monteagudo [click here]:

According to a group of Canadian scientists, lesbians and gay men are more likely than others to be left-handed. Putting together the results of 20 previous studies that involved more than 23,000 men and women, the scientists concluded that the odds of being left-handed are 39 per cent higher in homosexuals than in heterosexuals.

Broken down by gender, they found that gay men were 34% more likely to be left-handed and lesbians were 91% more likely to be left-handed. "This is one more piece of evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly determined in the womb," said Ray Blanchard, head of the Clinical Sexology Program at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toledo, one of the authors of the study that appeared in the July issue of Psychology Bulletin. A separate study, reported at the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Edinburgh, reported that transsexual men and women are also more likely to be lefties.

This is not the first time that scientists noted a connection between being queer and being left-handed. Ten years ago, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario found that 69% of lesbians and 45% of gay men interviewed were left-handed in "at least one of 12 simple manual tasks..." Coincidentally, this study appeared at the same time as another study, this one by the University of British Columbia--those Canadians seem to be fascinated with the whole subject--that concluded that lefties are more accident prone and have "noticeably, and significantly shorter" life expectancies...

Making comparisons between being gay and being left-handed are nothing new. In their 1988 book,
Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life, authors Warren J. Blumenfeld and Diane Raymond devoted a whole chapter, "A Discussion About Differences: The Left-Handed Analogy," to the topic. Blumenfeld and Raymond remind us that lefties, like lesbians and gay men, are discriminated against just for being who we are in a world where most people are different from us.
"Though you might not think your friend or mother or classmate is all weird because she or he is left-handed, such tolerance has not always been the case... In fact, for centuries, left-handed people have been viewed with scorn and even, at times, with fear. . . . [I]n the Middle Ages, left-handed people were sometimes accused of being witches or sorcerers", just like gay people--the Devil himself was thought to be left-handed. Language reflects prejudice: while righties are "dextrous" (right), lefties are "sinister" (left); and those words have become part of our vocabulary as synonyms for good and evil, respectively.
Until recently parents of left-handed children would force them to write with their right hands, just as parents of lesbian and gay children would force them to behave heterosexually. Even today, according to Jack Fincher...
Left-handers are one of the last surviving minorities in our society with no organization, no collective power or goals, and no real sense of common identity. Fifty years ago, this statement could have applied to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people...
Well, make of it what you will.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a lefty, which just proves that I'm a classic example.
    But you knew that, right?