In a previous post, I scoffed at the theory that eating soy would make someone (mainly men) become homosexual. I argued that homosexuality had been present through the ages, even before the tofu-eating fad. Come to think of it, there are no more homosexuals among Asians than elsewhere, and they sure eat a lot of tofu.
Now World Science reports that there may be a function for “gay genes” after all. The studies were done with a Samoan tribe whose men have sex with men. Since homosexuality makes “little evolutionary sense,” it has been a puzzle as to why it persists.
There are two competing theories. One is that gay relatives help raise other people’s young, therefore strengthening the families and helping the survival of these young. The other is that “gayness” is a genetic aberration that simply occurs without cultural significance.
In the new studies, “CaÂnaÂdiÂan psyÂcholÂoÂgists sought to test some of these comÂpetÂing ideas by visÂitÂing SaÂmoa, a relÂaÂtively unÂ-westernized land. By stuÂdying peoÂple who they said live closÂer to the ways of humanÂityâ€™s â€œancesÂtralâ€ past, the reÂsearchÂers said they hoped to asÂsess posÂsiÂble evÂoÂluÂtionÂary funcÂtions for hoÂmoÂsexÂuÂalÂity and the roles of othÂer genÂder-blurÂring beÂhavÂiors.”
It turns out that the first theory was supported by those studies:
Men who haÂbitÂuÂally have sex with men are soÂcially acÂceptÂed in SaÂmoa, where theyâ€™re known as faâ€™aÂfines… faâ€™aÂfines put â€œsigÂnifÂiÂcantlyâ€ more efÂfort inÂto raisÂing nephews and nieces. The childÂcare acÂtiÂviÂties that saw stronger inÂput from faâ€™aÂfines inÂcludÂed babysitÂting, buyÂing toys, tuÂtorÂing, exÂposÂing the chilÂdren to art and muÂsic, and conÂtriÂbutÂing to day-care, medÂiÂcal and educaÂtÂion exÂpenses, the surÂveys inÂdiÂcatÂed.