Angier, Natalie. "Scientists, Finding Second Idiosyncrasy in Homosexuals' Brains, Suggest


Angier, Natalie. "Scientists, Finding Second Idiosyncrasy in Homosexuals' Brains, Suggest
Orientation is Physiological," New York Times, 1 August 1992, p. 7.

This is a report of and a commentary on a paper in The Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science by Laura S. Allen and Roger A. Gorski, published today. It reports finding that the
anterior commissure is larger in homosexual men. The anterior commissure is described as "A
cord or nerve fibers that allows the two halves of the brain to communicate with one another..."
This structure is not thought to influence sexual behavior directly.

This report, coming less than a year after the report by Simon LeVay of the Salk Institute, is
thought to provide support for the idea that homosexuality is based on physiological differences:
it has a physical cause.

"The scientists examined brain sections from 34 men whose medical records indicated they were
homosexual, 75 men presumed to be heterosexual, and 84 women also thought to be
heterosexual. They were not able to obtain brain samples of known lesbians, because lesbians
rarely die of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS and thus their sexual orientation is almost
never noted on medical charts.

"They found statistically significant differences among the three groups. The commissures of the
heterosexual women were 13 percent bigger than those of heterosexual men. Those of the
homosexual men were 18 percent larger than the samples from the women and 34 percent larger
than those of heterosexual men."

Both critics and supporters of this work are quoted. One supporter suggested "I have no
problems believing, a priori, that there would be these differences in the brain, and that if
someone looks carefully, they'll find them.'"

A detractor put his comment this way: "I just don't think sexual orientation is going to be
represented in any particular brain structure. It's like looking in the brain for your political party
affiliation.'"