Gender nonconformity of identical twins with discordant sexual orientations: Evidence from childhood photographs

Article


Watts, T. M., Holmes, L., Raines, J., Orbell, S. and Rieger, G. 2018. Gender nonconformity of identical twins with discordant sexual orientations: Evidence from childhood photographs. Developmental Psychology. 54 (4), p. 788–801.
AuthorsWatts, T. M., Holmes, L., Raines, J., Orbell, S. and Rieger, G.
Abstract

Childhood gender nonconformity (femininity in males, masculinity in females) predicts a non-straight (gay, lesbian, or bisexual) sexual orientation in adulthood. In previous work, non-straight twins reported more childhood gender nonconformity than their genetically identical, but straight, co-twins. However, self-reports could be biased. We therefore assessed gender nonconformity via ratings of photographs from childhood and adulthood. These ratings came from independent observers naïve to study hypotheses. Identical twins with discordant sexual orientations (24 male pairs, 32 female pairs) visibly differed in their gender nonconformity from mid childhood, with higher levels of gender nonconformity for the non-straight twins. This difference was smaller than the analogous difference between identical twins who were concordant straight (4 male pairs, 11 female pairs) and identical twins unrelated to them who were concordant non-straight (19 male pairs, 8 female pairs). Further, twins in discordant pairs correlated in their observer-rated gender nonconformity. Non-genetic factors likely differentiated the discordant twins’ gender-related characteristics in childhood, but shared influences made them similar in some respects. We further tested how recall of past rejection from others related to gender nonconformity. Rejection generally increased with gender nonconformity, but this effect varied by the twins’ sexual orientation.

Keywordssexual orientation; gender behavior; gender development; twins
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Journal citation54 (4), p. 788–801
ISSN0012-1649
Year2018
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1037/dev0000461
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000461
Publication dates
Online20 Nov 2017
Print01 Apr 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jan 2020
FunderAmerican Institute of Bisexuality
University of Essex
Copyright holder© 2018 APA, all rights reserved
Copyright informationThis paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000461.
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