A new study by Canadian researchers adds weight to the theory that the evolutionary role of gay men may be to serve as “super uncles” who help close family members survive.

Paul Vasey, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Lethbridge, sought to address an entrenched scientific riddle: If homosexuality appears to be inherited, how have gay men, who are less likely to reproduce, continued to pass on their genes without becoming extinct?

According to The Gazette of Montreal, one long-running theory argues that gay men serve the evolutionary role of acting as “super uncles” who assist close relatives and indirectly increase the chances of passing on their genes.

“The idea is that homosexuals are helping their close relatives reproduce more successfully and at a higher rate by being helpful: babysitting more, tutoring their nieces and nephews in art and music, and helping out financially with things like medical care and education,” reports The Gazette.

Vasey and his colleague Doug VanderLaan tested the theory on the Pacific island of Samoa, where they studied women, straight men, and the fa’afafine, men who prefer other men as sexual partners and are accepted within the culture as a distinct third gender category.

“Vasey found that the fa’afafine said they were significantly more willing to help kin, yet much less interested in helping children who aren’t family — providing the first evidence to support the ‘kin selection hypothesis,'” reports The Gazette.

“Maybe it’s in this way that they’re indirectly passing on at least some of the genes that they’re sharing with their kin,” said Vasey.

The findings are published online this week in the journal Psychological Science.

Researchers are now exploring whether the fa’afafine actually follow through on their stated willingness to help family members by giving more money to relatives.

@ksynwa
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If homosexuality appears to be inherited

That’s a pretty big if. Don’t think it makes sense to just presume something like this.

@OhScee
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As soon as the phrase “indirectly passing genes” shows up you know this is crazy people nonsense.

@OhScee
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As a follow up to this, you could also assume from this article that gay people play such a positive role in their community, it’s possible that it makes people around them comfortable enough to explore their own sexualities

@ChinaNumberOne
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it’s called social-economy differences sweaty, learn about LGBTQ history before commenting about it

@TheConquestOfBed
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I kinda get the point, but I don’t like the conflation of indigenous gender norms with western sexual norms. The title feels clumsy and sexist as though it were written in the 90s.

It feels a bit like people are still hesitant to just let lgbt people exist for the sake of existing as a quirk of the universe and have to assign some capitalistic use value. We’re not here to increase the national birthrate or GDP. We’re just trying to get by.

@vis4valentine
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Yeah. Neil Tayson said to Ben shabibo that whatever we find out what is the origin of homosexuality, the results most not matter in people’s lives. Im OK with trying to find the scientific reason to homosexuality, its fascinating since its present in every mamal species and other kind of animals, but of course it will always be polemic

@Lightbritelite
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“ Researchers are now exploring whether the fa’afafine actually follow through on their stated willingness to help family members by giving more money to relatives. ”

This sounds like the article writers and researchers are in cahoots with the relatives to get those sweet super uncle bucks. Good luck on your “research” fellas!

@Lightbritelite
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What about my coworker and his partner raising children together, are they not parents, but two gay super uncles? What about me, straight, single, and a super uncle? Am i now indirectly passing my straight genes on to my nieces and nephews?

I think their whole starting premise is a bit strange, but just for fun I can think of a few evolutionary benefits to being gay - less likely to contribute to over population being a big one, while also being able to adopt and care for kids that are in foster care and in need, generally swell taste in fashion contributes to cultural expression, etc.

@vis4valentine
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Yeah. Exactly.

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