Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 495-514

First online:

Birth order and sibling sex ratio in two samples of Dutch gender-dysphoric homosexual males

  • Ray BlanchardAffiliated withGender Identity Clinic, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry
  • , Kenneth J. ZuckerAffiliated withChild and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic, Child and Family Studies Centre, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry
  • , Petty T. Cohen-KettenisAffiliated withRudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Hospital
  • , Louis J. G. GoorenAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology, Free University Hospital
  • , J. Michael BaileyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Northwestern University

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Two studies were undertaken to confirm the previous findings that homosexual men in general tend to have a later than expected birth order and that extremely feminine homosexual men also tend to have a higher than expected proportion of brothers (i.e. a highersibling sex ratio). Subjects in Study 1 were Dutch, adult and adolescent, biological male patients with gender dysphoria (persistent and recurrent desires to belong to the opposite sex), who were undergoing treatment with feminizing hormones. These comprised 83 patients who reported sexual attraction to other males (the homosexual group) and 58 who reported sexual attraction to females or equal attraction to males and females (the nonhomosexual group). Subjects in Study 2 were Dutch adolescent male patients at another hospital. The homosexual group consisted of 21 gender-dysphoric homosexual teenagers referred to a gender identity clinic for children and adolescents. The control group were 21 adolescent males referred to the child psychiatry department of the same hospital for reasons other than gender identity disorder, homosexuality, or transvestism. These were individually matched to the homosexual subjects on age and sibship size. In both studies, the homosexual group had a significantly later average birth order than the comparison group. In Study 1, the homosexual group had a significantly elevated sibling sex ratio; this was not tested in Study 2 because of its small sample size. These studies add to the mounting evidence that late birth orders are common to all homosexual samples and that elevated sibling sex ratios are an additional characteristic of extremely feminine ones.

Key Words

homosexuality transsexualism gender dysphoria gender identity disorder birth order sibling sex ratio