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Kin Selection and Male Homosexual Preference in Indonesia

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Abstract

Male homosexual preference (MHP) challenges evolutionary thinking because the preference for male–male relationships is heritable, implies a fertility cost (lower offspring number), and is relatively frequent in some societies (2–6% in Western countries) for a costly trait. It has been proposed that individuals with a MHP counterbalance reproductive costs through the transfer of resources to kin, thereby improving their indirect reproduction through kin’s reproductive success. This kin selection hypothesis is not supported in Western countries and Japan, although consistent evidence has been obtained in Samoa. In this study, data from Java (Indonesia) were obtained to assess the avuncular tendencies of men with contrasting sexual orientation to measure possible resource transfer. Consistent with the kin selection hypothesis, males with a homosexual orientation reported an increased willingness to transfer resources toward nephews and nieces and declared having transferred more money to nephews and nieces. We developed a method to quantitatively estimate the contribution of kin selection on inclusive reproduction associated to sexual orientation, taking into account various possible biases. Kin selection reduced the direct reproductive cost of homosexual men by 20%, so suggesting that kin selection alone is insufficient to explain the maintenance of male homosexuality. Other potential factors are discussed, as well as the limitations of the study and the social determinant operating for the expression of increased avuncular tendencies of homosexual men.

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Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to Siti Nur Faizah, SKM, Dr Sih Kahono, Rumah Singgah Kebaya Yogyakarta and the Innovative Program One Stop HIV-AIDS of the Kedung Badak Community Health Center. We would like to thank all the participants, especially Yusin Januar Aditya Maulana and Vinolia Wakijo. This study was supported by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche “HUMANWAY” project (ANR-12-BSV7-0008-01), and by Beasiswa Unggulan Kemdikbud 2016. This is contribution 2018-047SUD of the Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution de Montpellier (UMR CNRS 5554).

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Correspondence to Michel Raymond.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The protocols that were used to recruit the study’s participants and collect data were approved by the French National Commission on Informatics and Liberties (CNIL declaration #1226659).

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Nila, S., Barthes, J., Crochet, PA. et al. Kin Selection and Male Homosexual Preference in Indonesia. Arch Sex Behav 47, 2455–2465 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1202-y

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