Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Father's social class and homosexuality

Using GSS data, I calculated the mean father's socioeconomic index for women who are straight, bisexual, and lesbian (sample size = 8,551).

Mean Father's Socioeconomic Index

Straight 47.3
Bisexual 50.4
Lesbian 52.7*

*significantly higher than straight women

Compared to straight women, lesbians come from significantly higher status families. And for men (sample size = 7,867):

Mean Father's Socioeconomic Index

Straight 48.2
Bisexual 50.1
Gay 49.3

Gay men do not come from significantly higher status homes than straight men.

I'm not sure how to explain the pattern. Women from higher class homes might be more willing to admit lesbianism or might be more willing to adopt a lesbian orientation. There is evidence that lesbianism is more environmentally influenced than homosexuality. One might suggest that higher status fathers are more masculine (at least in some ways) and more likely to have masculine daughters.


  1. Women from higher class homes are less dependent upon men for comfort and security. They are also more likely to be conditioned to believe that this state of affairs, i.e., independence of men, is universal and an unmitigated good. Therefore the only surprise is that the difference is so small: Only the well insulated (e.g., rich) have the luxury believe stupid things.

  2. Anonymous12:48 PM

    This seems obvious to me. High status women commonly end up at the short end of the marriage market. But nobody wants to be lonely.

  3. Lesbianism in the U.S. basically emerged among upper class post-Puritans in Massachusetts in the 19th Century. They called it a "Boston marriage" back then.

    I knew a Yale history professor from such a high WASP background that his family had moved from business to the arts. His brother was a rock star, his father a famous jazz musician, his maternal grandfather a famous literary critic. His paternal grandmother had been a leading suffragette, and his paternal grandfather said his greatest accomplishment in life was getting one child out of her.

  4. Anonymous10:14 PM

    What it suggests is that higher status fathers send their daughters to higher status schools.

    Think of all the women's prestigious colleges in Massachusetts alone. I think a lot of lesbianism is actually rebellion among high status, bright females.

    Recall that it's not so long ago that in this country, such a girl was facing a family and society that tried to take them and train them to talk about art history and classical architecture, learn to entertain, raise oodles of money for charity, appear in the society pages of their urban paper while their husbands were off being important leaders of business, industry, and government, and having affairs. I think much of lesbianism was a rebellion against this paternalistic, blue blood heavy hand.

    I'll bet that some women never really had sexual relationships with one another, and among some who claim to be lesbians, I think that's the case today.

  5. Anonymous4:52 PM

    A lot of lesbians are huge feminists so I'm not surprised.

  6. I have recently launched a blog site devoted to the homosexual question. It's called GayTolerance.com.

    I promote tolerance because I think homosexuality is a disease - specifically a parasitic disease in women by toxoplasma gondii. This parasite changes the sexual orientation of the woman's unborn children in utero.

    I may very well be wrong. In fact I may be a crackpot. But I think I'm right.

  7. "Think of all the women's prestigious colleges in Massachusetts alone. I think a lot of lesbianism is actually rebellion among high status, bright females."

    I was in Boston for 4 years (actually a gorgeous city, despite the politics, full of old American history, fine museums, and local pride). There is much truth to this.

    Remember OkCupid, the geek-run dating site that would occasionally release politically incorrect data (in an attempt to be edgy, they were liberal as heck) before they got bought by Match.com? If you go back, you can find their chart showing that something like a third of bisexuals only message one gender ;)

    It's also ironically partially a descendant of the Cult of True Womanhood--many of the themes such as the depravity of male desire and the value of feminine intuition are similar. Of course, it's gone 180 degrees with regards to Christianity and traditional values...

  8. Sideways8:32 AM

    Wait, the OK Cupid blog is dead? That sucks. No posts in the year since they were bought out.


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