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Penises, Fingers and Hands:  What's Next?
Studies attempt to identify correlates of sexual orientation

HAVE you heard the latest clue on the origins of sexual orientation?

Three Canadian researchers have shown that left-handedness is more common in gay men and in lesbian women than in "comparable heterosexual persons."

The scientific finding follows one of just a few months ago which reportedly correlated being gay or lesbian to finger length.  Jokes ran rampant at the time dealing with how to camouflage - or display - the telltale sign when shaking hands.

The online Community wasted no time in responding to the early morning news today.

"Does this mean that bisexuals are more likely to be ambidextrous?" asked one e-mail list subscriber.

Replied another, "I AM bisexual and ambidextrous!"

And a third, "I'm a left-handed Commie atheist fag ... boy, do I set off the alarm bells, both guilty-liberal-apologist and right wing rabid!!"

The handedness study - performed by three researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto - reached its conclusion through a statistical technique which combines the results of many previous studies.  Published in the July issue of Psychological Bulletin, the hand dominance of 23,410 people was observed.  Results included the tendency towards increased levels of left-handedness being "markedly greater for lesbian women than for gay men."

In the past year two previous research findings were released, triggering animated debate within the Community.  First, a study linked homosexuality to penis length, concluding that bigger meant gayer.  Then, another delved into the finger length in women who felt desires for other women.  Gays and lesbians could, therefore, wonder which body part will next be used to attempt to identify a correlation between physical characteristics and their sexual orientation.

The importance of the findings released today lies in their theoretical implications, the researchers said in a statement.

"Handedness is determined early in development - probably before birth.  Therefore, the correlation of handedness and sexual orientation demonstrates that at least some influences on adult sexual orientation operate quite early, maybe before an individual is born," it announced.

The scientists were also sure to hedge their conclusions.

"Although the findings of left-handedness ... are quite reliable, they are small in absolute magnitude, and they have no application beside providing clues to the origins of sexual orientation," the statement concluded.