Gay men are smarter than straight men – so says history.

{The Calgary Gay History Project is revisiting its most impactful blog posts—now numbering in the hundreds—since its inception nine years ago. Gay men are smarter than straight men—so says history has been, hands down, its most popular post since it was published on July 18, 2013. It also has a notable time reference to the big Calgary flood.}

The sixties were a boom-time for psychometric assessment, and in particular Intelligence Quotient (IQ) research. Perhaps one of the most famous and controversial papers of the time, was Arthur Jensen’s article, published in 1969, How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement? It concluded that 80% of the variance in IQ in the population studied was the result of genetic factors due to race.

Similar lines of research were done on homosexuals. In Canada, a University of Toronto Social Work professor, John C. Spencer, published an article in the Canadian Journal of Corrections (1961). He looked at 132 sexual offenders in the Toronto Forensic Clinic. These incarcerated individuals were categorized into three groups: exhibitionists, pedophiles and homosexuals. Spencer concluded that while exhibitionists and pedophiles had essentially normal IQ’s, the average intelligence of the homosexual offender was significantly higher than average (IQ of 114 vs. the population average of 100). Reading between the lines, he may have been an early homosexual rights advocate as he mused openly about criminal law being a vehicle for moral condemnation (see article image below).

Other researchers confirmed the IQ findings. Renée Liddicoat, published A Study of Non-Institutionalized Homosexuals, also in 1961, and found that South African homosexual men and women had significantly higher verbal IQ scores than that of her heterosexual control group.

A 1949 study of 100 neurotic homosexual and 100 neurotic heterosexual soldiers similarly found evidence of higher intelligence scores and educational achievement amongst the gay soldiers (Winterstein-Lambert, E. Bulletin de la Faculté de Médicine de Instanbul). In fact, this paper’s conclusion was that the gay community did not need psychological treatment, rather job placement support in order to deal with neurotic symptoms.

However, like many IQ studies there is a potential for cultural bias in the research as well as other sources of error. Some studies showed no difference, and at least one showed reduced intelligence in homosexual men. A quirky finding in many intelligence studies was the homosexual male’s sensitivity to art and culture. Silvio Marone, in the International Journal of Sexology (1954) wrote: “homosexual behaviour is not rare among artists, and homosexuality has a great influence on art.”

Finally, speaking of great influences, the Calgary Public Library’s Magazine’s and Newspapers department was devastated by the recent flooding in Southern Alberta. Many of the articles researched for this website have come from that basement department (such as: this one). We are really saddened by this particular loss. Individuals interested in donating to the Library’s flood recovery fund can find more information: here.


8 responses to “Gay men are smarter than straight men – so says history.

  1. I am a gay man, definitely assured of his homosexuality and comfortable. While an article in a professional journal on gays always pricks (no pun intended) my interest, the statements in and of themselves seem racist. I question the sample on which the study is based. Spuriousness abounds in the study and we know much more now about gays than we did then. We now longer refer to gays as “deviants.”

  2. I concur with the statement gay men on “average” are smarter. I mean look at everything we have to contend with growing up and coming out. We have to be in tuned with our environment better, take on both male and female social roles, we have to compete with everyone and their mother, etc… I think where gay men really excel though is our households can out earn the rest. This means that we have much more money to spend on higher education which means more “formal” intelligence. Just my thoughts because you’re not going to convince me in the least bit that some Joe Smoe straight guy will ever be smarter than my fellow gay men and I. In a game of chess its usually the queen that’s the most dangerous piece not the king.

  3. International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

    1. The Man Prague (5000 A.C.)
    2. Sappho of Mytilene (600 A.C. – B.C.) Greek poet
    3. Socrates (470-399 A.C. – B.C.) Greek philosopher
    4. Plato (427-347 A.C. – B.C.) Greek philosopher
    5. Alexander the Great (356-323 A.C. – B.C.) King of Macedonia
    6. Wu (140-87 A.C. – B.C.) Chinese Emperor
    7. Julius Caesar (100-44 A.C. – B.C.) Roman Emperor
    8. Adriano (76-138 D.C.) Roman Emperor
    9. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Holy and Father the Catholic Church
    10. Benedict IX (1012-1056) Pope
    11. Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) English king and Crusader
    12. Eduard II (1254-1327) English king
    13. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Renaissance artist, inventor and Italian scientist
    14. Michalengo Buonarrotti (1475-1564) Architect, sculptor and painter Italian
    15. Montezuma II (1480-1520) Aztec emperor
    16. Julius III (1487-1555) Pope
    17. Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616) Japanese Shogun founder of the Edo Shogunate
    18. John Alexander Normandy (1545-1640) French journalist and poet
    19. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) British statesman
    20. Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) English poet and playwright
    21. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Playwright, poet and English actor
    22. Christina Alexandra (1626-1689) Swedish queen
    23. Philippe of Orleans (1640-1701) French Prince of Bourbon Dynasty
    24. Peter the Great (1672-1725) Tsar of All Russia
    25. Frederick the Great (1712-1786) King of Prussia and military leader
    26. Madame de Staël (1766-1817) French writer and intellectual
    27. Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet
    28. Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) Danish poet and writer
    29. Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) Euro-American writer and journalist
    30. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Euro-American philosopher and poet
    31. Herman Melville (1819-1891) Euro-American writer
    32. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Euro-American poet
    33. Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Russian composer
    34. Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) French poet
    35. Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) British author
    36. Chief Crazy Horse (Tashunca Witko) (1849-1877) Chief tribe Oglala Sioux Chief
    37. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) English writer and playwright
    38. Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) Songwriter and English artist
    39. Sir Alfred Douglas (1870-1945) English writer and poet
    40. Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French writer
    41. Sergei Diaghileff (1872-1929) Russian Ballet businessman
    42. Willa Cather (1873-1947) Euro-American writer
    43. Sidonie Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954) French writer
    44. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) American writer and poet
    45. William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) British writer and playwright
    46. Alice Babette Toklas (1877-1967) Euro-American writer
    47. Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) British Writer
    48. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) Novelist, essayist and British writer
    49. John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) British economist and Nobel Prize
    50. Ernst Röhm (1887-1934) German Nazi Military
    51. Thomas Edward Lawrence -Lawrence of Arabia- (1888-1935) British soldier
    52. Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) Poet, diplomat, and feminist pedagogy Chilean
    52. Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) French naturalist and writer
    53. Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950) Russian ballet dancer
    54. Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) British writer
    55. Cole Porter (1893-1964) Euro-American composer
    56. Bessie Smith (1894-1937) American black singer
    57. Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) Poet, playwright and prose writer Spanish
    58. Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) German actress and singer
    59. Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987) Belgian-American british writer
    60. Salvador Novo (1904-1974) Poet, essayist, playwright and Mexican historian
    61. Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) British author and writer
    62. Greta Garbo (1905-1990) Swedish nationalized American actress
    63. Frieda Kahlo (1907-1964) Mexican artist and Activist
    64. Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) Writer and poet
    64. Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) Writer, teacher and French philosopher
    64. Bayard Rustin (1910-87) American Human Rights activist
    65. Alan Turing (1912-1954) British mathematician
    66. Tennessee Williams (1914-1983) Euro-American playwright
    67. Chavela Vargas (1919-2012) Mexican singer
    67. Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) Writer, poet and Italian film director
    68. Truman Capote (1924-1984) Euro-American author
    69. James Baldwin (1924-1987) Novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and social critic
    70. Gore Vidal (1925- ) Euro-American writer
    71. Andy Warhol (1928- ) Plastic artist and American filmmaker
    71. Harvey Milk (1930-1978) Euro-American political
    72. Andy Warhol (1930-1987) Euro-American Pop Artist
    73. Audre Lorde (1934-1992) African-American writer and activist
    74. Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972) Argentina poet
    74. Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993) Russian dancer
    75. Ian Mckellen (1939- ) British actor of stage and screen
    76. Antonio Arbulú Neira (1944- ) Peruvian psychologist
    77. Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) Pop British singer/songwriter/musician
    78. Elton John (1947- ) British Singer/songwriter/musican, singer
    79. Pedro Almodovar (1949- ) Film director, screenwriter and producer Spanish
    80. Juan Gabriel (1950- ) Mexican singer and composer
    81. Janis Ian (1951- ) Euro-American Singer/songwriter/musician
    82. John Travolta (1954- ) Actor, singer, dancer and pilot American aviator
    83. Nathan Lane (1956- ) Euro-American actor
    84. Martina Navratilova (1956- ) Czech tennis champion
    85. Miguel Bosé (1956- ) Spanish actor and singer
    86. Ellen Degeneres (1958- ) Euro-American Comedian/actor
    87. George Alan O’Dowd (1961- ) Singer, musician and British disc jockey
    87. Melissa Etheridge (1961- ) Euro-American Singer/songwriter/musician
    88. Tom Cruise (1962- ) American Actor
    89. Alan Cumming (1965- ) British Actor
    90. Ricardo Fort (1968-2013) Singer, actor and producing Argentinian
    91. Ricky Martin (1971- ) Singer, songwriter, actor and Puerto Rican writer
    92. Nein Patrick Harris (1973- ) Actor, singer and the American director
    93. Leonardo di Caprio (1974- ) Actor and producer of American cinema
    94. Cristian Castro (1974- ) Singer, actor and Mexican composer
    95. Pablo Ruiz (1975- ) Argentine singer
    96. Emiliano Rafael Boscatto (1981- ) Conductor argentine television
    97. Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro (1985- ) Portuguese footballer
    98. Robert Thomas Pattinson (1986- ) Actor, model, producer and British singer
    99. Zac Efron (1987- ) Actor of cinema and American televisión
    100. Joseph Adam Jonas (1989- ) Singer, musician, actor and dancer American

  4. Are homosexuals smarter or are they more “incentivized” to hone their intelligence?

    Being gay makes you realize early on that you probably won’t be able to count on your family or old friends for any support.
    Being gay prevents you from easily interacting with other guys (never going to fit in with sports and harder to have good drug hookups when your younger).
    Being gay prevents relationships when your younger.

    So no sports, no wild partying, no demanding girlfriends, a general disconnect from peers. That basically leaves academics.

    Secondly most gay kids grow up in small intolerant towns and suburbs. They know they will need to go to a city to find people like them and have any chance of ever fitting in.

    So gay kids have nothing to do besides academics, they know they need to leave for the city, and they know they are going to have to do everything by themselves.

    Basically you get a gay teen that studies constantly, is always working towards scholarships to pay for college (in the city), and is willing to do anything to claw his way to the top so that he will have the means to take care of himself.

    40% of homeless youth are LGBT. Gay teens know this and they know the cost if they fail. It makes sense gay men would be smarter, have a better education, and earn more money. Unlikely their straight peers gay men have nothing to fall back on if they need help except for themselves.

    High risk, high reward.

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  7. I have known this for years! At least since the 1980’s growing up that my gay friends were smarter, more savvy, ofter more shrewd and cunning than most of our heterosexual rivals. I aways say to this day….”the gay brain is a good brain!” Many,many, great innovators ,creators and inventors throughout history in every endeavor possible were homosexual. they have to be in order to simply survive and thrive in a hostile and unwelcoming world. One field where this is obvious is in verbal skills,language skills and writing skills. Any journalist will tell you that in the world of authors and creative writing pools…most staff writers are gay.Things are far better today ; however, unfounded hate,fear and discrimination persists and probably always will. However, far less so than in generations past and this is due to increased visibility and acceptance towards a sexual minority within the framework of the greater world.

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