Globe updates ‘What makes people gay’ 10 years later

A rainbow is seen in the sky behind LGBT pride flags and the U.S. flag in California in June.
A rainbow is seen in the sky behind LGBT pride flags and the U.S. flag in California in June. –Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

Ten years ago, Neil Swidey wrote about a set of identical twins, Thomas and Patrick, who he described as looking as though they had stepped out of a Pottery Barn catalog, with “crystal-blue eyes, wavy hair, and freshly scrubbed faces.’’ Swidey also described how Thomas was “all boy,’’ with a tendency to roughhouse, whereas Patrick preferred to play with Barbie dolls and dress up in princess costumes.

Some people might assume that Patrick would grow up to identify as transgender, but research suggested that his “gender non-conforming behaviors’’ would mean that he’d instead grow up to identify as gay or bisexual.

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With Patrick and Thomas as his subjects, Swidey published a piece for a 2005 issue of Globe Magazine called “What Makes People Gay?’’ It became one of the best-read stories in Globe history, and Swidey wrote that, “Over the last decade, barely a month has gone by when I haven’t received an e-mail from at least one reader finding the article for the first time.’’

Ten years later, Swidey has published an update to his original story that includes new research. He also revisits Thomas and Patrick to see whether his predictions about their sexual orientations turned out to be true.

You can read the full version of the updated story here.

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