Taxometric analyses of sexual orientation and gender identity

Steven W. Gangestad*, J. Michael Bailey, Nicholas G. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Taxa are nonarbitrary classes whose existence is an empirical question and not a matter of mere semantic convenience. Taxometric procedures detect whether numerical relations between purported indicators of conjectured taxa bear the hallmarks of true taxa. On the basis of theoretical considerations, the current study tested whether taxa underlie sexual orientation and related measures of gender identity. Two taxometric procedures, maximum covariance, making hits maximum (MAXCOV) and mean above minus below a cut (MAMBAC), were applied to Kinsey Scales and measures of childhood gender nonconformity and adult gender identity in a sample of nearly 5,000 members of the Australian Twin Registry. Results suggest that latent taxa underlie these measures. About 12-15% of men and 5-10% of women belong to latent taxa associated with homosexual preference. These percentages are greater than those of individuals who report homosexual preference, however, and hence it appears that an appreciable proportion of individuals in these taxa have heterosexual preference. An understanding of the origins of these latent taxa may be important to understanding the development of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1121
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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