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Hereditary Homosexuality

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In real life, the causes of homosexuality, alongside sexual orientation in general, are unclear. While modern science favors biological theories for explaining the cause of sexual orientation, one hypothesis, as counterintuitive as it may seem, posits the existence of a "gay gene" that increases the chance of someone being gay.

In fiction, of course, it's up to the writer. Fairly often, you may see gay characters who have relatives who are also gay. In particular, if a gay character has kids with The Beard or via Homosexual Reproduction those kids are more likely to be gay than not.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In the autobiographical comic Fun Home, lesbian Alison Bechdel comes to wonder if this was the case with her and her closeted gay father.
  • America Chavez is a lesbian, much like her mothers. Her grandmother is also Ambiguously Gay.
  • This ends up being the case with Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern and his son Todd Rice/Obsidian, in DC Infinite Frontier continuity. Originally, Todd was established to be gay in the pre-Flashpoint universe. In The New 52 continuity, he was Ret-Gone because Alan only existed as a young man on Earth 2. The writer felt bad about losing a gay character, so this version of Alan was given Adaptational Sexuality. Then when the Golden Age characters (and their descendants) were brought back into Earth-0 history in Doomsday Clock, this was backported back onto the "classic" Alan Scott. And finally Infinite Frontier #0 confirms all this by having Alan coming out to his kids and asking Todd if it's always this difficult.
  • Gender Queer: A Memoir: Maia and eir sister Phoebe have a lesbian aunt, while both turn out to be queer (in different ways).

    Fan Works 
  • In Eyes on Me, Hope is a lesbian just like her grandmothers Ruby and Sapphire. However, she was adopted by their daughter Garnet, so there's no biological factor in this case.
  • Ragyo Kiryuin in Natural Selection is a Depraved Bisexual and two of her daughters (Ryuko and Nui) are psycho lesbians.
  • Earth-27:
    • Suprema and her daughter Wonder Woman are both bisexual.
    • The Amazon Menodora and her daughter Scandal Savage are both lesbians.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) fanfic Tangle vs. Whisper, Tangle the Lemur has two moms and just grew up assuming she'd be a lesbian too.
  • my youth is yours: Adopted family version, but Alex is gay and so is her younger sister Kara.
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    Jokes 
  • One old joke has a client going to a doctor about his attraction to men, and how his father, his brothers, his uncles, and his cousins also have that. When the doctor asks if there is anyone in his family who is not attracted to men, the client replied that his sister isn't.

    Live-Action Film 
  • In Another Gay Movie Andy is gay and his father is either gay or bisexual (and his mom is a drag queen although the character is apparently female). Played for squick when the two nearly hook up in a public men's room. The sequel gets squickier when the two had anonymous sex, finding out the truth only after.
  • Crush: Gabby is a lesbian, while her twin AJ's bisexual.
  • Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives: One of the women in the film mentions her oldest daughter is also a lesbian (to outrage from her ex-husband).
  • Giant Little Ones: Both Franky and his father (when younger) experienced attraction to women, and then a sudden revelation that led them to re-evaluate their sexuality. While Franky's dad seems to identify as gay, his own sexual orientation is left unclear.
  • The Incredibly True Story Of Two Girls In Love: Randy, plus her aunt whom she lives with, are both lesbians.
  • Maggie & Annie: Maggie relates that her mother is also a lesbian, so in her case when she came out her mom was actually overjoyed (she'd run away with a neighbor's wife). One of Maggie's lesbian friends implies that her brothers are all gay too, though she may be joking.
  • Naomi And Ely's No Kiss List: Ely's the child of two lesbians, and he's gay himself.
  • Uncle Frank: Discussed when Frank's mother tells him his great uncle was also gay and speculates that if curly hair can be inherited, then why not this too.

    Literature 
  • In Cyteen Jordan is heavily implied (and outright stated in the sequel) to have a gay relationship with his male azi assistant Paul, his son Justin has a similar relationship with an azi named Grant. Of course, Justin is also a clone of his dad.
  • Volle is completely gay but has two sons from an Arranged Marriage. Volyan the older son turns out straight but Yilon, the younger one, shares his father's preferences.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Vanyel the last Herald-Mage, a notorious historical figure, was gay. He, however, had four children via being a Chosen Conception Partner. One of the gay men of the main time period is descended from Vanyel's first child.
  • All descendants of the elves in Labyrinths of Echo tend to be bisexual, which includes the current ruling dynasty of Echo. The protagonist of the series is very surprised to learn that His Majesty Gurig VIII has both male and female "favorites".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Prince Oberyn is openly bisexual and his second-eldest daughter, Nymeria, is attracted to women (it's not clear whether she's bisexual or a lesbian).
  • In Call Me by Your Name, Elio's father not only susses out that Elio is bisexual and in a secret relationship with Oliver, but hints pretty strongly that he recognized the signs because he's also bisexual.
  • Lightly parodied in Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda: after coming out to his family, Simon tries to deflect attention by accusing his sister Alice of having a secret boyfriend at college. She responds by asking him if he's sure she isn't hiding a girlfriend instead. She's joking - she's just worried about her family embarrassing her in front of her new boyfriend.
    • The Simonverse spin-off novel The Upside of Unrequited features Deuteragonist Cassie, who self-describes as non-specifically queer but who is in practice exclusively interested in women. Cassie's mothers are a lesbian and a bisexual woman, and later books in the series reveal that her cousin Abby is also bisexual. Downplayed and Averted with Cassie's twin sister, the novel's main protagonist Molly, who is straight.
  • In The Wicked Years, all four generations of the main character's family have at least one bisexual individual: Elphaba, her legal father Frexspar, and her son Liir all have one male and one female love interest apiece; while her granddaughter Rain's love interest magically changes gendernote  midway through their romance, which leaves Rain noticeably unfazed.
  • The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst features three generations of the titular family as the central characters. The main protagonist, Johnny, is an openly gay man in the mid-late-twentieth century. His life is often overshadowed by the fact that his father, David, was involved in several scandals in the 1940s and 1960s due to having affairs with men, even though over the course of his life he married two women he made a show of being deeply attracted to. It's left very ambiguous as to whether David was really bisexual, a closeted gay man who kept getting in over his head trying to lead a double life, or actually straight but willing to sleep with his queer friends if they'd give him something he wanted in return.
  • Just Juliet: Juliet and her cousin Lakyn are both gay.
  • The Lost Language of Cranes is about a young man Philip who comes out to his parents. As it turns out, his father Owen is himself a deeply closeted gay.
  • Discussed in Dan Savage's book The Commitment, chronicling his decision to go to Canada to marry his long-term partner Terry Miller (it wasn't legal in the US yet). Their adopted son DJ was still in the "girls are icky" phase, and during the trip, he tells Dan he wanted to be gay like his fathers. Dan gently told his son it doesn't work that way, but in the book, he joked that Christian fundamentalists' hearts across the country must be breaking now. For what it's worth, the now-adult DJ has since come out...as straight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The crew from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit once investigated the deaths of two HIV-positive gay men and discovered that one of them had infected a partner who later died from AIDS. They later discover that a gay activist was the likely culprit because his brother was the partner who died. One detective comments that it's likely their homosexuality was hereditary.
  • One episode of Seinfeld reveals that Susan's father once had an affair with John Cheever. After she and George break up, she starts dating women.
  • This trope was discussed in one episode of Louie; after Louie and his brother learn that their mother came out as a lesbian, his brother becomes anxious about it, as he believes that he might have inherited "gay genes" from his mom.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation:
    • Paige's older brother, Dylan, is gay. Paige herself later enters a long-term relationship with a woman, although it's not really clear if this is a case of being bisexual or If It's You, It's Okay.
    • Defied on Degrassi Junior High. After discovering his brother is gay, Snake nervously asks if that means he is too. Glen is quick to reassure him that's not how it works.
  • Downplayed on Game of Thrones. Loras Tyrell is a known homosexual. His sister Margaery is Ambiguously Bi.
  • Michael on Queer as Folk learns that his father is a drag queen.
  • Will & Grace:
    • Vince is a gay man whose sister is a lesbian.
    • In the 2017 revival, Jack's grandson is sent to "conversion therapy" when his ultra-religious mother fears that he's gay, partly due to her anxiety over this trope.note  The kid's certainly got campy interests and mannerisms but is really too young to say with certainty yet.
  • Come Fly With Me. Fearghal is one of eleven brothers who are all air stewards; they're also all gay (except the one who's bi).
  • Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, whose Armored Closet Gay status is a longstanding Running Gag for most of the series, has two gay cousins. The first one appears as an easily forgotten Bit Character from the pilot. The other one, "Country Mac", is presented as a Foil who acts like Mac but without all his bad qualities (including being open and confident with his sexuality). Mac's father has also displayed bisexual tendencies, although that might be a result of having spent years in prison.
  • Played with in 13 Reasons Why. It's revealed that Courtney Crimsen, who has two gay fathers, is a lesbian, though she was adopted by her dads so there's no biological factor in this case. It's Played for Drama; due to growing up with people being homophobic about her fathers, Courtney herself is extremely reluctant to come out of the closet and feels driven to do some morally questionable things to hide her sexual orientation. She also feels uncomfortable that people would assume she's gay just because her dads are. She does eventually come out and her dads are very supportive; she also starts dating a girl and takes her as her date to the Spring Fling.
  • We Are Who We Are: Fraser's birth mother Sarah is a lesbian. He himself is clearly attracted to guys (but may be bi).
  • In Transparent, Josh eventually realises that everyone in his family is attracted to women, and he's the only guy (this makes him just about the only cishet character in the main cast).
  • Gossip Girl (2021): Max, who's bisexual, has two dads.
  • Scarlett, the protagonist of the two-part opener of American Horror Stories, is the lesbian daughter of two gay dads. Downplayed in that it's never once drawn attention to in-universe.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Dawn's father is gay, and she's later revealed as open to dating people regardless of their gender, indicating pansexuality.
  • A League of Their Own (2022):
    • Max, a closeted lesbian, learns her maternal aunt Bertie is also an "invert" after overhearing her parents talking about why her mom's estranged from her. It turns out Bertie's a trans man though.
    • Jess and Lupe also hit on lesbian identical twin sisters in the secret gay bar who are fans of the Peaches team.
  • Lucifer (2016): In season 6, Lucifer is bisexual while Rory, his daughter from the future, is shown to be attracted to women.
  • The L Word: This turns out to be the case a number of times.
    • Cherie Jaffe is a lesbian (she's married to a man, but later confirms her orientation) like her daughter Clea.
    • Helena Peabody is a lesbian, while her mother Peggy's a bisexual woman.
    • Dana's a lesbian and her brother Howie turns out to be gay.
    • Molly, like her mother Phyllis, turns out to be a lesbian.
    • In Generation Q Alice interviews a sportswoman who's a lesbian, and her twin sister is too.
    • Bette and Tina's daughter Angelica turns out to be queer, coming out to then dating her girlfriend Jordi.
    • Generation Q introduces lesbian Sophie, whose brother Maribel's gay.
  • The Mini Series Man in an Orange Shirt is about a gay man learning about his (now deceased) grandfather's forbidden love for another man while serving in the military. Given the period, the grandfather had it much harder.
  • Cold Case: One episode focuses on a gay man who was murdered during the AIDS crisis. It turns out that he was attempting to blackmail some prominent closeted men to either get them to publicly help fight AIDS or at least put pressure on his homophobic father to get his sick partner into an AIDS trial. At the party where he announced this intention, he learned that one of the men had dated the victim's brother. The brother wound up killing him, out of fear the victim would out him to their father.
  • Often discussed on RuPaul's Drag Race. Dahlia Sin from Season 12 has a twin brother who's gay and, to her chagrin, had recently started doing drag. Also, Season 14's Alyssa Hunter and Canada Season 2's Synthia Kiss both revealed that their fathers are gay.
  • Years and Years: Daniel is gay, and eventually we learn that his sister Edith's a lesbian.
  • FirstKill: Juliette, one of the lead characters, is a lesbian. Her older sister Eleanor is indicated to be a bisexual woman.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (2021): Identical twin sisters Lennon and Allison both turn out to be bisexual.

    Video Games 
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    Webcomics 
  • Umlaut House
    • Rick and his father are both gay and came out on the same day even.
    • Jake is bi but leaning toward male preference, and his dad commented that he thought he was gay before meeting Jake's mother.
    • Volair and his son Pearce are bisexual.
    • One of Amanda's daughters, Alice, is bi like her. The other one, Lain, is straight.
    • In an aversion, Rhonda, Rick and Jake's genetically engineered daughter, is straight.
  • That Cyanide and Happiness strip where a kid comes out to his parents, who both follow suit and break up.note 
  • In Homestuck, Dirk Strider is gay, and his ectobiological daughter Rose is in a long-term relationship with a female alien. His ectobiological son Dave also turns out to be bisexual, meaning that everyone directly related to Dirk is non-straight in some way.
  • Austen of Always Human has two daddies and she's interested in women. And Word Of God says she's genetically related to at least one of her dads.
  • In Shortpacked!, Mike claims that legalizing gay marriage is actually part of a secret plot to exterminate gay people, because being gay is at least partially genetic, and increasing societal acceptance means that less and less gay people will feel the need to stay in the closet by marrying beards and having children, therefore homosexuality will eventually be bred out of existence. Of course, this is Mike, so he almost certainly doesn't actually believe this and is just making it up to be an asshole.
  • Contrasts: Ahsoka and Barriss both had two mothers, the backstory reveals. Ahsoka falls for Barriss, who returns her affections eventually.
  • Something*Positive: lesbian Lisa's little brother Lee comments that he wants to write musicals when he grows up, to which Lisa's girlfriend Monette thinks "Is their family tree a queerberry bush?"
    • Much later, Chirag mentions that he, his brother, and his sister, are all gay, tattooed, and pierced.
    Peejee: What the hell was in the water at your home?
    Chirag: Liquid fucking awesome!
  • Seemingly downplayed in Ennui GO!, but later averted altogether. Izzy is bisexual while her identical twin Adelie is a lesbian. But when Izzy ends up getting a clone named Kirsty, she is presumably straight (the fact that she's only ever shown interest in one person kind of makes it hard to gauge her preferences). Adelie and Bella's son Max also appears to be straight, though much like with Kirsty he's only ever had a single significant other.
  • Drop-Out: Sugar Kysley is the lesbian daughter of a lesbian couple. Both her mothers were also some form of intersex and she inherited at least one of those forms; Truth in Television as intersex conditions are more obviously genetically linked than homosexuality. The specific forms aren't stated, but partial androgen insensitivity must be involved somewhere, as Sugar is explicitly the biological child of both her mothers who are stated by the artist to both be cis, and PAIS causes a female-appearing phenotype with viable sperm.
  • The Evolutions of Homosexuality and Suicide: A hypothesis for why homosexuality could evolve and be passed down genetically is given in the comic, with the mainstream one critiqued. A hypothesis is also given for bisexuality.
  • Rain (2010): Siblings Maria and Rudy are both gay, much to their conservative parents' chagrin. Ky is bisexual (and genderfluid) and their sister Heather is bisexual. Also, Rain's aunt Fara is bisexual. Rain ultimately ends up realizing she's a lesbian, and in the last chapter we learn that Rain's sister Kellen is dating Heather; previously, Kellen had only been known to date men. And also that Rain and Kellen's gestational parent/Fara's sibling was really a closeted trans man.

    Web Original 
  • Academy of Merlin: There are three siblings — two boys and one girl — who are all gay.

    Western Animation 
  • Combined with LEGO Genetics in the Family Guy episode "Family Gay", where Peter volunteers for a series of gene therapy experiments. The last of which gives him "the gay gene" and makes him gay for the rest of the episode.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Captain Scorpia from the Horde, who has a crush on Catra, was also raised by two mothers according to a photo on her nightstand.

    Real Life 
  • In 2015 there was a study that found genetic markers that may be related to homosexuality, which was covered in media as "finding the gay gene". However, the study had little statistical power, meaning that the correlation between the genetic marker and homosexuality is likely to be due to random chance.
  • A number of studies estimate that around 30% of the variance in sexual orientation is explained by genetic factors. This does not mean that there's a 'gay gene', but rather that a large number of genetic variants may marginally increase or decrease one's propensity towards homosexuality. Notably, while this degree of heritability is significant, it's much lower than the heritability of physical traits like height and weight, or of mental traits like intelligence, openness, and extraversion.
  • Various studies have put forward the role of pleitropy, the ability of a gene to present in multiple ways depending on various factors, as a contributor to determining a person's sexual orientation. It has been noticed that the female relatives of gay men often have an easier than average time getting pregnant and staying pregnant, suggesting that the gene or genes that cause homosexuality when it presents in men also increase fertility when it presents in women, explaining both how it would be passed down and why it would be preserved by evolution.
  • This case in which a teenager decided to leave the closet as a bisexual in front of her mother ... and she responds by confessing that she is also bisexual.
  • Homosexuality in males is correlated with having older brothers and the more older brothers you have, the more likely you are to be gay. The most popular hypothesis for this phenomenon is that with each successive boy pregnancy, the mother’s body begins to have an autoimmune reaction that produces antibodies against y-chromosome linked proteins.
  • Former professional wrestler Matt Cage posted a selfie of him and his boyfriend on double-date with his father and his boyfriend. He also has a gay younger brother.
  • Lesbian actress Jodie Foster was raised by her lesbian mother and the latter's partner.

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