Meet identical twins with the same DNA but different sexuality

Rosie, left, is an artist, while Spadge is an editor

These identical twins share the same genes and the same education, but one of them is heterosexual and the other gay. They are participating in a new study that aims to help us understand what it is that makes us who we are, and why we fall in love with what we do.

Rosie, left, is an artist, while Spadge is an editor

Rosie, left, is an artist, while Spadge is an editor

With the gestures of the mirror image and the corresponding DNA, the identical twins capture something in our imagination. They are mysterious: how many times have you asked a group of twins if they can feel each other's pain or read each other's thoughts? – Possess a strong bond like iron that non-twins can not even begin to wrap their heads around. But as much is said about the "similarity" of the twins, what happens when they differ in a fundamental aspect of their lives: their sexuality?

A new research carried out by Dr. Tuesday Watts and his team of psychologists at the University of Essex seeks to determine how and why, despite having the same education and the same genes, identical twins can identify with different sexual orientations .

A part of this work includes looking at images of the twins throughout their lives, to see if the test subjects can identify when they began to "diverge" in their masculinity-femininity, with a sample of gender nonconformity, which is related with sexual orientation. This study found that these twins began to differ visibly from each other in this regard much later than non-twins.

So, could the twins really have the clue to determine the roots of our sexuality, giving us long-sought answers about what really makes us who we are? The researchers believe that their findings discard the idea that sexuality is solely the product of genes, because these twins share the same DNA. They suggest that hormones and epigenetics (the influence of environmental factors on genes) may be important.

As a child, Rosie (left) "loved football and motorcycle racing," while Spadge says she "was wrong next to the Disney princess."

As a child, Rosie (left) "loved football and motorcycle racing," while Spadge says she "was wrong next to the Disney princess."

As a child, Rosie (left) "loved football and motorcycle racing," while Spadge says she "was wrong next to the Disney princess."

& # 39; All my boyfriends wanted to hang out with Rosie & # 39;

Rosie, 29, is an artist; Spadge is an editor. Rosie is single, Spadge is married and they both live in Lincoln.

Spadge says When I was a kid, I definitely made a mistake on the side of the Disney princess. But if there was football on TV or F1 racing, Rosie would love it. I just screamed, what's this? I want to see Disney movies!

I like to think of us as remixes of the same song

We have always been incredibly close. We went to the same school, to the same university and now we live about ten minutes from each other. We are constantly visiting the homes of others. Because of this, our link is extremely close. There was even one time at school when Rosie was hit in the face with a rounders bat. We were in the nurse's room because I had a nosebleed. We call it "twintuition".

All my boyfriends wanted to hang out with Rosie because she had more in common with them than me. He gets along well with my husband Rick; they both like Marvel and weapons, I could not be less interested!

Spadge, on the left, and Rosie taking part in an artistic show by Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern in 2010

Spadge, on the left, and Rosie taking part in an artistic show by Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern in 2010

Spadge, on the left, and Rosie taking part in an artistic show by Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern in 2010

The sisters with Spadge's husband, Rick, in 2016

The sisters with Spadge's husband, Rick, in 2016

The sisters with Spadge's husband, Rick, in 2016

However, I was so surprised when Rosie came out and, actually, a little angry at myself for not having noticed me before. She is someone I should know better than anyone. But then many things started to make sense. That That's why I was not interested in boys. That it was because he liked the things he liked. It was quite surreal. I thought, Wait, this is not something I considered before. A.M I Gay?

Since then, I have read more about sexuality and I believe that its roots can be hormonal: potentially the amount and type of hormones that are absorbed in the uterus when the twins separated, but are still assimilating things from their mother. Everything has to do with epigenetics. Sexuality is like an orchestra: you can activate and deactivate different sections until you get a different sound. That's how I like to think about ourselves: we're like remixes of the same song.

Rosie and Spadge in their strollers

Rosie and Spadge in their strollers

Rosie and Spadge in their strollers

Rosie, left, and Spadge, on the right, when they were children

Rosie, left, and Spadge, on the right, when they were children

Rosie, left, and Spadge, on the right, when they were children

Rosie says The best thing about being a twin is that you constantly have a partner in crime.

I've always been a tomboy. I loved football and motorcycle racing and for a long time I thought I was asexual because I had no interest in any kind of relationship. He had many male friends and played soccer or video games with them, while Spadge started talking about boys in a different way. She was obsessed. I started thinking, "Wait, I do not feel the same way."

When I was 18, I went to college to do a basic art course. There was a bisexual girl there and I was strangely intrigued by her. I could not tell if I wanted to be her or be with her. She was not paying attention to me and she felt like the worst in the world. I remember that Spadge listed all the guys we knew, trying to guess who he was upset for. Then I blew up: & # 39; It's not a child! & # 39;

I want to find out what determines sexuality, and I have lesbian friends who feel the same. I'm not looking for a "cure." When people say, "If they find out what causes it, they can get rid of it", it offends me. We just want to understand the attraction and where it comes from. I agree with Spadge that it could be due to hormones. I have been taking medications that have affected my sexual desire. I realize that you can change, day by day, what you want out of life. I am happy to help find answers.

& # 39; Initially, our difference in sexuality was a big problem & # 39;

Jess, 26, a junior male designer, lives in London; Sarah, a PhD student, lives in Birmingham. They are both in relationships.

Jess, left and Sarah today

Jess says From the age of 15, Sarah and I constantly argue. We were never really similar to the personality and we have always known how to push the buttons of others. Growing up, Sarah wanted all her hair cut, while I wanted mine like a princess. She would use Spiderman stuff and I would always be in pink. Even today we are quite unique people and we do not see each other very often (it can be as little as six times a year) because we live in different places. That said, we are much closer now. We talk every day and constantly FaceTime each other.

For me, sexuality was not something I really thought about. Then, at the age of 16, Sarah left. I remember it vividly. He had gone up to his room, which was in the attic, and strangely, he had the lights off, obviously he did not want to look at me. She told me, "Oh, by the way, I think I'm gay." I burst into tears and she said: "Do not tell mom or dad."

He drove a wedge between us for a long time. My misunderstanding and Sarah's lack of willingness to let me think a bit caused tension. She felt rejected, and I can see that now, but that was not the case. I tried to understand it, but it was difficult: I was very young and I went to a very protected and quite fanatical school. We lived in the countryside, we did not see so much television, this was one of the first times I heard the term & # 39; gay & # 39;

Now, I'm really protective of Sarah and her sexuality. I feel like a proud member of the LGBT community, although I'm not gay. As I got older, going to art school and experiencing different people from different backgrounds, I feel that there is much more fluidity in sexuality than people think. It is much more social than we think. We do not have to be 100% in one way or another. It should be what you want, really.

Sarah in blue and Jess in pink

Sarah in blue and Jess in pink

Sarah in blue and Jess in pink

Sarah says Jess and I were very competitive as we grew up. It was always like that & # 39;I am one centimeter higher; I am faster than you. & # 39; I did a lot of sport so Jess was never really in what could be called the center of attention. She was quite quiet. There was a great obscuration, and I think that's where the disputes come from. It is as if we had to win this nonexistent game and because of this we evolved very different people on purpose.

Initially, our difference in sexuality was a big problem. He actually separated us for quite some time. It was not a fracture per se, but rather in our adolescence when she was not my friend and she was not my sister. But she had kept him away from her for a long time and that hurt her. You can relate to a very emotional level with your twin, but we did not have to share our sexuality. It was incredibly hard.

Sarah wearing her pants at four, with Jess

Sarah wearing her pants at four, with Jess

Sarah wearing her pants at four, with Jess

Nowadays, we can sit down and debate. We still do not have the same opinions about the same problems, but it is because we have had very different social experiences. The environment says a lot about why we are different. We had separate friendship groups at school: I was in sports and science, while Jess is arty. The way we think and the way we solve problems are different, but I think that everything is behavior taught. It's all social.

Jess and I get close again in the second year of college. When he made a connection with other people in the LGBT spectrum, we simply clicked again and started calling a bit more, opening and reviving what we had when we used to make lairs in the living room. It took us a long time but we reached the end. I would not change it for the world.

& # 39; As we grew up, we became very different & # 39;

Harvey Gardner, 26, an art therapy student, lives in Bristol; his twin Luke, a hotel receptionist, lives in Portsmouth. Both are single.

Harvey, left, and Luke, about six years old, "we were mirror images of each other"

Harvey, left, and Luke, about six years old, "we were mirror images of each other"

Harvey, left, and Luke, about six years old, "we were mirror images of each other"

Lucas says When we were young, Harvey and I were almost mirror images of each other. We can not even tell who is who in some of our family photos. But as we have grown, we have become very different people. Harvey does not look like me at all now, with long hair and a beard. I do not know if he is conscious. Probably. But Harvey has always been quite unique.

The twins of shared bonds are definitely stronger than the brothers. If we are in a room together and we are having a chinwag, it is a bit strange for other people. We will simply talk about garbage and we will laugh like children. There is a comfort zone that comes with being a twin. It's almost like you're alone, but you're not. You are with this person who "catches" you completely. However, if you feel too comfortable, then you do not grow up, do not know other people, or develop better social skills. But that's because it's very easy when you're with your twin.

Couple at a family birthday

Couple at a family birthday

Couple at a family birthday

I knew that when we were 13 years old, I was heterosexual and Harvey was gay. At first I thought he was a kind of stud because he had so many friends, while I would be out playing football. When he told me he was homosexual, I was like, "Yes, it really does not surprise me," but I think it was a big problem for him. He obviously cares what other people think, but we both care more about what we think of each other. If I had turned around and avoided it, I would have really hurt him.

From 11 years old beginning to affirm his individuality (Lucas is on the left)

From 11 years old beginning to affirm his individuality (Lucas is on the left)

From 11 years old beginning to affirm his individuality (Lucas is on the left)

We've both always had deep questions about what sexuality really is. My opinion is loose. I do not think there is necessarily a "preference", but some people try to hide who they really are. I think everyone can be attracted in some way to each other; it is more about whether people are open about it or not.

In my opinion, sexuality is based on the experience of life and education

Harvey says I had a very protected childhood in terms of sexuality. I knew it was different. I did not want to do things with girls that other guys were talking about.

I was at least 12 years old when I realized that I liked men. I kept it a secret because life was not as it is now. The school was a pretty horrible place for me. He had clumsy teeth and keys. I really did not like the role, they intimidated me.

The roots of sexuality are something I've been thinking about for years. I feel a bit like an anomaly, and I've done it for a long time. I think our family dynamic plays a lot in our relationships. In our family, there is a bit of division in the middle, being me closest to our mother and Luke the closest to our father. And I think we have assumed those masculine and feminine qualities. In my opinion, sexuality is based on the experience of life and can be improved according to the type of education you have.

That said, none of us has that romantic inclination. We are not really that worried. When you have a twin, you can think, & # 39; Oh, that's fine. I'll probably move in with Luke when he gets old.

If you are an identical twin and would be interested in participating in the sexual orientation research at the University of Essex, visit bit.ly/2NiawR9

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