The Sordid Lives of Lesbian Twins

It’s a mystery to me why Tegan Quin and I aren’t friends. We have a lot in common. The parallels of our homo-gay Canadian twin lives are uncanny.

For starters, we both have a gay twin named Sara. (My sister spells her name with an H [“the right way”], and neither Sarah nor I are rock stars, but I figure these are negligible differences.) Years ago at a show I remember Tegan talking about how she had just moved to Vancouver, and Sara to Montreal, when lo and behold: my sister and I had just done the exact same thing.

Coincidence?

I think not.

More like a twin thing where at a certain age you decide to cut the umbilical cord (proverbial this time) and move to opposite ends of the country in search of the autonomy that has genetically and circumstantially eluded you thus far. Or maybe you move because you just really want your own birthday cake.

I’ll be the first to admit that twins are weird. If you are one, you already know this, and if you’re not, you’ve probably thought it. And you’re right! Gay twins are even weirder, much less common, and a lot more competitive. When my sister came out it wasn’t like “Yeah! A sister who’s also a sister”, it was like “Shit, now I’m screwed, she’s totally hotter.”

However, before I get into the intricacies of sharing a womb, let’s get one thing straight, er, clear. Lesbian twins, however hot, are NOT INTERESTED IN HAVING A THREESOME WITH YOU. I know that’s disappointing. I’m disappointed too! Oh wait, no, I’m not disappointed, mostly because the twin-threesome idea is creepy and it’s never going to happen. Ever.

 

There’s no shortage of speculation when it comes to the mystery behind gay twins. We’re mysterious creatures, like unicorns. Scientists have been trying to figure it out for a while but, despite some fairly extensive studies, there still isn’t a definitive conclusion as to how being a twin may or may not affect one’s sexual orientation. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Was it that prolonged exposure to all those Ani Difranco albums? No one knows for sure. However, although there are many different factors that influence a person’s sexual orientation, when it comes to identical twins, statistics show that if one sibling is gay, there is a 50% chance that the other one will be too.

Which is why I really think there should be an annual International Gay Twin Conference/Support Group. Obviously it would be held in Minneapolis, nametags would be mandatory, and there would be a ban on the propositioning of threesomes.

For many who have had the luxury of their own gamete/embryonic chamber, the concept of being a twin is baffling and intriguing. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked, “What’s it like to be a twin?” it would still make me want to kill myself but at least I’d be a bajillionaire.

But even as a twin it can be baffling. There’s no one else with whom I am more similar and more shockingly different. In twindom there is a delicate interplay of sameness and opposition, which can both be uniting and dividing, infuriating and comforting. Kind of like Ilene Chaiken. Often it is the juxtaposition that goes unnoticed, and yet it is this, more than anything, that dictates a constantly evolving relationship that is quite literally rooted in the very marrow of my bones.

Seriously, if you think lesbian relationships are complicated, lesbian twin relationships are virtually indecipherable. There are simply too many emotions and too few birthday cakes.

But that doesn’t mean being a twin isn’t wonderful. It is. It’s also the most crazy-making thing on the face of the Earth, due to the inherent complications of sharing a set of DNA. On one hand you’ve got a friend for life and are totally set if you ever need a kidney. A twin is someone who knows you in ways that no one else can, who shares many of the same experiences, and whose brain works in a startlingly similar manner at times. This can be both a pro and a con since it makes it really easy to see into each other’s souls but also through each other’s lies.

You also have someone who looks like you, likes the same things, does the same things (often better than you do which is really annoying), and somehow by simply being alive manages to squander at every turn the sense of individuality you’ve been trying to cultivate since birth. Plus if they happen to need a kidney, guess what? You’re giving it up.

It wasn’t always clear as to whether or not my sister and I would both turn out to be queer. I came out practically wrapped in a rainbow flag, and was pretty much the gayest kid ever right from the start, but my sister was less obvious. Although a tomboy and athletically inclined, her appreciation of dresses was suspect. When I was a teenage mutant ninja turtle for Halloween, she was a princess. What I lacked in femininity, she made up for in My Little Ponies. But as it turns out there were more than enough lesbo-nutrients to go around and she’s a big gay-lord too.

So to all the gay twins out there and to anyone who has shared the precious resources of their mother’s lifeblood: Congratulations. Now that you’ve survived the ordeal you can fascinate your therapist with a bizarre mix of codependency issues and an insatiable need for hyper-independence. Don’t worry though; it’s what makes you unique.

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Lindsay has written 4 articles for us.

79 Comments

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    Actually, neuroscientists have started forming definitive conclusions about why twins are more likely to share the same sexuality.
    Homosexuality is probably “caused” by an inbalance in maternal hormones, easy example: is the fetus a girl but are maternal testosteron levels high, chances are that the girl will grow up to be a lesbian. So that explains why twins are often both gay, they shared the same womb and thus experienced the same hormone levels.
    I read a book about it by a famous neurologist, the hormone story is the most probable cause of homosexuality, although in nature its often a combination of things and there are exceptions that can’t be explained by this theory. But there’s not so much mystery anymore..
    Anyways, my brother and sister are twins, they also moved to other cities when they started university :)

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    i’m a lesbian triplet! the other two (1 boy, 1 girl) are straight-ish. but still, it’s very weird. this line “a bizarre mix of codependency issues and an insatiable need for hyper-independence” was extremely eloquently stated. only multiples can identify…

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    my sisters are twins, one is gay and the other is straight. The gay one’s girlfriend is also a twin, and her twin is gay. so when we all get together it is like a gay twin convention, but with the one straight twin who we tease about it.

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    i think it’s so gross that people assume you’d be down for some incest because you’re both lesbians.

    like i want to hear the story of you punching someone in the face for even suggesting something like that.

    but you’re probably non-violent and super sweet so yeah.

    i want to know more about you and your twin like how/when you both came out etc.

    thanks for sharing

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        Speaking of Tegan and Sara…

        I was at one of their shows, in the front row, when they were telling a story (so rare!) that started out with, “When we were little we used to share a bed…” to which some inebriated (no excuse!) chick nearby shouted, “That’s hot!”

        I seriously thought Tegan was about to swoop down from the stage like Batman and just cold pile drive that girl into oblivion. Which would have been awesome/deserved. Instead she slashed them with her vicious, vicious words and that was pretty glorious, too.

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    I remember i read an article about tegan and sara in Spin magazine and it had a statistic saying that if one twin is gay, there’s a 48% chance the other is a homo as well. which i thought was pretty cool. idk if it’s true, but it’s worth looking into.

    and also i bet the whole coming out thing was crazy. my little sister is five years younger than me, and flirts with girls like crazy. but claims to be straight. kinda scary, because if she turns out to be gay as well, i’m going to get “blamed” for it. plus she’s gonna steal all of the girls, she’s way cuter/skinnier/(but i have better hair) so i bet it’s way worse when you’ve been competing for everything since the womb.

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      omg im thinking the same thing about my brother. it won’t be competition issue but i will definitely get the blame (which is why i think he’s afraid to come out). are older sisters are recruiters?

      i did read somewhere that the first born usually gets higher testosterone levels in the womb and then dissipates little by little after every birth and a higher concentration of estrogen takes over. im sure there’s way more to it but i guess if there’s one there could always be another

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        Yeah, that’s one of the leading theories for male homosexuality. With each older brother, I think the chances increase by 5-10%. (So if you have 4 older brothers, you have a 20 – 40% higher chance of being a gaymo.) I didn’t know how it worked with the ladies though, so thanks to @eskim00 for the answer.

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          Apparently the reason the estrogen levels increase with every male birth is because the woman has some kind of “rejection” reaction against the male fetus. Just like you can react to a transplant organ. Your body reacts to something it’s not familiar with. Its pretty interesting :)

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            No, that’s definitely determined by dad’s contribution – his sperm contain the X and Y chromosomes, whereas mom’s eggs only can contribute the X chromosome.

            Now gender, on the other hand……..

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            are you sure, cuz i thought there was this gap of time where the fetus isn’t any particular sex and there for it can still be determined by a number of factors including fluctuation in hormones ………… im only a doctor of love what do i know about the secret lives of fetuses

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            lilyv – all eggs (contributed by the mother) are X chromosome, so kinda-sorta female but not really. The sex of the baby is determined once the egg is fertilized by the sperm, which contributes either an X or a Y.

            So we all start as quasi-ladies, I guess you could say. There’s a HUGE variety of how we end up, of course, and that has to do with a whole mess of factors–both genetic, mutagenic, sociological, and probably magical for all I know. :)

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    i don’t have a twin but my mom never let me go as michealangelo for halloween so im jealous.
    in her brain however it was okay to go as the grim reaper, a serial killer, zombie, vampier, and a pirate. always from the boi section too

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    Great article!

    My girlfriend is an identical twin, and her sister is straight as they come. They are both very similar and very different, depending on the situation. It’s pretty fascinating! Also, I’d like to add just because we both think it’s hilarious – I almost kissed her sister one time when she was standing next to me, because out of the corner of my eye I thought it was my girlfriend. Good thing I didn’t, because that would have been really weird/creepy.

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    I’ve always wondered if my twin was a girl would we both be lesbians. Plus, I always wanted my twin to be a girl so we could be like Mary-Kate and Ashley, thus was the life of a child in the 90s…sigh. I love being a twin nonetheless.

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      i was so in that fanclub. i might still have the books and stuff in storage somewhere.

      i wish there was a gay twin fanclub i could join.

      or that mary kate and ashley were gay, it would make my 90’s obsession with them sufficiently less awkward.

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    Well I’m the *only* one in the family on either side that is gay – I have wondered for a LONG time WHOSE gay!!!! I know I can’t be the only one out of a 100…. One married cousin is bicurious at best. So alone ;-(

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    My sister and I are not twins, but we are close in age and are currently in the situation of her being bi but in a long-term relationship with a girl and myself being a giant gaylord. I’m the younger one and “came out” first, if to “come out” you mean drag along a girl to a family holiday and proceed to make out with her. But this is a regular occurence with all my friends of both genders, so I can’t blame my family for not picking up on it. I have to say I reacted initially just as I did when we were in high school and she started liking the same music as me. I was all like “bleurghhhhhhh why can’t you get your own god damn identity?!” – I know, mature, right? – but now it’s same-old same-old. The biggest mistake people make is assuming we are more similar than we really are. Yeah, we’re both pretty queer – although she hates it when I slip up and refer to us both as “gay”, I mean, COME ON?!?! – but she’s the quieter, more reliable academic type while I’m more hilariously dysfunctional. But my first girlfriend was one of two gay daughters and a few of my gay friends have gay brothers and sisters. Gay siblings is definitely a thing. But when people question it, I’m usually like “Yeah, isn’t it weird, just like you and your brother are both straight? What are the chances?”

    Here’s a question, am I prudish because I despise talking to any of my family – even my queer sister – about sex?

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    When I was first coming out I knew 2 sets of lesbian twins in the bars. They were both reputed to have frequent threesomes and to share girlfriends. I don’t know if this was rumor or not but it was particularly exciting and hot for me as they were all very attractive. I was shy as I was a teenager and thought they were all way too “advanced” for me. Reading your article was enlightening and brought back some fun memories. I think a threesome is a bit of thrilling fantasy for us non twins sorry to say.

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    I have an identical twin sister that is probably as straight as they come. I however am gay and have only just started to feel comfortable talking to her about it even though I had a previous 5 year long relationship with a girl that she knew about but we never talked about really. I completely follow the moving to separate cities and forming your own identity outside of “the twins.” I would also be competing against Bill Gates if I had a dollar for every time I have been asked “what does it feel like to be a twin” or my personal favorite “if I punch you, can she feel it too?”

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    I’m one of a pair of fraternal twin girls, I’m gay and my sister is straight, and we have a gay older brother. We have reverse homophobia in our house, my sister thinks she’s not ‘interesting enough’ aww. Being a twin is weird, weird but brilliant.

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    I am a gaytastic twin but my twin is super straight. It’s weird cuz its lile she’s like my foil or alternate reality self. Like, ‘If I were straight…’

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    My younger sister just came out as gay too…and so did my younger cousin. Instead of blaming the genes my mom insists that “being gay wasn’t THAT trendy back in the day”, which is kind of annoying.

    But it’s nice having so much gayness going on in your family. My sister and my cousin are coming for a visit in two weeks with their ladyfriends, so we can all go to pride together!!! :)

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    I’m also a twin but we are fraternal. I wonder what the statistics are on gay fraternal twins since we don’t share identical DNA? My twin is straight. I actually just came out to my family in March (they have pretty much known for a long time but never said anything to me) and I thought my twin would be the most supportive. It turns out that she is the one that has the biggest problem with me being gay. She thinks it’s a choice and she doesn’t understand at all and refuses to even try to understand. Every time I say something about being gay or joking around she gets all offended and says I’m/it’s gross. We are also very close but also very different. It’s been difficult but I hope some day she becomes more supportive once she gets used to the idea of me being gay instead of just ignoring it like my family did before I came out :-/

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    I have a straight boy twin. It’s awesome. I really have nothing constructive to add.

    But if I had a dollar for every time I got the whole “what’s it like being a twin…”

    I would have at least like…fifteen dollars.

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    I briefly dated a girl who was a gay twin. We met online and her twin showed up to meet me as well, which was super confusing as I’d only seen a pic of her, never met her before. There were a few times when I wasn’t sure which one I was supposed to flirt with/hold hands with because they looked way too alike. Also? I sort of was wondering if I was more attracted to the other one, which was weird too.

    In the end, I couldn’t do it. We weren’t really compatible anyway, but the whole twin thing was too much for me. Maybe if I’d met the one first and then her twin joined us, it might have worked. Who knows.

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    My ex was a gay twin! Fraternal tho. And from what I’ve heard, her sis was pretty damn straight.

    I must say that I’m glad they weren’t identical–I was heartbroken enough when we broke up that the idea of someone who looked exactly like her would have probably messed me up. Basically, another person in the world who I would never want to run into.

    (also, I always wanted to be a twin).

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    I love how you said “There’s no one else with whom I am more similar and more shockingly different”…which I find so true being a twin myself. And yes my brother and I are both gay but hey least we wont fight over girls

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    But isn’t there a stronger correlation with identical twins than with fraternal twins? (Not sure about this, but I thought I’d read that before.) If that’s the case, then it leans a little more towards genetics than maternal hormones… right?

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    I am a lesbian twin and my twin is a lesbian as well. We are butch fem since birth, which was very obvious on halloween and every other day of the year. We both have been in long term relationships (her for 25 yrs, mine for 17) and we both have one son. I agree the twin thing is creepy and cool and we deal with it by living across the country from each other. I get Austin and she gets Seattle, both cool places to visit.

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    My twin Donna (right above) of course sent me the link to this page.
    I love being a twin. Mostly I’m an undercover twin since she lives so far away.
    Count me in for the lesbian twin mojito festival.

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    I found this to be an interesting article. I’m a lesbian twin, but my sister is straight (we’re identical). People often ask me, sometimes as a direct followup of learning I’m gay, if she is too. We are VERY different people, so it always seems extremely strange that someone would assume we are both gay. Especially knowing us both. I believe that homosexuality is something we’re born with, so it would make sense that if I’m gay, there’s a possibility that my sister is too, since we have the same DNA, mother and father, and grew in the same womb. However, it clashes with my sense of identity (something I struggle with greatly in relation to her anyway) so much, that it’s something I really shy away from thinking about. I find myself offended when people assume that she’s a lesbian too, mostly I’m offended when someone assumes that she’s anything that I am, but that’s something else entirely. Sometimes when someone who’s previously known only me meets my sister they’re surprised she’s not butch. I never know quite how to handle these situations with out being uppity and bitchy.

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    Ya Lindsay, great article! I also just want to point out that not only your Mom and Aunt are gay, but so is that highly important quasi-relative that used to live in her bus in your childhood backyard. Just sayin’. Good piece of writing, Gaylord.

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    I’m an identical triplet and recently came out at age 25 (they are both straight). We went from never ever fighting to constantly fighting and it’s taking a major toll on me. It has nothing to do with the actual fact that I’m gay. They are “fine” with that. It’s just all the things that go with it. You never call. You are acting different. You are too sensitive. You are selfish and only think about yourself and being gay now. You don’t know how relationships work. You’re obsessed with yourself right now. Etc.
    It’s just been the worst summer of my life sadly. I want things to be back to normal, but when one gets married, one comes out, and the other lives 3 hours away…you share several of the same friends…things get complicated.
    So PLEASE host a multiple gay convention of sorts. Minneapolis would be perfect for me….so do it. :) It might save me from a lot more arguments/tears.

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    Theresa – Being a twin or a triplet is totally complicated. There are so many intricacies and different levels to those particular relationships that sometimes it is hard to understand just what the hell is going on. I think it is especially challenging when you are going through an intense process of defining yourself as separate from your sibling(s). Consciously or not, they might feel as though they can’t keep up with the person you’re becoming and that can be hard for the person (or people)you shared a womb with. Give yourself and your sisters time to adjust to your evolving relationships. I think eventually you’ll find that your bonds are even stronger for having weathered the storm…

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      Yeah, I think you are absolutely right and I am now at a point where one sister and I are “over it” and getting along and the other is increasingly offended by that. Space, space, space. I KNOW it will all be fine, but it is just plain complicated being triplets. We will be what we three are “supposed” to be as soon as we each individual are who we are supposed to be. And then we will giggle for hours again…Good writing, thanks!

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    I am and twin and have a gay twin. I would so totally go to an annual gay twin meet convention. Please! This is probably one of the most accurate summations of life as gay twins. I don’t know why it took me so long to find this article.

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    ‘If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked, “What’s it like to be a twin?” it would still make me want to kill myself but at least I’d be a bajillionaire.’

    TRUTHS

    me and my sis and both gay and twins. We found it was very interesting coming out this way- we used to sort of compete but also be really precious about who each of us was out to, because whilst we were both closeted we felt that the other being out would ‘incriminate’ us and we weren’t always ready for that (though alternately, sometimes we wanted to be the one out first!)

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