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Your Sex: How Lesbian or Gay Are You?

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Since there are so many people concerned about gays and lesbians, it might be interesting to have a look at these folks to see how they compare sexually to what is questionably considered normal. To do this, we need to understand what psychologists, physicists and statisticians refer to as the normal curve.

Just for fun, suppose you are paid $20 to take a test in a language you don’t understand. There are 50 questions. As a result, each question is pure nonsense to you. Nevertheless, you are asked to circle either the word TRUE or FALSE at the end of each question. You are given only five minutes to circle all your answers.

Quickly, you and the other 100 persons involved realize the foolishness of this quiz. You race down the columns circling TRUE or FALSE at random. When finished, you pick up your $20 and leave. Within five minutes, the room is empty except for the examiners who’ve collected all the tests.

Imagination is unnecessary to predict the results. Since no one could understand any of the questions, each person had to answer like you did—at random! Obviously, some would do much better than others by sheer chance. If the examiners were to graph their results, they would end up with an array of scores that would generate a normal curve like the one I made up below.

What does this mean? The graph shows that only one person guessed 84 questions correctly while only one got 18 correct. Most of the test scores ended up in the middle between 40 correct and 60 correct. This is called a normal distribution (Microsoft's Encarta Encyclopedia). It is critical to note that no one should feel bad about the results. Every person who took the test was equally capable of scoring anywhere within the spectrum.

This chart and its logic is used in all kinds of situations. In my own field as an educator, this type of graph is often used to show test results. For example, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is used to identify students who would have a high probability of success in a College or University.

Students normally earn a score of 200-800. A score of 500 is perfect center for that distribution of students. Obviously, the higher you score beyond the 500 mark, the greater your chance of acceptance in a respectable school. What’s important here is that regardless of score, ALL who take the test are people with their own inborn abilities.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is often used in grouping students in school from primary grades up through higher education. While employers seek to fill positions by examining a variety of scores in a particular field of expertise, I would not be surprised if some still take a peek at an applicant’s IQ score. Personally, I’d rather not know my own score.

This particular number seems to follow you for a lifetime. If charted using the curve above, most of us have an IQ which hovers around 100. Slower students would have a score around 70, whereas students with giftedness generally have scores above 130 (Pennsylvania Standards and Regulations). What is important: Regardless of an achieved score, ALL students need an appropriate education developing abilities they are born with.

I’m sure there are any number of personal qualities beside intelligence that can be graphed according to the normal distribution curve. For example, type of body physique. I used to envy the few boys in my high school gym class who were extremely muscular by nature: mesomorphic ("Your body type — Ectomorph, Mesomorph, or Endomorph?” by Damien Mase,

About Regis Schilken

  • Cindy

    Very insightful article Mr. Schilken! I appreciate the way you broke down the “normal” curve as I have heard the term many times but never knew just what went into determining it. Interesting statistic too, 46% of men! Never would have thought it too be that high!

  • Cindy D

    Best to differentiate one commenter from another. I should read this, I’d like to know how gay I could be. :-)

  • Rege

    Hi cindy! In my opinion, ALL of us, male or female, fit somewhere under the normal curve. Thus, you or I would have to be at least two standard deviations and then some to be purely female or male. We cannot help our natures. We are born that way. We have no choice. There is no sense fighting against NORMAL innate abilities or tendencies because they are what is n-o-r-m-a-l for each and every one of us. To resent or restrict our normal urges leads to psychological problems. The fault lies with society: “we are underlings.”
    Regis Schilken, author of article