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Four gay and bi people take a DNA test and find out where they’re actually from

Four gay and bi people take a DNA test and find out where they’re actually from

Who needs to call their parents?

Where do you come from? Does your DNA affect how you look, how you act, who you are?

As LGBTI people, the question of ‘who do you think you are?’ comes up a lot.

So four of us on the Gay Star News team decided to take a MyHeritage DNA test. For free shipping, use the order code GSN.

When you receive the kit, you sign up for an account online. You do a cheek swab, swirling a swab around your mouth for 45 seconds, and then send it off in the post. A few weeks later, you’re notified of your results. It’s super easy, quick and happily involves no spit or blood.

Once it’s in the lab, technicians process each sample individually. They then extract the DNA and translate the biological information into raw data. The algorithms then calculate the ethnicity estimate, determining which segments of DNA originate from different regions in the world. You can even find family members comparing similar DNA.

Joe: ‘Do I have anything more to me than just English DNA?’

I have tanned skin and naturally black hair, so I’m not exactly the most English-looking guy.

But as far as I know, my family records are all in England and Wales. My ancestors were farmers and weavers, not adventurers.

But a question is definitely there.

I once had a waiter in London come up to me and start speaking to me in Portuguese. When I was confused, he said I look like the spitting image of his nephew. Others have wondered if I’m Spanish, Italian, or even Romanian.

So is there something more in my DNA?

Alex: ‘Where’s my mother from?’

Alex, our account manager, has always thought there was ‘more to the puzzle’.

‘I know I’m British and I’m Greek but there must be more to it,’ he said. The Greek comes from his dad’s site. Both of his dad’s parents are from Cyprus.

But his mum doesn’t know where she’s from.

‘I’d be interested to see what that mix is because her looks are more dominant in me,’ he said.

‘My mum’s darker than me. I have no idea where that’s from.’

Alex thinks it’s going to ‘scratch an itch’.

‘I think it’ll help me feel more connected with my mum’s side of the family,’ he said. ‘But I’ll always be that Greek-British boy.’

Charlie: ‘Can I solve this family mystery?’

Charlie, who works on the social media team and leads on our bisexual coverage, is trying to solve a family mystery.

One of her grandmas was into family history. Charlie found out both of her dad’s parents were adopted. They met because they were adopted kids, and never knew their biological parents.

‘There’s always been this one avenue. What went on here?’ she said.

‘Beyond them, it’s a complete mystery’.

She expects the results to be fairly typical.

‘Knowing what I do already, I would imagine it’s 98% English. But for all I know, I could be anything!

‘I’m just looking forward to the answer.’

Michael: ‘Where does the black side of me come from?’

Michael, who works with creative partnerships at GSN, is of mixed heritage.

He has a great understanding of one side of him, the white side.

‘My mum is English. We’ve been told that on her side, my nan originates from France and my grandad originates from Spain. On my dad’s side, it’s Jamaica. I don’t know where else he comes from.’

He added: ‘[The test] will give me a greater understanding of my black history. It’d be good to know where I came from.

‘In black life you’re either African or Caribbean. Lots of people associate themselves with the Caribbean, but then if you go deeper we are from Africa as well. It’d just be nice to know where they originate from. With me, depending on what my hair looks like, I get Brazilian or Middle Eastern or Caribbean. I’ve even had Indian before. It depends on how big my beard is. ‘

But could there be a surprise?

‘I’ve got such a connection with South America. I’m a trained Latin dancer. It goes through my body,’ he said.

‘I really feel like there’s a South American connection.’

And now let’s see the results…

Joe: ‘Wow’

Wow. It turns out I’m a little more mixed than I thought.

I’m only 19.5% English. I’m 37% Welsh (not a huge surprise) and 37% Scandinavian. The real surprise is the Mediterranean influence: I’m 3.6% Italian and 2.6% Iberian.

I suppose it shows that ‘British’, in itself, doesn’t have a genetic marker. A lot of white people originate from Saxons, Romans etc, and it turns out I’ve possibly got a lot of Viking in me. Alternatively, Scandinavians have made the trip to live in Britain for the past thousand years. Who knows where I fit in?

The results feel like a part of me has got validation.

I’ve always adored Sweden, so the third of Scandinavian is particularly great to see. That sliver of Italian is a real surprise.

Amazingly, MyHeritage also connects you with people that share DNA. It turns out I’ve got second and third cousins living all over the world, like in the US, Sweden and New Zealand.

Alex: ‘I’m absolutely shook.’

Alex thought of himself as the British-Greek boy. He got a very big surprise.

‘Where’s the UK? What? Oh my god. That’s crazy! What….the hell?’ he said when he saw the results.

‘That’s not what I was expecting at all. The fact I’m not British at all, I don’t know how to feel about that…’

He had 0% British. He only had 3% Greek. There was a mix including French, Spanish, Middle Eastern and a small amount of Nigerian and Algerian.

‘I was expecting a surprise…but that is a surprise!’ he said. ‘I’m absolutely shook. 4% Nigerian?’

He added: ‘ At the end of the day, I knew that I was fairly new to the UK in terms of generations.

‘I’m happy about the mix. But to have no UK at all? That’s crazy.

‘It doesn’t change anything. I’m still sat here with a British accent.’

Charlie: ‘This has given me an existential crisis!’

‘This is really dramatic…’ Charlie said as she opened the results. ‘44% English? Almost a third Scandinavian! That’s crazy.’

She found out she was part Baltic, part Finnish, part Iberian and part Italian.

‘All this Scandinavian and Finnish probably explains why I’m so pale and why I have blue eyes. The fact that I’m less than 50% English, as a statistic, has given me an existential crisis!’

But what about that family mystery? Does it explain more?

‘I imagine [the mix] must come from my [biological] grandparents. That’s crazy,’ she said.

‘I’ve always felt European, because I have all these interests in different food from around Europe, so I guess it’s nice to have that validation.’

Michael: ‘I’ve got connections!’

Michael learned he was a quarter Celtic, a quarter Scandinavian and half West African.

‘So when my family got kidnapped from Africa, they were from Nigeria?’ Michael said as he opened the results. ‘I’ve got connections!’

Michael said he finally feels he can pinpoint where his black heritage is from. And not only that, he found family members as well. He had a DNA match with a woman living in Britain, in her 40s, who is his second cousin.

‘I feel like I have a connection with Africa now,’ he said.

To learn more about your DNA, go to MyHeritage’s website

For free shipping, use the offer code GSN.