Is your child destined to become a homosexual? Perhaps! Researchers looking into the onset of sexuality in children have come up with a checklist (okay, that’s a serious oversimplification) to determine if your wee one is a “pre-homosexual.” And it’s not just whether little Billy prefers to play with Barbies.
Scientific American points us to research from J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist from Northwestern University, and Canadian psychiatrist Kenneth Zucker.
So on the basis of some earlier, shakier research, along with a good dose of common sense, Bailey and Zucker hypothesized that homosexuals would show an inverted pattern of sex-typed childhood behaviors (little boys preferring girls as playmates and infatuated with their mothers’ make-up kits; little girls strangely enamoured by field hockey or professional wrestling…that sort of thing). Empirically, explain the authors, there are two ways to investigate the relation between sex-typed behaviors and later sexual orientation. The first of these is to use a prospective method, in which young children displaying sex-atypical patterns are followed longitudinally into adolescence and early adulthood, such that the individual’s sexual orientation can be assessed at reproductive maturity. Usually this is done by using something like the famous Kinsey Scale, which involves a semistructured clinical interview about sexual behavior and sexual fantasies to rate people on a scale of 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). I’m a solid 6; I often say that I wanted to get out of a vagina at one point in my life, but ever since then I’ve never had the slightest interest in going back into one.
The research is actually somewhat old (1995) but has been expounded upon by further studies. Which are slightly uncomfortable to read!
Another caveat is that researchers in this area readily concede that there are probably multiple—and no doubt very complicated—developmental routes to adult homosexuality. Heritable, biological factors interact with environmental experiences to produce phenotypic outcomes, and this is no less true for sexual orientation than it is for any other within-population variable. Since the prospective and retrospective data discussed in the foregoing studies often reveal very early emerging traits in prehomosexuals, however, those children who show pronounced sex-atypical behaviors may have “more” of a genetic loading to their homosexuality, whereas gay adults who were sex-typical as children might trace their homosexuality more directly to particular childhood experiences. For example, in a rather stunning case of what I’ll call “say-it-isn’t-so science”—science that produces data that rebel against popular, politically correct, or emotionally appealing sentiments—controversial new findings published earlier this year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior hint intriguingly that men—but not women—who were sexually abused as children are significantly more likely than non-abused males to have had homosexual relationships as adults.
Part of me wants to think “Oh god, tell me that Richard Cohen isn’t right.” And the other part of me thinks, “If all these bigots really don’t want their sons to turn out gay, they’ll actually work harder to keep their kids safe from pedophiles. Like those in the Catholic Church.”
The study fails for the same reason all self-reporting studies on the subject of sexuality fail – it ignores the tremendous societal pressure to report particular behaviors.
Out gay men, who engaged in “an inverted pattern of sex-typed childhood behaviors” will be more likely to be willing to share those experiences, while heterosexual men in general, bisexual men uncomfortable with their same-sex attractions, anyone with any degree of homophobia, will be less likely to report such behavior.
The authors of the study chose not to engage in the process that would have provided useful data because it would be too difficult and expensive.
The study sounds like a colossal waste of time. Who cares?
The middle of that should have been clearer, so:
Any out gay men who did engaged in “an inverted pattern of sex-typed childhood behaviors” as children would be more comfortable sharing those experiences with researchers, and wouldn’t see their “rough and tumble play” as noteworthy. Heterosexual men in general, bisexual men uncomfortable with their same-sex attractions, anyone with any degree of homophobia, who did engage in “an inverted pattern of sex-typed childhood behaviors” as children will be less likely to report such behavior.
The process, in combination with our culture, skews the data to reinforce the hypothesis of the researchers. The same holds true of the data about childhood sexual abuse – heterosexual male abuse victims have greater societal pressure not to admit to being abused by an adult male in the first place.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
What an absolute boatload of physcobabble unadulterated bullshit. You are born Gay or you are born not Gay. End of story, no discussion, no factors “influnce” you sexuality.
Your enviroment (ie: rightwing parents) may cause you to supress your embracing your sexuality for possibly your entire life. However your sexuailty is predetermined at conception same as your color hair and eyes.
Queerty do us a huge favor: Next time you come across something like this which would be right at home on a rightwing site. leave it in cyberspace……………………..
If you want to learn to spot somebody who will definitly grow up to be gay, just watch old reruns of “Who’s the Boss”. The young kid on that show, was obviously gay from childhood.
I liked Golden Girls and Designing Women. Add those to the list.
Then again I also liked Power Rangers and GI Joe. Us gay kids are so deceptive and sneaky.
Stay on your toes, Mom.
I was infatuated with Carl Betz on the Donna Reed Show….And who didn’t want to be Ann Marie in That Girl……Ooops, my pearls are showing….
I don’t really care why I’m gay. I am, and it’s wonderful– even with the incredible amounts of extra problems that society dumps on me. My gayness isn’t a problem, but my society is.
LOL yeah, this is all utter cockcustard!
I as a boy was only interested in boys’ toys, boy type games, with a definite dislike for girl games and girls’ clothes and frilly girly things. I just continued this trajectory into my gay adulthood!
I hate watching sport, even though I used to play it, but then a lot of straight men I know hate watching sport as well, so that proves nothing.
WE have an anti-gay troll who just went through and clicked “Thumbs Down” on every single comment.
I was noticing that as well cam. If only they could show as much maturity as we do, we stay the hell away from their websites because we know they’re beyond hope.
Just another bigot coming up with bullshit research that proves nothing to those capable of logical thought.
They should not let people do “research” that already have the outcome decided and will misrepresent or misinterpret the data to fit the desire outcome.
I.e. the other kind of christian scientist.
If you ever want to see a bunch of LGBT psychologists have a hissy, just bring up the names J. Michael Bailey and Ken Zucker; they are pretty much despised for their “junk science” that sets out to prove theories discarded long ago.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
@j: What are you guys complaining bout??? I got three “fans” so far on this thread!! :p
QUEERTY, YOU ARE WRONG!
It is true that “abused as children are significantly more likely than non-abused males to have had homosexual relationships as adults”.
But these abused children aren’t more likely to having had gay sex in the past two years or having lived with a same sex partner ever.
So sexual abuse does increase sexual experimentation (more likely to have gay sex ever) but it doesnt effect sexual orientation (same sex cohabitation or recent gay sex).
If you are taking me seriously, I can send u the link to that study.
If you played that pink phone dating game called “dream phone” with your older sister you are gay. Ive researched this fact all over the world.
I’m disappointed in the number of people here who are calling this a bunch of bunk just because it doesn’t fit comfortably with the politically correct story that there’s a magic on-off gay gene and you’re born with it or not. We’ve had to create the narrative that sexual orientation is an innate and immutable characteristic in order to gain leverage in the legal system, but it’s not necessarily true, and, frankly, I suspect it isn’t. There’s no reason why sexuality shouldn’t be more or less fluid across the population, with many different causes–genetic or environmental, or a combination–for certain preferences and behaviors. Given the range of other human traits, it’s in fact more likely that that’s the case.
@Cam: Likely one of the study’s authors. You do realize, this is how they make a living? “Publish or perish.”
@Brutus: If bisexuals don’t want the idea that they are “either or” on them then don’t force the idea that sexuality is fluid for everyone on the rest of us.
My sexuality is not nor has it ever been “fluid”. I can trace my homosexuality back to childhood long before I ever knew what the word “gay” meant.
And what evidence do you base this on? Most gay men report that they realized they were gay either before or during puberty. Even if they didn’t articulate it as such, the attraction was apparent. And if sexuality is as supposedly fluid as you imagine it, one would think that Exodus International et al. would have a much easier time ‘curing’ homosexuality.
There’s no reason why sexuality shouldn’t be fixed. What’s actually occurring is that heretofore unreported bisexuality, particularly male bisexuality, is actually being noticed.
My sympathies for all those bisexuals who resent being considered gay because they like to fool around with men. But I’m not bisexual, and sleeping with a 1000 women won’t change that. My sexuality is not fluid.
I loved to stare at my GI Joe doll and wished he would come to life, I played with barbie dolls with my girlfriend, I was a natural dancer and I was designing fashions at the age of 5. It wasn’t until around the age of 6 that I became ashamed when the neighborhood boys made fun of me and called me a sissy (the equivalent of faggot). They said I threw the ball like a girl, talked with a high voice like a girl, my shoes looked like girl shoes, danced like a girl, blah, blah, blah. I would have been a perfectly fine, confident individual had it not been for society damning me at such an early age. Now I attend a church that supports Prop 8 and gay bashes places and things like West Hollywood and gay pride parades. It will never stop.
I never had any interest in girls as friends or otherwise still don’t never had a fag hag don’t want one. I grew up hunting fishing camping hiking working on bikes and cars. I had tinker toys, lincoln logs, transformer and matchbox cars. I don’t know how they figured this BS out but I’ve know I was gay since before I knew the word and I came out at 12 yrs old yet I still hunt, fish, hike, camp, and work on cars and I don’t watch broadway shows or Glee not that there is anything wrong with those things I just have no interest in them.
I think inverted behaviors are more predictive of future transsexuality or transvestism than homosexuality.
I personally find it suspect when conclusions are drawn that gay men played with dolls and with their mother’s make up when they were little boys. Its such a broad generalization. I do not believe that I had any ‘conditioning’ to make me gay. I was not abused, both parents were loving and supporting (though not oppressive) and I enjoyed playing normal ‘boy’ sports and games. I have two brothers who grew up in the same environment and they are straight. I really believe your sexuality is based on some magic gene and just like having brown versus blue eyes it is the luck of the draw.
@Zaniell: Please click on the link and read the full article–you find that though one might suspect that to be the case, it actually turned out to be statistically untrue for both men and women evaluated in childhood after being referred for analysis for “sex inappropriate behavior” (potential gender identity disorder, is what I get there) and followed up to age 25. The sample size was very small, and there was a much higher than the average rate of GID/”transsexuality”, but it was more likely for them just to be gay, though not even a majority were that.
I honestly don’t know what happened in my childhood concerning being gay, it was just always there. I knew from an early age not to reveal it though. I always liked playing with myself when I was young sexually, I also became exposed to pornography at a young age (straight pornography) that is. I was always got aroused by the men and their tools. I don’t know why I had these feelings at a young age, the women in these movies or magazines or just ones with women only, I never got aroused.
I always got excited about boys, it was like a magnet I never had any control over. High school was especially difficult, because, you are in the presence of guy’s you have a crush on and getting aroused with no control over it. But the minute you end up in the presence of what was deemed the prettiest girls, I went soft down there like a marsh-mellow. Its like, your body and your eyes focus on the attributes of a guy, how handsome he is, muscles, smile. Its like something in my consciousness telling me, oh yeah, he is hot. Its like brain was wired to think this way.
so what happens once you find out your kid is gay? you DEGAY them!? as if being gay is something we need to CATCH! what else will people try to do? reeeeeeally bad study and something that should not be studied to begin with. kids should be allowed to be kids! this will only lead to some really horrible actions by ignorant parents…
Victim of circumstance
ok, i am fully prepared to take some shit over this, but i might as well state my OPINION. as a student of psychology, i believe that there is undoubtable proof of certain experiences durring childhood having an impact on a person later in life. namely, one’s sexual orientation. i do not beleive one is born gay. i believe we are born indiferent. i know this makes me sound like a right winged nut job, but i asure you, i am as liberal as can be. for the sake of argument, i submit myself as an example. i am a gay man, no doubt about it. all of my (two) sexual experiences with women led to (1)vomiting all over the head chearleader’s bedroom, and…(2)lets just say not “everybody” showed up come game time. my point being, i am atracted to men, both physicly and spiritualy. that being said, i do not believe i was born that way. i believe my childhood experiences and environment played right into the hand of homosexuality. i believe i could have just as easily been strait. don’t get me wrong. i love my life and wouldn’t have it any other way. it’s just my opinion that we are born neither strait or gay. commence the beatdown………..
@Victim of circumstance: So what childhood experiences do you feel made you gay?
Victim of circumstance
(1)from an infant to the age of 15, i was molested almost daily by an older male in my family. if you live the first fifteen years of your life having sex with a man, it would be niave for someone to think that wouldn’t have an impact on your preference later.
(2) i was brought up mainly by my mother, with little postive male role models, therefore, i grew up more feminine than, perhaps, i would have been had i spent more time with my father.
(3) my father worked alot and was rarely around. when he was, he never showed afection to his children. to this day, i prefer kind, gentle, and strong men. i enjoy a man’s embrace, and carring more than the accuall sexual aspects. don’t get me wrong, i enjoy sex. it’s just that i more enjoy the FEELING of being with a dominant man. i like to feel protected, like i was never able to feel with my father.
i grew up with brothers that also experienced numbers two and three and are not gay. but i feel that experiencing all three have definatly played a part in my orientation.
@Victim of circumstance: Jeez, you had a rough life! I am sorry 🙁 is the guy you mentioned in number 1 in jail now?
@Victim of circumstance:
Yes, what childhood experiences do you have that you could then turn to and say ‘oh that contributed to me being gay’?
If I wasn’t born gay, then the environmental factors leading me to become gay are so tangled and infinitely complex that there are no useful lessons or origins to decipher. I was always an introverted and sensitive child, so there’s that. But I’ve attributed that to having Asperger’s, not because I was gay.
victim of circumstance
@ Ogre Magi
no, he’s not. i had to look him in the eye every day and pretend that nothing ever happend untill the day i turned 18 and left. i havn’t seen him since then, but last i heard he is living a normal life. and now has an infant son. it kills me, knowing that he is free to do it again, but i was quiet to long, and can now do nothing.
Ick. That cartoon is creepy.
It is statistically certain that there is a correlation between genetic homosexuality in males and childhood abuse of all types. This research simply got the cause and effect backward. Adult males can sense the difference in homosexual males early on and are triggered to abuse them sexually and physically at rates that approach the abuse rates of female children. The obvious conclusion is that just as in all mammals, adult males are dangerous to the young, and the more feminine characteristics a child shows, the more they are targeted for abuse.
@25- ENRON, except for the part about the pornography, you described my childhood perfectly, as well as yours. Maybe this type of life experience is more frequent than we might have thought…
As another student of psychology, I have to disagree with @victim of circumstance (I am sorry you’ve had such a hard life) – I believe science at this point is inconclusive on causes of homosexuality. Like handedness, sexuality seems to be partially genetic, but we can’t figure out how. (I still can’t believe we don’t know what causes handedness) Due to the nature of real scientific research, it is definitely okay to say “we don’t know and here is support for theory X”. (Because if we did know, what are we researching for?)
As for the abuse, (*warning anecdote approaching*) I attended a sorority rush sleepover with some 15 odd girls. Over 65% of them had been sexually abused or molested. Only 2 of the girls were gay and I hadn’t been molested. That probably says more about sororities than anything else, but abuse doesn’t cause orientation changes. Child abuse is a large problem.
(*warning rant approaching*) If some right wing nuts really thought abuse caused homosexuality, then how about helping to stop child abuse? Hmmm?
This article is problematic not only because Kenneth Zucker’s study is so small, but also because it used Zucker as an “expert” at all. Zucker has been repeatedly refuted by both psychologists and transgender activists for his “repairative therapy” methods to treat transgender and gender nonconforming children. Queerty posted an article about him here: http://www.queerty.com/dr-kenneth-zuckers-war-on-transgenders-20090206/
It was not too long ago when the common treatment for homosexuality was “repairative therapy.” Zucker is no better than the radical Christian organizations currently advocating for such as a “cure” for homosexuality. As such, in my opinion, this article should be given no merit.
At our clinic, we would routinely provide clients with a 5 page or so survey/personal history they would fill out before their first session. We found 1 out of 4 females and 1 out of 5 males reported having been sexually abused.
In other words, if sexual abuse “caused” same-sex orientation, we’d be seeing a great deal more gays and lesbians around.
Nearly 20 years ago, one theory that was being pushed was that if a pregnant woman was under a great deal of stress, it would “cause” same-sex orientation. This was connected to some researchers feeling WWII had upped the gay population because of the stress european women had had. A gay researcher then suggested gay men position themselves at the train station and yelling “boo!” whenever they saw pregnant women in order to increase the number of gays and lesbians 🙂
Gays equal Shit
The real problem with the molestation causes homosexuality theory is that in order for it to work for both men and women, the trauma of being sexually abused has to produce a different psychological response, depending on one’s gender.
The theory says that if women are sexually abused as children, mostly it is by one or more men, the abuse makes her fear/loathe men, so she turns to other females for sexual expression.
But, the theory claims, it works the opposite for men. If a boy is sexually abused by another male, he will grow to seek sexual intimacy from people like his abuser.
The interesting thing that occurs is when I challenge defenders of this theory to cite any other causal relationship between event and subsequent behavior that produces opposite results depending on gender, they can’t suggest even one.
Victim of circumstance
@ cassandra. why do you assume that only men are cappable of sexually abusing a child?
I have no idea if I was born gay or if I’m gay because of something else.
IMHO, it’s irrelevant to just about everything in life. What difference does it make if I was born preferring chocolate ice cream over strawberry? A preference like that only becomes an issue when other people get freaked out by it, and start pushing strawberry when it’s not what I want.
I’ve noticed that I tend to be more aware of certain types of sounds, so I presume that somewhere along the line my genes predispose me to whatever different perceptions of sound might lead. I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks are gay because of unique characteristics of their 5 senses. And there’s probably an environmental component factoring in as well.
But the bottom line is, what difference does it really make?
Other people may have other expectations for our lives, but screw them all. It’s simply none of their business.
That makes all kinds of sense, and states clearly what I’ve been thinking but could not put into words. Still, is it PROVABLE?
JMHO – but to me the difference is that if homosexuality is innate, and common, we can get over thinking of it as right or wrong. Like being left-handed, it’s just the way it is.
Wow, one thing is absolutely for certain, that this is the most interesting, engaging, and civilized comments thread I’ve read in a very long time. You gays are awesome!
As a 5.7 hetero, I think orientation is firmly hardwired. I say 5.7 because I do like to “look” at women, but I get shivers and goosebumps (not the good kind) thinking about touching a woman in any way at all sexually. There’s a very interesting specific line there for me.
It’s a shame you ran this casual story quoting the work of J. Michael Bailey and Kenneth Tucker when both are highly controversial in the gay and scientific community and Queerty itself has rightly raised questions about Zucker in an article. At the very least, this research should have been presented with all sorts of caveats and links to the questions about their work, rather than as just a “isn’t this amusing” item.
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