Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"How to Prevent Homosexuality in Boys"

A recent series of events has caused me to happen upon several websites purporting to give parents advice on how to "prevent homosexuality." Not only does this take the view that a child being gay is something that a parent can "cause," but also treats such occurrences as quite possibly the worst thing that can happen to a parent.

"Don’t wait until your daughter’s masculinized behavior or your son’s effeminate preferences get any worse. Remember that for many prehomosexual boys and girls, some of the characteristics may be more subtle...Call to make an appointment with a professional therapist who believes change is possible. Work patiently with that therapist in redirecting your child’s prehomosexual behaviors. "

This website gives a series of tips. I've found that most of the online literature addresses boys becoming gay. Apparently daughters turning lesbian is not as big a concern.

1) The best prevention of homosexuality in boys is a strong father/son relationship in which the father affirms the masculine identity of the son... This relationship should include rough and tumble play between father and son... The mother may try to intervene, but in a healthy situation the father ignores her protestations and the son learns independence from the mother. If the mother prevails and the activity ceases or never begins, the father/son bond is not firmly established. There is evidence that being tossed in the air and rough-and-tumble play in the first 3 years of life builds brain connections which lead to confidence in physical activity and may effect later coordination.

So, let me make sure I've got this right: boys won't become gay if their fathers ingrain in them not only a love for physical activity but also the idea that women are to be ignored and are overly worried. The father/son bond is dependent upon the mutual rejection of the mother. This "confidence in physical activity" is something that boys in particular need. What about girls? Don't they need confidence and coordination? Or might that turn them gay?

2) Second, it is absolutely essential that all adults and older children unequivocally affirm the boy's masculine identity, and show disapproval toward stereotypically girly activities and cross dressing. A simple "Boys don't do that" on the first occasion is sufficient.

Yes, it is vital that not only do we force boys to conform to stereotypically masculine behaviors, but we must also impart in them a homophobia, a disapproval of boys doing "girly" things and the idea that "boys don't do that." Yeah, that's healthy. For all that women get short shrift in society as a whole, I do think that both men and women, and particularly boys and girls, suffer from being pigeonholed into traditional ideas of femininity and masculinity. It reminds me of the song When I Was a Boy by Dar Williams, where she talks about the fact that she used to be a tom boy but when she grew up, she couldn't play outside, couldn't ride her bike without her shirt on, etc. And then a guy tells her that he was once a girl, that he helped his mom in the kitchen, that he could cry, etc. It's not just girls that are being hurt by our rigid gender-typing of children.

3) The mother must encourage her son's competence and mastery and teach him how to overcome his fears and anxieties.

But not her daughters', right? Also, if he's fearful and anxious... that's what'll turn 'em gay!

4) The mother must affirm her respect for manhood and men, particularly if the father is clearly deficient or absent.

Yes, we absolutely must reinforce the absolute wonderfulness of traditional masculinity. If those boys start to think that the women don't respect him... well... that might just make him be attracted to men... right? Yeah, this one makes little sense.

5) The boy must have a chance to observe happy marriages close up and understand that love between husband and wife is a beautiful thing.

I would be curious to see a study about gay males to see whether most lived with married parents or not.

6) The boy needs boy playmates who share his interests.

If he plays with girls will he turn out gay?

7) The mother should be modest in front of her children and respect their modesty. Children should not observe sexual acts.

I agree. But I also agree that fathers should be modest in front of children, too. But--most importantly, I don't see that this has anything to do with creating homosexuality.

8) Children should be protected from sexual molestation by adults or other children, with a yearly admonition from their parents that if anyone tries to touch their private parts or asks them to touch his parts they are to tell immediately and that people who do such things are usually liars.

I agree...? Again, not seeing the link...

9) Parents need to teach children to forgive those who injure them, to reject envy and self-pity, and to practice virtue. The difference between boys who become homosexual and those who do not is not simply that the former were traumatized and the latter not. Almost all children experience traumas of one sort or another. The difference may be that for the homosexually attracted the trauma remained unhealed. In many cases bitterness, envy, unforgiveness, and self-pity were either allowed to fester or subtly encouraged.

Any evidence for this?

All this should begin immediately after birth. The critical period for gender identity development is 8 months to 4 years of age .

So, basically, the "problem" is that people are gay because they are having gender identity confusion? See, and here I always thought it was because they were attracted to the same sex! I know several gay people, and I don't believe any of them are confused about their gender or want to be the other gender.

See, if you start with the assumption that homosexuality is a result of gender confusion, all the "remedies" and "preventions" begin to look the same. There is a focus on instilling, or learning, traditional masculinity (or femininity, when they actually address females!). Focus on the Family's article that addresses preventing homosexuality in children gives us a few tips on how to recognize signs that your boy may become a homosexual:
  • A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.
  • A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.
  • A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls and participate in their games and other pastimes.
  • A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”
  • A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.

*Sigh* These "prehomosexual" tendencies simply mean that a boy is not accepting what is told by their culture, their society, their toys, their t.v. shows, and everything else about what is "normal" or how a boy ought to act. Possibly it could be a sign of good parenting? But, no, it is a sign that a boy is confused about his gender and will probably be gay. Because, of course, gender confusion=homosexuality.

That was the underlying theme running through all of these websites that I saw. That the "cure" and "prevention" for homosexuality is a recognition of very firm gender role boundaries that should not be crossed by men or boys (or women or girls, but we're less concerned about them, really).

I'll stop rambling now, as it's 2:30 in the morning. But I was just upset at reading these things. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's kind of funny. But it's sad to think about the real people that these ideas hurt.

Edited to add: Some of you may think that I have simply made fun of their arguments and not really addressed them. You're right. Partly because some of them don't need to be addressed, they're that stupid. And partly because it's my blog and I'll whine about idiots if I want to. This blog is called Random Rants and Ravings, not Well Thought Out Ideas and Arguments. Please feel free to respond, however, with why I am ridiculously wrong, spot on, or somewhere in between.


Anonymous said...

"The difference between boys who become homosexual and those who do not is not simply that the former were traumatized and the latter not. "

I'd love evidence too, but what's cute about point nine (quoted above) is that if it is true, it kind of makes points one through seven irrelevant. It seems they got a little too greedy here... only some many silly ideas will fit in one article.

Anonymous said...

fuck whoever wrote this. you dont know anything about life.

Anonymous said...

Yes... these things those sites said where silly, I am apposed to homophobia... and i am not a homosexual btw....

I think that these "Tips" are just giving people what they want to hear just to attract web traffic so these sites can make money.

And whoever wrote the comment ahead of me is an ignoramus and a sad waste of bio-matter that can't see past its own pre-wired assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

For all dads with kids,
-I have not met anyone who WANTS their kids to be gay.
- Check the literature , there has been no Level 1 evidence or evidence based guidelines to suggest that being gay is Organic , natural or genetic. Gays mention it to make themselves feel better so they dont blame themselves.

nyala said...

Personally, one of the worst things that could happen to me as a parent would be to have a gay child, second only to my white daughters having interracial relationships and giving me black grandchildren with Afros. The worst part is that you can't do much to prevent these things; you just have to accept that having a child in modern times is a gamble, as they can either be a source of immense joy or a source of terrible agony, shame and embarrassment. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a white westerner that has to worry about these things.