Like to hear from both gays and straights on this one...

I’ve heard many gay people say that they knew when they were as young as five that they were different in some way. I’ve also heard gay people (not always the same ones) tell how their parents were also aware of their different-ness, and reacted badly, trying, sometimes abusively, to steer them into stereotypically heterosexual behavior and frantically discouraging them from non-traditional behavior. I even used to know a guy who claimed that the stereotype of a gay man with a domineering mother actually has its basis in families in which the mother senses her son’s homosexual leanings and withholds her affection, or tries to direct his life, or both, in the hope of “making a man of him”.

So my question is, if any of you had a child, boy or girl, who seemed to be showing homosexual tendencies, how would you react? I’d like to think that if I had a child that seemed decidedly gay early on, I would reassure hir that however s/he acts is okay with me, but, knowing that even today, gay teenagers and potentially gay children have a tough row to hoe, I might try (gently!) to steer hir away from going too far away from the norm around hir peers. But then I’d be giving a mixed message, wouldn’t I?

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

::: rant in progress :::

It really is nature, not nurture, that makes homosexuality, so I would think you have two choices here:

  1. Raise your child to be accepting of their sexuality (regardless of their orientation).

  2. Make an issue of it so they feel guilty and ashamed for something that they were born with and is an integral part of their nature. Like having, oh, blue eyes.

As we would not make a big deal out of people that had blue eyes, sexual orientation should be treated the same way. At the same time I write this, I fully realize that this is not the way the world operates. And more’s the pity.

And it’s not just straight or gay; it’s anything that makes somebody different, from the color of their eyes or skin . . . body shape and size . . . their choices in hobbies, professions, friends . . . their religious affiliations (or not). . . race and creed and sex and all those things that make us what we are. In all these things we have the opportunity to teach love and respect and tolerance or hatred and oppression. None of these things are inherently born in us, they are given to us by people around us.

It really is your choice.

your humble TubaDiva
“Self hatred begins at home.”

I think people think too much about supposed sexual tendencies in small children. What is viewed as a “sexual” think by adults might well have no such significance to a small child. If a boy runs around his house with a water pistol, folks don’t think he’s going to automatically grow up to be a soldier or a violent soldier, but if he holds hands with another boy everybody’s hair turns white.

I once saw a faux-medical description of childhood as a disease. Its symptoms were:

  1. Immaturity
  2. Dwarfism
  3. Temporary anorexia when presented with vegetables
  4. Ignorance and usually illiteracy
    The good news was said to be that, while childhood strikes mostly the young, most childhood sufferers can survive the disease and experience full recovery, at least in regions with good health care.

To this list of symptoms we might add, “A general ignorance of social and particularly sexual matters”. This ignorance might mimic homosexuality, just as it might mimic heterosexuality. I mean, who the heck knows what a kid is going to turn into. Whether or not someone’s sexuality is cast in stone at conception, we really have no way of knowing for certain.

As to what I would teach a kid I thought to be gay, the first thing would be, Don’t tell just anybody. Some people might hate you for it. At some point, I would teach the kid about safe sex as well.

I think my big theme for teaching any kid about sexuality, would be that sex can be very damaging outside the context of a trusting relationship. The same goes for sexual discussion. I mean, high school is probably much easier for someone who is discrete about their sexuality than for an open homosexual.

Tennessee Williams once said (paraphrased): ‘Promiscuity, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is a distortion of the love impulse.’ An interesting thought.

Sorry, off the thread a bit, but… When I was five, that’s when I ‘discovered’ my penis…DAMN!! I thought, COOL!!.. I play with it, it turns hard!! It freaked me out at first!! So, I tell my dad… and I still remember him laughing and smiling… no help!! But, alas, I guess the same answer out of me… No help!! Sorry!

I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him…

Parents know about their child. One thing I learned in life was that parents know a lot more about a lot of things then they will admit. And this goes not only for homosexuality but a lot of other things too. When I was little my friend smoked (cigarettes) and his mother acted all upset when she found out. He REEKED of cigarettes. How could she not know? She pretended not to.

In response to TD’s post, and at the risk of sounding very non-PC:

Last I heard, it was still very much up-in-the-air as to what causes homosexuality. Sometimes I think that people are so afraid of not looking open-minded, that we too quickly take the homosexual’s word that they are “born that way”. It very well may be nature, and not nurture, but let’s not jump to any conclusions.

BTW, if there are any reliable studies that indicate a genetic cause, I would like to know about it. I hate being underinformed.

The reason I brought this up is because I remembered an incident when my nephew Brad*, who you may remember from the thread I posted about him and our family, was about 1 1/2. I was going through a box of old toys and junk, trying to find something to amuse him. He was fascinated by this powder compact with no powder in it. He was having a high old time, flashing light from the mirror and reflecting things in it, when my mom and sister realized what he was holding. They shrieked and ordered me to put the compact somewhere where he couldn’t get at it. They thought that if he was allowed to play with that, it would be a short step to actually using cosmetics, and then wanting a hairdressing kit for Christmas, and then growing up to play the lead in La Cage Aux Folles. For crissake, it was the MIRROR he was interested in! He didn’t know the object had a function other than the one he was using it for! So that got me to thinking, what if he had been interested in cosmetics and all that that (might) imply/ies? But it was only the mirror he was interested in. Jeez.

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

Speaking as a gay man I would suggest you impart the following words to any of your kids should you find that they are gay:

  1. “We love you.”

  2. “Hold on to your hat.”


I have to say… i dont think a child playing with a compact (or any other womans “toys”) is going to make him gay!!! Brain scans (I believe MRI’s but I dont have the energy to look shit up tonight) of homosexuals and heteros have very different brain patterns in a particular section. (i know this is damn vague but do a search yourself, I gotta pack to move tomorrow). it is my belief that gays are born that way.

I have to admit however I would probably ask my son if he “wouldnt rather play with a GI Joe then a Barbie.” Guys will be guys.

It could be ‘natural’ without being genetic. In fact, this is probably the most likely explanation given that genetically speaking it is extremely disadvantages (for producing offspring). An example could be a woman’s hormone level or average body temparature during a crucial development phase of the fetus. I seem to remember reading something about this but could not point you in a direction towards the source.

I sincerly doubt that nurture is a valid explanation - but then thats how I feel about most any characteristic.

If homosexuality is genetic, and your kid is homosexual, then what does that make you (or your spouse)?

Personally, I give very little creedence to the nature argument. I found this to be a good expression of my sentiments on the subject- From U.S. News:

This said, I have always tried to educate my children about the differing sexual orientations of people and have tried to let them know that one way is not better than the other.

“Teaching without words and work without doing are understood by very few.”
-Tao Te Ching

If I had a kid who was Gay, (s)he would be as loved as a straight kid.

Sure, I would be a little sad. Not out of any phobic reaction, but simply because any parent would rather their children not be a way that gives “society” a chance at making their lives any harder than just living does.

But that would not affect how I treated him or her (or them).

Yer pal,

I don’t know if I would address the issue with a kid directly (and it’s hard for me to imagine the situation anyway, having never been a parent [so far as I know]).

However, I would try to inculcate a sense of right and wrong into the kid, and encourage him to understand that there is a difference between feeling and action. If it becomes necessary to get into the sticky specifics, I might tell him that I was tempted many times to cheat on his mother, but I never did. It was natural for me to feel sexual attraction to another woman, but it would have been very wrong to act on that feeling.

Finally, I would tell him that I would respect whatever choices he might make in life, and I would expect him to have the same respect for his own choices. So if he finds himself damaged mentally or physically by whatever lifestyle he chose for himself, I won’t buy any excuses that he couldn’t help himself. Sorry, kiddo, free will swings both ways (if you’ll pardon the expression).

And then I’ll leave him to draw his own conclusions.


Satan, you are the man!!!.. as always! I totally agree… whatcha gonna do?! Sorry, no deft advice or even (cromulent)<=“simpson speak”…I am quite simply, without words!! = )

If Chris is gay I’ll still love and support him, but then again I was raised by lesbians.

      - bons -

“God does his best to remove gays from the gene pool but mother nature keeps putting them back in.” - Johnny

I do not believe that children are gay or have tendencies towards homosexual behavior. I think that each one of us has a balance of hormones that make each one of us more male than female or vice versa.

A child needs to be taught what is morally right and wrong. If a child wanted to be promiscuous, I being its’ father would teach it that such behavior is wrong and can have disastrous consequences.

Same thing with homosexual behavior.

For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes.

I was raised in a very “content of the character” household. I was taught that prejudice is absolutely wrong. I was raised to believe that it is okay to be angry at someone if they personally wronged me, but dislike/hatred/prejudice based on someone’s gender/race/creed/sexual orientation is morally, ethically, and spiritually wrong.

That having been said, if one or both of my children turn out to be homosexual, I certainly will not love them any less, nor would I try to change it. I could no more change a person’s sexual orientation than I could change the color of his/her skin. And it’s not for me to do, anyway. My job as a parent is to teach my children to be good, kind, loving, productive members of society. I will teach them about the birds and the bees, keep myself open for any and all questions, and try to teach them how to have good relationships with people.

I don’t know for sure if homosexuality is nature or nurture–I’m not an expert. But in the great scheme of things, my opinion on what makes people gay doesn’t mean jack. If my child is gay and unhappy about it, I will do my best to make my child happy, by offering all the love and support he or she needs. If my child is gay and comfortable with it, I will be happy for him or her, and welcome his or her life partner into my home and family.

I’ve known a lot of gay people in my time. Not to invoke any stereotypes, but there are proportionally more in the arts. And I’ve done a lot of political work for some causes where gays are more heavily represented, including gay rights.

Not once have I heard anybody ever speak as to how they were “forced” into homosexuality. Or that they made a deliberate and conscious choice to “be” gay. Or that anybody seduced them into it.

What I DID hear instead, was how they always felt different from their friends, from their family . . . from a very early age. And how they didn’t discover until much later in life just what that difference was.

I’ve heard many stories of how they tried to disavow that part of themselves . . . some married and had children. Others suffered in silence, alone, feeling guilty, despising themselves for not being like everybody else.

Nobody asks to be gay. Who would ask to be hated, discriminated against, possibly fired from a job or refused promotion or housing? Who would ever want to be denied the right to hold someone’s hand and walk down the street without someone heaving a brick at them?

Who would ask for an increased risk of assault or murder?

I also note someone has confused homosexuality with promiscuity. The terms are not synonymous and demonstrate bias towards homosexuals.

How many of you actually KNOW a gay person? Just curious.

your humble TubaDiva

When my parents divorced (I was 4 at the time),my mom and I moved to PA. My mother developed many friendships with men…and most of them were gay. So, I was fortunate to know from a very early age that there is NOTHING WRONG with alternate sexualities. I realize, and acknowledge,and respect that everyone is entitled their own opinion, but damit… those who claim that homosexuality is WRONG (for whatever reasons: morality,whatever) just make me physically ill…I dread to think of the hell any of their kids will/would go through should they be gay and have to face the hate, contempt, revulsion, and all those other charming reactions from their own parents. It makes me very sad…

Mom always said there’d be days like this…she just never said there’d be so MANY of them!!!