So…Gay, or Not?

“Do you think Sam will grow up to be gay?”

I hear this question all the time, from family, friends, and strangers who learn about Sam’s proclivity for pink. It’s a question that reflects the asker’s assumption that boys who like pink must be gay.

Richard Green’s study (“The ‘Sissy Boy Syndrome’ and the Development of Homosexuality,” which I wrote about here) told us that 75% of pink boys will grow up to be gay or bisexual, and 25% straight.  A few pink boys will be transgender, with varying sexualities.  So, gay adulthood for pink boys is not a guarantee. On the flip side, we also know not all gay men were pink boys as children.

I think that assuming a child will be gay can be as problematic as assuming a child will be straight. In the same way that it’s problematic to assume a child will grow up to be a lawyer (when he wants to be an artist) or a teacher (when he wants to be a paramedic).  It places unnecessary limits and stresses on a child who is trying to discover his own way of being in the world.

The challenge for parents of boys like Sam is creating a space for them to grow into who they are, accepting whatever they become, and waiting—patiently—for them to tell us.  Just as soon as they figure it out themselves.

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Comments

  1. says

    I really love the way that you’re handling this and I agree wholeheartedly that the best way is to give Sam the space he needs to grow into who he really is. Making assumptions about him being straight, gay or trans would just give him a pigeon hole he’d have to either fit into or chafe against when all he needs is to grow up like any other child and make the right choices when they become apparent to him.

    I think that the biggest thing you can give him is the guidance when he needs to answer those questions which will come up, but from what I’ve read of your blog, you’re already there for him with the right sort of support to help him find his way to the right answers.

    Sam’s a very lucky pink boy! :)

  2. Michael- says

    I agree with you both. Children are too young to discern sexuality. Sam could be attracted to the color
    due to it’s brightness. I don’t remember being attrracted to pink. Growing up I was a typical boy, due to the era I grew up in (60’s).
    Parents tend to force their children to be what a”boy” or “girl” should be at a young age. This to me is just life, as we want our children to “fit in”. Due to my parents lack of knowledge of “homosexuality” it was apparent at a (n) later age that I was gay however, I never knew that until I got away from home. I am writing this to say, your son should be allowed to grow up to be himself. Lots of tender Love, care, and understanding are most important. His largest problems I believe if not handled properly will be school, and public places, ie, church. Children mimick mom and dads beliefs, as we want to please or be like them. Sam will grow up fine even if he is confronted with issues from his peers, because you are a caring mom. I too praise you for wanting the best for your
    son.

  3. Shauna says

    I get this question a lot too. Or just a very rude, “You know he’s gonna end up being gay right?” For the question I just answer, “I don’t know….does it even matter?” For the rude comment I say, “So what? Is that a problem?” I guess I’m still shocked that anyone thinks being gay is bad or having a gay child is shameful or disappointing. I love my son the way he is, pink accessories and all.

    • shoffman says

      I hear you, Shauna. There is still a lot of homophobia out there. The aspect of the question that I do sympathize with, though, is fear: people fear that if their children are gay, they will have more challenges than if they are straight. Sadly, they might be right. But that’s all the more reason to support these kids, regardless of their gender expression or sexuality, and to cope with our fears not by placing them on our children but by learning and growing as adults.

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