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Q: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay ( Answered,   7 Comments )
Subject: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
Category: Health > Children
Asked by: flvirgo-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 29 Jul 2002 19:33 PDT
Expires: 28 Aug 2002 19:33 PDT
Question ID: 46700
is it possible that my 8 year old son can be gay, and if so is there
something that can be done (medically speaking)?  Why does he chose
not to play sports, wear my shoes, act feminine, look at other boys,
only hang around girls in school?
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
Answered By: angy-ga on 01 Aug 2002 03:59 PDT
Hi, flvirgo !

You are obviously very worried and concerned for your son, but please
remember, 8 is still very little. I'm not a professional on this
subject, but my feeling is that yes, it is possible that he is gay,
but it is also possible that he is simply shy and sensitive and
relates better to girls. Certainly, not being keen on sport is no
indicator - there are plenty of sporty girls, and plenty of men who
prefer sport on TV to sport on the field !

As for wearing your shoes, again it may be because he's gay, or maybe
he admires and identifies with you, or maybe it's just play.

That said, many gay men say they were aware of their sexuality from an
early age. It is generally considered to be in-born, and nobody's
"fault" - least of all, yours. Please remember, homosexual behaviour
is also observable in animals - wolves are one example - and so is
surely a normal part of nature.

There is a Family Support Group for children and teenagers with gender
identity issues called Mermaids, whose webpage is:

It is the support group for the Gender Identity Development Service, a
division of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, so if you are in the
UK you might want to contact them. (They have no catchment area but
accept referrals from all over.)

Mermaids can be contacted by post at:
The Secretary,
BM Mermaids,

(Enclose a stamped addressed 22cm x 11cm envelope)

They have a Mermaids Helpline on:

07020 935066 - 12 noon until 9pm only, UK Time

E-mail Mermaids at

The Tavistock and Portman Trust web site is at:

And the contacts for the Gender Identity Development Service are:

Ph: 0207 794 8262

Out Proud has an excellent sympathetic page for parents which you
might find useful at:

They say:

"Whether you are a mother or a father, whether you have a son or a
daughter, whether you long suspected something of the kind, or were
completely surprised, finding out for sure can be a shock.

The feelings that shake you are very strong and confusing. You may
hardly be able to talk about it at first without tears and anger."

"No one knows as yet what "causes" any kind of sexuality, but it is
widely accepted today that a child's sexual orientation is set at a
very early age, if not at birth."

On the medical issue they say:

"Q. Should we send our child to a psychiatrist to be "cured"?

A. It is now generally acknowledged by the psychiatric community that
homosexuality is not, as was previously supposed, a disease which can
be cured.

In December 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declared that
homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder or a disease. The
American Psychological Association has taken the official position
that it would be unethical to try to change the sexual orientation of
a homosexual."

The page specifically addresses the issue as seen by Catholic,
Protestant and Jewish writers. The Protestant Bishop Melvin E.
Wheatley, Jr., Methodist, Retired, wrote in 11/20/81:

""Their homosexuality is a gift, neither a virtue nor a sin. What they
do with their homosexuality, however, is definitely their personal,
moral and spiritual responsibility."

I have to say that I personally share this point of view. 

A good and moving article by Jesse Davis, mother of a gay son, can be
found at Inner Self:

This details Jesse's own experiences with her son and - among other
things - she says:

"Let's do something realistic about these kids. Let's discover them at
an earlier age when we can help them cope with their differences. Let
us get counseling for them so that they can embark on living a regular
life just like everyone else. Next face the fact that they do not
CHOOSE to be Gay, nor can they do anything to change the fact. Then
let's help them live their lives in a responsible way just like
everyone else."

This is Jesse's background:

"Jesse Davis was educated in Catholic grammar schools and high
schools....She and her husband of forty years have five children and
four grandchildren. This article is excerpted with permission from her
book, "A Mother Looks at the Gay Child," published by New Falcon
Publications, Tempe, Arizona, USA."

Another mother's story can be found at:

Her final comments are:

"Most of all, remember that parental love is the strongest love there
is and it's practically impossible to break it, as my friend Dan's
story shows. Raised in a small, narrow-minded rural town by his
father, the tough, unemotional owner of a small trucking company, Dan
knew since he was 15 that he was gay. After high school, he moved away
from home to avoid having his family and their friends find out. After
years of hiding the truth, he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He
called his father and gently, during a two-hour conversation, told his
father he is gay. His dad's reaction? For the first time in Dan's life
his father said "I love you" to him."

Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (P-Flag)

have an excellent and comprehensive web site covering many issues, and
branches in many states of the US and elsewhere. Their paper "Just the
Facts" at:

is endorsed by such bodies as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the
Interfaith Alliance Foundation and the American Federation of
Teachers. It is a very clear neutral fact sheet and includes some
comments by the American Psychiatric Association on the problems
associated with "reparative therapy".

So, if your son is gay, there is every chance that he will be able to
grow up into a more tolerant world than that which gay men have faced
in the not so distant past, and there's lots of support out there, for
him and for you. But he may just be the sensitive artist on the block.
Either way, I'm sure I don't have to tell you to love him, support him
in his interests and encourage his strengths.
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: gadbois-ga on 16 Nov 2002 09:59 PST
As a wolf ethologist, I would be curious to know the reference on
homosexuality in wolves...
There is a BIG difference between homosexual behaviour and
homosexuality. When, in some cultures men kiss and/or hug when they
meet, this can be seen as homosexual behaviour from the point of view
of another culture (like dominance mounting in wolves), but it does
not mean that the 2 (or even 1) individual is homosexual.
Wolves will display some within-sex mounting, but, as suggested above,
it has more to do with dominance assertion than anything having to do
with sex or reproduction.
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: anonymous1-ga on 01 Feb 2003 09:02 PST
I certainly would not recommend jumping to conclusions on this matter.
As angy-ga has pointed out, 8 years old is quite young and none of the
behaviors you describe strike me as particularly indicative of
homosexuality in a child of that age. I recommend caution in forming
and/or communicating such a judgment.

I comment because most of your description you have easily been
applied to me at that age and I am (and always have been)
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: truthseekers-ga on 18 Jan 2005 05:54 PST
I recommend you check out the book  A Parent's Guide to Preventing
Homosexuality by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. You can find the book at most
online bookstores like, and also bookstores like

Also check out
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: byrd-ga on 19 Jan 2005 10:46 PST
An important organization that has not been mentioned is PFOX (parents
and friends of ex-gays and gays), whose philosophy is that "No one is
born gay. All scientific studies, including those by gay scientists,
have not found any gay gene or gay brain center.  Ex-Gays are living
proof that homosexual orientation is not fixed permanently.  People
can and do make the decision every day to seek help in overcoming
unwanted same sex attraction."

They state that on their website, "you will find articles that explain
genetics, the psychiatric and psychological components of same sex
attraction, the medical facts, and the latest research on same sex

The notion that homosexuality is an inborn trait is the popular and
politically-correct one at this time, but it may not be accurate.
Regardless of where you are in your understanding and personal opinion
regarding homosexuality, I urge you to at least read the material
presented by PFOX in order to have a more complete and well-rounded
understanding of the subject.

Best wishes to you, and your son,
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: dancingbear-ga on 22 Feb 2005 12:51 PST
This is -a response to another question from someone who specifically
asked not to be told being gay is normal-which  led to this alleged
"experts" resoponse after much spirited debate.  I am posting this
partly for the parent of the 8 year old, partly for the expert on
wolves- but mostly for the google researcher byrd-ga.  This is the
second time I have encountered you reccomending the  PFOX (parents
and friends of ex-gays and gays) web site.  I think you have every
right to promote sites that pursue paths of therapy that have been
proven to not work- other than to reinforce a deluded existence.  What
I do think you might want to do to be balanced as a researcher- is to
also point to PFLAG- Parent and friends of Gays &Lesbians.  At leaset
then people can decided whether they want to continue a path of pain
and denial or pursue being accepted- for whatever they DISCOVER their
sexuality to be. (notice I said discover-not  determine or choose).  I
will respectfully be on the look out for your postings on this matter
to see if you ever do the research on so called "reparitive therapy"
to discover for yourself that is does not work- no matter how much you
would like it to.

Subject: Re: Is male homosexuality a physical problem or psychological problem? #4 
From: jimwww-ga on 16 Feb 2004 11:37 PST

Instead of trying to address all the comments to date, I'm just going
to fill in a few blanks. But first, let me pull rank. (Warning:
Narcissism ahead -- grin -- but it's all true.)

I have a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology and have studied human
sexuality, including homosexuality, for decades. If you were to read
my listing in Who's Who in America, you'd learn that I am one of the
dozen or so top-recognized experts in this field (homosexuality and
biology). Instead of actually getting into the arguments, for the most
part I'm going to list my conclusions, and hope that they seem
sensible enough to you to influence your opinions. Alas, most of the
evidence in favor of my conclusions is in the printed library
literature and not available online.

I will try to address your question from a somewhat more conservative
point of view than that of a knee-jerk gay liberationist (mind you, I
think gay liberationists are just fine when they are not knee-jerk,
and there's a lot of both kinds in the world). But this point of view
is still a bit more liberal than (let's say) Jerry Falwell would like.

Quite a bit more liberal, in fact.

MUCH more liberal, actually...

You said that you don't want to receive information that is merely
"telling me that there is nothing wrong of him being a homosexual."
But if that is the truth, what do you want instead? Lies? One thing an
expert can do is to tell you when you are asking the wrong question.
It hurts to hear that one's own basic assumption is incorrect, but if
that is the truth, then you need to hear that.

I can't tell from your posting how far you would be willing to "push"
your opinions in your brother's direction. If you tell him that you
feel his orientation is wrong or abnormal, would you drop it there if
he disagrees? Or would you push harder and try harder to change his
mind? If the former, then I have no quarrel. But if the latter, then
keep in mind what I heard Dr. Laura Schlessinger say (on air) in
response to a father phoning her for help with his daughter's
revelation that she (the daughter) was lesbian. Dr. Laura is
conservative, but she is not a knee-jerk conservative. So instead of
answering in a way that the caller probably wanted ("Oh, you poor
fellow, isn't it terrible how gay libbers have taken over blah blah
blah"), practically the first words out of her mouth, almost to the
point of interrupting the caller, were something like "You understand
that if you fight this that you'll destroy your family?" (sorry I
don't have an exact transcript, but that doesn't matter for the point
I'm making). That was NOT what he wanted to hear; he wanted sympathy.
Dr. Laura correctly and quickly guessed this, and jumped immediately
to the bottom line of her opinion, which was that he needed to face
the issue of family cohesion and what HE can do to support it or
destroy it. (Since he can't control his daughter.)

I'm surprised that none of the responders mentioned Joseph Nicolosi, a
psychotherapist who claims that he can use something he terms
"Reparative Therapy" to help gay men become straight. In one sense
this is just as well, because in my professional opinion Reparative
Therapy does not work -- ever -- and often causes more problems for
the client. Just in case you read something which brings you under
Nicolosi's influence, before you sink much deeper be sure to read this
(online, thank goodness) review of his book:
On the question of normal and abnormal, genetic and environmental,
right and wrong, animals doing gay things or not doing gay things,
etc., etc., I have written extensively. Off the record I'm willing to
admit here that I find almost all printed materials on these issues to
be amusing and wrong, or terrifyingly wrong.

Being blonde in the United States is not the statistical norm. Quite
possibly the majority of women who appear to be blonde in the U.S. are
bottle blondes -- women who have rejected the beautiful hair that
Mother Nature gave them genetically. So just because something is
genetic does not mean it cannot be changed. And if something is
environmental, that doesn't necessarily mean that it CAN be changed.
You can never forget your native language, but the details of that
language are not encoded in your genes.

Another version of this fallacy is to look for evidence of
homosexuality in the animal kingdom. The very best, most extensive
review of this is a huge book by Bruce Bagemihl:

(A Google search on his name will give many, many results. A search on
misspellings of his name will, too... Thank goodness for Google's
spelling correction!!)

In my professional opinion, Bagemihl is correct in most if not all of
his scientific conclusions. Homosexual behavior definitely is
widespread (albeit not universal) in the animal kingdom.
Homosexual-orientation animals DO exist. Conservative reviewers of his
book claiming to find this or that problem with his views have not
read his book completely (evident from their reviews) or didn't
completely understand them.

But understand this: If animals do something we like, we call it
"natural." If animals do something that we don't like, we call it
"animalistic." [Likewise, if children do something we like we call it
"childlike", and if they do something we don't like we call it
"childish".] Whether or not animals do something does not REALLY
influence our opinion of that something!

I cannot emphasize this point enough!!!!!!!!! Whether or not something
is genetic or environmental (yes, professional colleagues, I know I'm
being waaaaaay too loose here in my terminology) does not REALLY
influence our opinion of that something. In fact, 99% of people start
with their conclusion (like it or hate it?), find a fact or two from
the real world (natural or un? ... common or rare?), and then argue
along whichever (seemingly) logical path connects the latter to the
former. It *is* possible to argue from facts to conclusions, and 1% of
humans really do try to do so, but they are always flooded out by the

When your husband married, I assumed he explicitly promised his wife
certain things: love for life, sickness and health, etc., etc. He also
IMPLICITLY promised her that he had looked at his internal sexual
feelings and concluded that they were directed at women, not men, at
her, not her sister, at adults, not children, and at humans, not
animals (etc., etc.). Back in the olden days, when gay men were more
or less forced to marry to have anything other than a miserable life,
I could justify a man not telling his wife about his gay feelings
before the marriage. Nowadays I find it very difficult to make that
argument; gay liberation is just too available and predominantly
factually correct, and in-depth explorations of sexual orientation are
just too common. So I think he owes your wife an apology for either
(a) lying to her or (b) not taking the responsibility or the time to
examine his feelings before committing to a heterosexual marriage. (If
he and his wife DID extensively discuss his gay feelings before they
got married, then no such apology is needed, in my opinion.)

I know many gay men of the older generation who are husbands and
fathers who have found a way to stay married and to lead a responsible
gay life. It is not easy, since our society claims that marriage is
predicated on erotic/romantic sexual attachment between two
individuals for life. It is also easy to lead one or the other part of
such a life in a way that hurts people deeply.

So my final suggestion to you is that you help your brother -- and
yourself -- understand that there is nothing wrong with his gay
feelings. NOTHING! What is right or wrong is what he decides to DO on
the basis of coming to terms with those feelings.

[I do not believe that homosexuality is abnormal or an illness, unlike
pedophilia. But I'll make a comparison with pedophilia nevertheless.
If Michael Jackson has pedophilic fantasies in his head, there is
nothing wrong or immoral about the fact that his brain comes up with
such fantasies. He is immoral or has done something wrong ONLY if he
has committed pedophilic ACTS.]

In my professional opinion, your brother and his wife need to see a
gay-affirmative ("there's nothing wrong with being gay") therapist who
will work with the couple in a way which is not offensive to your
brother's morality ("given that he has these feelings and that they
will not change, what, practically, will the two of you do to take
care of your kids and your love for each other?"). I would telephone
the closest gay community center (yes!) and get their list of
recommended therapists, then match this list against a general
family-therapist list obtained from the local psychological society
(maybe from your health plan); choose someone who is on BOTH lists. If
none such exist, then find someone in the therapeutic community (start
with a family friend, or anyone on either of the lists) and ask them
for referrals. Then ask the referrals for referrals, etc., until you
find one or two therapists who can work with both points of view.

I hope this helps, and provides a perspective at least a little
different from those posted here by others (most of which are quite
good, in my opinion).
Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: cynthia-ga on 24 Feb 2005 00:32 PST
It occurs to me that 8 years old is very young to be attracted to
gilrs, there may be another reason your son hangs out with girls and
likes to wear girl things.  I'd be more worried about your son being
gay if he was choosing to hang out with BOYS, not girls.  For him to
choose girls as playmates at age 8 signifies to me that he feels more
comfortable interacting with girls.

It's extreme, but it's a possibility, nevertheless.  He could have a
"Gender Identity Disorder."

Transgendered individuals believe they were born into the wrong body. 
It's VERY common for true trangendered people to know from early
childhood that they were born the wrong sex.  They struggle trying to
fit into an upside-down world for years, until they can keep it secret
no longer.

What is gender identity disorder?
..."Boys with gender identity disorder tend to prefer to dress in
girls? clothes. They often avoid competitive sports and have little
interest in rough and tumble games. They frequently prefer to play
games with girls, and they enjoy girls as playmates. They usually
enjoy acting as a female figure, such as a mother or a princess, in
the games they play. Boys with gender identity problems pretend not to
have a penis; they want it removed, and they wish they had a

Here's the story of a seven year old boy:


About Our Transgendered Children And Their Families

Gender Identity Research and Education Society

Read up on this disorder, just in case.  Good luck to you.

Subject: Re: possibilty of an 8 year old being gay
From: byrd-ga on 11 Mar 2005 07:31 PST
Wow, dancingbear, you sure have an axe to grind.  Guess you'll need
it, though, with such a big chip on your shoulder. Don't know why
you're so threatened by mention of PFOX. Nevermind, I guess I do know
why, after all. But the facts are, they DO have a great deal of both
anecdotal and scientific evidence on their side of the fence, though
as I've stated before, it's not the currently politically correct
view. For that reason, they also frequently encounter the kind of
hysterical opposition you so aptly display. But you don't need to be
so defensive. It's just another point of view, and the fact that it
disagrees with yours doesn't make it wrong.  For someone seeking
answers, it's a legitimate aspect of the whole debate that does need
to be taken into consideration in order to have a balanced view. I
provide the link to the PFOX site and and information on their
approach for the simple reason that no one else does.


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