Exploring Prehomosexuality

Let's explore what is going on within those who are experiencing prehomosexual urges. We also want to consider what causes their sexual identity disorder and what can be done to help. To get at those issues, we will turn to the very best resource for parents and teachers I have found. It is provided in an outstanding book entitled Preventing Homosexuality: A Parent's Guide, written by clinical psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. Dr. Nicolosi is, I believe, the foremost authority on the prevention and treatment of homosexuality today. His book offers practical advice and a clear-eyed perspective on the antecedents of homosexuality. I wish every parent would read it, especially those who have reason to be concerned about their sons. Its purpose is not to condemn but to educate and encourage moms and dads.

Dr. Nicolosi has permitted me to share some quotes from this book that will answer many questions. These are some of his words:

There are certain signs of prehomosexuality which are easy to recognize, and the signs come early in the child's life. Most come under the heading of "cross-gender behavior." There arefive markers to [diagnose] a child with "gender identity disorder." They are:

1. Repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, theother sex.

2. In boys, preference for cross-dressing, or simulating female attire. In girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing.

3. Strong and persistent preference for cross-sexual roles in make-believe play, or persistent fantasies of being the other sex.

4. Intense desire to participate in stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex.

5. Strong preference for playmates of the other sex.

The onset of most cross-gender behavior occurs during the pre-school years, between the ages of two and four. You needn't worry about occasional cross-dressing. You should become concerned, though, when your little boy continues doing so and, at the same time, begins to acquire some other alarming habits. He may start using his mother's makeup. He may avoid other boys in the neighborhood and their rough-and-tumble activities and prefer being with his sisters instead, who play with dolls and dollhouses. Later he may start speaking in a high-pitched voice. He may affect the exaggerated gestures and even the walk of a girl, or become fascinated with long hair, earrings and scarves. In one study of sixty effeminate boys aged four to eleven, 98 percent of them engaged in cross-dressing, and 83 percent said they wished they had been born a girl.

The fact is, there is a high correlation between feminine behavior in boyhood and adult homosexuality. There are telltale signs of discomfort with ... boys and deep-seated and disturbing feelings that they [are] different and somehow inferior. And yet parents often miss the warning signs and wait too long to seek help for their children. One reason for this is that they are not being told the truth about their children's gender confusion, and they have no idea what to do about it.

Perhaps you are concerned about your child and his or her "sexual development." Maybe your son or daughter is saying things like, "I must be gay," or "I'm bisexual." You've found same-sex porn in his room or evidence that he has accessed it onthe Internet. You've found intimate journal entries about another girl in her diary. The most important message I can offer to you is that there is no such thing as a "gay child" or a "gay teen." [But] left untreated, studies show these boys have a75 percent chance of becoming homosexual or bisexual.

It is important to understand, however, that most of my homosexual clients were not explicitly feminine when they were children. More often, they displayed a "nonmasculinity" that set them painfully apart from other boys: unathletic—somewhat passive, unaggressive and uninterested in rough-and-tumble play. A number of them had traits that could be considered gifts: bright, precocious, social and relational, and artistically talented. These characteristics had one common tendency: they set them apart from their male peers and contributed to a distortion in the development of their normal gender identity.

Because most of these men hadn't been explicitly feminine boys, their parents had not suspected anything was wrong, so they had made no efforts at seeking therapy. Many clients have told me, "If only—back then when I was a child—someone had understood the doubts, the feeling of not belonging—and tried to help me."

But make no mistake. A boy can be sensitive, kind, social, artistic, gentle, and be heterosexual. He can be an artist, an actor, adancer, a cook, a musician—and heterosexual. These innate artistic skills are "who he is," part of the wonderful range of human abilities, and there's no reason to discourage them. But they can all be developed within the context of normal heterosexual manhood.

Book: Bringing Up Boys

By Dr. James Dobson

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