So…Gay or not gay?

“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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One comment

June 28, 2011
2:06 pm

As a parent, I agree that our challenge is to create that safe space for our kids to grow, regardless of whether or not they express themselves in ways that are not average for their gender. Supporting and not interfering is often a difficult line for me to find with my son, but the rewards are amazing.

I really like what life coach Christy Farr has to say about parental boundaries on her blog ( In fact, my partner and I like it so much that we’ve printed it out and taped it to our refrigerator so we don’t forget.

Sam is very lucky to have parents who help create the space he needs.