“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.