Internet Monk: Is Your Boy A Real Man?: Focus On The Family’s Gender Confusion Watch (Thanks go to Withinwithout.org for this link)

Interestingly, Focus on the Family appears to have pulled the original article Is your child becoming a homosexual, but thankfully Google cache saved it from the abyss.

Anyway, the FOTF article gives a checklist of a “gay symptoms” parents should look for in their ages 5-11 year old boys (and that warrant sending your kid to a professional to straighten them out!)

Here’s how I would have checked out during those years…

    1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys. – Yep, most definitely

    2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy. – I don’t remember crying that much, but I definitely wasn’t that athletic (and still am not, except for maybe bicycling) and didn’t like roughhousing.

    3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play. – no on that one

    4. A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls and participate in their games and other pastimes. – very much so. I remember my first day of first grade. After I goofed up in my first day of schoolyard football (I had never played it before), the boys wouldn’t let me play with them anymore. So for most of the rest of first grade, I played with the girls (who digged me because I brought my toy cars to school)

    5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.” – I was teased for how I talked, but I don’t remember being called a fag or anything like that.

    6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.

    7. A repeatedly stated desire to be — or insistence that he is — a girl. – I don’t think either of these things were true for me.

Now the reason I did that silly exercise is to show the absurdity of it, and possibily even the danger of a parent taking FOTF’s guidance to heart. I had 4 of the 7 criteria for childhood tendency to gayness, but today am very much not gay (and I don’t think I was then either, I’ve been an admirer of females ever since 5th grade when I was first smitten).

I am different though and that is A-OK. Gender roles and gender orientation are not absolutes and they certainly shouldn’t be based on silly and inaccurate stereotypes. I still do enjoy the company of women more than men (mostly because women are easier to talk to and easier to be open with) and I am no more athletic now than I was then. — Those kinds of things tell us nothing about what it means to be male or female, or straight or gay.

I think the reason that am semi-secure in my identity today (no one is completely secure these days thanks to our whacked out culture), is that my parents and teachers did a pretty decent job of making me feel that I was cool how I was. If those folks instead had had the FOTF paranoia, there is no telling what kind of insecurity and confusion I would have had.

(and of course FOTF is whacked out for being so paranoid about gayness at all, but that is another topic)