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Trade Paperback
176 pages
Jun 2004
Harvest House Publishers

101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality

by Mike Haley

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt




    Chapter 1: Answering the Basics

  1. What is homosexuality?

  2. Do homosexuals choose to be gay?

  3. What is the difference between the terms “gay” and “homosexual”?

  4. If I’m having homosexual fantasies, does that mean I’m gay?

  5. Is homosexuality preventable?

    Chapter 2: Answers for Families

  6. We just found out our child is gay. Is it our fault? Did we do something wrong?

  7. We’ve noticed a few behaviors in our son that are causing us some concern (such as an interest in women’s clothing and identifying with heroines in cartoons). Are these things normal?

  8. I’m a single mother with two sons. I’ve heard that boys can be negatively affected by the loss of a father. Would another male role model help? What advice can you offer that would enable me to raise healthy sons?

  9. We see some things in our daughter that are causing us some concern about her sexual identity. Are we being overly sensitive, or do we need to seek some help?

  10. Our daughter just told us she’s gay. What do we do first?

  11. My 14-year-old has just “come out.” He is attending the Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school, and he wants to date other boys. Should I force him to go to counseling?

  12. My son just told me he is gay. He says he’s finally accepted who he is and that he’s never been happier. Can this really be true?

  13. We recently learned that my brother is gay. He wants to tell everyone! What should we do?

  14. Our child came out to us 14 months ago. Most of our friends and church family do not know. We’ve asked him to stay silent. Is this right?

  15. We are rebuilding our relationship with our son, but we never speak of his homosexuality. How should we bring it up—or should we?

  16. How can I inform my parents that I have embraced my sexuality and am not ready to change? I tried the whole “change thing” for a while, but I’m just not ready. How do I let them know without hurting or offending them?

  17. Whenever I’m around my son, I feel the need to minister to him regarding his poor choices. But I seem to be driving him away. What do you suggest?

  18. I feel the need to write my grandson, who recently announced his homosexuality, because he doesn’t call or visit. I’ve sent devotionals, written out Bible passages, and tried to encourage him to change, assuring him of my love and encouraging him to keep in contact. I pray for him daily. Can I do anything more concrete?

  19. How should we respond to our son who wants to bring his live-in “significant other” to spend the weekend in our home? We’ve been asking them to stay in a motel, but that has just led to our son not visiting at all

  20. We’ve decided to allow our daughter and her partner to come for family visits. We have young children, and a couple of younger nieces and nephews might be present. What should we tell them?

  21. We are expecting an invitation to my cousin’s “wedding” or “commitment ceremony” next July. We are the only Christians in the family, and I sense “all eyes are on us.” Can you suggest a very loving response? I feel attending would be showing support for the union. Are we wrong for not wanting to attend?

  22. How do I talk my husband out of his belief that he is homosexual?

  23. My spouse just left me for a homosexual relationship. Help!

  24. To what extent should a homosexual father, living with another man, be involved in the lives of his children?

    Chapter 3: Answers for Friends

  25. I have a hunch someone I know is struggling with homosexuality. How do I approach him about this without pushing him away?

  26. I often feel hesitant to minister to my gay friends. I’m afraid that I’m going to condone what they’re doing and grieve the Holy Spirit. Is doing nothing better than crossing the line?

  27. The lesbian couple next door has adopted a child and invited me to attend a “celebration of life” event at their home. What should I do?

  28. I know lots of gay people. How do I introduce them to Christ?

  29. I’ve known John 3:16 since I was a little boy, and I desperately want to share that truth with all I come in contact with. However, when I attempt to share this with others from the gay community, my efforts seem to fall flat. Am I missing something? What should I be aware of when reaching out to the gay community?

  30. I work with a girl who is very “out” about her homosexuality. I’ve noticed she’s much more offensive around me than she is with other coworkers. What is this about? What should I do?

  31. A man in my church is struggling with homosexuality. I really want to extend a hand of friendship to him but feel uncomfortable around gay men. What should I do? I’m just an average Joe.

  32. One of my closest friends just told me she struggles with homosexuality. I know enough about this to understand that she needs other women to help her. As a man, how can I help?

  33. What is a mentor’s role when helping women who struggle with same-sex attraction?

  34. I’m a female hairstylist who works with several gay men at a salon. I am a Christian and want to show these men God’s love, but sometimes I let them “be one of the girls” to show them I accept them. Is this wrong? What kind of influence can I have on them?

  35. I know many gay men, and they all seem to remember feeling gay very early. Two of them have told me they were certainly born that way and that they knew they were gay as young as five years old. How can I deny their feelings?

    Chapter 4: Answers for the Church

  36. I’m a pastor. How do I lead our church to effectively love homosexuals?

  37. How can we help someone who has tried to overcome homosexuality and failed—especially since she has been hurt by the response of churches and other Christians?

  38. I understand that multiple contributing factors are involved in homosexuality, including environment, biology, and family. Is a spiritual component included as well?

  39. The Christian community has many different approaches to handling homosexuality. How can I evaluate whether my church is handling it appropriately?

  40. How can we love active gays who attend our church services but prevent them from being in leadership roles, such as a Sunday school teacher, youth pastor, or choir member?

  41. I’m involved in youth work in my local community and at church. What can I do to create a positive and safe environment where at-risk kids will feel welcome and we can deal with issues of sexuality in a healthy way?

  42. Most outreach seems to happen at churches. Have you experienced successful outreach to homosexuals on their own turf?

  43. When does 1 Corinthians 5 apply to an immoral relationship between Christians in the church?

    Chapter 5: Answers for Men

  44. How does homosexuality occur in men?

  45. What impact does childhood sexual experimentation have on boys?

  46. If homosexuality isn’t genetic, why do so many gay men have feminine mannerisms such as “lispy” speech and effeminate postures and movements?

  47. Why does male homosexuality often include promiscuity?

  48. I have been trying to change my life and get out of homosexuality, but I still deal with a lot of temptation and attraction to other men. How do I deal with thoughts when I see someone I think is attractive (which, right now, seems to be a daily occurrence)?

  49. I’m an ex-gay man, and I’m interested in dating. Do I need to tell any potential girlfriends about my past, and if so, when?

  50. Why do some men turn to homosexuality after being married?

    Chapter 6: Answers for Women

  51. How does homosexuality occur in women?

  52. Can you help me to understand lesbianism? It seems so complex—much more so than male homosexuality.

  53. I have noticed that many lesbians look manly and unfeminine. Why is this?

  54. Sometimes when I am emotionally drawn to a woman, I experience sexual temptation. How do I deal with these thoughts?

  55. Why do some women turn to lesbianism after being married?

  56. How is it that sexual abuse can lead both men and women to homosexuality? Wouldn’t abused men be more likely to turn to heterosexuality?

    Chapter 7: Answers for Those Desiring Change

  57. Can a homosexual really change?

  58. How does a person struggling with homosexuality become heterosexual?

  59. I’ve just started researching the change process. What program do you find to be the most successful?

  60. I’ve just made the decision to leave homosexuality. What do I need to know? What have you seen in the lives of those who are successful?

  61. What about trained professionals? Have therapists favorable to change found some factors that increase the likelihood of a positive outcome?

  62. Is the issue of masturbation something that I need to be concerned with?

  63. Will my struggle ever completely go away?

  64. What would you suggest to a person who is religious (Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu) but not a Christian and who is interested in leaving homosexuality?

  65. When am I, someone who has struggled with homosexuality, healthy enough to help another?

    Chapter 8: Answering Theology

  66. I have a friend who believes it’s all right to be gay because Christ never mentions anything specifically about homosexuality in the Gospels. What is your response to this?

  67. Which Scripture passages about homosexuality do I need to be familiar with?

  68. Our pastor says that all homosexuals are going to hell. Is that true?

  69. Where do some churches get the idea that there is no redemption for homosexuals?

  70. My gay friend says that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for inhospitality, not homosexuality. Is this true?

  71. If homosexuality is no worse than other sin, why did God destroy two cities for it and call it an abomination?

  72. A gay pastor I met said the Levitical regulation against homosexuality has more to do with idolatry than homosexuality and, in fact, no longer applies to our society. How do I respond to that?

  73. I’ve heard that some gay-affirmative churches teach that Jonathan and David were gay. Where do they get this?

    Chapter 9: Answering Culture

  74. I’ve heard that my city has one of the highest populations of homosexuals. Is this true?

  75. There seems to be a prevailing message in our culture that homosexuality isn’t different from heterosexuality. How do we contest this assertion?

  76. If God is love, then what’s wrong with a man loving a man or a woman loving a woman?

  77. Why should we Christians be so against gay marriage? It’s not going to hurt our commitments to one another.

  78. I saw a story on TV about Rosie O’Donnell and other gays who are adopting kids. The children seemed to suffer no ill effects. What do I need to know about this when talking to others who support gay adoption?

  79. Don’t kids just need a set of parents who love them—either same-sex parents or a man and a woman?

  80. How do I respond to supporters of gay adoption when they ask me, “Isn’t it better for a child to grow up with two loving same-sex parents than to live in an abusive home or be bounced around in foster care?”

  81. I attended a youth pastors’ meeting in my city, and many of us discussed a growing trend of girls confessing lesbian activity among their friends. Can you help us understand what is going on here?

  82. I’ve been accused of being a homophobe. How do I respond to this accusation?

  83. AIDS doesn’t seem to be in the news as much as it used to be. Have we gotten a handle on it?

  84. I’m a therapist in the public sector and a Christian. How would you suggest I encourage a homosexual or lesbian to reevaluate his or her lifestyle?

    Chapter 10: Answering the Gay Community and Agenda

  85. I listen to a lot of Christian talk radio, and I’ve heard the term “gay agenda” frequently. What’s it really all about?

  86. Any agenda needs support to sustain its growth. Who are the major players fueling the gay agenda?

  87. I’ve heard that 10 percent of the population is homosexual. Is this true?

  88. If 10 percent of the population isn’t gay, then what is the correct statistic?

  89. How has the 10 percent statistic become so widespread? Why is it so important to the gay community, and why have they worked so hard to get society to believe it’s true?

  90. A friend of mine thinks that Christians are hateful when we don’t think homosexuals should be granted equal protection or “civil rights” status. How should I respond?

  91. I’ve read that the suicide rate among gay teens is high. Is this true?

  92. What’s wrong with school-based programs that provide safety and support for kids struggling with their sexual identity?

  93. What are ex-gays going to say if scientists ever find a genetic link to homosexuality?

  94. I heard a gay activist say that ex-gay organizations like Exodus International don’t record statistics related to the number of people who have successfully come out of homosexuality. Is this true?

    Chapter 11: Answering Science

  95. I’ve heard a number of studies quoted that support the “born gay” theory. Are these studies accurate? If not, why?

  96. Should we believe the theory that suggests that prenatal hormonal imbalances can influence an individual’s gender-identity formation?

  97. You said homosexuality isn’t genetic but environmental. If this is true, then how can one boy struggle with homosexual feelings and his brother, raised in the same environment, emerge as completely heterosexual?

  98. From what I understand, most of the major medical and psychological associations don’t see homosexuality as abnormal. Aren’t you a bit behind the times with your belief that homosexuality is pathological?

  99. Isn’t the prevalence of homosexuality in the animal world proof that it’s normal?

    Chapter 12: Answering Your Need

  100. What support and resources are available for youths who are struggling with homosexuality?

  101. What resources are available for people who struggle with homosexuality?



Answering the Basics

THIS BOOK MAY BE YOUR FIRST SERIOUS INQUIRY into homosexuality. Perhaps a friend or loved one has recently admitted a same-sex attraction. Or maybe the nightly news or morning paper has caused your concern. Perhaps you, yourself, have experienced attractions to your own sex and are wondering, Am I a homosexual? And if I am, can I do anything to change my sexual orientation?

For whatever reason you’ve picked up this book, you have questions. And some of them may be the most basic queries imaginable, such as What is homosexuality?

This first chapter deals with some of these most basic questions.

1. What is homosexuality?

Most people assume homosexuality to be little more than a sexual act between two individuals of the same gender. This is far too simplistic a view of this multifaceted topic. Anyone interested in this subject must take four areas into account: physiological psychic response, identity, behavior, and lifestyle options.

Learned Responses

God created each of us as a complex creature. We have needs that must be met in order for us to grow and mature. When these needs are not met, we establish immature coping mechanisms that often work directly against God’s original intent for us. Frank Worthen, the founder of Exodus International, explains this phenomenon this way:

Psychic response is a technical term for what many people refer to as a “homosexual orientation.” Though many people claim that they have experienced visual or sexual attraction for the same sex “as long as they can remember,” there is a progression in a person’s life that leads to a homosexual psychic response. A child may start out with a need to compare himself with others to see if he measures up to societal standards. When he feels he doesn’t compare favorably with others, he develops admiration for those traits and physical characteristics he feels he does not possess. Admiration, which is normal, may turn to envy. Envy leads to the desire to possess others and finally, to consume others. This strong desire becomes eroticized somewhere along the way, eventually leading to homosexual psychic response (also known as sexual thought life or fantasy).


When these psychic responses take root, some people carry out these fantasies first through masturbation and later in actual sexual behavior with another male or female. But the physical act itself does not indicate a homosexual orientation. Many young boys who engage in homosexual behavior later end up with no vestiges of homosexuality.


The problem in today’s social climate is that more and more individuals are taking on a gay identity simply because they need to find their place. Many who would rarely have experienced a struggle with homosexuality find themselves comfortable in this identity because of society’s “anything goes” mentality.

Other people embrace a gay identity after years of physiological psychic response. Their behaviors create an identity in which they take comfort or even pride.


Homosexuality includes varying lifestyles. Some gays only engage in anonymous and relatively rare sexual encounters and tend to live in constant fear of being found out. Others “come out” and become active, politically motivated members of the gay community and associate only with those favorable to like causes.

As you can see, homosexuality is multidimensional, and individuals can land anywhere on the spectrum of these four basic components. What does this information mean for you? Don’t just take a friend or loved one’s confession or proclamation of homosexuality as evidence that he or she is engaging in same-sex sexual behavior. Talk to him or her to develop a deeper understanding of what the admission means.

2. Do homosexuals choose to be gay?

Let me answer this one directly: No! And in case you didn’t hear me, let me speak up: NO!

This continues to be one of the myths of homosexuality that uninformed people perpetuate. Christians or conservatives may say to a homosexual, “I have a heart for those in your community, and I love you.” And then as if to drive a splinter under the fingernail of the hand they’ve just reached out to hold, they add: “But you and your friends have to realize that homosexuality was your choice.”


I can tell you from personal experience that virtually no one chooses homosexuality and the resulting pain and rejection that comes with it. No child or adolescent approaches the smorgasbord of sexual orientations and says, “Hmm…I think I’ll take that one.” On the contrary, most homosexuals try to deny the existence of their same-sex attractions, to pray it away, or to repress it until they become so discouraged by their inability to master the desires that they “come out.” Attributing this struggle to the willing choice of any individual not only conveys a lack of understanding but adds to the tremendous shame seared into many homosexuals’ hearts.

So let me say clearly again: No one chooses to feel attracted to someone of the same sex. However, men and women do choose how they will act on those feelings. When the pain of this struggle captivates the heart, some people believe their only option is a homosexual identity and lifestyle. That’s where choice comes into play: actively participating in a homosexual act.

One last important note on this subject: As harmful as the “you chose to be gay” argument is another oft-repeated phrase, all too frequently seen on the signs of conservative protesters at gay events: “God didn’t create Adam and Steve, He created Adam and Eve.” Anyone who thinks this is cute or helpful couldn’t be more wrong. Flippant expressions like this make whoever’s saying them look foolish, and their underlying malice directly contradicts Scripture. Remember Solomon’s advice: “He who winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 10:10-11). Excise this quip from your vocabulary and instead choose to offer life!

3. What is the difference between the terms “gay” and “homosexual”?

These terms are often used interchangeably, but they have some very real differences. Knowing what they are can help you offer advice and counsel to those who seek your input.

There really is no such thing as a homosexual. As strange as that may sound, it’s true. We are all biological heterosexuals. To be sure, some heterosexuals, through a combination of factors, find themselves dealing with a homosexual problem—and when I use the term “homosexual” in my answers, I’m referring to men and women who, because of these various factors, find themselves attracted to members of their own sex. But to firmly identify oneself as a homosexual is to buy into the false idea that two distinct, valid, immutable orientations exist.

Still society will continue to use the term “homosexual,” so here are some basic differences between that word and “gay”: Men and women who experience homoerotic desires, fantasies, and attractions are those most likely to identify themselves as homosexual. However, not all homosexuals think of or classify themselves as “gay”—a term with decidedly sociopolitical overtones, one that is as much about identifying oneself as a member of a community than identifying oneself by sexual orientation. As Dr. Joseph Nicolosi explains, some men “experience conflict between their values and their sexual orientation.” These individuals would never be comfortable claiming a gay identity.

The ultimate rule of thumb? All gays are homosexual but not all homosexuals choose to identify themselves as gay. Another helpful distinction is that those who seek to walk away from homosexuality can be referred to as “non-gay homosexuals.”

4. If I’m having homosexual fantasies, does that mean I’m gay?

Fantasies alone don’t make you homosexual. A homosexual is a person who consciously accepts that label and begins to act out on his or her feelings. Many, many people have engaged in fleeting same-sex experimentation, but that doesn’t make them homosexual, either. On the other hand, some people who have never engaged in homosexual behavior have a tremendous homosexual problem.

Regarding your personal situation, the first relevant question is this: How often do these fantasies occur? A single episode does not mean you’re homosexual. However, if these fantasies persist, the potential for a serious homosexual problem exists, especially if they go unchecked or if you encourage them through pornography or masturbation.

Some Native Americans believe that each of us has within our hearts a white dog (good) and a black dog (evil) fighting for control. As would be the case in real life, the dog that is nurtured has the best chance of thriving. The same is true of the fight for your heart. Whichever dog you are feeding is going to become dominant and take over. You need to do all you can to overcome the undesired “dog.” Find someone knowledgeable about the root causes of homosexuality if you find these fantasies continuing and becoming increasingly frequent. But please don’t allow one (or even a few) episodes of homosexual fantasy to paralyze you from living as God has created you—heterosexually.

5. Is homosexuality preventable?

The prevention of homosexuality in children has become one of the primary emphases of research within the ex-gay movement. That represents a shift from the traditional focus, undertaken by Exodus International and like-minded ministries, which have spent most of their energies spreading the message of redemption. These ministries have often been the only hope people struggling with homosexuality (and their family members) have had when seeking answers and assistance.

In recent years, however, attention has shifted from not only redeeming homosexuals but also preventing homosexuality. At the leading edge of this movement are Dr. Joseph and Linda Nicolosi, authors of A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, in which they spell out some important steps parents can take to offer an atmosphere in the home that will increase the chances of their children growing up secure in their gender identity. “Gender nonconformity in childhood,” the Nicolisis note, “most researchers agree, is the single most common factor associated with homosexuality.…Unfortunately, many members of the mental health profession—psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers—think it is unnecessary to inform parents of the possibility of a homosexual outcome.”

They continue by warning that “despite parents’ key role in forming the gender identity of their sons and daughters, many of them are astonishingly unaware not only of their own behavior with an emotionally vulnerable son but also of their child’s resulting deficits.”

Unfortunately, parents’ most common responses when faced with their children’s gender nonconformity are not helpful.

1. Denial

The Nicolosis warn that many parents erroneously express sentiments such as “ ‘It’s just a phase; he’ll probably outgrow it.’…Or they claim, ‘It’s no big deal. He looks so cute—he’s just trying to get attention when he dresses up like a little girl.’” This mentality “stems, in part, from the fact that our culture has made it increasingly hard for parents to determine what gender development is normal and what is abnormal, what is worth worrying about and what is not.”

So when do you need to start worrying? “The answer is,” the authors suggest, “a certain amount of cross-gender play is tolerable. However, if your son does not give it up quickly, you will need to take a look not only at his behavior but also at yours.”

2. Confusion

Mixed messages regarding gender saturate our culture, and many parents don’t know what to think. They often feel confused and paralyzed by the conflicting values and opinions.

The Nicolosis have documented this phenomenon well. One teacher, they note, assured a mother who was confused by her son’s gender nonconformity not to worry because “it’s perfectly healthy— he’s getting in touch with his feminine side.” Another off-base adviser said, “Don’t intervene. What he’s doing is in no way a problem. You don’t want your child to be a stereotyped macho man, do you?” Yet most mothers intuitively know something is askew.

3. Avoidance

The Nicolosis note: “Many parents who do finally consult a psychologist have been worried about their [child] for months, and many of them for years, but have done nothing about it.”

So what are parents to do? The Nicolosis suggest that “the first step in intervention is for parents to educate themselves. This often means correcting false information. Gender—our sense of maleness and femaleness—is not merely an arbitrary social construct. It is, rather, a basic and essential way in which we humans participate in society and express ourselves within the real world.”

The next step would be to assess the health of your marriage. “[Most] couples who come to a therapist looking for help with their child are experiencing disharmony in their relationship. The wife will complain, ‘My husband is so hard to reach. He’s just not emotionally connected to me or the kids.’ The husband will respond, ‘The truth is that she’s a major control freak! If she would just back off, I’d get more involved.’”

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at how parents should handle issues of gender nonconformity in their children.

Parents with Sons

Since our children first learn what it means to be male or female from familial interactions, moms and dads must carefully consider how their efforts, dysfunctions, emotions, and affirmations can affect their sons—both positively and negatively.

Everyone knows that moms are important, yet moms must be aware of their level of involvement. In fact, the Nicolosis suggest,

without realizing it, mothers can become overinvolved in their son’s lives. In some cases, this behavior may have arisen because of a mother’s need to attend to her son’s childhood illnesses. In fact, a number of studies have shown a higher than average correlation between adult homosexuality and early childhood medical problems. Mothers of homosexual men tend, in our experience, to be expressive, extroverted, emotionally accessible, engaging, and highly involved in the boy’s life. The mother’s problem might be that she is too invested; the boundaries between her and her son are not clear.…Sometimes mothers overinvest in their sons for their own needs, because they have not found emotional intimacy in their marriage.

Parents should also consider what the Nicolosis refer to as

the Classic Triadic Relationship.…Repeatedly, researchers have found the classic triadic (three-way) relationship in the family backgrounds of homosexual men. In this situation, the mother often has a poor or limited relationship with her husband, so she shifts her emotional needs to her son. The father is usually non-expressive and detached and often is critical as well. So in the triadic family pattern we have the detached father, the overinvolved mother, and the temperamentally sensitive, emotionally attuned boy who fills in for the father where the father falls short.

Like mothers, fathers must be aware of the impact they can have on the healthy formation of their son’s gender indentity.

Psychoanalysts have long recognized the importance of the father in the boy’s development and in his separation from his mother. Some analysts have referred to the father as a “breath of fresh air” from overinvolvement with the mother. Dad can be the knight in shining armor with whom the child can play, while being distinctively different from his mother.

The Nicolosis suggest that the best type of father is “salient (which is…being benevolent and strong)” and one “worthy of emulation.”

The Nicolosis go on to address four key things fathers can do to help solidify a relationship with their sons that can promote a healthy gender identity. First, dads need to be keenly aware of not rejecting their sons if the sons have rejected them. “Many fathers of gender-confused sons simply give up and leave the boy to his mother. This is a big mistake.…Your task is to pursue your son, push through his defensive detachment, and with steady and consistent efforts, to become an important person in his life.” Secondly, “Dads must remain committed. Maintaining the parental team is very important, but generally the most challenging problem is keeping the father involved on a consistent basis. In fact, the difficulty of maintaining Dad’s active, daily participation is the most common obstacle to successful therapy.” Next, dads must learn to listen for feelings. The Nicolosis want to make sure their readers understand that “while we have been placing much of the focus of intervention on gender-appropriate behavioral change, we must not forget the true task, which is emotional bonding with the same-sex parent. And in this focus on achieving behavioral change, the child’s feelings can easily be overlooked.” And lastly, they suggest four ways for fathers to develop closer relationships with their sons.

  1. A dad needs to play physically with his boys, remembering occasionally to let them win. “By ‘playing weak,’ the dad allows the son to feel tough, strong, and aggressive.”

  2. “Showering with Dad is good for small boys and can sometimes include brothers.…Showering with Dad and other males in the house fosters a common, relaxed, anatomically based identity and breaks down the fascination and sense of mystery around male anatomy which will fuel male eroticism when puberty arrives.”

  3. “Trips out of the house with just father and son are very helpful.”

  4. “Dad should be the last person to tuck the son into bed.”

Much is involved in imparting healthy gender identities in boys, but this brief overview can aid you as you assess the atmosphere in your home.

Parents with Daughters

Many of the same family dynamics that impart a healthy gender identity in boys are helpful for girls as well. So the first place to start is with the strength of the parents’ marriage, being mindful that little eyes are watching.

Another influence—especially if the daughter has brothers—is the family’s attitude toward feminine things. One of the roots that can often lead to a wounded female psyche is the light in which women are portrayed. Diane Eller-Boyko, a psychotherapist and ex-lesbian, makes this clear:

Our culture especially honors the masculine—strength, dominance, achievement, striving. That creates in many women a neurotic split from their authentic natures. The woman represses the inner hurt and pain, and starts to identify with the masculine. It is out of the unhealed places of the wounded feminine psyche that she becomes aggressive and loud.

The importance of a healthy relationship with Mom is also vital. Mothers who are too self-absorbed, unwilling or incapable of nurturing, or detached will affect their daughters’ developing gender identity negatively. The Nicolosis repeat the words of one therapist who bluntly summarized the problem relationships she came in contact with while working with women who struggled in this area:

The little girl who turns to homosexuality never has a chance to create herself. She is a creation of her mother, whose self-love she was meant to enhance.…Mothers seemed to use their children as sometimes desperately needed, sometimes desperately repudiated extension of themselves.

But she’s quick to point out the importance of Dad’s role as well.

When these little girls tried to turn to their fathers, they did not fare much better. Preoccupied with their business deal, the men sporadically paid attention to their daughters, overstimulating them, and then appeared to forget that they were around.…These fathers, when they took the time to react at all, responded to their daughters as persons who had to be made over in their own, masculine image.

Parents need to assess their attitudes toward femininity and make sure that they’re relating to their developing daughter in healthy, productive ways.

A safe environment is also essential for young girls as they develop a healthy gender identity. Few things are more damaging to young women than abuse—whether personally experienced or observed. You must protect your daughter from abusive situations at all costs. Seek professional help to work through abusive situations.

This is only a superficial look at prevention. You can find a deeper examination of the role of parental influence in A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by the Nicolosis. Another excellent resource is An Ounce of Prevention by Don Schmierer.

Excerpted from 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality by Mike Haley. Copyright © 2004 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.