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How to prevent homosexuality in boys


by D. O'Leary

Homosexual attractions are symptoms of a preventable developmental disorder. Once the symptoms are observed prompt intervention and treatment can prevent a homosexuality outcome, but it is preferable to prevent the conditions which cause the disorder in the first place.

1) The best prevention of homosexuality in boys is a strong father/son relationship in which the father affirms the masculine identity of the son. Irving Bieber who conducted a comprehensive study of homosexual men found that a positive supportive relationship between father and son prevented homosexuality. This relationship should include rough and tumble play between father and son. For example, when a father tossing his young son up in the air, the boy is at first frightened but then recognizes that he can trust his father, that his father loves him, that the activity is exciting. The boy wants to do it over and over. The mother may try to intervene, but in a healthy situation the father ignores her protestations and the son learns independence from the mother. If the mother prevails and the activity ceases or never begins, the father/son bond is not firmly established. There is evidence that being tossed in the air and rough-and-tumble play in the first 3 years of life builds brain connections which lead to confidence in physical activity and may effect later coordination.

2) Second, it is absolutely essential that all adults and older children unequivocally affirm the boy's masculine identity, and show disapproval toward stereotypically girly activities and cross dressing. A simple "Boys don't do that" on the first occasion is sufficient.

3) The mother must encourage her son's competence and mastery and teach him how to overcome his fears and anxieties.

4) The mother must affirm her respect for manhood and men, particularly if the father is clearly deficient or absent.

5) The boy must have a chance to observe happy marriages close up and understand that love between husband and wife is a beautiful thing.

6) The boy needs boy playmates who share his interests.

7) The mother should be modest in front of her children and respect their modesty. Children should not observe sexual acts.

8) Children should be protected from sexual molestation by adults or other children, with a yearly admonition from their parents that if anyone tries to touch their private parts or asks them to touch his parts they are to tell immediately and that people who do such things are usually liars.

9) Parents need to teach children to forgive those who injure them, to reject envy and self-pity, and to practice virtue. The difference between boys who become homosexual and those who do not is not simply that the former were traumatized and the latter not. Almost all children experience traumas of one sort or another. The difference may be that for the homosexually attracted the trauma remained unhealed. In many cases bitterness, envy, unforgiveness, and self-pity were either allowed to fester or subtly encouraged.

All this should begin immediately after birth. The critical period for gender identity development is 8 months to 4 years of age

Boys who are excessively "pretty", sickly, sensitive, non-athletic, youngest brothers, fatherless, or whose mothers are psychologically troubled are at greater risk. There is some evidence that adopted sons may be at-risk, perhaps because of separation anxiety or because the father may find it more difficult to bond with a non-biological child than the mother. "At-risk" does not mean that a homosexual outcome is inevitable, only that it is more likely than in a boy who shows none of these symptoms. The symptoms of an at-risk boy are:

1) Fear of rough and tumble play

2) Lack of same-sex playmates

3) Dislike of team sports

4) Doll play

5) Cross dressing or interest in women's clothes or shoes

6) Effeminate speech or mannerism

7) Playacting in which the boy takes a feminine part.

8) Frequent statements that he wants to be a girl or is a girl.

These symptoms usually appear between 2 and 8 and then in some cases fade away as the boy is pressured by peers. The fading away of the more external manifestations should not however be taken as a sign that the problem has resolved itself. Often it merely goes underground and emerges in adolescence as same-sex attraction.

When symptoms are observed, early intervention -- basically more father/male influence and less mother/female influence -- is usually effective, particularly if accompanied by counseling of child and parents. However, since these boys need male closeness, they are easily targeted by pedophiles and therefore need positive male relationships and extra support throughout childhood and adolescence.

A comprehensive review of the literature on how homosexuality develops in males leads to the conclusion that it is a cumulative process in which one trauma leads to another, Each trauma increases the chance that the boy will be retraumatized and each trauma intensifies the effect of the subsequent trauma. A boy who doesn't have a good relationship with his father, turns to his mother. This makes the relationship with his father worse. A boy who is over-identified with his mother and feels unloved by his father will find it difficult to relate to male peers. Teasing by peers intensifies feelings of alienation from his father and drives him to seek comfort from his mother. This child is particularly vulnerable to child molesters and likely to interpret the molestation as evidence that he is homosexual. And so on.


The following are a few quotes from research on the development of homosexual attraction. Those interested in the subject may email the Irving Bieber Memorial Library East Coast for additional information (heartbeatnews@compuserve.com)



Contrary to some critics, the comprehensive study by Bieber et al. of homosexual men in psychotherapy has not been contradicted by research on non-patient samples. The conclusions on the importance of the father/son relationship have been validated by numerous subsequent studies.

Bieber, I. et al. (1962) Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals. NY: Basic Books.

The following are direct quotations:

...We have come to the conclusion that a constructive, supportive, warmly related father precludes the possibility of a homosexual son; he acts as a neutralizing protective agent should the mother make seductive or close-binding attempts.


Dr. Hadden, a pioneer in the treatment of homosexuality, points out that the symptoms of future problems were recognized before the men started school and treatment could have prevented a homosexual outcome.

Hadden, S. (1967) Male homosexuality. Pennsylvania Medicine. Feb.: 78 -80

The following are direct quotations:

In my experience with male homosexuals, they almost universally recognize that they were maladjusted at the time they started school. Many were recognized by their parents as needing psychiatric assistance much earlier. In analystical examination of the pre-school period of life it is usually revealed that the boy who became homosexual never felt accepted by and never felt comfortable in relationships with his age peers. Quite often because of parental interference he was prevented from participation in the play activities with other children and had little opportunity of running, romping, rolling around, tugging, wrestling, and scrambling with his peers from the toddling stage to the kindergarten or school age... A defective image of self is established and its persistence is an important factor in the homosexual.

Combinations of experiences, however, may cause one to feel so inadequate and inferior to masculine peers that the desire for acceptance is strong enough to make one willing to be utilized as a sexual object by a male considered more masculine than himself.

In group treatment, the male homosexual finds acceptance by individuals who have found their homosexuality unacceptable and are seeking a heterosexual adjustment... the banter, teasing, and blunt critical comments of the group serve as a verbalized equivalent of the scrambling kind of play so important in the pre-school life of a child. Through these verbalized reassuring comments of the group, he is able to gain confidence and to feel wanted, not as a sexual object, but as a friend at an adult masculine level.

1. We consider homosexuality to be an experientially determined pattern of mal-adaptation and as such it is amenable to treatment.

2. Disturbed child-parent relationships and inter-parental conflict contribute to the development of various patterns of mal-adaptation.

3. Lack of effective scrambling peer play relationships in the toddling and pre-school period is the most important factor in creating the loneliness and aloofness that predisposes to homosexuality.

4. Effective rough and tumble peer play relationships may compensate for defective child-parent and inter-parental relationships.

5. Homosexuality can be altered by individual treatment but group psycho-therapy is a superior method.

6. As our knowledge of etiologic factors increases, prevention can be anticipated.

Snortum, J., Gillespie, J., Marshall, J., McLaughin, J., Mosberg, L. (1969) Family dynamics and homosexuality. Psychological Reports. 24: 763 - 770.

The following are direct quotations:

This study represents an extension of the psychoanalytic research on homosexuality by Bieber, et al.(1962) because the present investigators, the methods and Ss were all drawn from outside the circle of psychoanalytic practice... Ss were 46 males being evaluated for separation from military service because of homosexual behavior... The results appear to offer objective support for the significance of a close-binding, controlling mother and a rejecting, detached father in the etiology of male homosexuality.

Ten Items Showing the Largest Percentage Difference Between Homosexual and Control Groups

% Controls % Homosexuals

N = 89 N = 46

I never got along very well with my father (T) 7% 57%

I was much closer to my mother than my father (T) 28% 76%

My dad and I spent very little time together (T) 27% 74%

My mother and dad were interested in the same

things (F) 17% 61%

My mother and dad were happily married (F) 8% 52%

When my parent fought, I usually felt my mother

was right (T) 19% 61%

I rarely participated in competitive sports like

baseball (T) 12% 52%

As a child I usually watched rather than

participated in group games (T) 9% 48%

I believe I was a pretty good athlete (F) 34% 72%

I had a strong fear of physical injury as a child (T) 9% 46%

Sipova, I., Brzek, A. (1983) Parental and interpersonal relationships of transsexual and masculine and feminine homosexual men. Homosexuals and Social Roles: Journal of Homosexuality. 75 - 85.

The following are direct quotations:

The fathers of homosexuals and transsexuals in our study were on the average reported more hostile and less dominant. As identification models they ranged from not very desirable to highly unsatisfactory. In particular, the fathers of effeminate homosexuals were frequently reported as uncaring, unkind and harsh.

... the development of self-esteem in boys is directly dependent on the degree to which the father is committed to their rearing and the strength of the emotional bond with him. The homosexuals and transsexuals in our study manifested self-esteem disorders.

...the development of self-esteem in boys is directly dependent on the degree to which the father was committed to their rearing and the strength of the emotional bond with him.


In 87.39% of cases boyhood gender nonconformity preceded adult homosexuality. This suggests that boys at-risk can be identified in childhood.

Hockenberry, S., Billingham, R. (1987) Sexual orientation and boyhood gender conformity: Development of the boyhood gender conformity scales (BGCS) Archives of Sexual Behavior. 16, 6: 475 - 492.

The following are direct quotations:

Two hundred twenty-eight respondents (110 heterosexuals and 118 homosexuals) competed a survey containing a 20-item Boyhood Gender Conformity scale (BGCS) ...The combined scale was developed in an attempt to obtain a reliable, valid, and potent discriminating instrument for accurately classifying adult male respondents for sexual orientation on the basis of their reported boyhood gender conformity or nonconforming behavior and identity... The conclusion was made that the five item function (playing with boys, preferring boys' games, imagining self as a sport figure, reading adventure and sports stories, considered a "sissy") was the most potent and parsimonious discriminator among adult males for sexual orientation. It was similarly noted that the absence of masculine behaviors and traits appeared to be a more powerful predictor of later homosexual orientation than the traditionally feminine or cross-sexed traits and behaviors.

Whitam (1977) developed and administered a six item inventory to 206 homosexual and 78 heterosexual male respondents regarding their childhood interests in cross-dressing, playing with dolls preferences for affiliating with girls and older women, being regarded as a "sissy" by peers, and the nature of one's childhood sex play. Virtually all of the homosexuals (97%) reported possessing one or more of these "childhood indicators," whereas 74% of the heterosexual subjects reported a complete absence of any of the indicators in their childhood. Whitam found that the stronger one's homosexual orientation on the Kinsey continuum the greater the frequency of feminine childhood indicators that were typically reported.

In brief, both the 13-item function and the 5-item function was able to correctly classify 87.39% of the respondents into their appropriate groups.

It was the respondents who, during childhood, failed to participate or conform to masculine norms and activities (i.e. playing with boys and enjoying boys' games), did not typically fantasize or idealize masculine model and ideals and were more often regarded as "sissy" by other boys, reported themselves as homosexuals. This indicates that it may be the absence of masculine traits rather than the presence of feminine traits that is the stronger the most influential variable for a future homosexual orientation in adulthood... Hence we hold to using the term "gender conformity/nonconformity" as more accurately characterizing homosexuals' reported childhood behaviors and identities as opposed to more common descriptive terms as "cross-sexed behavior," "childhood effeminacy," or "feminine gender identity."

Phillips, G., Over, R. (1992) Adult sexual orientation in relation to memories of childhood gender conforming and gender nonconforming behaviors. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 21, 6: 543 - 558.

The following are direct quotations:

The 16-item discriminate-function ... yielded correct classification of 94.4% of heterosexual men and 91.8% of the homosexual men. These results indicate that heterosexual and homosexual men are classified with equivalent accuracy on the basis of recalling having had or not had gender conforming (masculine) experiences in childhood. However, the heterosexual men were more accurately classified than the homosexual men on the basis of whether a person reported having experienced gender nonconforming (feminine) behaviors during childhood. Classification was more accurate when it was based on memory of both gender conforming and gender nonconforming behaviors than on one of these measures alone.

Friedman, R. Stern, L. (1980) Juvenile aggressivity and sissiness in homosexual and heterosexual males. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis. 8,3: 427 - 440

The following are direct quotations:

The sample consisted of two groups 17 men each. One group was exclusively homosexual, the other, exclusively heterosexual. ...Subjects were excluded if they manifested effeminacy, childhood histories of more than incidental cross-dressing, sexual desire for females, history of sexual activity with females... Subjects were excluded if, during the past year, they demonstrated affective disorders, drug abuse, depression, excessive and problem drinking, anxiety-phobic neurosis, antisocial personality, psychophysiolgical reactions, venereal disease, or suicide attempts. No subjected related that he had ever had venereal disease nor had any subject ever made a suicide attempt.

RESULTS: AGGRESSIVITY AND ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE PLAY IN HOMOSEXUALS AND HETEROSEXUALS: No Experience with Aggression (with Resultant Adverse Social Consequences).

Homosexuals: Thirteen of the 17 homosexual subjects (76%) reported chronic, persistent terror of fighting with other boys during the juvenile and early adolescent period. The intensity of this fear approximated a panic reaction. To the best of their recall, these boys never responded to challenge from a male peer with counter-challenge, threat, or attack. the pervasive dread of male-male peer aggression was a powerful organizing force in their minds. Anticipatory anxiety resulted in phobic responses to social activities; the fantasy that fighting might occur led to avoidance of wide variety of social interactions, especially rough-and-tumble activities (defined in our investigation as body-contact sports such as football and soccer).

These subjects reported that painful loss of self-esteem and loneliness resulted from their extreme aversion to juvenile peer aggressive interactions. All but one (12 of 13) were chronically hungry for closeness with other boys. Unable to overcome their dread of potential aggression in order to win respect and acceptance, these boys were labeled "sissies" by peers. These 12 subjects related that they had the lowest possible peer status during juvenile and early adolescent years. Alternately ostracized and scapegoated, they were the targets of continual humiliation.

All of these boys denied effeminacy. Only three formed compensatory close relationships with girls and enjoyed girl-like activities such as doll play and hopscotch. The rest simply remained chronically isolated and fantasized friendship with other boys...

All 13 youngsters had markedly negative feelings about their bodies. In ten cases, subjects described them as soft and flabby (in six cases, to their consternation) as being "like a girl's." ... Another boy had poor vision and, as a result, "hated his body." In all cases, the body was perceived as being easily damaged. All subjects expressed a strong fear of physical injury were they to engage in contact sports.

Heterosexuals: Only two heterosexual boys (12%) reported a response to real or fantasized male peer-peer aggression similar in quality, chronicity, and consequence to that occurring in the prehomosexual males.


Homosexuals: No prehomosexual youngster had any degree of experience with fighting or rough-and-tumble during the juvenile years. None engaged in even the modest juvenile sex-typed interactions described by the least aggressive heterosexual youngster.

Heterosexuals: Thirteen subjects related that they engaged in male-male peer aggression to some degree during their juvenile and adolescent period. All of these boys occasionally initiated attack, all responded to challenge with counter challenge... Despite varying degrees of timidity, all engaged in some fighting and made no heroic efforts to avoid it. Mastery of the anxiety resulting from fear of defeat and injury itself was an important source of self-esteem during their juvenile years in all cases.

NO EXPERIENCES WITH AGGRESSION (BUT NO ADVERSE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES) The remaining cases consist of four prehomosexuals and four preheterosexuals. these individuals all denied extreme fear of fighting with resultant social phobic reactions. These eight subjects maintained that they did not fight during the juvenile and early adolescent years because fighting was no part of their peer culture... These boys had adequate peer status.

DISCUSSION: ... Our homosexual subjects were not conflict-ridden about their sexual preferences, absence of major present psychopathology, and, unlike individuals in less selective studies, had no past histories of arrests, venereal disease, or suicide attempts.... Our findings suggest that at least for some boys, 'sissiness; refers more to negative feelings about one's place in the world of males than to recognition that one belongs to the world of females... the sissies in our study were not hopscotch-playing, girl-like boys. Rather, they were boys who, to their shame, were unable to develop behaviors that would make them acceptable to male peers.

We favor the hypothesis that the wish to be sexually close to males arose in a setting where there were intense longings for general closeness with male peers at a critical period of development. The erotic desire appeared to repair in fantasy feelings of deprivation resulting from inadequate positive social input. It is important to note that all the sissies lost their sissy labels by mid-to late adolescence, but by this time, their sexual orientation appeared to have been fixed.

Although we were well aware that prehomosexual youngsters tend to avoid aggressive activities, we were astonished at the universality of this finding in our study, and at its age specificity. Many prehomosexual youngster developed skills at aggressive behavior during later years. In our study not a single youngster had what must be termed positive aggressive input during juvenile years.

We emphasize that male-male aggressive competency during the juvenile years is conceptualized by us with respect to homosexual development as being an extinguishing fact, not a cause.

... we conceptualize a durable father-son relationship as being a preventive agent with respect to homosexual development.

Successful attainment of a minimal degree of aggressivity increases the likelihood that a boy will obtain social supports with peers that further his development of masculine autonomy.

Two heterosexual sissies manifested attributes of the prehomosexuals sissies. .. in one case the answer lies in the dynamics of the subject's family: the mother persistently and energetically pushed her son toward heterosexuality. The remaining preheterosexual sissy had a psychobiography that follows the classic patterns outlined by the Bieber group as predisposing toward homosexuality. This suggests to us that occasionally heterosexuality may develop in boys irrespective of psychosocial influences that should lead to homosexuality.


Green, R. (1974) Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults. Baltimore: Penguin.

The following are direct quotations:

The following factors have been found in association with the emergence of boyhood femininity...

1. Parental indifference to feminine behavior in a boy during his first years.

2. Parental encouragement of feminine behavior in a boy during his first years

3. Repeated cross-dressing of a young boy by a female.

4. Maternal overprotection of a son and inhibition of boyish or rough and tumble play during his first years

5. Excessive maternal attention and physical contact resulting in lack of separation and individuation of a boy from his mother.

6. Absence of an older male as an identity model during a boy's first years or paternal rejection of a young boy.

7. Physical beauty of a boy that influences adults to treat him in a feminine manner.

8. Lack of male playmates during a boy's first years of socialization.

9. Maternal dominance of a family in which the father is relatively powerless.

10. Castration fear


This follow-up study of boys diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder in childhood revealed that 68% of those who had shown extensive cross-gender behavior were bisexual or homosexually orientated as adults. That means that 32% were not. The risk is high, but a homosexual outcome is not inevitable.

Green, R. (1985) Gender identity in childhood and later sexual orientation: Follow-up of 78 males. American Journal of Psychiatry. 142, 3: 339 - 441.

The following are direct quotations:

Two groups of males were evaluated on parameters of gender identity, initially in boyhood and later in adolescence or young adulthood. One group was composed of 66 clinically referred boys whose behaviors were consistent with the diagnosis of gender identity disorder of childhood. The other group consisted of 56 volunteers selected on the basis of demographic matching. Two-thirds of each group were reevaluated for sexual orientation; 30 of the 44 who previously had shown extensive cross-gender behavior and none of the 34 in the comparison group were bisexually or homosexually orientated.


The following two studies by point to evidence that birth order, in particular the number of older brothers, has an effect on sexual orientation. The authors offer no explanationa of this phenomen. If homosexuality in males is related to a failure to identify with the father, then the presence of older brothers who occupy the father's interest and attention, leaving the "baby" under the mother's control might be a sufficient explanation. Some therapists have suggested that homosexuality in males is related to the failure of the boy to engage in roughhousing with the father during the first 18 months of life. They suggest that when a beloved father tosses a baby boy in the air, the baby experiences fear, excitement and love. Without such experiences a boy may fear that he could be injured by rough-and-tumble play. A father who played actively with his first and second sons may spend less time with subsequent sons. On the other hand, a mother who feels that she has "lost" her older sons to the athletic interests of the husband, may overprotect the youngest.

Likewise, it is more likely that a boy with several older brothers would be teased about his size and strength, might feel (and indeed in relation to his older brother be) small and inadequate, or be afraid of being hurt during rough-and-tumble play.

Again it is important to remember that this is only one "risk factor" among many. Only a tiny percentage of boys with 2 or more older brothers become homosexual.

Blanchard, R., Zucker, K. (1994) Reanalysis of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith's data of birth order, sibling sex ratio, and parental age in homosexual men. American Journal of Psychiatry. 151, 9: 1375 - 1376.

The following are direct quotations:

The authors compared parental age, birth order, and sex ratio of siblings for 575 homosexual men and 284 heterosexual men, matched on age and education. These men were originally part of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith's large-scale study of male and female homosexuality. The results confirmed the previous findings that homosexual men have older fathers and later births than do heterosexual men but not the finding that homosexual have larger proportions of brothers. The collective findings suggest that birth order is perhaps the single most reliable demographic difference between homosexual and heterosexual men.'

The present study confirms the previous finding that homosexual men tend to have a later birth order than heterosexual men.(Blanchard 1992; Slater 1962; Hare 1969) With this result, birth order emerges as perhaps the single most reliable demographic difference between homosexual and heterosexual men.

Blanchard, R., Bogaert, A. (1996) Homosexuality in men and number of older Brothers. American Journal of Psychiatry. 153, 1: 27 - 31.

The following are direct quotations:

302 homosexual men were individually matched on year of birth with an equal number of heterosexual men... homosexuality was positively correlated with the proband's number of older brothers but not with older sisters, younger brothers, younger sisters, or parental age at the time of the proband's birth. Each additional older brother increased the odds of homosexuality by 33%... These results restrict the range of possible theories of the birth order phenomenon to those that can explain not only why older brothers increase the probability of homosexuality in later-born males, but also why older sisters neither enhance this effect nor counteract it.

RESULTS: ... Only 45% (165 of 363) of the probands with no older brothers were homosexual, whereas 71% (five of seven) of the probands with four or more older brothers were homosexual.

DISCUSSION: The results confirmed that homosexual men have a higher birth order than heterosexual men primarily because they have more older brothers.


Henry Biller has studied parent-child interaction and compared his findings with other work in the field. This research may help explain why the lack of a strong father/son relationship has such negative consequences.

Biller, H. (1993) Fathers and Families: Paternal Factors in Child Development. Westport CT: Auburn House.) 12 -17

The following are direct quotations:  

Differences between the mother and father can be very stimulating to the infant, even those that might appear quite superficial to the adult. Even if the father and mother behave in generally similar ways, they provide contrasting images for the infant. The father is usually larger than the mother, his voice is deeper, his clothes are not the same, and he moves and reacts differently…The infant also learns that different people can be expected to fulfill different needs. For example, the infant may prefer the mother when hungry or tired, and the father when seeking stimulation of more active play.

The infant who receives verbal as well as physical stimulation from both mother and father profits from the experience...Mothers and fathers, in addition to having distinctive sounding voices, have different verbal styles when communicating to infants and children as well as to other adults. Such differences provide the infant with an important source of stimulation and learning.

Because some of my initial findings suggested that father absence during the first few years of life might inhibit certain aspects of the child's development, I began to observe more closely parent-infant relationships in various types of two-parent families. I discovered that when they are involved with infants, father tend to be more physically active with them than mothers are, playing more vigorously. This seems to be not only because fathers may be less concerned with their children's fragility, especially if they have sons, but also because they themselves have more of a need for physically stimulating activities. It was also apparent that infants with involved fathers formed strong paternal attachments--and were usually at a developmental advantage, compared to those who had close relationships only with their mothers. ... Involved fathers are more likely to stimulate the infant to explore and investigate new objects, whereas mothers tend to engage their infants in relatively prestructured and predictable activities.

In the second year of life, the boys began to demonstrate more interest in interaction with their fathers, although the girls did not display any consistent preferences. In fact, by the end of the second year, all except one of the boys seemed to have a stronger paternal than maternal attachment...

Infants who have two positively involved parents tend to be more curious and eager to explore than those who do not have a close relationship with their fathers... Well-fathered infants are more secure and trusting in branching out in their explorations, and they may be somewhat more advanced in crawling, climbing and manipulating objects.

Psychologist Frank Pedersen (Pedersen, Anderson, Cain (1980), Pedersen, Rubinstein, Yarrow (1979) and his colleagues found that several measures of infant competence were correlated with the degree to which five- and six-month-old babies were involved with their fathers.

Developmental psychology researcher Norma Radin and her colleagues (Radin, Oyserman, Benn (1991) have collected especially provocative evidence concerning the special significance of paternal involvement for infants and toddlers. They studied grandparent/ grandchild relationships in predominantly working-class households in which adolescent unwed mothers were living with one or both or their parents. Overall, young children who had positively involved grandfathers displayed more competent behavior than those with relatively uninvolved grandfathers or absent grandfathers. Although other researchers have sometimes noted the contribution of the grandmother to the development of the child living in a single-mother family, Radin reported no clear-cut impact, suggesting a redundancy between the two forms of maternal influence. On the other hand, the grandfather's nurturance seemed to contribute in several ways to the young child's adaptability. His observed nurturance was associated with infants being more responsive to maternal requests, and with the cognitive competence of two-year-olds. Furthermore, relatively high grandfather involvement in child care was related to observations of less fear, anger and distress being displayed by one-year-olds, especially boys.


It has been 35 years since Brown gave this speech. During this period while the studies confirming this analysis have multiplied, the information is less widely disseminated. In addition, the boys who were not identified and treated in the intervening years are the men who are currently contracting HIVand dying of AIDS.

Brown, D. (1963). Homosexuality and Family Dynamics. Paper presented at the Annual Air Force Clinical Psychology Meeting, Jan. 10. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. 27: 227 - 232.

The following are direct quotations:

In summary, then it would seem that the family pattern involving a combination of a dominating, overly intimate mother plus a detached, hostile or weak father is beyond doubt related to the development of male homosexuality...It is surprising there has not been greater recognition of this relationship among the various disciplines that are concerned with children. A problem that arises in this connection is how to inform and educate teachers and parents relative to the decisive influence of the family in determining the course and outcome of the child's psychosexual development. There would seem no justification for waiting another 25 or 30 years to bring this information to the attention of those who deal with children. And there is no excuse for professional workers in the behavioral sciences to continue avoiding their responsibility to disseminate this knowledge and understanding as widely as possible.

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