I have an 11 year-old son who is showing a tendency towards becoming gay. People have seen him walking like a girl, but I haven't. I'm thinking that they are just judgmental.

On his computer games he chooses a girl character that is seen by his brothers. He plays most with the girls at school and he is good at volleyball. At the bookstore, out of nowhere he chooses girl stuff like a small diary.

Every time we see him acting like a girl we correct him and explain that that behaviour is girly. But it keeps on happening. I am really worried. We want him to grow up to be normal. I love my son. Please help me handle this situation. We are not encouraging him to be gay but I don't want him to feel pressure or emotionally hurt that the real identity of his personality will be lost. Because I was also thinking that "what if we are judging wrong?"

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Jul 15, 2017 at 15:14
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    @Chelle five years later, this question has managed to bubble to the "Hot network questions" page... what course of action did you take, and how has it turned out for you and your son?
    – Doktor J
    Jul 26, 2017 at 17:08
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    A lot of male gamers choose female characters because "If I'm going to spend a day looking at a butt I might as well enjoy it".
    – pojo-guy
    Mar 24, 2018 at 14:19
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    Don't we all want to know how this sixteen year old boy is doing?
    – gnasher729
    May 6, 2018 at 21:59
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    If you thiink a person can become gay, you're not using that word correctly. May 11, 2018 at 6:41

11 Answers 11


First, I think it is worth noting that gender identity and gender roles are not the same as sexual orientation--liking girly things is not the same as being gay.

As far as your specific issues go, I agree with Rhea that these are not big signs that your son is experimenting with an alternate gender identity. Hanging out with girls, using female avatars in video games, and playing volleyball are not unusual behaviors in heterosexual men.

But I'll assume that there is something more going on here. Even so, adolescents and teens sometimes experiment with different roles, just to see where they fit in. Your son knows what things are girly and what things aren't, what he doesn't know is how he thinks and feels about everything in the world. He needs space and time to figure this stuff out.

He also might make fashion choices--for example, wearing makeup or nail polish--that are more about what music he likes than about gender identity. Punk fashion involved makeup, nail polish, and skirts for guys when I was in high school, and I'm sure there's some kind of fashion statement like that now.

The important thing is that he needs to feel comfortable talking to you about whatever is going on in his life. If his behavior isn't dangerous to himself or others, and if he is still doing the things he needs to do like chores and homework, try just leaving him alone about this sort of thing. The important thing is that he needs to feel comfortable talking to you... if he is being bullied at school, for example, you don't want him to think that you'll blame him for acting "girly". You want him to trust you so that he'll tell you if he's having problems. Making him feel like you think he is gay–and that you think that's a bad thing–because he wants a diary is probably going to make it harder for him to talk to you about whatever is going on in his head.

Of course it is possible that your son is gay. It's also possible that one of his siblings is gay and he is not. Being gay is not a lifestyle choice or the result of a persons upbringing, it's a sexual orientation, something people are born with. Stereotypes aside, gay men are not always effeminate, gay women are not always butch, effeminate men are not always gay, butch women are not always lesbians. You truly can't judge a book by its cover.

But if one of your children is gay, the best thing you can do is to accept them as they are. This is difficult for some parents, so there are organizations out there that can help you adjust, notably PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

Overall, I wouldn't worry about this too much. As parents, the best we can hope for is to raise children who turn into happy adults with their own place in the world. Keep an open dialog and focus on things that matter.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 11, 2017 at 8:09

Some straight people have feminine tendencies like Cross Dressing and it could be a case of your son exploring an identity, or your son could be gay. Either way is a different lifestyle choice that will make his life more difficult. In every society in the world being gay is a negative and will expose gay people to ridicule at best and death at worst depending on the culture and it's laws. The last thing your son needs is his family trying to change him and make him something other than what he is.

You are asking the wrong question, what you should be asking is "How do I support my son?" You can't make someone not be gay, they are or they aren't, it's not up to you. Acting like you can change someone is a form of Denial, and will lead to conflict. I know several gay people who are estranged from their families because they couldn't accept them, and it hurts both sides. If your son is gay then you need to learn to accept it. There are groups to help you come to terms with it, for instance PFLAG.

It may be a phase that your son is going through, or it may not. Either way the best thing you can do is support your son and encourage the rest of the family to do the same. It's not the answer you want I'm sure, but it's the answer you need.


If you want him to be "normal" treat it NORMAL. Kids at school will make fun of him and will be a bigger impact on his decision to act girlie or not than what you could say to him. Making him feel abnormal will lead to way more problems in his life than being gay. I live in Utah and have a cousin that recently said she was lesbian. Her parents are super religious (her dad was a bishop and now stake president in their religion) and very conservative. Obviously they wanted all their kids to be "normal" but the worst thing they could do is not be supportive, this would alienate them form their daughter and cause more stress in her life than already placed on her in society.

People who try to "pray the gay away" end up very hurt that they can not change their feelings and wonder why God hates them. Also, not all boys who play with dolls and do girlie things grow up gay. My son loved barbies growing up and is now a star football and rugby player who is obsessed with girls. My friend's son wanted clothes for his "dolly" for his 4th birthday, now rides BMX at a pro level and loves the ladies.

Here is a video that has BYU students talk about their experience at BYU and with their family, thoughts of suicide because their parents wouldn't want them to be gay and death would be better than letting people know they were gay.


You shouldn't worry about your son choosing the female avatars. In fact, that may be an expression of heterosexuality, his interest in female characters.

So, like others have said, "effeminate" behavior isn't necessarily an expression of his future sexuality. Maybe he's gentle, and maybe he doesn't like traditional boys stuff that typically involves roughhousing and aggression. Maybe he prefers playing house to playing baseball. So what? It means he has a gentle persona. That doesn't mean he is gay. Gay means he has a sexual attraction to men. If he is not expressing this, then you have no reason to believe that he is actually going to become a homosexual man.

Liking girl's stuff may actually be the opposite of what you think. Hanging out with girls may be a way for him to get closer to girls - a way for him to earn girlfriends as it were. He can't earn them the traditional ways of being macho and cool. So he befriends them. Unfortunately he may have to contend with "the friend zone" in his adolescent life, but that's how it is.


There's a whole lot of worse things he could be doing. Like drugs. Vandalism. Getting into trouble. The things you've listed as things he enjoys are completely harmless. So let him do them as he wants, and allow him to freely continue to discover who he is.

What if your son does turn out to be gay? Would you rather him feel judged and alone and hopeless, or would you rather him at least have one place where he can feel safe and accepted? If you continue to try to "correct" his behavior, if it's more than "just a phase," trying to correct this will most likely only mean he'll no longer do it in front of you, and he'll most likely stop confiding in you. Meanwhile, he'll have to face an unforgiving and un-accepting world alone. If it's "just a phase", then he'll probably just move on eventually, regardless of anything you did.

Continue loving your son, and try your best to accept him for who he is.


I am a gay male. And what you've described, is precisely the behaviors I displayed as a young child. I enjoyed playing with girls more than boys, found girl toys fun to play with, and acted a bit feminine. I always knew I was different; I just didn't know what it was until adulthood. Now, my parents did the same thing and tried to correct my behavior and told me that boys don't act like girls. I began to hate myself and viewed myself as flawed, and believed something was wrong with me. If you love your kid, don't teach him to hate himself. Society will take care of that. If anything, embrace who he is, and encourage him to be his most authentic self and love himself for he is. I've had to deal with self-esteem issues, poor self-imagine, and have had to unlearn to hate myself. It might come as a shock to you, but his sexual orientation is none of your concern. I know it sounds harsh, but he doesn't owe you anything. Love him, care for him, and teach him how to be a strong person. Cause if he is gay, he is going to need to grow thick skin.


Try to make him trust you (earn his trust), trust himself, and think of his needs. I think he needs more attention and love from you and his dad.

Nothing of what you said means he is going to be a gay. Maybe he is walking like that because he feel like every body is looking at him. The diary could be because he feels the need write down what he thinks can't tell any one. His games because he wants to talk with a girl but he doesn't has the courage.

All you need to do is love him and give him attention and make him feel he is strong man. Ask him for help by saying for example "I need a strong man to help me with this would you do that?" Things like that make him feel that he can do a lot of things.


Just because a boy acts feminine doesn't necessarily mean he's gay. He could be transgender. There's a big difference between sexual identity and gender identity. Either way, the boy is just expressing himself. You shouldn't correct him. That will only make him think there is something wrong with him and throw him into a depression. Just leave him alone and just see if it manifests into something else.

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    Hi, Lori, and welcome. Your answer suggests that those are the only two options. In any case, good advice. Mar 31, 2016 at 15:06
  • +1 Lori for thinking of that second possibility. And yes indeed, @anongoodnurse, there are other possibilities, such as that the boy is bi-curious or gender-fluid. Or the boy might be a straight boy who is just trying out different ways to behave. We can't tell. But you're right, Lori: the OP shouldn't correct him.
    – Rosie F
    Sep 6, 2017 at 16:05

Just love your son and let him experiment.

The question "is my son gay? How to help him be happy with himself?" is at least 5 years down the line.

Let him be a kid and DO NOT get into the crazy habit of treating him like a full mature adult and talking him into things he cannot even understand about sexuality.

Let he pick the pretty pink diary and play volleyball. He is just a kid being a kid and exploring the world. Do not punish him for such behaviour.

Beware of people pushing a political agenda at the expenses of kids. There is no need to fiddle with a young boy natural development and exploring, keep also in mind that if a kid finds out that saying or doing certain things will get him attention he will do that 100x.

Just do not worry and in a few years he will find out himself what he is. Worrying about "is my 11yo transgender?" is just a modern-day hysteria, in my honest and free opinion. There is the possibility that your son is gay and you will find out in a few years.

Just make it clear that whatever he is you will love him.


I think I have the solution. Look to Asia. In America, people are more judgmental preventing people from exposing their true selves. Many parts in Asia if a "boy" "toddler" acts like a girl or is gay, they don't care. Your son may be gay.

However, you need to just support him to be strong, and if he likes boys not to be afraid. Building his confidence would be the best thing should he be gay or straight. He might be too young to declare it or know for sure.


What is his school like? A lot of schools are very hostile to masculinity. If he is being indoctrinated to believe that what are traditionally feminine values and behavior are the normal and expected good behavior for everyone, then that might cause your son to behave in a feminine manner.

Apparently some people think this is a silly statement to make, so I will put some links up to support this point of view. They will be based towards the UK, which is where I am from, but I doubt the situation is any different in the US.

We don't do our sons any good by ignoring how the education system is letting down boys.

One in four primary schools in England still has no male registered teacher. In total, women make up three-quarters of registered teachers - which includes all state school teachers and also teachers in the independent sector who choose to register with the GTCE. Only 12% of primary school teachers are male, compared with 38% of secondary school teachers. There are just 48 male teachers in state nurseries. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14748273

Feminised curriculum 'has thrown boy out with bathwater' http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/jun/13/schools.uk3

Deborah Orr: The truth about our 'feminised' society http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/deborah-orr/deborah-orr-the-truth-about-our-feminised-society-441117.html

Feminising education is of benefit to no one http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/3641881/Feminising-education-is-of-benefit-to-no-one.html

The War Against Boys http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/05/the-war-against-boys/304659/

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    why the down vote ?
    – matthew
    Aug 25, 2012 at 20:07
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    I suspect it is the general tone of your response. Aug 25, 2012 at 20:21
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    I didn't realise there was a tone to my response.
    – matthew
    Aug 25, 2012 at 22:42
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    Interesting links, but questionable. The 'outdoor activities' article, for instance. A superb idea, but assuming 'outdoor activities' is male-centric, is quite sexist and rather missing the point. The rest of the articles seem to be griping about the imbalance of genders in teaching roles (a valid concern) but doesn't come to very pronounced conclusions and seems designed moreso to simply promote the phrase 'feminization of education' which smells very politically contrived. In either case, they are all referring to academic achievement--not affects on gender identity in children.
    – DA01
    Aug 27, 2012 at 16:20

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