‘Boys, men and sexuality’

 

I’m including here a few very interesting extracts from the paper of a colleague of mine, entitled: ‘Boys, men & sexuality: A boy’s odysseys in the consolidation of his sexual identity.’

 

A gay friend of mine (G) was telling me how cross he feels with his father (F) because the latter does not accept his son’s sexuality. G has not told F about his sexual preferences overtly, however he does believe that his father “knows” about them. While G was telling me how bitter and frustrating it feels to be rejected by your own father he recalled a memory from his childhood years. F, being a great fan of football, was critical and mocking about G’s dislike of that sport. On one occasion F said in a pejorative tone, “What kind of a son are you anyway? All the boys love going with their dads to the football matches but you’d rather sit and watch Fame on the video”. (Fame was an American movie film and TV series in the early 80’s, that followed the lives of a bunch of students at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, where they got specialized training that often led to success as actors, singers, etc.).

The frustration of the father that his son is not like the one he would like to have can be well understood and similarly my friend’s disappointment in his father’s attitude. The above case is loaded with points that are open for interpretations and hypotheses. For me, the importance of the incident may lie in another aspect. It could be suggested that G thought, and he believes that so did his father, that his indifference to football, parallel to his interest in Fame, was a kind of a sign, a sort of precursor of his homosexuality. His father, possibly along with other clues, somehow predicted his son’s later homosexual orientation and his reaction was to reject him. At least this is how my friend felt.

Afterwards, reflecting on what I heard, I thought that similar incidents must be present in the histories of many gay men. In some cases the rejection of the father, as in the example above, might result in an early assault on the boys’ self-regard, reinforced by later peer rejection, prejudice and sometimes hatred by the larger society. Behaviour patterns affect the way other people relate to homosexuals, which may cause significant emotional damage and in turn may affect the nature and quality of their relationships. Psychoanalysis has a lot to say about developmental issues that may lead to homosexuality, without having a lot to say about the boy’s subjectivity.

 

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uploaded by Leo Dolias