Relating to Children: Gays as Role Models


Psychology Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.


Within the framework that same-sex sexual preference can be a positive outcome, the developmental aspects of sexual identity are traced. It seems that gender identity is fixed in early childhood, rigid sex-role identity has questionable effects while more flexibility in sex-role behaviors has definite advantages, and sexual preference choices continue to evolve throughout one's lifetime. A review of the literature on role modeling leads to the conclusions that children internalize particular traits from a variety of models, and that gays are more likely to serve as nontraditional sex-role models than as determiners of same-sex sexual preference.