Sexual Orientation and Childhood Gender Nonconformity: Evidence From Home Videos

Gerulf Rieger*, Joan A W Linsenmeier, Lorenz Gygax, J. Michael Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations

Abstract

Homosexual adults tend to be more gender nonconforming than heterosexual adults in some of their behaviors, feelings, and interests. Retrospective studies have also shown large differences in childhood gender nonconformity, but these studies have been criticized for possible memory biases. The authors studied an indicator of childhood gender nonconformity not subject to such biases: childhood home videos. They recruited homosexual and heterosexual men and women (targets) with videos from their childhood and subsequently asked heterosexual and homosexual raters to judge the gender nonconformity of the targets from both the childhood videos and adult videos made for the study. Prehomosexual children were judged more gender nonconforming, on average, than preheterosexual children, and this pattern obtained for both men and women. This difference emerged early, carried into adulthood, and was consistent with self-report. In addition, targets who were more gender nonconforming tended to recall more childhood rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

Keywords

  • behavioral observation
  • development
  • sex-typed behavior
  • sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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