While recognising the external differences between people, some children may recognise within themselves a sense of feeling different from their peers. At this stage, however, they may not be able to identify what this feeling of difference means.
During childhood, they may behave in ways that are misunderstood by adults. Because of this, they may experience negative attitudes or not be allowed to develop to their full potential.
For example, a boy is perceived to be effeminate because he wants to bake and is small in stature. He is bullied by his peers and called a “moffie”. As a result, he feels isolated and fares poorly in his schoolwork. In addition, people assume that as an adult he will ‘turn out’ gay, based on his behaviour and physical appearance.
This assumption may, however, be completely incorrect as it is based on one of the many incorrect myths about gay men that assumes that all gay men are effeminate:
- In fact, he may grow up to be a well-built man, identify as a heterosexual man, have children and a female partner.
- Or he may grow up to be a well-built man, identify as a gay man, have children and be in a loving, committed relationship with his male partner.
From this example, we can see how assumptions about children can limit their ability to ‘be themselves’ and to fully develop their potential.
In personal accounts, some gay people have revealed that they knew that they were gay from the age of four, five or six. They recall feeling ‘different’. What this means is that, as young children, they did not know that they were lesbian, gay or bisexual, but later as adults they were able to:
- More clearly identify their consistent feelings of same-sex attraction, and
- Consolidate their homosexual identity.
- Triangle Project