Column: Boys to men

By Eric Naing

Dr. James Dobson and his Christian organization, Focus on the Family, recently released several articles telling parents how to identify homosexuality in their children. Though rife with error and harmful stereotypes, the articles give us insight into the fundamentalist Christian mind and prove to be extremely entertaining (though not intentionally).

Focusing on young boys, Dobson’s group says the first warning sign that one might become gay is if they show “a strong feeling that they are ‘different’ from other boys.” Going by this standard, almost every young boy (and girl) who feels “different” when they are young must be a “flaming homo.” And if that is the case, then Dobson is justified in his fear of the pink menace as almost every child in the world would have to be gay.

Another warning sign is “a tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.” In one of his newsletters, Dobson recommends to his followers the manuscript of “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality,” an unpublished book by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi claiming that traits such as being “bright, precocious, social and relational and artistically talented” set young boys apart and contributes “to a distortion in the development of their normal gender identity.”

Apparently Dobson wants all young boys to be boring, unemotional jocks so that one day they can grow up and do something wholesome such as become a policeman, do construction work, become a cowboy, join the navy, or maybe even become part of an Indian tribe.

Nicolosi places great importance on father figures to prevent homosexuality in boys. In his book, he gives examples of activities a father can do with his son to foster a healthy gender identity, such as “teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard.” Hopefully the common conception of fundamentalist Christians being “square” refers just to their attitude and not their anatomy, though I’m still not entirely sure by what a pegboard is.

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    Nicolosi also suggests that a father “can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.” I tried to think of something witty to say here, but there really is nothing more that can be said which could make that statement any more tragically hilarious.

    The other warning signs deal mainly with boys showing various “feminine” traits or if they “walk, talk, dress and even ‘think’ differently.” Helpful as these pointers are, Dobson left out a few. For example, if your son feels “different” in school and is picked on by bullies and called names, then he is probably gay. If he is all these things and gets bitten by a radioactive spider then he is Spider-man, which consequently would also make him gay (just look at those tights).

    Another fun test would be to force your son to wrestle a wild bear. If the bear wins, the athletically-challenged son is gay. If the son wins, than he is a butch gay and probably enjoys being dominant. Regardless of the result, U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, R-Pa., will be vindicated in his belief that homosexuality leads to beastiality.

    James Dobson and his followers are, in truth, advocating parents to teach conformity to children. Their warning signs against homosexuality are really warning signs against being different. And when it comes to their attitudes on homosexuality, these Christian fundamentalists stubbornly cling to outdated stereotypes and believe in things that have long been proven to be wrong. Homosexuality is not a disorder that can be cured or prevented – it is simply a part of life.

    At the risk of sounding like a greeting card, our differences are what make us special. We must treasure what sets each of us apart unless we want to live in world full of James Dobsons. And if that happens, I can hardly imagine the damage all that old man smell will do to the environment.

    Eric Naing is a senior in LAS. His columns appear every Monday. He can be reached at [email protected].