What makes a man “gay”?

Often, a boy who is unable to form a meaningful connection and bond with his father (or older, trusted male equivalent) may be left confused and conflicted about his own gender identity. He may view his father as cold and distant, and detach himself from males because of the hurt or rejection experienced in his search for a masculine role model. When the boy reaches the next stage of his identity development, he may sub-consciously seek to establish that connection and bond with another man.

Other factors that make up each homosexual man’s unique struggle may include:

  • Sexual violation, such as incest, molestation or rape
  • Sexual experimentation with men/boys
  • Exposure to pornography
  • Media influences
  • Personality and temperament
  • Negative body image
  • Teasing, peer labelling, harassment/bullying or alienation
  • Fear of or inability to relate to the opposite sex
  • Dysfunctional family relationships
  • Negative spiritual influences

Homosexuality is complex and a combination of factors is at work; it is too simplistic to attribute undue significance to any single aspect as the cause.1

“Gay” as a term has been used both derisively and in a celebratory manner. In comparison with the more clinical-sounding word “homosexual”, it is emotionally as well as politically-charged and may thus not be useful in aiding our understanding of the issue.

Endnotes
1. Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality(Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2004)