I Am Starting to get Confused about the Born Gay Theory

26 September, 2021
Q Assalamualaikum!

I have started to feel stressed out and I need help! So when I was young ( starting from age 4 ) I did not act like many typical or average boys. I liked to play with dolls ( dressing and watching the faces and body ). And mostly gender neutral things more often and did not enjoy rough and tumble play or sports and did not enjoy boy toys a lot.

I have always from a young age also imagined myself as a princess dancing with pretty clothes which started at the age 5 but ended at the age of 8. Since my mom at that time told me that I would become a monkey and will need to be sent to the zoo if I like girly, pink and soft stuff.

I have always felt different and feminine but not extremely feminine ( equally had boy and girl best friends).

My family, such as my mum, had been concerned about it. I am starting to get confused about the “born gay” theory because as puberty started I have felt sexual attraction to men’s body and faces but did not find them romantically attractive.

I have never wanted to be gay or still do not support LGBT things but I am getting confused if they were born this way. I cannot feel attraction to women’s bodies and always from puberty hated female voices and faces.

I don’t know what to do. As I was saying as a boy from a very young age I quite felt unhappy about why I couldn't like prince and princess stories, fairies, mermaids etc.

But why will I have to act rough and tough pretend liking superheroes as characters etc. So does this mean that I was a bad person from a very young age?

Answer


In this counseling session:

The words “gender” and “sex” are sometimes confused, but a person’s sex refers to biological characteristics determined at conception or in utero; a person’s gender is understood by many researchers to be influenced by a range of societal and environmental factors as well as biological factors. 

Psychologically speaking (and even Islamically, as far as I’m concerned, but please write our Ask the Scholar section if you want to double check), there is nothing wrong for a boy to play with dolls, to watch fairy tales or wishing to be a princess. Toys are genderless tools of learning and expressing ourselves.

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The environment influences us. It either encourages us to do certain things and we imitate the behavior, OR it discourages us and we want to do the opposite. 

Reality is subjective. Reality is colorful, and not black or white. We are not boxes, but spectrums. I love to always remind ourselves of these facts.

There is a detailed, thorough paper by Yaqeen Institute you should read in order to get a clear picture on homosexuality from an Islamic perspective. 

I advise you to seek help from a professional. A couple of sessions inshallah will be enough to help you get through these stressing feelings. 


Salam Aleikom,

Thank you for writing to us with your concern. 

First of all, I need to state that I am not an Islamic scholar. So I will answer your question from a psychological perspective.

I am really sorry to hear of all the stress you experience in your life. It is clear from your question that your current dilemmas are complex and bring lots of frustration in your life.

I will do my best to release some of the stress you have been through. But online counseling is very limited to solve these issues completely. Therefore, I highly recommend you seek professional help by a one to one therapy, inshallah. 

Learning gender roles

To begin, let’s clarify two terms. 

The words “gender” and “sex” are sometimes confused, but a person’s sex refers to biological characteristics determined at conception or in utero; a person’s gender is understood by many researchers to be influenced by a range of societal and environmental factors as well as biological factors. 

So, who is a male and who is a female as sex is clear-cut in most cases. However, what characteristics, behaviors, professions or even toys we label as masculine or feminine depends on the society, the family, and the culture you live in. 

Children are born as tabula rasa – like a while paper who is not aware of anything, including these gender roles. Boys and girls are the same to them (that’s why Islamically it is OK until a certain age that they play together.) Children are interested in everything; they want to try anything and are eager to learn about the world around us. Their primary way of learning is imitating others.

Thus, I believe, even though I am sure your mother loves you the most. And she did everything to you out of love, it was wrong that they not only denied you playing with dolls, but told you off for it. I am sorry that you did not have the chance to explore your world the way you wanted.  

Psychologically speaking (and even Islamically, as far as I’m concerned, but please write our Ask the Scholar section if you want to double check), there is nothing wrong for a boy to play with dolls, to watch fairy tales or wishing to be a princess. Toys are genderless tools of learning and expressing ourselves.

I Am Starting to get Confused about the Born Gay Theory - About Islam

Maybe you wanted to play with dolls because you had sisters or many little girls around you. Who were playing with dolls and you simply wanted to do what they do. 

Maybe your caring instinct – which men have as well! – told you to play with dolls as well. 

Maybe you are more of an artistic person who loves beauty. And that is why you felt like being a beautiful princess (rather than a dark knight).

Children follow their instincts, and our job as parents is to guide them gently – to become who they actually are. 

This is a hard task. We should give guidance that does not dictate and force our views on the children. But does not confuse them either by giving them a complete freedom. At a stage where they are not ready yet to make thoughtful decisions. 

Therefore, I am sure your mother loves you and her intention was to guide you. Even if she did not so gently. She acted based on what she knew was right. It might not have been the right decision as it has caused you much frustration. But I hope by forgiving her, you are able to move on now, biznillah. 

If you feel you cannot and it still frustrates you, please seek help from your school counselor or any professional. 

Environment Influences Us

As I said, the environment influences us. It either encourages us to do certain things and we imitate the behavior. OR it discourages us and we want to do the opposite. 

I have no idea about your connection with family and friends. But another interpretation of you wanting to play with dolls and other “girly things” might be that you perceived those boys who played “rough and tumble games” as abusive. Maybe they hurt you and you wanted to stay far from anything that you associate with them. As a result, your interest has rather grown into nice, “girly toys.” 

This phenomenon might be true. As well in cases where people who are of one sex feel they belong to the opposite sex. Something might happened in their past that pushed them away from their gender. They might not even remember because it happened at a very early stage or it was a very negative experience that their conscious mind suppressed it to the unconscious.

For example, fathers are the primary teachers for a boy about male gender. Men who feel they are women might have seen a father role that they do not want to become – because they perceive it as abusive, aggressive, oppressive, lacking compassion and understanding. They associate such negative characteristics with not only their dad, but in general being a man. They do not understand yet the complexity of genders, that there are many types of men and women, we are not one box of certainly defined characteristics. Thus, they run away from “being a man”.


Check out this counseling video:


What makes a man and a woman?

Yes, there are certain characteristics what all woman and men possess besides the physical signs of their sex. However, for the most part what makes a woman and what a man are subjective, as we said. It depends on the culture, the society, and maybe the level of male and female hormones in their body as well! 

So, think of gender as a spectrum, a line and not boxes because even those “typically common” features of women and men differ from person to person.

For example, stereotypically, women are led by emotions, they love beauty, and caring for others while men are more rational, focused leaders. 

Does this mean women cannot make rational decisions and men have no sense of care and compassion? Of course not! 

There are women whose sense of mother role is so strong that they do not feel like doing anything else except raising children, while other women’s mother instinct is not that strong and they are even fine with the idea of not having children. Also there are women who are great teachers, accountants, managers of a company, or entrepreneurs.

As well as men who work as counselors and psychologists that need to show a lot of compassion, artists who paint or write. The top hairdressers, chefs, and artists are all men as well!

Reality is subjective. Reality is colorful, and not black or white. We are not boxes, but spectrums. I love to always remind ourselves of these facts.

Homework questions for you to reflect

I gave you some ideas now, but I encourage you to keep reading and talking about these topics, inshallah.

Now, think of your case. I will give you some questions to reflect on. You might want to write your answers down on a paper, it will help you to clear things up in your head.

After reading all I told you about gender roles, men and women, how do you feel about the issues you raised?

You wrote: “I have always felt different and feminine but not extremely feminine”. What does feminine mean now to you? What do you think, what makes a man and a woman? Can you accept that with your interest. With your “feminine” feelings you can be just as a good, responsible “manly” man inshallah?

Can you forgive your parents for withholding you from playing with dolls? Will you accept that there is nothing wrong with you that wanted to play with dolls and wished to be a princess or a mermaid? Can you imagine hugging your little self and comfort him that it is OK?

If you reflect, what do you think what do those “feminine” feelings inside you can give you as strength? They are from Allah. What could they be good for?

You wrote: “But why will I have to act rough and tough pretend liking super heroes as characters?” Can you answer yourself now with compassion that “brother, you do NOT have to act rough and tough and pretend liking superheroes!” 

Brother, real superheroes are compassionate and full of love and beauty of the world – just like you. This is the reason they might act tough sometimes. 

Feelings of Attracting to the Opposite Sex

You wrote: “I have felt sexual attraction to men’s body and faces but did not find them romantically attractive.”

Brother, your feelings of attraction towards the same sex is again not something very strange. In fact, it might seem most people do have some kind of attraction to both their own as well the opposite gender. 

I am not an Islamic scholar, so you can double check again, but I’ve learned that we are not responsible for our feelings, only our actions. Thus, having sexual feelings towards people from our gender seems to be OK from even an Islamic viewpoint; if we only stay with feelings, and do not let them manifest into actions. 

As you stated quite straightforward, “I have never wanted to be gay or still do not support LGBT things”, I do not think you need to “worry about” being a gay. 

Even though you say: “I cannot feel attraction to women’s body and always from puberty hated female voices and faces.” This is another, separate issue, and could have many reasons.

Sexuality gradually develops. Among children, as I said before, girls and boys are all the same until a certain age at puberty hits where they start discovering their sexual attraction to the opposite gender. It might be that you are not yet at this stage. 

It could also be related to your growing up, your relationship with the female members of your family, your relationship with peers…

If this issue frustrates you a lot, I advise you to seek help from a professional. A couple of sessions inshallah will be enough to help you get through these stressing feelings. 

Born Gays?

About your question related to homosexuality and whether people are born as gays: again, it is a complicated and quite sensitive topic with many pros and cons of researches. 

There is a detailed, thorough paper by Yaqeen Institute you should read in order to get a clear picture on homosexuality from an Islamic perspective. 

May Allah release your stress and help you think and feel things clearly. May He always guide you towards Him on the straight path. Always turn to Him and make dua to give you tranquility because 

Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts find rest (Quran 13:28).

I hope you are satisfied with my answer,

***

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About Timea Aya Csányi
Timea Aya Csányi studied Psychology and Islamic Studies at the International Online University. She is a certified NLP® Practitioner, one of our writers and counselors at the "Ask the Counselor" section. She works as a fitness trainer and journalist.