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Embracing Femininity: Helping Gender Confused Girls

A little girl named Jessica could not remember a time when she did not have crushes on female teachers. She hid her feelings behind a tough, sarcastic persona. When she hit adolescence, Jessica insisted on being called “Jess,” cut her hair short, and hid her developing body under layers of boys’ clothing.

As Dr. Joseph Nicolosi writes in his book, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, Jessica was contemptuous of her mother, a delicate, feminine woman subject to depression. Jessica viewed her mother as weak, and had no intention of growing up to be like her.

But Jessica sincerely wanted to understand why she was so conflicted about accepting her gender, and began therapy with Nicolosi. Jessica eventually told him that for years, she had been molested by an uncle.

Jessica’s story is shared by many females who enter into lesbian behavior. As Nicolosi writes, lesbianism can arise out of a “girl’s unconscious rejection of her feminine identity,” which she perceives as unsafe or undesirable. A gender-confused girl may have been molested, or had an abusive father, leading to feelings that it’s unsafe to claim her feminine identity. More commonly, Nicolosi says, the girl’s mother “appeared to the girl as either a negative or a weak identification object.”

Some of these mothers are controlling; they attempt to force their daughters into rigid, stereotyped behavior. Instead of treating their daughters as whole and separate persons, Nicolosi writes, they treat them “as narcissistic extensions of themselves. Their daughters were expected to fulfill the mothers’ own needs.” The result: their daughters never developed a stable sense of either self or gender.

This kind of mother is offering her daughter a negative object of identification. Other mothers, who are depressed or were abused can present their daughters with a weak object of feminine identification, as Jessica’s mother did. In both cases, Nicolosi writes, daughters decide, “If this is what being a woman is all about, I don’t want to be one.” In a small minority of cases, Nicolosi holds that biological factors play a role in gender confusion.

As gender-confused girls grow up, they may “seek a deeper connection with the feminine through an intense same-sex relationship,” Nicolosi writes. This relationship allows a woman to connect with something “she has lost touch with -- her own femininity.”

How do parents keep their daughters from losing touch in the first place? Appropriate gender identity in girls comes through a warm, healthy, mother-daughter relationship, Nicolosi says. A father should “reflect his daughter’s gender-differentness from himself with respect and appreciation,” and not treat her like the son he always wanted.

Gay activists claim that some women, like some men, are simply “born gay” and should live out their lives that way. But research indicates that, as with male homosexuality, environment plays a big role in determining whether a girl will grow up lesbian.

Nicolosi includes a checklist for parents who suspect their daughters may be gender-confused. I urge you to read A Parent’s Guide to Homosexuality, and share it with your friends.

Children do NOT have to grow up homosexual. Healing IS possible -- if parents learn to recognize the signs.

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