Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 151-170

First online:

Childhood cross-gender behavior of homosexual females in Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States

  • Frederick L. WhitamAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Arizona State University
  • , Robin M. MathyAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, Arizona State University

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Heterosexual and homosexual females were interviewed with regard to childhood cross-gender behavior in Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States. Nine items were used to examine childhood behavior differences between heterosexual and homosexual females. Six of these items (playing with boys' toys, playing with girls' toys, dressing up in men's clothes, dressing up in women's clothes, paying attention to women's fashions, and being considered a tomboy) revealed statistically significant differences between the heterosexual and homosexual females. These differences demonstrated significant cross-cultural consistency, despite cultural variations among the societies examined. Rejection of certain gender-typical activities and interests, as well as involvement in cross-gendered activities and interests, seem to be consistent precursors of adult sexual orientation regardless of the cultural context in which these behaviors emerge.

Key words

cross-cultural cross-gender female homosexuality lesbian