Sexual orientation and boyhood gender conformity: Development of the Boyhood Gender Conformity Scale (BGCS)

Abstract

Two hundred twenty-eight respondents (110 heterosexuals and 118 homosexuals) completed a survey containing a 20-item Boyhood Gender Conformity Scale (BGCS). This scale was largely composed of edited and abridged gender items from Part A of Freund et al.'s Feminine Gender Identity Scale (FGISA) and Whitam's “childhood indicators.” The combined scale was developed in an attempt to obtain a reliable, valid, and potent discriminating instrument for accurately classifying adult male respondents for sexual orientation on the basis of their reported boyhood gender conformity or nonconforming behavior and identity. In addition, 33% of these respondents were administered the original FGIS-A and Whitam inventory during a 2-week test-retest analysis conducted to determine the validity and reliability of the new instrument. All the original items significantly discriminated between heterosexual and homosexual respondents. From these a 13-item function and a 5-item function proved to be the most powerful discriminators between the two groups. Significant correlations between each of the three scales and a very high test-retest correlation coefficient supported the reliability and validity assumption for the BGCS. The conclusion was made that the five-item function (playing with boys, prefering boys' games, imagining self as sports figure, reading adventure and sports stories, considered a “sissy”) was the most potent and parsimonious discriminator among adult males for sexual orientation. It was similarly noted that the absence of masculine behaviors and traits appeared to be a more powerful predictor of later homosexual orientation than the traditionally feminine or cross-sexed traits and behaviors.

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Correspondence to Stewart L. Hockenberry M.S..

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Hockenberry, S.L., Billingham, R.E. Sexual orientation and boyhood gender conformity: Development of the Boyhood Gender Conformity Scale (BGCS). Arch Sex Behav 16, 475–492 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01541712

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Key words

  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • homosexuality
  • gender nonconformity