Research note: Gay and straight men assess parental qualities

I am re-examining (in some cases examining for the first time) older studies of parenting and adult sexual orientation. This post will look at a paper from 1983 – Sipova, I., & Brzek, A. (1983). Parental and Interpersonal Relationships of Transexual and Masculine and Feminine Homosexual Men. Journal of Homosexuality, 9, 75-85.
This Czechoslovakian study claims to find differences between assessments of parents by gay, straight and MtF transsexuals. However, the actual data do not support the discussion from the authors who clearly wanted to find the traditional triad. A look at the data reveals few statistical differences. The authors reported absolute values in the direction they expected but analysis finds only a few differences and those were not supportive of their discussion.
This study is interesting in that the authors divided the homosexual group (from a clinical population) into effeminate and non-effeminate males. Self-assessments of dominance differed with gay males viewing themselves as less dominant than straight males. However, assessments of paternal dominance were not different by sexual orientation of respondent. In other words, these men did not differ in how assertive and strong they perceived their fathers to be. Relevant to the reparative drive model, the non-effeminate group of gay males did not differ from the straight group on how loving they perceived their fathers as being. However, the effeminate gay male group did differ from the straight males and non-effeminate gay males on perception of paternal love. This finding supports the idea that gender nonconformity may evoke paternal rejection rather than paternal rejection being causally related in a comprehensive way to homosexual attraction.
Now here is an interesting finding: Non-effeminate gay males differed from both the effeminate gay males and the straight males on assessments of maternal love. Straight and effeminate gay males were no different on this dimension — both saw their mothers as quite loving while the non-effeminate gay males saw them as loving but significantly less so than the other two groups. All groups saw mothers as equally dominant and all saw their mothers as less dominant than the fathers. While some differences associated with the groups, the study does not support the “classic triadic model” of a distant/hostile father and overbearing/protective mother associated with male homosexuality. It is striking how similar the assessments were.