Q: Daddy issues? Do you know of any scientific literature that has successfully correlated the stigma of queer men's daddy issue to father abandonment in response to their queer identity and, thus, seeking out a dominant male figure?
A: The idea that being a gay men is related with having an absent father is a very old one. It can be traced all the way back to views of homosexuality by Sigmund Freud, in the early 1900s. The belief was that if a boy didn't grow up with a loving, supportive, male role-model, he would never learn what it's like to "be a man" and would, instead, become effeminate (i.e., gay). This theory hasn't been well supported by modern research. It turns out that gay men have, on average, just as good of relationships with their fathers as straight men, as long as their fathers aren't prejudiced toward gay people in general. Of course, even in our modern world, many men are prejudiced toward homosexuals, so this can naturally cause a rift between some gay men and their fathers.
Whenever someone is "abandoned" by a parent, whether physically or emotionally, it can be very painful and can results in a wide variety of compensatory behaviors. This behaviors can be positive, such as turning toward others for support and acceptance, or they can be negative, such as turning to alcohol/drugs or entering into abusive relationships. This can happen to anyone, regardless of their sexuality. If someone is dealing negatively with parental abandonment, they should turn to counseling for help. Thankfully, all UC Merced students can receive free counseling services at counseling.ucmerced.edu.
Answers provided by Dr. Ross Avilla
Dr. Ross Avilla has been teaching Human Sexuality since 2013 and has a PhD in psychology from UC Davis. Dr. Avilla is not a clinician and all information and advice offered on this website is for educational purposes only.