I am the stepfather of a boy of sixteen; and, for the past several years, he has been dressing himself in female clothing and masquerading as a girl. I have exerted every effort in trying to discourage this habit. I am very much devoted to my wife and stepson, and have been unable to make them see as I do. My wife thinks I am too hard on the boy; she can't see anything wrong in his wearing dresses around the house, and even out to the pictures at night. My stepson is employed and buys his own clothes; and I believe my wife enjoys dressing him as a girl. She tells me that she wants both to be happy; she will get him dresses, and keep him in silk underwear and corsets-and "it is not costing me anything." Anything in the way of advice you can give will be very much appreciated.
G. R., Alabama.
Your problem is a very interesting one. There is no question that the boy has definite homosexual tendencies. It is unfortunate that your wife contributes to this particular situation by allowing it and encouraging it.
As a matter of fact, most of the persons who, in later life, tell of this mental eccentricity on their part attribute it to the acts of mothers, or other female relatives who, resenting their masculinity, sought to make them feminine. It is an unfortunate condition for any boy in his formative years- perhaps more so than for a girl to be brought up a "tomboy."
The problem is one for special treatment by a psychiatrist (a physician who specializes in the treatment of mental disorders). Your wife must be made to see that her attitude will only cause tragedy to enter into this boy's life in the future. I am sorry that I cannot give you any further practical suggestions, as there is more than just one person involved in this matter.
I suggest that your wife write to me personally, explaining the situation; and I will be very glad to discuss the problem with her.