Are Tomboys Gay | Is This A Bad Stereotype

A Tomboy as we discussed in my last post, is a girl that has boyish characteristics.  Sometimes that can be physical appearance and other times it can be their style of play.  A girl that prefers to do boy activities and hang with boys more than girl’s is another way that they may be perceived as a Tomboy.  So do we actually think this way?  Are Tomboys gay, just because of how they appear?

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Are tomboys gay

Many girls’ that are Tomboys as a kid continue to be described that way into adulthood, myself included.  One of the other things that often gets said is that if a girl is far more boyish, it must directly correlate to their sexuality.

My goal with this post, is to give you some information on why we think this is and is this a true stereotype?

The psychology

Dr. Andrea Burri and Qazi Rahmen believe that a girl’s genes maybe responsible for their sexual orientation and that it has nothing to do with being a Tomboy.

Dr. Andrea is a certified Psycho-Sexologist (ECPS) of the European Society for Sexual Medicine.  Dr. Qazi Rahmen is one of the leading scientists in the area of sexual orientation and has a PhD. from King’s College London.  He studies the biology of sexual orientation and the implications that his has on our mental health.

Together the 2 of them did a study using 4000 female twins.   In the study, they asked all the girls’s about their sexual attractions and their gender non-conformity.

“Gender non-conformity” refers to people who do not follow other people’s idea or stereotypes in reference to how they look or act based on their sex at birth.

During this research they found that there are genetic influences on sexual orientation of about (25%) and childhood gender non-conformity is about (31%), reports journal PLoS One (peer-reviewed journal).

They explain that there is a direct correlation between psychological traits and sexual orientation.  The brain develops under the influence of genes and sex hormones.

Environmental factors and genetics play a part.  These factors like exposure to sex hormones while in the womb can shape differences in gender non-conformity and sexual simultaneously.

The results basically say that they believe that being gender non-conforming and being a lesbian come from within. Because of this, they realized that there truly is not much you can do about it.

Really then, what we know from this study is that there are specific genes for sexual orientation.   Some in the community call it the “GAY GENE”.

He went on to say that stereotyping with words like “Tomboy or Butch” can make it that much harder for people to accept that they are gay or lesbian.  This is simply due to the negative reaction that comes from others.

gay girl

Our brains

Now that we have been told that genetics play a part in determining your sexual orientation, lets look at the information we have on how it affects our brain or if it does.

One of the things we have found out is that gay and heterosexual brains are actually organized differently.

What…… well what does that mean?  Basically, they are saying that the differences in the way the brain is organized also means the psychology will be different.  All the studies have shown that our cognitive psychology reflects how we relate to other people and not just about who we like or fancy.

Here is an example of how our brains are organized differently.  Let’s look at the similarities between gay men and heterosexual women, and also heterosexual men and lesbian women.  On average gay men appear to be more “female typical” in their brain pattern responses and lesbian women are more “male typical”.

This shows that the way things are organized directly affects certain parts of our personality or characteristics in our behaviour.

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Many people don’t believe the scientific evidence.  They say all you need to do is look at the past history of homosexuality as a socialism or as a choice.  The history of homosexuality then is somehow a learned behaviour and not genetic like the scientists research tells us it is.

Gender identity

When we think of a Tomboy, we think of certain characteristics or traits that they have that somehow defines who they are.  Here is just few of those qualities that people believe makes a Tomboy a Lesbian.

  • Plays rough
  • Hates dresses
  • Dresses more boyish
  • Likes sports
  • Plays video games
  • Doesn’t care if they get dirty
  • More mechanical or technical (taking thing apart and putting them back together)
  • Like to play with the boys
  • Personality can be a bit more aggressive

There is absolutely no connection that links Tomboyism to Lesbianism.   A girl’s expression of her masculinity has nothing to do with her sexuality.  The science proves that.

Now more than ever, especially when it comes to appearance and clothing girls wearing masculine clothing is so much less an issue then it used to be.  We see far more straight girl’s wearing baggy mens clothes, mens boots, hats and so on.

To say that a girl that dresses a little more masculine or tomboyish, has to be a Lesbian is ridiculous!  This is sort of like saying that all girl’s that play sports are Lesbians.  Of course that is not true.  Yes there are some that are, but there are also some pretty amazing woman athletes that are heterosexual.  Again, this is a perception that people actually believe.

Just like clothing, fashion and your lifestyle doesn’t determine your sexual orientation, neither does your personality.

Yes there are some similarities between girl’s that grow up as Tomboys, but there are also plenty of Lesbians that are what we called “Lipstick Lesbians”.

That term is often used to describe a girly female that just happens to be gay.  But of course doesn’t fit into the regular Lesbian stigmatism.  Yes, another one of those words that we used to describe a person’s look and that somehow also describes their sexuality.

The bottom line here is that many Tomboys do grow up to be Lesbians, that is true.  But why does it matter.  You just want to say “So what”!

There are plenty of girl’s that I have played sports with over the years, hung out with and
even grew up with as a fellow Tomboy that did not grow up to be gay. 

lesbian ladies


The funny part about writing this post is that I see myself in these descriptions everywhere.  Whether it is the list above, or the science I have shared in this post.  I am a Tomboy and YES I happen to be gay.

I don’t look back at my youth or teenage years and think wow I was always gay.  That just isn’t how it works.  At least not for me anyway.

I did grow up very much a Tomboy, and I don’t think anyone would dispute that.  The thing I don’t agree with is just because I was a Tomboy, didn’t guarantee that I was going to be gay.

It took me 18-19 years to come up with my own truth, so how can someone just look at me and assume “OH YEAH SHE’S GAY”!


I don’t dislike men, and in fact, I dated boys up until I was almost 20 years of age.  For me it was just a process of understanding my own feelings and being old enough to figure out what they meant.

For all you parents out there that have Tomboy girl’s in their family, please do your best to be compassionate and supportive.  No matter what your daughter grows up to be or who she loves, she is still your daughter.

Some day soon, this entire topic will be such a thing of the past.  We have already come so far just in my lifetime.  50 years from now when I am long gone, the conversation “are tomboys gay ” won’t even come up.

By then we will all just be who we were born to be.





14 thoughts on “Are Tomboys Gay | Is This A Bad Stereotype”

  1. A tomboy girl does not mean they are gay or boyish at all. That’s just an ignorant stereotype.  I like to see it as a sporty gal type of thing. 

    Their interests are just different; nothing wrong with that.  They are just a bit tougher and maybe like punkish stuff. There is no rulebook that girls should be dress and heels. 

    • Hello Linda,

      I love your description of Tomboys, it is awesome!  We are all just different and like you said, there is nothing wrong with that.

      There is room in this world for all of us to shine uniquely!  Thank you so much. 


  2. Finding a good article does not come by easily so i must commend your effort in creating such a beautiful website and bringing up an article to help others with good information like this. 

    My own younger sister was a tomboy and she was straight.  I think it all depends on the personality.


    • Hi Benny,

      Sharing your warm thoughts on my post, just makes me smile.  So thank you.  

      I would like to think that sharing my own journey at almost 50 can inspire people like me.  When I write about personal stories, and then share them, it is also cathartic for me.  Looking back on your life is inevitable as we all get older.

      I have a passion for my site and I am glad to see that you enjoyed reading it. 

      Thank you


  3. This is a very complicated topic but I’m very happy that you can discuss it and explain exactly from the point of science who a tomboy or a gay is.

    I like the fact that you can also tell us that you are both and also give us a little bit of your own opinion on everything.  I think everyone should be entitled to how they want to express themselves and how they want to feel as well. I understand that from a young age it might be hard for the parents to agree to this. Nice one here.

    • Hello,

      It is great to hear your thoughts on my latest post.  Yes you are right, that this topic is always a complicated one.  I would to think that sharing it and us talking like we are is progress.

      Like everything, I do agree that as a young person it can be a most difficult thing to go through.  The older you get, the more you understand and know yourself better.  Knowing yourself makes it that much easier for people to connect with. 

      Thank you for sharing. 


  4. First of all thank you so much for sharing such an excellent article with us. Your article is really informative and I gained a lot of knowledge by reading your article which is very helpful to me. I have a Tomboy and he is my favorite man. I think there is a direct correlation between emotional traits and sexual attitudes. The effects of genes and sex hormones develop in the brain. 

    Besides, environmental factors and genetics have played a role in my field. Tomboy is gay and it is a stereotype. At the same time, I think it is very normal during adolescence. I try my best to be compassionate and supportive of the family that have Tomboy girls .

    I hope that by reading your article, everyone will gain important knowledge and will definitely share with you their new experience. Can I share your article on my social media?

    • Hi Shanta,

      Your comments are wonderful to hear. Being compassionate and understanding of anyone that looks and acts unlike we do is absolutely important.

      We can learn so much by meeting and spending time with new people.  I think that it would be pretty boring if we were all the same. 

      Thank you


  5. Tomboys, ultimately are just people trying to adapt to the world around them. Trying to put forward the best version of themselves, they believe would favor them the most in the world. They get a lot of pressure from their families, especially their mothers on how to behave in a socially acceptable way as females. Whenever they try to do stereotypically male things, they get a lot of pushbacks for that like “don’t do that, you are a girl”. To stand out like that, and choose to remain who they want, requires a lot of confidence.

    In my case, I had a masculine complex. I wanted to do things, others considered to be hard. In fact, I made a point of doing things girls would generally leave for boys because I was trying to prove a point to myself and to whoever was watching, that I wasn’t weak. I tried to be as independent as I could, and I generally sought out activities that were considered masculine. I’m ashamed to admit that at some point, I thought I was better than my female peers because I was “the strong one”. In retrospect, I realize, that was my way of coping with the inequality I saw around me. Of course, things changed as I started to grow older. I realized I could be strong and competent while still being feminine.

    Every human being is a mixture of masculine and feminine traits, whether by nature or nurture. There’s nothing about a girl being gay, its the society that made it look like there’s one when there’s none. People are always going to judge because they like to put others in neat little boxes. We are unique and complex beings. We are who we are, and no one can change that.

    Being a tomboy isn’t a bad thing so be free and live freely.  Be proud of who you are confidently and boldly. 

    Thanks for this lovely and corrective article. 

    • Hello,

      I first just want to thank you for being a part of my post. Your wonderful and interactive comments are just the reason that I wanted to write it for.  Having a conversation about things we normally don’t talk about. 

      I think that by sharing our stories, we make all of us stronger.  Life is short and why not be our best selves to shine. 

      I am proud of who I am everyday, and sometimes yes a bit BOLDLY!! Isn’t that the fun part? LOL!

      I appreciate your thoughts and I am glad that you enjoyed it. 



  6. Tomboys are really nice people but most people classify them as gay but I tell they are not I have had a lot of tomboys as friends, Although as a lady I tend to sometimes see them as weirdos but on the brighter side they tend to easily connect with guys and it really great.

    • Hi Juliet,

      I appreciate your thoughts on my post. Sometimes people that are different then us can be perceived as odd or strange.  Most of the time that is something that requires more interaction with people unlike yourself. That way we can get insight in how different we, but yet how the same we really are.

      Thank you for sharing.


  7. The fact that i have come to learn something tangible from this post is satisfying. The make of your website is nice and the simplicity of the color selection makes it beautiful. some people do see tomboys as people with little or no regard. i have personally heard some people gossip and it is not right. thank you for sharing your view

    • Your kind words have put a smile on my face today, so thank you. Yes sadly the gossiping thing, does happen a lot. I think that is why I am so passionate about telling my story. 

      By telling my own journey, I hope to help change the way we react to people that are just different then we are. We all deserve to be treated equally and with respect.  

      Thank you for being a part of telling my story.



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