Attitudes and Homosexuality At one time to be considered a homosexual or have homosexual tendencies was severely frowned upon and considered immoral in many cultures in our society. Within the last fifty years attitudes have changed towards homosexuality and what some consider their deviant behavior. The intent of this paper is to illustrate how these attitudes have changed throughout the years and give examples of the factors that have influenced our society’s attitudes toward homosexuality. Homosexuality as defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is romantic and/or sexual attraction or behavior among members of the same sex or gender.
As a sexual orientation, homosexuality -refers to “an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affection, or romantic attractions primarily or only to “people of the same sex;” it also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them. Homosexuals can either be male (gay) (may be used for female also) or female (lesbian) but whether it’s male of female many of these individuals are in committed relationships and see their relationships as normal as a heterosexual relationship.
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For some time it was thought that homosexuality was caused by a chemical imbalance in a person’s brain but in 1973 the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) decided to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. What this caused was years of nonstop research and a variety of arguments within the medical community of what really causes a person to become homosexual. Some still believe that it’s a chemical imbalance in a person’s brain while others believe that it is genetic or that a person is born that way.
Despite all of these arguments no one really knows why a person chooses to become a homosexual. Although no one can say exactly when homosexuality actually was discovered there has been evidence of it as early as the days of the Romans. Dr. Alfred Kinsey published the ‘The Kinsey Report’ Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) which took information gathered from over 1000 anonymous surveys and showed society that almost everybody, by the definitions of the 1950’s, was a pervert.
According to Kinsey it showed that everyone had secret fantasies and sides of their sexuality and that the topic of Homosexuality was so odd and vulgar that it wasn’t discussed. The Kinsey report also stated that nearly 46% of the male subjects had “reacted” sexually to persons of both sexes in the course of their adult lives. In that era people did not want to hear the truth about their sexuality which caused people to be sexually repressed (The Kinsey Report) and caused a lot of homosexual people to hide the truth and be “in the closet. Ever since Dr. Kinsey published ‘The Kinsey Report’ and Americans learned the truth about themselves and their sexuality society has for the most part shunned the idea of homosexuality but there have been many factors throughout the years that made it possible for society not only accept homosexuals but also their lifestyles. The first factor that has influenced our society’s attitude about homosexuality is celebrities and sportsman. As strange as this sounds today’s society hangs on the words and actions of these well-known people.
If a celebrity wears something strange people in society imitate it. So when a celebrity decides to “come out of the closet” and be proud of the choice they have made it gives people who are in the same situations the courage to let everyone know about the sexual preference. Throughout the years many celebrities and sportsman have braved the stigmas placed on homosexuals and as a result of this influence society has begun to accept homosexuality. The second factor that has influenced our society’s attitude about homosexuality is the gay and lesbian groups.
As early as the 1960’s, groups such as sexual reform movements and gay liberation movements have influenced society to change their views of homosexuality from being vulgar and immoral and to start seeing it as a social movement and also a human right. Gay and lesbian groups spend a vast amount of time fighting for all sorts of gay rights and they do it by protest, rallies, and all sorts of media. Some would say that these groups thrust homosexuality in society’s face and therefore some people are forced to accept homosexuality.
The third factor that has influenced society to change its attitude about homosexuality is the Media. Society’s attitude has been changed so much when it comes to homosexuality that there are clothing commercials that contain same sex couples interacting with each other. There are also television shows and movies where actors make the audience believe that their lifestyle is just as normal as heterosexuals. According to the A. C. Nielsen Co. , the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV- atching per year). As stated before society is made up of a lot of impressionable people and when homosexuality is constantly shown and no one ridicules it people begin to accept it in turn society begins to accept it. Many factors have played a part in the changing and shaping of our society’s’ attitude towards homosexuality and although, researches have not found the causes or reason for a person to be homosexual, it is clear and evident that with changing times comes changing attitudes and views.
As homosexuality is displayed in a positive manner, people will eventually come around to accept and acknowledge this type of lifestyle. References 1. “Kinsey Reports. ” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 3 Nov. 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2010. . 2. Late, By The. “Homosexuality and the Truth. ” Gay Conspiracy! Mar. 1997. Web. 06 Nov. 2010. . 3. De Vries, Brian. “Sexuality Research and Social Policy. ” National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC). Web. 06 Nov. 2010. .