Homosexuality is behavior of choosing a partner of the same sexual interaction. The term homosexual is used to characterize individuals who prefer romantic attachments and sexual interaction with the same sex and typically are maximally aroused by same sex erotic imagery. The word is used to describe both males and females.
There are many terms that are used to describe homosexuals. First, “Homo” is short for homosexual and the first part of the word means “same”. The term queer is used to denote something different or odd. The term lesbian is referred to females and originally referred to the people from the Greek Island of Lesbos, where the poet Sappho lived. Sappho wrote poems about love between women, which led to gay women to be called lesbians. Some derogatory or insulting terms for homosexuals are faggot, fag, queer, dyke, and lesbo. The term faggot came from the word fagot, which is a stick of wood used to start a fire. During the Middle Ages, gay people were considered dangerous and sometimes burned at the stake.
Homosexuality has always been apart of society. Until the High Middle Ages, though, the subject was never brought up. They appeared to have been widely tolerated or ignored by the Christian church throughout Europe. Beginning in the 12th century, however, hostility towards homosexuality began to show. Homosexuality began to be viewed as “unnatural”. By the end of the 19th century, medicine and psychiatry were competing with religion and law over sexuality. It started to be seen as a crime and a sin. Today homosexuality is look as both right and wrong. There are ongoing debates on the highly controversial issue.
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There has also been a lot of activity for the last forty years with what has been called the “Gay Revolution”. It has been going on since 1960’s to sustain drive for gay rights, and seek to end discrimination against homosexuality originated in employment, credit, housing, public accommodations and other areas of life. This led to the start of Gay Pride Week that takes place in late June. These celebrations and demonstrations began in an atmosphere created by young people especially in college.
Today, the question is “What makes someone gay?” Right now, there is no known answer. We do know that there is no evidence that shows homosexuality is genetic. Many people believe that there is a “Gay Gene”, but that isn’t the case. There have been many other studies that have pointed to other causes of homosexuality. One study believes that it is caused by intrauterine influences. Other studies suggest postnatal environment, choices made during development, or it is a learned behavior. Here are some factors that could lead to homosexuality due to outside causes:
• An inherited temperament
• Didn’t have a good father/mother figure
• Sexual abuse
• Needs feeling of comfort
• Lack of sympathy, guilt
• Reliever of distress
• Born with certain features that have characteristics of homosexuals. Ex: sensitive disposition, creativeness
Discovering our sexuality is a very important process that everyone goes through although in most people it comes very easy. For those who think they are a homosexual it can be a very long a tiring process. There are six stages that most typical questionable homosexuals goes through.
Stage one: Identity Confusion. This stage is referred to the “who am I” stage. In this stage, one feels personal alienation. They become aware that they may be different from their peers. They go through denial, shame, anxiety and ambivalence.
Stage two: Identity Comparison. It is called the rationalization or bargaining stage. In this stage, the person starts to think that maybe they are homosexual or bisexual. They also think that they are alone and the only person in the world that thinks this of themselves.
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Stage three: Identity Tolerance. In this stage, they think that they are probably homosexual. They begin to make contact with other homosexuals to counteract feelings of isolation. In this stage they tolerate rather then accepts the homosexual identity.
Stage four: Identity Acceptance. In this stage they continue and increase
contact with other homosexuals. They start to form friendships. They begin to accept rather then tolerate the homosexual self-image. The questions of “who am I?” and “Where do I belong” are answered.
Stage five: Identity Pride. This stage is referred to as “these are my people: stage. They develop awareness of incongruity that exists between the person’s own positive concept of self as a homosexual and awareness of society’s rejection. They become to feel angry with heterosexuals and have a “Them and Us” attitude.
Stage six: Identity Synthesis. In this stage the anger towards all heterosexuals lessens. They learn who to trust and who can be supportive. They develop their own unique personality.
After these stages are complete and they are comfortable with themselves, they have to learn to share the truth with others and start relationships. There are five stages that help him through this. The first stage is Pre-Coming out. This is where they are still going through some of the previous mentioned stages and they don’t know where they stand for sure.
The second stage is “Coming out”. They go through great personal confusion but know they are homosexual. The third stage is called “Exploration”. They begin to experiment with other gay or lesbian people. The fourth stage is “first relationship.” This is when they now want to show commitment towards another in a relationship. The final fifth stage is called “Integration.” This is where they find a good self-image for themselves and are comfortable with who they are and what they are doing.
Homosexuality has become a very big part of today’s society. It effects a lot of people especially friends and family of a homosexual. Unfortunately, many families disown their own sons or daughters that are homosexual. Most of this happens because they are afraid, they don’t have enough information, or they are angered or too shocked to think rationally. Sometimes one parent will be all right with their child’s’ choice while the other can’t accept it.
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Many friends of homosexuals are often confused about the situation and have many questions. Some examples of questions are: If you spend a lot of time with a gay person will you become gay? How did they become gay? If my brother is gay, will I become gay? Questions that seem really easy to answer are serious if you were put in a situation with no information.
Today homosexuality is discussed everywhere we go. It is shown through the television, movies, and books. Almost every show now deals with a homosexual character. Some examples of the western TV shows and movies are Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, The Bird Cage, and In & Out. The openness of the topic has become an everyday subject that hardly lets anyone feel uncomfortable about. But it has only been within the last fifteen years that this has happened.
Being a Homosexual in today’s society comes with many hard ships. Although it has been more frequently discussed and talked about, there is always discrimination. Types of discrimination towards someone’s sexual preference are name-calling, hate crimes, firing from a job, violence, murders, and vandalism of property. Unfortunately, when you are not part of the norm you are picked on and discriminated against. Homosexuality is becoming a more common and open thing but it still has people disagreeing with its moral values.
Homosexuality is seen differently all over the world. The majority of the world sees homosexuality as wrong. But same-sex behaviors in many societies maybe regarded as different but not morally defective or immoral. A group called the Sambia on the island of New Guinea, actually have a form of approved homosexuality in which young males engage in same-sex acts before marrying a woman and rearing a family. Some males may choose to only have same-sex acts and some married males engage in same-sex acts.
Homosexuality is a huge controversial subject in the religious factions. The typical response to homosexuals is that the man or woman with this orientation may be loves as a person, but their homosexual lifestyle can never be accepted.
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Another reason why the religion is mostly against homosexuality is that they don’t want to promote the homosexual lifestyle, especially in the schools. The religious leaders might agree that homosexuals are one of God’s creatures and will be loved but they don’t want children to believe that it is totally acceptable.
There are many other issues concerning Homosexuals. One big issue is whether we should let gays legally marry. The religion is obviously against the idea. But is it a religious issue or a moral issue? All the major world religions define marriage to be between a man and a woman. All consider homosexuality a sin.The debate is still going on today, but the trend seems to be in favor of protecting marriage and having homosexual marriage not legal except for a few of the western countries.
Homosexuality has many issues that it has to face in the future. As a society today, a time might come when our values might evolve towards having an open mind to homosexuality but there will always be discrimination by someone, somewhere. Homosexuality will never be a comfortable issue to talk about.