Homosexuality – Nature VS Nurture
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In this day and age where technology is fast improving and more people receiving proper education, we would expect society to be more liberal but that is not always the case. Through news articles posted on social media sites, I have read about homosexual people being heavily punished and even put to death for being different. One particular article had a ghastly video attached that filmed how a gay African man was prosecuted in public and it did not sit well with me. It is pretty hard to remain ignorant. We may not witness gay bashing in our society but that does not mean it is not happening in the world around us. Some of these brutal events are happening in developed countries and it triggered me to research on the acceptance of homosexuality in today’s society.
Before I could focus on the reception of homosexuality in different cultures, I first needed to learn more about the causes of homosexuality. According to LeVay (2012), a neuroscientist, homosexuality is an innate feature of humans for the most part. He claims that genes account for no more than half of the homosexual trait. LeVay then further explains that the “remaining causes include hormonal factors operating during fetal life — factors that may not be under genetic control.”
In a surprising poll conducted over two days suggested otherwise. Of 646 respondents, more than 70% said that homosexuals choose to be homosexual (Steward, 2007). In my extensive research, I found that there is no defining answer as to why homosexuals exist. However, most articles that claim homosexuality as a choice come without scientific research or reason.
I then wondered if homosexuality existed in the early ages when we did not have a lot of knowledge. Indeed, records show that homosexuality existed even in ancient times through rock carvings and pottery from the Peruvian Mochican culture that dates more than 2000 years ago (Gregersen, 1983). It is interesting to know that some concepts of homosexuality intertwined with myths (Murray, 2000, p. 105) and some explicitly documented by explorers of the early ages (Rice, 1990). Although some civilizations frowned upon the
concept of homosexuality, most were relatively liberal and to suggest that the gods themselves were involved showed some kind of homosexuality acceptance.
Most antagonists do not accept homosexuality based on the fact that homosexuals do not procreate. However, to refute this point, a publication from University Wire (2013) refutes this point by saying that those people should consider asexual and infertile humans as abominations. While infertility occurs mostly without a say, one can argue that the same goes for homosexuality, that it is not a choice.
Heartened at this point that homosexuality is most probably a natural occurrence, my thoughts prompted that the phenomena could be present in animals too. I found that homosexual behavior in animals are not all that uncommon and can be found in more than 450 species. The disturbing fact is that the behavior is observed prominently in our species’ cousins, primates (Werner, 1979). As Bagemihl (1999) asserts, zoologists are commonly reluctant to label animal behaviors as “homosexual.” Often these activities are indexed as dominance gestures or “mock” courtships, not withstanding the fact that the same behavior with a heterosexual animal couple would have been labeled sex. This reluctance could have sprigged from negative attitudes toward human homosexual counterparts.
So why are people generally so quick to avoid the taboo subject of homosexuality? I am almost certain that most reluctance arise from religion. Anglican leaders condemn homosexuality as incompatible with the Christian faith and refuse to recognize same-sex marriage (Cox, 1998). Looking at the relationship of religious states and tolerance for homosexuality through a correlation graph (Pew Research, 2013), it can be easily interpreted that the higher up on the religiosity scale, the less tolerance for homosexuality. In relatively conservative Africa, tolerance for homosexuality falls below world average.
From the graph, it is clear that the world is discernibly divided on the issue of homosexuality with western countries showing high levels of
acceptance while countries, particularly Muslim countries and those in Africa levelly strong in their disapproval. In Kenya, the Prime Minister has told supporters that he would enforce the police to capture homosexuals. Though the statement garnered support from the Kenya slums, it also sparked unrest amongst human rights activists (Baldauf, 2010). Homosexuality is now a hot debate in the parochial nation who is not ready to accept it.
On the other hand, when we tune in to American television, gay characters are sprouting all over. The American media industry is slowly but surely becoming more liberal on homosexuals. This reflects the shift of American’s acceptance towards homosexuality but does this also mean that discrimination against homosexuals is improving too? I find it promising to know that the American Armed Forces has adopted ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy since 1993 (Klapper, 2013). Prior to the ban, openly gays in the military were banned from serving in the force. In the United States, the approval rate was 60%, lower than other western countries but that figure has risen from 49 per cent in 2007 (DeMara, 2013).
Canada is one of the states in the world with the highest acceptance towards homosexuality. Canada had an addition of sexual orientation to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. This is an important step toward legal rights for homosexuals on the world stage. As Robertson (2006) puts it, “Same-sex partners now enjoy the same benefits, including survivor pensions and health insurance, as opposite-sex partners.”
After learning the many reasons why homosexuality is frowned upon, I have concluded that most of these are attributed to religion. Religion and tradition is not something that can be changed easily especially for states that have overlapping state laws and religious laws. It is still incomprehensible to me why someone should die for being different. Although one may argue that homosexuals are unnatural and should not be tolerated, I do hope that we as a whole human race learn to accept one another.
As I continue with my research, I will expectantly understand in dept the homosexuality phenomena that we have seen since the early ages as well as documented in animals. I would also like to learn more of the discrimination faced by gay people in the workplace. At this point, I would say that I am generally leaning towards the acceptance of homosexuality. More than 450 species have been found to exude homosexuality behavior but only 1 shows homophobia.
Bagemihl, B. (1999). Biological exuberance: Animal homosexuality and natural diversity. St. Martins New York.
Cox, B. (1998, Aug 06). RELIGION; HOMOSEXUALITY CONDEMNED.
Dayton Daily News Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/254106684?accountid=27203 DeMara, B. (2013, Jun 07). World divided over issue of homosexuality. Toronto Star Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/1365707160?accountid=27203 Gregersen, E. (1983). Sexual practices: The story of human sexuality. Franklin Watts New York.
Homosexuality not morally wrong. (2013, Nov 13). University Wire Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/1450250904?accountid=27203 Klapper, E. (2013). On This Day In 1993, Bill Clinton Announced ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. Huffington Post Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/bill-clinton-dont-ask-dont-tell_n_3623245.html LeVay, Simon (1991, Jan 10). The Paradox of Gay Genes. Huffington Post Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/simon-levay/the-paradox-of-gay-genes_b_1929641.html Murray, S. O. (2000). Homosexualities. University of Chicago Press Chicago.
Stewart, S. (2007, Mar 17). Homosexuality is a choice, daily poll says. McClatchy – Tribune Business News Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/462581063?accountid=27203 Pew Research (2013), The Global Divide on Homosexuality Retrieved from
http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-global-divide-on-homosexuality/# Rice, E. (1990). Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: The secret agent who made the pilgrimage to Mecca, discovered the Kama Sutra, and brought the Arabian Nights to the west. Scribner’s New York. Robertson, H. (2006). Under the rainbow acceptance of homosexuals and homosexuality]. ATA Magazine, 86(3), 16-18. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/231559590?accountid=27203 Werner, D. (1979). A cross-cultural perspective on theory and research on male homosexuality. Journal of Homosexuality, 4 (4), 345-362.
Herek, G.M. (2007). Confronting Sexual Stigma and Prejudice: Theory and Practice. Journal of Social Issues, 63: 905–925.
Article in journalistic style
Strong Response Notes
This article explores theoretical and applied questions that are relevant to social scientists’ efforts to understand and confront sexual stigma. A framework is presented for conceptualizing such stigma as a cultural phenomenon with structural and individual manifestations. It is argued that confronting sexual stigma will not only address an important social problem but will also enrich scientific understanding of human behavior. -Insights for reducing sexual prejudice are discussed
-Discusses the pretext of sexual orientation in relation to bullying
Herek, G.M. (2010). Homosexuality. The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology and behavioral science. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/content/entry/wileycorsini/homosexuality/0
Strong Response Notes
Explains the term ‘homosexuality’ and lists the 5 ways the term can be used interchangeably. Briefly addresses heterosexual and homosexual relationships. -Useful to know why homosexuality is hard to conceptualize or classify someone ‘gay’ -Interestingly enough, homosexuality was once termed as a mental illness in America, a liberal state and one of the most accepting of homosexuals now
LeVay, Simon (1991, Jan 10). The Paradox of Gay Genes. Huffington Post Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/simon-levay/the-paradox-of-gay-genes_b_1929641.html
Article posted on Huffington Post
Strong Response Notes
Article talks about the genetics of homosexuality and goes on to state the possibility of parenting as seen in some public figures. A refute he normally gets is: if gay couples cannot reproduce, why are gay genes reproduced. -A well respected neuroscientist who had released books on homosexuality -Has extensive research done on the link between sexual orientation and brain structure
Homosexuality. (2003). In Encyclopedia of sex and gender: Men and women in the world’s cultures. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/content/entry/sprsg/homosexuality/0
Strong Response Notes
A quick introduction and definition of homosexuality. The documentation of homosexuality dates back to the early ages across different cultures. People generally avoid labeling animals as having homosexual traits. -Interesting to note that without communication, homosexuality was documented in different parts of our world -The evolution of homosexuality is not very useful information in the research process
Enos, J. (2003, Jul 02). Homosexuality not common or natural. Ancaster News Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/345719863?accountid=27203
Community voices on newspaper
Strong Responses Notes
At the recent Marriage and Same-Sex Unions hearings, held by the Federal Justice Committee in Toronto, I had the honour of defending the June 8, 1999 Parliamentary definition of marriage as being the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. -Not particularly useful
-Voice of one man that utterly is against homosexuality
Stewart, S. (2007, Mar 17). Homosexuality is a choice, daily poll says. McClatchy – Tribune Business News Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/462581063?accountid=27203
Article poll in news
Strong Response Notes
The question came up in light of an online column written by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., a Southern Baptist seminary president. He said a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, but prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified. -Insightful data
-Small pool of respondents that may not be an accurate interpretation of the results
Homosexuality not morally wrong. (2013, Nov 13). University Wire Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/1450250904?accountid=27203
Strong Response Notes
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 1.5 million women in the U.S. are infertile. -Good discussion of whether homosexuals should be considered immoral -As with infertile men and women, homosexuals do not procreate -Able to expand on the point of morals
Robertson, H. (2006). Under the rainbow acceptance of homosexuals and homosexuality]. ATA Magazine, 86(3), 16-18. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/231559590?accountid=27203