Homosexuality Is Alright Now
Has homosexuality become accepted in modern society?
Sexuality is something that had never really been an issue until the instatement of Abrahamic faiths (Naphy, 2006). Since then, homosexuality has been a major topic that was deterred against with the use of legislation (Spencer, 1996), along with being considered a mental disorder (DSM-III, 1981), with the word being instated as a pathology rather than a description of sexuality (David, 1998). Types of therapy and drugs were used to discourage the emotion feelings that developed within homosexuals and to neuter the arousal felt when implementing sexual liaisons (Smith, 2004). Some cases carried prison time (Spencer, 1996).
Through accounts of homosexuals, we use their discursive experiences to understand how society reflected on their sexuality. Court cases of homosexuals were publicised heavily in an attempt to deter others from trying such practises, such as the case of Peter Wildeblood and his friends (Wildeblood, 2000). Although homosexual acts were discouraged, Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin (1948) found that 60 percent of pre-adolescent boys had engaged in homosexual activities, suggesting a natural progression of exploration.
Since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 (David, 1998), society has begun to change its views on homosexuality, attempting to understand it on varying levels, but still seeing it as something that is abnormal and in need of being questioned. The introduction of critical thinkers, such as feminists, has led to heterosexuality being questioned, studied and understood (Kitzinger, Wilkinson & Perkins, 1992). Anderson (2008a) has argued that homophobia in many western contexts has lost much of its power to regulate the social parameters of sexuality and gendered behaviours. The perceived decrease in homophobia has led to displayed forms of inclusive masculinity (Morgan, 2017), allowing for a change in the measures of what it means to be a man. However, males who have for some reason engaged in same-gender sexual acts will self-identify as heterosexual for fear of being identified as homosexual (Anderson, 2008b). Conversely, Stotzer (2009) found that heterosexual men in inclusive settings associate freely with homosexual men, and have been documented to maintain friendships with them, suggesting they do not fear being assumed as a homosexual male just because of the company they keep. The results suggest relaxation around sexuality.
However, LBGT hate crimes have risen by 78 percent in the last four years in the UK (Attitude Magazine, 2017). One-fourth of LGBT people alter their behaviour to avoid being perceived as a certain, or many, stereotype(s) of their sexuality or gender, for them to then avoid becoming a victim of homophobic crime (Stonewall, 2013). LGBT youth are twice as likely to self-harm compared to heterosexual adolescents, with 15.15 percent of LBGT youth having reported current suicidal thoughts within the last two weeks (National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2017).
The results suggest that while sexuality is generally accepted widely, there has not been enough change through the generations to allow for a society that accepts people as they are, instead of judging them for personal experiences, behaviours, attitudes and desires.
Anderson, E. (2008a) Inclusive masculinity in a fraternal setting. Men and Masculinities, 10, 604-620. DOI: 10.1177/1097184X06291907
Anderson, E. (2008b) ‘Being masculine is not about who you sleep with…’ Heterosexual athletes contesting masculinity and the onetime rule of homosexuality. Sex Roles, 58, 104-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9337-7
Attitude Magazine. (2017). LGBT+ hate crime has risen a massive 78% in the UK. [online] Available at: http://attitude.co.uk/lgbt-hate-crime-has-risen-a-massive-78-in-the-uk/ [Accessed 10 Sep. 2017].
David, H. (1998). On queer street. London: HarperCollins.
DSM-III. (1981). The diagnostic status of homosexuality in DSM-III: a reformulation of the issues. American Journal of Psychiatry, 138(2), 210-215. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.138.2.210
Kitzinger, C., Wilkinson, S. & Perkins, R. (1992). Theorizing heterosexuality. Feminism & Psychology, 2(3), .293-324. DOI: 10.1177/0959353592023001
Morgan, K. (2017). What is Inclusive Masculinity? -. [online] The Good Men Project. Available at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/what-is-inclusive-masculinity-wcz/ [Accessed 14 Dec. 2017].
Naphy, W. (2006). Born to be gay: a history of homosexuality. Stroud: Tempus
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Smith, G. (2004). Treatments of homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s--an oral history: the experience of patients. BMJ, 328(7437), 427. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.37984.442419.EE
Spencer, C. (1996). Homosexuality: a history. London: Fourth Estate.
Stonewall. (2013). The gay British crime survey. [online] Available at: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/Homophobic_Hate_Crime__2013_.pdf [Accessed 4 Oct. 2017].
Stotzer, R.L. (2009) Straight allies: Supportive attitudes towards lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in a college sample. Sex Roles, 60(12), 67-80. DOI: 10.1007/s11199-008-9508-1
Wildeblood, P. (2000). Against the law. London: Phoenix.