How America Should React To Homosexuals How America should react to homosexuals Many experts agree that homosexuality has existed as long as human beings themselves, although the attitude towards them has undergone dramatic changes in some countries. Accepted by many societies during Greek and Roman era, most of the time homosexuals were considered to be sinners against nature and even criminals. In Medieval and modern periods homosexuals were prosecuted. Enlightenment brought some liberation, substituting death penalty by imprisonment. In Nazi Germany so-called doctors tried to cure gays by the ways of castration and extreme intimidation.
Until 1973 attempts to find a cure against homosexuality, what by majority was viewed as a disease, were continued. Today, when research on twins suggests that sexual orientation is not a choice, but our genetic predisposition, homosexual acts are still considered to be immoral and even illegal in majority of countries and in the eyes of most religious groups homosexuals, probably, always will be the subjects of anathema. As much as the future may look gloomy for many gays and lesbians all over the world, there are remarkable changes in public opinion and officials attitudes toward homosexuals in some countries. For example, in 1989 Denmark was the first to allow the same-sex marriage. In the United States the subject of homosexuality remains controversial. For example, In Hawaii three homosexual couples asked the court to recognize their right to get married and the court did. However, the state government refused to legalize this marriage. Consequently, a new amendment was introduced to the state Constitution.
At the same time, majority of the states are not even considering this option and homosexuality itself is still illegal there. Still, not only authorities try to determine the position they should take towards homosexuals, many common Americans also have no clear understanding of how to react to homosexuality. Why should we bother to find the answer to the questions: who are the homosexuals and where do they belong in our society? First of all, it is important to realize that homosexuals are an integral part of our society. Your neighbor, your co-worker, your hairdresser, your child and even your spouse can be one of them. According to Richard D.
Mohr [t]wo out of five men one passes on the street have had orgasmic sex with men. Every second family in the country has a member who is essentially homosexual and many more people regularly have homosexual experiences(186). Should we avoid them, ignore, express our anger and disgust? Unfortunately, many people feel that way because they have a remote idea about people of different sexual orientation. For them homosexuality is perversion, abnormality or decease. The ignorance may foster fear, which in its turn leads to hostility. Homophobia is dangerous, because it affects all groups of people heterosexuals and homosexuals, grown-ups and children, men and women.
It may lead to violence and even death. There are numerous cases when people were actually killed because of homophobia. To name few of them Matthew Shepard(homosexual), John Braun (heterosexual), Steve Kennedy (homosexual) and the list can be continued. As Jeffrey Nickel puts it, [p]rejudice against homosexuality sharply limits how all men and women may acceptably behave, among themselves and with each other( 529). It is obvious that we can no longer pretend that the homosexual issue is none of our concern. In attempt to evaluate our attitude towards people of different sexual orientation we will be able to understand them better.
What is more important, we may overcome our prejudice, which often results in discrimination of one group against another. To acknowledge that there are people who are different and learn to tolerate them means to live in a safer world. The next question is: Do we have the right to discriminate against homosexuals? Until recently homosexuals were invisible minority. Therefore, many Americans were unaware that gays and lesbians were discriminated against. But homosexuals were and still are treated unfairly on the basis that they undermine our morality, that they present danger to our children and that they are transmitters of AIDs far more than heterosexuals. Today many gays and lesbians come out of the closet and demand the same rights that heterosexual take for granted.
We have to admit that some steps have been made to protect homosexuals. However, many government and public institutions and individuals still discriminate against homosexuals denying them employment, housing, insurance, marriage, childs custody and so on. Why is it allowed to discriminate against people who have different sexual orientation? Some may put forward arguments that being gay is immoral, that it is illegal, that it is a sin against nature and violation of Gods law and, as Pete Hamill remarks, some people consider homosexual variety [as a] proof of existence of Satan (532). Some homophobics qualify homosexual behavior akin to lying and stealing and, therefore, support the idea that gays and lesbians deserve to suffer. As Pete Hamill points out ,gay-bashing is real; homosexuals are routinely injured or murdered every day, all over the world, by people who fear or hate their version of human sexuality(532).
But as was mentioned above, the medical studies confirm that being gay is not a matter of choice or preference, but a deviation from normal sexuality, which lays in genes and hardly can be changed. Given a choice many would have preferred not to be homosexual. It is hard to imagine the somebody would voluntary give up all the privileges of being straight and subject himself to harassment, discrimination, assaults and scorn. Some argue that the homosexual act is unnatural since it is not procreative. Then why dont we discriminate against sterile couples or those of over childbearing age? Others express their concern that by granting homosexuals rights we will give our blessing to other forms of sexual perversions such polygamy and pedophillia, for example.
Here it is important to notice, that for one, pedophillia is not necessary a homosexual act. Secondly, it is immoral and unlawful because one of the partners in this case is a child or a teenager who more often than not has no other choice than to yield to the power of the adult. As Joseph Geraci and Donald H. Mader point out the power imbalance between the adult and the younger partner in a pedophille relationship is so great that it inevitably l …