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The rate of global awareness on the issue of homosexuality has increased tremendously in the recent years (Burton, 2006). A research done in the 1980s and 1990s in European countries indicated that 1-6% of women and 1-10% of men were engaging in homosexual relationship. These rates have doubled in the current times (Herek, 2007). To begin with, homosexuality is a type of sexual orientation that makes individuals attracted to people of similar sex or gender. Men who get involved with other men are termed gay, while women who are sexually engaged with fellow women are known as lesbians. Research has established that homosexuality has existed since time immemorial, during the ancient Greek Empire. In the United States, it was perceived as a mental disorder until 1973, when its perception changed to that of an alternative lifestyle instead, and it was taken off the list of mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association.
Factors of Homosexuality
The major point of concern has been the factors leading to an individual’s homosexual orientation. Some researchers have argued that homosexual men were simply born as ‘gay’, while others have argued that this sexual orientation develops gradually due to environmental and psychological effects from an early stage of growth (Brickell, 2003). Scholars asserted that the relationship between fathers and sons plays significant roles in how the male child’s sexual orientation turns out to be. In the event that the father and son relationship are not developed in the best way, then the son is likely to suffer from what Herick (2007) describes as, ‘lack of affirmation in masculine identity’.
Perceptions of Homosexuals
Homosexuality has been perceived with mixed reactions in the modern society. Most countries, especially developed nations are gradually accepting homosexuals and allowing for gay marriages, while other countries, which mostly include developing nations, still perceive this type of sexual orientation as an abomination in the society. Worth noting is that the general global perception of homosexuality of men has immensely improved and become more accommodating.
Unlike in the past years when gay people were ridiculed, dehumanized and traumatized for their sex preferences, the world has accepted the reality of the homosexuals’ existence and tried to find ways to appropriately help those involved. In the past years, this minority group was despised, and thus homosexual men had difficulties admitting their orientations in public. Friedman (1986) suggests that the old theoretical thinking should be evaluated and replaced with more open mindedness. Nevertheless, in some countries homosexual men are still considered as outcasts, who are living against the basic Biblical principles that strictly advocate the marriage between a man and a woman.
A paradigm shift of events is visible today as we have gay and homosexual movements in the society, that advocate the equal rights, treatment and development of laws that are in favor of homosexuals. Communities have seen homosexual men coming out in the streets for demonstration in demand for marital rights and seeking permission for children adoption.
A great realization has occurred that these homosexual men are part of the society. Male homosexuals may be our immediate family members, friends, politicians and in some cases, the most admired celebrities and role models that we look up to. The society has since embraced and accepted them. The media has also contributed significantly towards the shaping of this perception. Homosexual men today have opportunities to speak openly about their sexual orientation via the media, they have the chance to run campaigns and reach out to policy makers.
The media also airs modern music and programs that are designed for a homosexual audience, thus resulting in the improvement of the self-esteem of this minority group. During an election year, the presidential aspirants are requested to declare their positions on supporting the rights of the homosexual men minority group. Their declarations are critical in affecting the voting patterns of the masses as they reflect how their governments will treat homosexual men.
In conclusion, it is important to note that male homosexuality is a growing trend that is projected to increase in the near future. This will also mean a continuous shift in how we perceive homosexuals in the society for the reason that anyone, including those in the family or friend relationship with us, may be affected, as the actual cause of homosexuality cannot be directly pin pointed. It is advisable that society should minimize the judgmental attitude towards male homosexuals and instead help them in the best way possible by making them access counseling advice because they strive to come out of it.