One of the best poets of the twentieth century, Dr Seuss, once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ” That is, really, the greatest advice a person can receive. As a young homosexual grows into adulthood and enters the “real world” he or she will, without a doubt, meet someone who “minds. ” Whether it is socially, legally, religiously, or even internally challenges will emerge. These challenges must be recognized, understood, confronted, and, hopefully, overcome.
Some of these challenges cannot be confronted without taking legal action or changing the way another person thinks, therefore picturing the challenge, for most people, difficult or otherwise impossible to overcome. In these cases the individual’s only method of overcoming the issue is through different resource organizations or support from friends and/or family. In other cases, the challenge is an emotional one and can only be overcome through an internal process of acceptance and understanding. Those cases are the most common for homosexuals and include important processes such as “coming out. ” In the movie J.
Edgar they show a scene where he reveals to Clyde Tolson, his associate that he wants to ask a girl to be his wife. Tolson responds with anger and throws a fit. The agruement escalated into a fistfight and then Tolson aggressively kissed Hoover on the lips. With confusion and not wanting to admit his feelings Hoover pushed him off and told him to never do that again. Assumptions and homophobia are one of the biggest problems for homosexuals if they are to get the majority of people to accept their lifestyle.
Homophobia, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is, “the fear, anxiety, anger, discomfort and aversion that some… eterosexual people hold for gay individuals. ”One of the biggest challenges for homosexuals is overcoming homophobia. Oftentimes, homophobia is based on incorrect assumptions. It is easy to see that assumptions are everywhere and most have no truth to them. Most of these assumptions are unfounded and nearly all have been proven false through psychological and scientific studies and surveys. Until 1948, homosexuality was not studied seriously or openly discussed. It was considered a mental illness and what little studies were done were only conducted on homosexuals who were considered insane and already in the care of psychologist.
Finally, a sex researcher, Alfred C. Kensey, surveyed 5,300 male volunteers. He published his studies in the book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Of those surveyed, “50 percent… had a samesex… genital experience before puberty… 25 percent… had more than incidental homosexual experiences for at least three years the between ages of sixteen and fiftyfive… 37 percent had had at least one homosexual experience leading to orgasm after puberty… 10 percent said they had been exclusively homosexual for a period of at least three years between the ages of sixteen and fiftyfive”.
The implications of this were groundbreaking. Until then it had been thought that men and women were born exclusively heterosexual. Finally, in the late 1950s, the question of whether homosexual orientation is a mental illness was studied by Dr. Evelyn Hooker. “She found no differences in emotional stability and mental health between those who were homosexually oriented and those who were heterosexually oriented… By 1973… the American Psychiatric Association had removed homosexuality from its list of mental diseases”.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s the so called “sexual revolution” began taking place, which brought a more accepting attitude towards sexuality. Robert E. Dunbar explains how this new sexual freedom affected gay males: The sexual revolution of the late 1960s and the Gay Revolution that grew out of it encouraged a sexual freedom that for some gay men became boundless. A Kinsey Institute survey of gay men in the 1970s revealed that almost half of those surveyed had had more than 500 sexual partners, and more than 90 percent had had at least twenty five.
Most of these sexual encounters occurred with comparative or absolute strangers, oftentimes met in gay bars or bathhouses. This promiscuous behavior led inevitably to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, the experiences of lesbians were more like those of women who were heterosexually oriented. Opponents of gay rights often use the promiscuity of gay males to discredit homosexuals, however it must be noted that with the epidemic of AIDS and the resulting campaigns against promiscuous sexual activity, most gay men have changed their sexual habits to that of lesser and safer sex.
Today psychologist have much more detailed research concerning sexual orientation. Research is currently being conducted to determine various causes of sexual orientation. Simon LeVay studied particular cell clusters of the hypothalamus, a part of the brain, from dead heterosexual and homosexual people. He discovered, “The cell cluster was reliably larger in heterosexual men than in women and homosexual men” . This implied that there might be a biological explanation for homosexuality at least in males. In looking for a genetic cause of sexuality, a team of researchers analyzed twin brothers of male homosexuals: