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Over time, improvements in technological advancements and globalization have had immense effects on gender identity. Currently, innovations play key roles in our daily social lives. Throughout history, improvements in technology have had a dynamic relationship with gender identity (Shaver, 1991).
Unlike in the past, the speed at which the technology changes in our current society is affecting contemporary societies in new and transformative ways. As such, these changes in social norms and dominant ideologies are quickly changing the perceptions held about gender. Notably, the media, internet, and other influential powers are constructing beliefs, norms, and perceptions of gender identity.
During the last 2 centuries, several gender identity theories have been developed. According to the sociologists, gender is identified through physical body features, behaviors, and interpretations of our physical and physiological inputs (Shapiro, 2010). Currently, it is widely believed that gender is an experience of the mind. This implies that gender identities are not necessarily inborn. In the existing literatures, the authors acknowledge that globalization and technology have had immense effects on gender identity.
However, these literatures focus on gender identity in general failing to detail on the effects of technologies on specific gender aspects such as homosexuality and transgender. This paper comprises of three sections. In the first section, effects of scientific advancements in homosexuality between the 15th and 19th century are highlighted. The second section focuses on the effects of globalization and technological improvements on homosexuality in the 20th century.
In the third section, the effects of technological advances and globalization on homosexuality in the 21st century are investigated. Finally, the final paragraph summarizes the whole paper confirming that improvements in technology and globalization have changed the world’s perception about homosexuality. In general, this paper seeks to investigate whether technology and globalization has changed the world’s perception about homosexuality.
How improvements in sciences affected homosexuality
Across Europe, during the 15th to the beginning of the 19th century homosexuality was regarded as a sin or a crime against nature (Caplan, 1987). During this period, homosexual acts were considered offenses punishable by the rule of law. As such, several countries formulated harsh penalties against homosexuals. Throughout this period, several individuals were killed for being homosexuals.
Researchers agree that in spite of the harsh laws prohibiting homosexuality, homosexual social networks thrived and function privately. In the early 18th century, science played a major role in the developments across Europe. Researchers argue that the rise of science in the 19th century was not only important in the development of economies but also in the discoveries about homosexuality (West, 1968).
Earlier, before the adoption of science in studies related to human behavior studies, scholars believed that sodomy and lesbianism were against the laws of nature. In the 18th and the 19th centuries, scholars did extensive studies on human behaviors. Through these studies, it was noted that man existed freely in nature, and that he is supposed to submit to the laws of nature. Following these scientific studies, sodomites began to realize that all actions in nature were governed by natural laws.
Based on these revelations, sodomites argued that their sexual conducts were natural. In the 19th century, improvements in technology, medicine, and psychology led to several studies and discussions on homosexuality. Doctors were mandated by the courts to crosscheck defendants accused of homosexuality (Shapiro, 2010). Similarly, the practice of homosexuality became prevalent with increase in school attendance.
In addition, improvement in medical technologies and psychology enabled physicians to account the causes of homosexual behaviors. Through these advancements, the medieval perceptions that homosexuality was a sin against nature faded progressively as the public became aware of the issues. Modern perceptions of homosexuality as a harmless behavior and natural act are attributed to globalization and advancement in technologies.
How globalization affected homosexuality
In the 20th century, globalization redefined the understanding of gender identities (Shapiro, 2010). During this century, the world witnessed enormous infrastructural developments. Through these developments, people were able to travel and mingle unlike any other time in history. Owing to this, several cultures and beliefs integrated leading to different understandings on gender identity.
Researchers argue that out of globalization effects, homosexuality did not only become prevalent, but also became acceptable among diverse societies. During the century, several countries acknowledged the fact that laws that prohibited homosexuality were against the human rights entitled to every individual (Shapiro, 2010). In the same period, several countries abolished gender biased laws and laws that prohibited homosexuality.
Following this initiative, same sex marriages and gay sex became acceptable among most modern societies in the developed nations. In general, globalization increased public awareness in homosexuality leading to its acceptance in the current societies. During the 1960s and 1970s, gay movements sprung up across America and Europe. These movements consisted of homosexual members and their sympathizers (Ojeda, 2004).
Through these movements, these individuals championed for equality in the society. Before these movements, there were several laws such as labor laws that discriminated against the homosexuals. Following the rise of these movements, before the early 1980s, further studies and researches were conducted to understand the minority group (Kitzinger, 1987). Through these studies, several philosophical theories were developed enhancing gay and lesbian understanding among scholars and the public at large.
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During this period, the movements attracted extensive media coverage and analysis. As a result, more people got a chance to learn several facts related to homosexuality. For instance, through media coverage several people were able to understand that homosexuality is a natural, harmless act. Before the end of the 20th century, awareness about homosexuality led to some individuals disapproving past prejudices and myths associated with homosexuality (Greenberg, 1988).
Effects of internet and media on homosexuality
Since the early 21st century, technological revolution has enhanced the public change of perceptions about homosexuality. Similarly, through these technologies, homosexuals have been able to understand and accept their behavior as any other natural behavior.
Through television shows, radio shows, movies, and documentaries, the public understanding of homosexuality has been greatly changed (Shapiro, 2010). Currently, there are several movies, documentaries and radio shows that address the issues of homosexuality in the contemporary society.
Equally, the current media industries have been mandated to avoid sexual or gender biases in their shows. By being forced to do so, implies that the media houses have to portray positive attitudes and perceptions related to minority groups such as the gays and lesbians. Through these initiatives, the public perceptions on homosexuality have improved significantly. Moreover, through the media the public has been able to realize that homosexuality cuts across all races, ethnicities, and societies (Shapiro, 2010).
For instance, some of the prominent actors, politicians, and musicians have been known publicly through the media as homosexuals. Through this, the public has not only enhanced their awareness on the issue but also forced to embrace the behavior. With the invention of the internet, the public has been able to access information from their computers and phones. Several websites have been created to champion against gender and sexual discriminations (Shapiro, 2010).
Through these websites, internet users can learn about gay and lesbian rights and other issues related to the behavior. By doing so, awareness of the behavior has been enhanced leading to the increase in positive attitudes about the homosexuals. On the internet, there are several popular websites dedicated to the homosexuals. On these websites, homosexual members and non-homosexual members log in, and thereafter they chat freely with other members (Shapiro, 2010).
These websites have enhanced dissemination of information between members in various parts of the world. According to gay users, the websites allow them to express their feelings and attitudes freely with other members, something they could not have been able to achieve through face-to-face conversations. Out of their interactions, homosexuals have come to accept their sexual conducts allowing them to socialize freely in the society.
Through this article, we realize that over time improvements in technology and globalization have had immense changes on homosexuality. As such, during the 16th to 19th century improvements in the field of science, psychology, and economics forced the world to change some of its archaic perceptions about homosexuality.
Similarly, during the 20th century, further improvements in technologies and globalization led to further acceptance of homosexuality in our societies. In the 21st century, new inventions in the media industry and the invention of the internet have not only led to deeper understanding of homosexuality, but have also led to widespread interaction of homosexuals all over the world.
I believe that, further advancements in online technologies will continue to affect our perceptions on gender identity. In this regard, gay and lesbian activists should continue to develop interactive websites through which they can educate the public on various issues related to homosexuality.
Similarly, these online communities should enable the homosexuals and non-homosexual users to interact freely without fear of condemnation. Correspondingly, through our daily activities we must strive to ensure that gender and sexual discrimination are abolished in our society (Bozett, 1989). This implies that we should advocate for appropriate policies that uphold equality in our societies, schools, and institutions.
Bozett, F. W. (1989). Homosexuality and the family. New York: Harrington Park Press.
Caplan, P. (1987). The Cultural construction of sexuality. London: Tavistock Publications .
Greenberg, D. F. (1988). The construction of homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kitzinger, C. (1987). The social construction of lesbianism. London: Sage Publications.
Ojeda, A. (2004). Homosexuality. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
Shapiro, E. (2010). Gender circuits: bodies and identities in a technological age. New York, NY : Routledge.
Shaver, J. P. (1991). Handbook of research on social studies teaching and learning. New York: Macmillan ;.
West, D. J. (1968). Homosexuality (3rd ed.). London: Duckworth.