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Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Homosexuality Essay

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Updated: Nov 24th, 2021

Homosexuality is not new in society. Its documentation goes back ages but there are some changes in the way people perceive it. However, regardless of time, people have preponderantly objurgated homosexuality from historical times to date. Nevertheless, this behavior seems to be gaining popularity among people in the recent past. States are even approving laws allowing same-sex marriages. Hitherto, homosexuality seemed to be a practice of Caucasians; however, last month two Kenyan men living in the United Kingdom became the first Kenyans to get involved in same-sex marriage. This serves to accentuate how this practice is gaining popularity across borders. Notwithstanding these alterations, what is the role of historical and scientific perspectives on homosexuality? Do these perspectives play any role in how gay people view themselves?

There is enough evidence that the perspective from which homosexual people view themselves, depends largely on scientific and historical perspectives of the same. Generally, most gay people view themselves as unacceptable probably due to their unusual sexual attraction that negates the societal norms about sexual relationships (Gorman, 2009). Historically, there is enormous proof that some practices shape the way gay people view themselves. With the mention of history and homosexuality, religion pops into the mind. Religion and sexual behaviors in past societies contributed immensely to defining what is morally acceptable and what is not. The major world religions: Islam and Christianity condemned homosexuality and this stand slowly found its way into legal systems. Unfortunately, authorities passed it as a criminal offense that attracted jail terms (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005). This only served to create fear among homosexuals as societal norms and moral uprightness continued to define them.

The other striking perspective in this context is heritage or psychological perspective. Historically, there are defined roles for men and women across cultures. Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, (2005) posit that anything outside these defined roles is unacceptable (p. 297). Traditions have it that, men are the heads of any family setting. Consequently, woman-to-woman sexual relationships appear as a way of demolishing this male dominance in society. Therefore, any woman with sexual desires towards another woman has to suppress them or portray them clandestinely. Traditions and culture, therefore, play a pivotal role in determining what is acceptable or not concerning sexual predilection. Family settings and the way children are brought up contribute largely to the view of homosexuality. Sigmund Freud, the father of the psychoanalytic hypothesis, noted that homosexuality might result from a failed attempt to overcome the Oedipus complex successfully (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005, p. 313).

Scientific factors throwing more weight to these issues include brain differences, hormones, and genes. Studies show that there is a genetic link to homosexuality. This is a biological perspective towards homosexuality. In a study to establish the relationship between genes and homosexuality, Pinel (2007) established that 52% of identical twin brothers and 48% of homozygous twin sisters had homosexual orientation (p. 102). Research also shows that homosexuals have different neuropsychological and hormonal responses from heterosexuals (Pinel, 2007, p. 105). There is also enough evidence that homosexuals have different brain anatomies from heterosexuals. The writer feels that these historical and scientific perceptions on homosexuality define how homosexuals view themselves. For instance, homosexuals will feel shy to speak publicly about their sexual orientation for fear of reprimand and isolation because these practices are not in line with the traditional definition of morals and sexual relationships. However, despite all these challenges, some bold homosexuals will not care to put across their opinions. They speak of their feelings publicly especially in the wake of scientific research linking genetics to homosexuality.

The experiences of ‘coming out’ are somewhat traumatizing due to social disapprobation and discrimination directed to homosexuals. Coming out, that is, accepting that one is homosexual and declaring it to others, is an advanced stage of dealing with homosexuality. Advanced because even realizing that one is a homosexual is difficult and upon realization, many people resort to self-denial complicating the issue further. It is very hard to come out and cope as a homosexual given the view of society towards the same. Before 1973, American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus, 2005, p. 316). Even though this changed later, many people view homosexuality as insanity. This is why the experience of coming out and coping as a homosexual is traumatizing and sometimes suicidal.

Historical and scientific perspectives have reflected positively on the writer’s sexual orientation. The writer feels that the historical perspectives on sexual matters define his or her sexual orientation largely. The historical perspective that, same-sex relationships are not morally upright resonates well with the writer’s sexual orientation, which is heterosexually oriented.

From the context above, it is clear that historical and scientific perspectives on homosexuality contribute immensely to shaping how gay people view themselves. From historical times, homosexuality has been unacceptable even though people practiced it as early as times of the Roman Empire. Most homosexuals find it difficult to ‘come out’ and let know of their sexual orientations. However, some homosexuals have the guts to come out, accept that they are gay, and make it known to the public. The experience of ‘coming out’ however may be traumatizing or even suicidal in some cases.

Reference

Gorman, T. (2009). The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project. Providing Help To Victims of Domestic Violence in Boston’s LGBT Community. Web.

Pinel, J. (2007). Basics of Biopsychology. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Rathus, S. Nevid, J. & Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity. (6th Ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Homosexuality." November 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/historical-and-scientific-perspectives-on-homosexuality/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Homosexuality'. 24 November.

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