The topic on homosexuality remains amongst the most debated across the globe. Whilst the act is prohibited in some states in a legal and morality perspective, it is legally acceptable in other states. The topic gains popularity and increased concern from regulations of human conduct that include religion, law, sociological needs, biological and scientific explanations, psychological needs, and other theoretical frameworks. This paper discusses the various provisions on homosexuality using human behavior disciplines.
In explaining homosexuality and developing concepts that form theories of homosexuality a contradiction on what homosexuality is constantly arises. There lacks an agreement among scientists, communities, religious grouped, law makers, and homosexuals themselves as to clarity of homosexuality. However, in a broad spectrum, homosexuality may be defined as being motivated, in adult life, by a definite preferred erotic attraction to member of the same sex, and who normally, but not necessarily, engages in acts of homosexuality. The act encompasses variety of phenomena related to same sex sexual course. Although the term associates with sexual attractions and acts, it also referred to patterns of emotional bonding, same-sex romance, identities, communities, relationships, and culture, based on same-sex desires. Ongoing attractions are mostly consistent with sexual conducts but this is not always the case as many people with these attractions have heterosexual experiences with different preferences. In an attempt to explain and discuss this issue, this paper analyses this phenomena using different disciples applicable in human study.
HOMOSEXUALITY AND RELIGION.
The relationship between homosexuality and religion vary across time and place, within different sects and religious beliefs, and from differences in forms of homosexuality. Current doctrines from the world’s largest religious institutions regard homosexuality as a negative concept of society. The effects are ranging discouragements on the activity, explicitly forbidding the act, and actively opposing the acceptance of homosexuality.
In the ancient cultures, homosexuality was not an uncommon act as it is viewed today. The forms and views of homosexuality during this time varied significantly in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Both the behavior and subject were considered a taboo with some exceptions made in urban areas as a result of diversified cultures and cultural shifts (Hodge, 2001). Until recently, the religious condemnation of homosexuality was unquestioned. Participation in organized worship has contributed to the demographic debate on whether a person should approve or disapprove a homosexual relationship. Each religious faith holds different opinions on sexuality that has changed the way people view sex (Crompton, 2003). Regarding religion, opinions on homosexuality may be explained using three theories;
The rejectionist theory is applied by Christian-Judeo denominations that embrace the Biblical interpretation of sexuality. The Bible condemns acts of homosexuality in five places; In Leviticus, Romans, Corinthians, and Timothy. The Bible defines homosexuality as a sin, fantasy, and an act driven by lust. It differentiates between a temptation and a sin in that individuals can control a temptation, but the choice as to pursue that which is a temptation is within the individual’s power (Hodge, 2001).
Under the rejectionist theory homosexuality is composed of four elements; behavior, identity, psychic response, and lifestyle. Behavior implies restraining from sexual behavior yet experiencing intense battle with attractions. It defines homosexuality as not only the act, but situations that lead into performing the act such as being in prisons (Hodge, 2001). Behavior may also be inherited where children act from what they see and observe.
Psychic response implies homosexual orientation, and acting from admiration, envy, plans, and fantasy. It results from an act pictured in the mind, which develops a conditional response of performing the act (Hodge, 2001). Identity refers to the feeling of being different from other people. Such pressure leads to engaging in acts so that one integrates with the community. Lifestyle implies sub-cultural inheritance, being sporadic and adventurous, acceptance of new behavior, and matching with ‘new’ societal shifts.
Religion also proposes the ‘Love the sinner, hate the act’ concept. Under this theory, homosexuals should be regarded with the same level of respect as much as the behavior is not tolerated by religion. This is a modification of the rejectionist perspective where the state cannot be changed, but individuals can only be obedient to a High power as long as they abstain from homosexual activities. Religion also proposes the full acceptance approach on homosexuality (Paul, 2002). This theory provides for entitlement of social and civic rights of a person whether in wrongful at or not. Churches are built under this egalitarian model of full acceptance.
The tension between homosexuality and religion closely associates with views on societal acceptance (Ellis, L. 1996). Different religions have different views on homosexuality. Christianity, for example, forbids the act, and does not socially accept those who engage in it. Contrary, Hinduism does not treat the act as a sin as it recognizes that every individual has his/her own preference on attraction, and thereby does not discriminate individual choices. The religious acceptance of the act depends on the theory that an individual decides to adapt.
HOMOSEXUALITY AND BIOLOGY.
A universal and undisputable fact about humanity is that every individual owes their existence from a biological interaction of their parents (Ellis, L. 1996). This forms the family and social unit basis of a society. However, in some societies, homosexuality varies in degrees of prevalence. Over the past three decades, this behavior had become increasingly open and a mainstream. Many people have started to view such sexual conducts as identifying characteristics of those practicing it.
Biological theories explaining homosexuality fit into the discourse of sexuality and reproduction that began in the nineteenth century. However, with the distinct classification of homosexuality, homosexuals were excluded from what was considered as ‘normal’ sexual relationship. Biological theories do not only attempt to explain the causes of homosexuality, but also maintain the exclusion of this category from the ‘normal’ (John, 1995).
Biological theories of homosexuality can be classified into ethological, and genetic. These theories have been used by different groups in fighting for or against homosexuality. The genetic approach argues that genetic factors running in a family contributes to sexual attractiveness (John, 1995). Scientists argue that the attraction is a genetically inherited factor that runs in generations such that the probability of children from homosexual families being homosexuals becomes extremely high (Crompton, 2003). This is however, contradicted by the fact that the chances of homosexuals giving birth are zero and limited unless in cases of test tubes and adaption. Such children, therefore, may not genetically inherit the act but from observable behavior.
An ethological perspective argues that filial imprinting in humans begins in the womb where a fetus recognizes all movements and voices of the mother and father. It defines the concept of critical periods that explains sensitivity to stimuli, and the extent on influence to development of these stimuli influences to a fetus (Ellis, L. 1996). This theory is also insufficient as a homosexual female may never get pregnant.
HOMOSEXUALITY AND SOCIOLOGY.
All sociological theories including sexuality theories are based on the fundamental supposition that human behavior is learnt socially. Sexual sociological theories assert that sexuality is not a product of biological force social rather a social force (Drescher, 2002). The script theory and symbolic interactionism theory provide a broad paradigm of homosexuality. Both theories fall under social contructionism that states that the reality is social and develops from a social bond through shared meanings, and experience of phenomena.
Developed by George Herbet in 1930, symbolic interaction theory argues that people have the ability to take the role of others, and as thus see the ‘self’ as others view it. According to Drescher (2002), the view of seeing the ‘self’ as others do contribute to behavioral decisions on acting in ways intended to foster relationships with others. Symbolic interactionists argue that people construct their sexual behavior from sexual realities. This is based on factors such as family, religion, and law. These factors contribute to control and conceptualization of sexuality within individuals.
The scripting theory provides that sexuality results from an elaborate prior learning that teaches human the etiquette of sexuality. Sexual scripts tell people where to have sex, with whom, when, and what acts are appropriate once a sexual activity is initiated. Other relevant sociological theories of sexuality include the social exchange theory and the sexual strategies theory.
The most substantial concern on sociology and homosexuality is the social acceptance element of homosexuals. The acceptance of homosexuals is a factor dependent on amongst others religious beliefs, law, culture, morality, norms, and lifestyle (Drescher, 2002). The battle to accept homosexuality has not been won despite many regulations on the law to incorporate sexual freedom. The provision of gay and lesbian rights in the constitution may not initiate social acceptance in many societies as it is against the norms and beliefs of most communities.
HOMOSEXUALITY AND LAW.
The laws regulating, banning, or providing for homosexuality, or those that are for or against homosexuality, differ with every state. In Africa, for example most constitutions prohibit homosexuality contrary to most western states that recognize it as a right. The Obama’s regime has been criticized on the homosexual bill that provides for the rights of homosexuality. The argument on legalizing homosexuality arises when matters of protection of the marriage institution are concerned. Homosexuality violates natural law as it circumvents the purpose of the sexual act, and the objectivity of morality. Natural law is universal as it applies equally to all human races. As thus homosexuality should be considered illegal.
However, based on different constitutions in different nations the concept of natural law has been ruled out. Proponents argue that if natural law protects the marriage institution through defining homosexuality as immoral, then it fails on marriages developed for non-sexual companionships (Crompton, 2003). For example, royal families marry their children off to powerful and diplomatic families to preserve their royalty and power. In addition, if the natural law was to be followed then the irony of increased divorce rates should not be recurring. The argument is the law governing any land should dictate on sexuality, and not what is considered as morally upright.
There is no theory that can comprehensively argue for or against sexuality. Criminalizing the act or legalizing it may not solve the dilemma on homosexuality. The choice of attractiveness is individually made as even with provision of law gays and lesbians still find ways and places to perform their acts. Whether moral or against morals should not be dictated by any religion, law, society, or biological concepts, but it should be based on individual choice. The theories should only apply when there is a need for control and regulate the act as in the case of any other human behavior.
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