The Question of Homophobia
> 5/16/2006 10:08:49 AM

It wasn't until December 15th, 1973, that the American Psychiatric Association unanimously voted to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders, as catalogued in what was then the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Gay rights have come a long way since then, while many would argue that there is still a lot of work to be done.

In the last twenty-years, the debate has often centered on genetics, and whether or not homosexuality, as a trait, was a product of nature or nurture. It is often, as this Boston Globe Op Ed points out, where one falls on this question that determines how one views the issue of gay rights.

It turns out that the more you believe homosexuality is innate, the more accepting you are of gay rights. A full 79 percent of people who think human beings are born with a sexual orientation support gay rights, including civil unions or marriage equality. But only 22 percent of those who believe homosexuality is a choice agree.

The writer, Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, continues to state that at this point, the "weight of research suggests that sexual orientation is indeed something we are born with." It appears that the more we learn, the more research that is done, the clearer it will become that homosexuality is no different then left-handedness or blue eyes or brown hair.

In fact, now a days it is more common that someone might seek treatment or therapy for extreme homophobia. The terrific PBS program, Frontline, ran a report in February of 2000 entitled "Assault on Gay America." As part of their online presentation PBS included a detailed overview of the research that has been done into homophobia. Towards the end of the piece, the writer offers this:

Whether favorable or unfavorable, symbolic attitudes derive from socialization experiences, past and present. They express values important to one's concept of self, thereby helping individuals to establish their identity and affirm their notion of the sort of person they perceive themselves to be, while simultaneously mediating their relation to other important individuals and reference groups. This is part of an ongoing social dialectic through which one's sense of self develops while it also defines interpersonal relationships.

The symbolic pattern is apparent in the empirical data already summarized. Heterosexuals who express hostile attitudes toward homosexual persons also tend to endorse traditional ideologies of family, sexuality' and sex roles, and often are prejudiced against other minorities as well. That some of these same findings also apply to the defensive function underscores the complex, overdetermined nature of attitudes toward homosexual persons. Attitudes serving different functions can be correlated with identical behaviors.

Harvard professor of cognitive science, Steven Pinker, adds another interesting point to the debate, as he laments the lack of research into homosexuality:

In America, the biology of homosexuality is a politicized minefield that scares away scientists (and the universities and agencies that pay for their research). Which is a pity. Regardless of where homosexuality resides in the brain, the ethics of homosexuality is a no-brainer: what consenting adults do in private is nobody's business but their own. And the deterrents to research on homosexuality leave us in ignorance of one of the most fascinating sources of human diversity.

As many researchers have concluded, ignorance is by and large the most prevalent contributing factor to homophobia. Time has brought change, and only its further passage will begin to truly eliminate prejudices. Each of us can only look inside ourselves to answer the question of our own relationship to homosexuality or homophobia. To this end, the Frontline page offers a standardized homophobia questionnaire, derived from several clinical research questionnaire. Use it to better understand and confront your own beliefs.


Actually, no research indicates Homosexuality to be likle hair or eye colour. Recent research indicates it is caused by a CHemical imbalance.Berkely did a study pn Rams, for instance,just this year (2007).And, all the past "Genetic Homosexuality" evidence was not really evidence. EG, the Hammer studies, which were not replicatable and biased.
Posted by: Zar 5/3/2007 7:09:44 AM

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