life at age 23

How America should react to homosexuals?

How America should react to homosexuals Many experts agree that homosexuality has
existed as long as human beings themselves, although the attitude towards them has undergone
dramatic changes in some countries. Accepted by many societies during Greek and Roman era,
most of the time homosexuals were considered to be sinners against nature and even criminals. In
Medieval and modern periods homosexuals were prosecuted. Enlightenment brought some
liberation, substituting death penalty by imprisonment.
In Nazi Germany so-called "doctors" tried to "cure" gays by the ways of castration and
extreme intimidation. Until 1973 attempts to find a cure against homosexuality, what by majority
was viewed as a disease, were continued. Today, when research on twins suggests that sexual
orientation is not a choice, but our genetic predisposition, homosexual acts are still considered to
be immoral and even illegal in majority of countries and in the eyes of most religious groups
homosexuals, probably, always will be the subjects of anathema. As much as the future may look
gloomy for many gays and lesbians all over the world, there are remarkable changes in public
opinion and officials’ attitudes toward homosexuals in some countries. For example, in 1989
Denmark was the first to allow the same-sex marriage. In the United States the subject of
homosexuality remains controversial. For example, In Hawaii three homosexual couples asked
the court to recognize their right to get married and the court did. However, the state government
refused to legalize this marriage. Consequently, a new amendment was introduced to the state
Constitution. At the same time, majority of the states are not even considering this option and
homosexuality itself is still illegal there. Still, not only authorities try to determine the position
they should take towards homosexuals, many common Americans also have no clear
understanding of how to react to homosexuality.
Why should we bother to find the answer to the questions: who are the homosexuals and
where do they belong in our society? First of all, it is important to realize that homosexuals are
an integral part of our society. Your neighbor, your co-worker, your hairdresser, your child and
even your spouse can be one of them. According to Richard D. Mohr "[t]wo out of five men one
passes on the street have had orgasmic sex with men. Every second family in the country has a
member who is essentially homosexual and many more people regularly have homosexual
experiences"(186). Should we avoid them, ignore, express our anger and disgust? Unfortunately,
many people feel that way because they have a remote idea about people of different sexual
orientation. For them homosexuality is perversion, abnormality or decease. The ignorance may
foster fear, which in its turn leads to hostility. Homophobia is dangerous, because it affects all
groups of people – heterosexuals and homosexuals, grown-ups and children, men and women. It
may lead to violence and even death. There are numerous cases when people were actually killed
because of homophobia. To name few of them – Matthew Shepard(homosexual), John Braun
(heterosexual), Steve Kennedy (homosexual) and the list can be continued. Prejudice against
homosexuality sharply limits how all men and women may acceptably behave, among
themselves and with each other.
It is obvious that we can no longer pretend that the homosexual issue is none of our
concern. In attempt to evaluate our attitude towards people of different sexual orientation we will
be able to understand them better. What is more important, we may overcome our prejudice,
which often results in discrimination of one group against another. To acknowledge that there are
people who are different and learn to tolerate them means to live in a safer world. The next
question is: Do we have the right to discriminate against homosexuals? Until recently
homosexuals were invisible minority. Therefore, many Americans were unaware that gays and
lesbians were discriminated against. But homosexuals were and still are treated unfairly on the
basis that they undermine our morality, that they present danger to our children and that they are
transmitters of AIDS far more than heterosexuals. Today many gays and lesbians come out of
"the closet" and demand the same rights that heterosexual take for granted. We have to admit that
some steps have been made to protect homosexuals. However, many government and public
institutions and individuals still discriminate against homosexuals denying them employment,
housing, insurance, marriage, child’s custody and so on. Why is it allowed to discriminate against
people who have different sexual orientation? Some may put forward arguments that being gay is