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channels are focused on the heated debate about homosexual marriages. Statutes are passed to allow it, thousands run to get it done before new statutes are put into place to remove the ability. At the center of the human rights tug-of-war, are the homosexuals of America. Many years ago, homosexuals were shunned by society. Their sexual orientation was deemed lewd and illegal and those who were homosexual were encouraged to remain firmly in the closet. For the past few decades, movement has been underway to dissolve the archaic attitudes and replace them with acceptance and tolerance. While this last challenge is faced, the fact remains that homosexuals are still experiencing discrimination and hate crimes. This paper will present an interview styled case study about the life of a homosexual. It will explore the biological, psychological and social aspects of being homosexual from the view point of one homosexual male. The interview will shed light on the beliefs of someone who experiences the true impact of being a homosexual male in America today.
NATURE OR NURTURE
WHY DOES IT EVEN MATTER?
The person who was the focus of this case study is a 44-year-old white male named Doug. Doug spent the first five years of his life in upstate New York where he was born. His family then relocated to California where he spent his childhood and much of his adult life thus far. He was here visiting the researcher's friend and agreed to be used as the subject of this case study. While getting to know Doug before asking him to be in the case study it was discovered in conversation that he is a deeply spiritual person. He grew up wanting to be a minister in a Christian church and did not fully realize the obstacles he would encounter as a homosexual when it came to that life goal. He eventually gave up any hope of attaining that goal in the 1970's when he was a young adult and instead became a cosmetologist.
This particular person was chosen for several reasons. One reason had to do with his age. He was young when there was still a considerable amount of discrimination against gays in this nation. He is now middle aged and experiences current attitudes toward gay men.
I hope to learn about the ways that gays are discriminated against. I have several African-American friends who tell me that it is difficult for someone outside their color to understand racism because it is often subtle, and insidiously projected. I believe that the same is true for gay men, and I hope to learn more about how to recognize it so I can be a part of the solution.
As difficult as it is to admit, before I interviewed Doug I had a preconceived notion about gay men. I would see a man in a social or business setting and would make assumptions about his life based on his mannerisms. I believe my preconceived notion comes from the presentation the media provides for gay men. All one has to do is look at the show Will and Grace and see the portrayal in Jack.
The hypothesis I made about Doug's identity was that he would be uncomfortable and present himself a bit stiffly. I felt excited about interviewing this person. I have gay friends but this was presenting itself in a way that I could ask all the questions I have wondered about and not felt comfortable asking before.
We started the interview with a biological discussion. There have been many debates on whether homosexuality is nature or nurture. Doug addressed the question of being born or made gay with a question of his own...."What does it matter?." Doug believes that the very act of studying that question, researching the scientific aspect of it, and debating it continues the attitude that there is something wrong with being gay. Doug believes when it truly no longer matters whether men are born gay or made gay, then and only then will society have reached a true level of tolerance and acceptance. For the purpose of this study however he did agree to answer the question. Doug believes he was born gay. He has an older brother who is straight and an older sister who is straight. They were all three born to the same parents, raised in the same house and provided the same childhoods and he is gay and they are not. In his opinion the only explanation is biology. I then asked him if it is strictly biology where does the belief come from that emotionally distant fathers have caused gay sons.
Doug said he has seen the inexplicable evidence of this but has a theory about it. He believes that little boys who are born gay have many differences from their straight counterparts. He believes that fathers can sense this in their sons when their sons are still very young and because of the stigma society has attached to being gay the father pulls away from his son emotionally. The caretaking and nurturing falls to the mother who senses the father's dismay, and as any mother does who wants to protect her child, she becomes even more active in the child's life hoping to make up for the father's emotional distance.
Then, according to Doug, by the time society interacts with the young gay man it appears that mom has always been overbearing and dad has always been cold and distant. When asked if he believes it is biological does he also believe that it can be cured through medications. Doug believes that it can be. He thinks if it is studied long enough they are going to find a gene or something that causes one to develop their sexual orientation and eventually, someday in the future it is going to allow a medication one can take that will stop that orientation. He also believes that even further beyond that a pill will be possible that will "make a man straight." He thinks it is unnecessary however because it goes back to his question of why does it matter?
He believes society should work on acceptance and not worry about the biology of being gay or straight.
Certain studies have indicate there are brain scan differences between gay men and straight men. These current indicators do point to the probably biological cause of being homosexual.
The psychological portion of this interview was very interesting. This is the area I have always wondered about and was not comfortable asking. The first question I asked was how young Doug was when he realized he was gay. He said that for him it was a gradual process. He remembers being six years old and hearing everyone around him talking about growing up and getting married.
Doug said at the time he felt he would grow up and marry a man but didn't know why that was his thought. When he was about 10 other boys would talk about having crushes on little girls in school. By this time Doug realized that it was what society expected of him so he played along. He said he had a crush on a little girl but when he went over her house couldn't wait to get home.
Doug believes that the psychological demands of being gay in a straight society are very taxing. He worked all through middle and high school to appear straight. He was good looking as a teen and many girls wanted to date him. He was afraid if he didn't date then the group he hung out with would realize he was gay. When Doug was in school being gay was not only shunned by society but was also illegal in many states. This all worked to make Doug feel ashamed of his desire to date boys. The constant pressure to appear to be something he wasn't eventually caused chronic depression. Doug began to withdraw from his group and his family as he tried to figure out how to will himself straight. When asked if it caused him anxiety issues Doug laughed and asked what I thought? He then said that he had panic attacks in school because he would play sports to try and appear macho, but he lived in constant fear that his secret would be discovered. Another psychological issue he had was guilt. Doug relayed that many gay men go through a feel of tremendous guilt as they watch their siblings please their parents with first crushes and dating and marriage. As Doug began to age his relatives began teasing him about not wanting to go out. He remembers one particular instance that stayed with him. There were several families from the block over at his house for a block party. The night wore on and the adults had a little to much to drink and someone began asking Doug's mother if he was dating anyone. His mother said no and was explaining that…[continue]
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