The word homosexuality is a term derived from the Greek word “homos,” which translates to mean “same.” Homosexuality technically refers to an erotic interest that one has toward members of their own sex. However, participating in homosexual activities does not mean that someone is actually a homosexual. Some people might engage in homosexuality simply because heterosexual partners are not available. Other people, those in prison for example, might be forced to participate in homosexual activities by others around them. Young people especially may experiment with same sex partners even if their actual affiliation is heterosexual. It is also possible that some people are homosexuals who never engage in sexual activities with same sex partners. Therefore, a homosexual may be described as someone who is motivated in their adult life by preferences regarding erotic attraction to same sex members and who may or may not engage in sexual relations with them (Siegel, 2006).
Homosexuality has been in existence throughout most societies and records of it have even been found in prehistoric hieroglyphics and art. Even during times when homosexuality was banned, it still existed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 1.2 million people are involved in homosexual partnerships and almost every single county in the U.S. has reported the existence of same-sex households. Throughout much of history even into present times, homosexuals have faced with discrimination, violence, and sanction. The Bible states that homosexuality is a deviant behavior that is unacceptable and must be destroyed. This intolerance is still apparent in our society today. Many homosexuals are beaten and killed (also known as gay bashing) simply because of their sexual preference. It is unclear why this antigay feeling or homophobia exists. Religious individuals view homosexuality as a sin while others are simply ignorant as to the lifestyle of homosexuals and act as if it is contagious like a disease. Many people have pure hatred toward gays because of their personal sexual insecurities. For example, men who appear to be homophobic may experience erotic thoughts toward same-sex members even though they do not want to admit it or are unaware (Siegel, 2006).
Homosexuality was at one time considered a crime; however it is no longer a crime in this country. While it is no longer considered a crime, homosexuals are still not treated like ordinary couples. They are unable to get legally get married in most states and are also banned from joining the military, even though there is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which means that homosexuals still face the burden of not being able to admit their sexual preference in many cases. This lifestyle choice has also cost many homosexuals custody of their children. They are still considered unfit parents, however, the negative attitudes are beginning to lighten and social tolerance is starting to increase. Homosexuals are now gaining more acceptance and equality in the military, employment, housing, Social Security benefits, and inheritance rights. While homosexuals have come a long way from years ago, they still have a long way to go in order to get the acceptance and equality among society that they deserve (Siegel, 2006).
Siegel, L. J. (2006). Criminology. 9th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.