The subject of sexual orientation is one of the most controversial issues in the society today. Many people are divided when it comes to supporting or critiquing the homosexuals and the LGBT movement as a whole, giving reasons best known to them as to why they hold their own positions. However, it must be noted that the present-day society is more welcoming to the LGBT community than the older generations, particularly communities within Europe and the U.S. As a matter of fact, progress is evidenced by various states legislations which support LGBT rights. Such include the legalization of same sex marriage and allowing gay people to serve openly in the military as it has happened in the U.S. and its states within the past two decade. However, despite this progress, there still exists overwhelming disapproval on the recognition of homosexual rights. That is why as a psychologist, it is likely for one to come across a client who is distressed by his attraction towards an individual of the same sex.
A client is concerned about his sexual orientation. He is emotionally and physically attracted to men and would love to get into a romantic relationship with one. In fact, he has spotted a young energetic guy in campus. This is not the first time he is infatuated about a man as it has happened before; he even opened up to loving his high school classmate who was also a man. However, just like the reaction given to him by the classmate, his advances were shun, mocked and condemned. He has witnessed so much negativity surrounding homosexuals in social media and YouTube and this has left him with fear of embracing his identity and expressing his feelings. While his classmates constantly mock him for not having a girlfriend, he is afraid of telling them that he is not attracted to females and instead, males. He wants to know whether it is normal for him to be emotionally and sexually attracted to a man and whether the people around him are right about their misconceptions on homosexuality.
Handling such a client who is struggling to understand his or her sexual orientation and particularly one who is homosexual, would be very challenging for me. I come from a conservative mainland protestant family and a community which holds true to its stringent cultural beliefs. My conservative faith disapproves of homosexuality because it is against Biblical precepts and commandments given to us by God. Oftentimes we are reminded of God’s creation of a man and woman as the only genders allowed to come together as lovers. There was no “Adam and Steve.” As for my culture, the prevailing notion is that being gay is immoral and a choice to contravene social norms. Coming from these orientations, I would be in a dilemma when confronted with any client who has questions about his or her homosexual tendencies.
Homosexuality and Psychology
The subject of sex and gender in psychology goes beyond biological sex and encompasses areas of gender identity, social gender and sexual orientation (Murray, Pope & Willis, 2016). Sexual orientation focuses on the individuals’ romantic, emotional and/or sexual attractions to males, females or both sexes (American Psychological Association, n.d.). It also encompasses an individual’s sense of identity on the basis of these attractions, behaviors common to them and membership in homosexual groups. The very way males have -and identify themselves with- a physical, romantic and emotional attraction towards females is the very way a class of males have this attraction towards fellow men and women towards other women. These attractions start manifesting in between the middle childhood and early adolescence period of one’s life.
What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation? While there seems to be no consensus among medics and psychologists about the exact reason for an individual to develop a homosexual orientation, much research reveals that genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences play a significant role (Halley, 2017). There is a consensus among most researchers that both nature and nurture play complex roles while it is certain that most of these individuals experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation. To this effect, it is imperative to understand that homosexuality is a form of sexual orientation and should not be perceived as an ailment. There are several credible literature texts which approve of this position.
According to the American Psychological Association (n.d.) on sexual orientation and homosexuality, psychologists have a fundamental role in eliminating the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations. They do this by addressing the misconceptions held by the society on sexual orientation and reassuring the marginalized on the normality of their identities. One of the prevailing societal misconceptions which would also lead a homosexual client to seek medical opinion on his or her persona is the belief that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Factually, research done over the past have found no inherent association between this sexual orientation and psychopathology (American Psychological Association, n.d.). It is an ordinary aspect of human sexuality with historical evidences of its occurrence in multiple cultures. Mainstream medical and mental health organizations overlooked the possible grouping of homosexuality as a mental disorder long ago after many years of research and clinical experience.
LeVay (2016) reviews a host of literature which emphasize on the fact that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. Besides the simplistic argument that sexual orientation is determined by genes, he puts together the various biological influences that contribute to determining sexual orientation. His arguments are aimed at filling in the shortcomings of the non-biological explanations given for homosexuality.
McFarland (2018) assessed the various ways in which psychology has helped the society to accept homosexuality. One of these is by turning the lens on those who strongly oppose homosexuality. Weinberg introduced the term “homophobia” in 1972 to explain his finding that anti-homosexual attitudes are often a real phobia, based upon a repressed fear that one is unconsciously homosexual (McFarland, 2018). Anti-gay attitudes are a true phobia.
As a psychologist, I have the responsibility to look after the well-being of people and groups and, thus, address the threats to that well-being (Herek et al., 2010). The well-being of homosexuals is a responsibility of a psychologists just as it is with the threats facing homosexuals. One of these threats is stigmatization. Despite the fact that progress has been made in the fight against discrimination and prejudice of homosexuals, there still exists significant cases of homosexual prejudice. In the client’s choice to be a homosexual, he or she risks to be an outcast not just in the community, but even in his or her home. This has been the case with most homosexuals who come from conservative states which do not realize the normalcy in being physically attracted to people of the same sex. In fact, in some countries, same-sex relationships are still criminalized or even punishable by death.
Homosexuals encounter extensive prejudice and violence. Both verbal and online harassment are used by anti-gay people to propagate their hatred on the LGBT community. In fact, those who distaste homosexuals do not shy off in expressing their lack of approval to their course. The incitement and encouragement against supporting this wave is propounded in online platforms where many people lament about the homosexual culture. The results is that most homosexuals are left devastated and discouraged by their feelings. For those who are not bold enough to express their identity, the violence makes them shun away and feel less confident before their peers. Low self-esteem may lead to depression which ultimately harms the individual.
To this effect, the past several decades has seen LGBT activists push for the ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Response from legislators is sluggish and this has only compounded the lack of goodwill in educating the public on the normalness of homosexuality. Indeed, there is need for proactive measures to ensure that the society is more informed about homosexuality. Then it will be even easier for a psychologist to give consultation services for clients who are concerned about their sexual orientation.Free research paper samples and term paper examples available online are plagiarized. They cannot be used as your own paper, even a part of it. You can order a high-quality custom research paper on your topic from expert writers:
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Bullough, V. L. (2019). Homosexuality: A History (From Ancient Greece to Gay Liberation). Routledge.
Gallup (2015). Majority in U.S. Now Say Gays and Lesbians Born, Not Made. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/183332/majority-say-gays-lesbians-born-not-made.aspx.
Halley, J. E. (2017). Sexual orientation and the politics of biology: A critique of the argument from immutability. In Sexual orientation and rights (pp. 3-68). Routledge.
Herek, G., M., Norton, A.T., Allen, T.J., & Sims, C.L. (2010). Demographic, psychological, and social characteristics of self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in a U.S. probability sample. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 7, 176-200.
LeVay, S. (2016). Gay, straight, and the reason why: The science of sexual orientation. Oxford University Press.
McFarland, S. (2018). How psychology has helped society accept homosexuality. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/ptn/2018/05/society-accept-homosexuality
Murray, C., Pope, A., & Willis, B. (2016). Sexuality counseling: Theory, research, and practice. SAGE Publications.