Sexual orientation has been and to some degree is still seen as a taboo topic. For many years it has been argued that sexual orientation is based on one’s gender and one’s sexual preference, should be based on one’s sex (i.e. females should be attracted to males and males to females). For generations, these narrow views were considered to be the norm. However, hidden within society was a lifestyle that once aired was seen as deviant. Homosexuality and many sexual orientations were seen as sexual deviancy that needed some type of treatment to cure.
Many people use the term sexual preference to describe someone’s sexual orientation, such as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, etc. Heterosexuals are individuals attracted to the opposite sex, homosexuals are individuals who are attracted to the same sex, while bisexuals are people who are attracted to both sexes. However this term is outdated because “sexual orientation is no longer considered to be one’s conscious individual preference or choice, but is instead thought to be formed by a complicated network of social, cultural biological, economic and political factors (http:// www.siews.org/pubs/fact/fact0006.html).” Sexual orientation is based on one’ erotic, romantic and affectional attractions. These attractions could occur with the same gender (sex), to the opposite gender (sex) or both.
Society is obsessed with finding what determines one’ sexual orientation, if an individual is homosexual or bisexual. Surprising, society is not really fascinated why heterosexuals are ‘straight’.”Straight people do not ‘come out’ because our society assumes that people are straight unless they say that they are not (Planned Parenthood. 2000, p. 3).”This assumption is known as heterosexism, which is quite offensive and disrespectful towards the homosexual community. A large sector of the population fails to realize how difficult ‘coming out’ might be for homosexuals to their family and friends. Family and friends may react either negatively or positive towards the needs.Consequently many gay, lesbian and bisexual people hide their sexual orientation from family and friends. In the process, they may feel isolated, scared, guilt or depressed.By the early to mid twentieth century, sexual orientation became an apparent issue that had to be addressed. There were some people that were breaking away to what was considered the norm. Males with males, females with females, males with both sexes, and female with both sexes were unheard of at the time, but it was being done. No one knew what to make of it and how it came to be, therefore, it had to be classified as an illness.
“Why am I gay?”, or “Why am I a bisexual?” are questions that no one really can answer. However, there are many theories that are associated with homosexuality. Most theories are based on three approaches: “(1) nature, (2) nurture and (3) a combination of both nature and nurture (Internet. 2000, http://www.chebucto.na.ca/Health/Sexorien/gay.html. The nature theory on homosexuality is that individuals are homosexual due to genetics that predetermines a person’s homosexual orientation, where as the nurture theory assumes that one sexual orientation is based on one’s environment and experiences.According to the article “Answers to your Questions about Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality (2000), although scientist are not sure how homosexuality came to be, they do believe that the sexual orientation of many is shaped at an early age, adolescence (p. 1). However, there are many experts that believe one’s sexual orientation is determined before birth.Furthermore, scientists also believe that the development of an individual sexual orientation is based on “complex interactions of biological, psychological factors (Internet. 2000, http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/orient.html).”
In 1990’s, scientists began to do an in-depth study of genes hoping to find a homosexual gene. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released the finding of the study, on July 14, 1993. The study found that there “is a correlation between a specific chromosomal region in human males and homosexuality (Internet. 1993, http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/nih-ngltf.html).” The research indicated that there is a possibility of a genetic basis for homosexuality. Scientists believe that a specific area of the X chromosome is linked to male homosexuality.According to the NIH findings (1993), the gene appears to be genetically inherited from the mother’s side that may influence one’s sexual orientation (p. 1).
Chief of the Cancer Institute’s Section on Gene