Sexuality, equality and acceptance

By | Science & Technology
Photo © Fernado Vergara/ AP foto

Throughout history, sexuality may be a societal hot bed for discussion, peaking the interest of a spectrum of sciences. Recently, physiology has made an interesting observation upon the fluid way one may perceive each other in terms of sexuality. Though the idea of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) members of society may be a familiar sexual concept for humanity, it has still had to undergo a relatively recent period of increasing acceptance and equality.

LGB groups make up an estimated three quarters of a million people within the UK, a community that has seen an almost homogeneous western trend of increased acceptance. Increased societal acceptance has acted as a method perpetuates its own promotion. However, its specific mechanism may differ to the general consensus of pro-equality, as shown in a collaborative study from the University of Surrey School of Psychology and the University of Geneva.

The biological theory of sexuality states people are born with a tendency to be sexual attracted toward a specific gender. This theory has begun to overtake the mixed opinion that sexuality is a life choice. The idea which a person is born fixed to a specific sexuality makes it easier to be accepting of sexualities. It has been assumed the biological theory of sexuality pertains to a pro-gay agenda. Although LGB acceptance has increased almost directly parallel to this paradigm shift, in understanding the causality of this occurrence may be farther away from a pro-gay agenda than previously thought.

Collaborative research published in the British Journal of Social Psychology by Geneva Professor Juan Falomir and Dr. Peter Hegarty of the University of Surrey shows the biological theory of sexuality, associated with equality, may be linked to prejudiced heterosexual viewpoints. Four separate studies throughout Switzerland examining the opinions of heterosexual males was carried out, and men with a tendency to feel phobic towards homosexuality were targeted for this study.

Initially, these men were presented evidence of increasing public support toward LGB equality. It was noted this led to an increased endorsement of the biological theory of sexuality, an observation unseen when a similar set of men were presented with the opposite stimuli. Secondly, the motives behind the biological theory of sexuality’s support were analysed. A sub-set of these men were presented with the concept of differences, highlighting distinctions between straight and LGB groups, whilst another sub-set were presented with an emphasis upon equality and similarity. In the case with equality and similarity, greater endorsement of the biological theory was observed. This suggests an inference that some heterosexual men were endorsing this specific theory to emphasize their own distinct differences from gay men.

Dr. Hegarty, who teaches this subject to Surrey’s undergraduate BSc Psychology students stated that: “Most people think the biological theory of sexuality is a broadly pro-gay theory, because it refutes the theory that people ‘choose to be gay’. This is the first experimental evidence of a broadly anti-gay motive leading to greater belief in the biological theory.” This may seem to present a under-belly of the biological theory of sexuality, taking from the understanding of sexuality it provides to others. Yet it still provides promise for equality by way of promotion.

With the theory’s strong links to a pro-gay agenda by proxy, this prevailing opinion may be furthered with its increased acceptance, regardless of an individual’s specific opinion. Furthermore, whilst some may deduce that efforts to promote LGB equality have reached a stalemate, due to this theory being used to back homophobic attitudes of separation. The wider spread acception of this theory may at the least act as a stepping stone for homophobic members of society to adapt, allowing the last remnants of society to let go of their antiquated opinions of sexuality.

How may people end distancing themselves from others whose sexuality differs from their own, may love be seen as universal?

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