Acceptance of Homosexuality
Homosexuality, unlike many other psychological issues, is not associated with starting at birth. For the most part, it is an issue dealt with mostly by adolescence and adults. That is not to say that it does not become an issue sooner, it is just to say that it most commonly occurs later in life. Homosexuals have been the subjects of many studies to discover their multifaceted lives. These studies focus on steps and problems that homosexuals undergo and encounter on their journey to acceptance.
According to Papalia, Olds, and Feldman (2001), sexuality may be influenced by a series of hormonal and neurological events during gestation. If the sex hormones are within the typical female range between two and five-month gestation, then the child, whether male or female, will be attracted to males. Similarly, if the hormone levels are within the typical male range during these same months of gestation, then the child, male or female, will be attracted to females.
Genetics may also play a role in sexuality. Evidence has shown that children of homosexuals may inherit homosexuality. An identical twin of a homosexual parent may have as much as a 50% chance of being homosexual as well. Even adopted children of homosexuals have as much as a 10% chance.
Remafedi, French, Story, Resnick, and Blum (1998) conducted a study that consisted of 29 white, middle class gay men. They found that 31% became aware of their attractions to males around age 6. The mean age of first awareness was 11 years old.
Another study showed that homosexuals go through four stages; sensitization, identity confusion, identity assumption, and commitment (Beaty, 1999). The stage in this study that affects middle childhood is sensitization. During the sensitization stage, which begins before puberty, the individual becomes aware of his/her feelings toward the same sex (Beaty, 1999). Dempsey (1994) suggested that although these children are different from their peers, they do not perceive themselves as sexually different, because they have no concept of the words gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
By far, most of the studies done are on adolescence primarily because it is between adolescence and young adulthood when a person really deals with their sexuality.
According to Beaty (1999), during adolescence, the homosexual individual is in the second of four stages, which is identification confusion. During this stage, the individual realizes he/she may be homosexual. Males seem to reach this self-identity about one and one half years sooner than females, although they started the process at about the same time (Rosario, 1996). Typically during this stage, the individual will feel troubled by his/her feelings and deny his/her homosexual orientation and assume heterosexual roles. It is also during this time that many adolescents begin abusing drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, run...