Changing Trends in Sexual Orientation

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Changing Trends in Sexual Orientation
According to Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, sexual orientation refers to the inclination of an individual with respect to heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual behavior. The famous Kinsey Reports by Alfred Kinsey (1948) claims that about 10% of American adults are homosexual. This astonishing figure is often presented as fact but is often criticized to be highly overestimated by academia. (Refer to Appendix 1 for figures presented by other institutes). Studies by National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles reviews that lesbian increased from 2.8% in 1990 to 9.7% in 2000 while gay reported to rise from 5.3% in 1990 to 8.4% in 2000, depicting upward trends that are consistent with reports published by other institutes. Before concluding that homosexual population had indeed grown and trends in sexual orientation are shifting, let us look into some of the possible explanations for these sexual deviances. Aetiology and Causes

Homosexuality is commonly attributed to 3 major causes: gene, hormone and social influences. The notion of “born-that-way” was first supported by discovery of “gay gene” on 1993. (Appendix 2) This discovery has spearheaded the search for similar gene and other gay genes were reported to be found at chromosomes 7, 8, and 10 on 2005. Prenatal hormonal theory suggests that testosterone exposure during fetal life ‘masculinized’ the developing brain while lack of testosterone during early life ‘feminized’ the brain. In short, mismatched level of sex hormones in mothers during pregnancies were said to render a child more predisposed to homosexuality. These arguments support the advocates that sexual orientation is innate and “biologically fated”. Another line of reasoning is sexual orientation is a free will choice and homosexual is a learned behavior. Homosexuality is less elusive compared to the past. Many influential and prominent figures had publicly declared their homosexual orientation; one such examples is actor Sir Ian Murray McKellen (Figure to the left) who played the role of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and Magneto in the X-Men trilogy. Romances between two same-sex individual are often featured in movies and television series. In my opinion, homosexuality has been glamorized to a certain extent due to its frequent association with celebrities. Some youths deem that homosexuality is “cool” and is a sign of liberalness. Inevitably, some people would choose to experiment with homosexuality because of social influences. Out of the Closets

The number of homosexual due to biological factors should not surge because there is no reason to believe that there are more “gay gene” in the genetic pool compared to the past. Similarly, one should expect the incidents of mismatched prenatal hormone level to remain fairly constant over the years. However, social influences undoubtedly gave impetus to same sex attractions. Homosexuals were prosecuted or castrated during the Nazi Period, this make “coming out” a relatively easier choice in modern society as homosexuality is gaining more acceptances. The greater willingness of people to come out of the closet has contributed greatly to the observed upward trends in homosexual population. In conclusion, homosexual population has indeed grown. This observed growth is fueled by social influences and the greater fraction of homosexual population that has came out of the closets. Impacts and Implications

Encouraged by the fact that their number has increased tremendously and modern societies are more receptive towards homosexuals, they are now more eager to exterminate some of the prejudices against them. This had leads to the elimination of homosexuality from the mental disorder list by American Psychiatric Association. Another significant changes brought about by their rising numbers is revision of laws. Even though homosexual acts remain punishable by death in countries like Iran and Saudi-Arabia, mounting...
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