Gays', Lesbians', and Bisexuals' Roles of "Otherness" in
Despite no visible differences such as those of ethnicity and race, homosexuals and bisexuals are still commonly defined as "other" in our society. Based solely on their sexual orientation, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are continually targeted by intolerance, ignorance, and segregation because of their role as an "other" in the dominant culture. This "otherness" is a departure in characteristics and behavior from the range expressed as the local, safe norm. It causes intense concern and an attempt at comprehension. From this, the mind either quickly moves to apprehension, misunderstanding, and fear, or to repulsion and hatred. Although the dominant group's mindset still exists today, the situation is gradually improving through pro-gay legislation and continually more liberal views pertaining to sexuality.
A bisexual friend of mine gave me her opinion when she heard the topic of my "otherness" paper. "I don't feel my otherness' on a daily basis because of the ease of passing' in a heterosexual world. Actually, my sexual preference is never an issue until someone makes an ignorant remark or assumption about it," she told me. The way gays, lesbians, and bisexuals view themselves as a group contradicts the mainstream opinion of the dominant culture. Their sexuality is normal and natural to them, and poses no issue until someone reminds them of their "otherness". Many people in the dominant culture emphasize that being gay is a choice. Sexual orientation, whether it be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual does not appear to be something that one chooses. Recent studies suggest that sexual orientation has a genetic or biological component, and is probably determined before or shortly after birth. Like heterosexuals, gays and lesbians discover their sexuality as a process of maturing; they are not recruited, seduced or taught to be homosexual. The only choice gay or...
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