Homosexuality from a Sociological Perspective

Essay by NoahKUniversity, Master'sA+, May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 3.6

Downloaded 145 times

Dear Ms. Cavalier,

I understand that we do not see eye to eye on most of the issues I brought up in my previous letter. I also understand how you wish for me to convey that I understand what we have discussed in class over the past couple months from a sociological perspective. I would like to go ahead and explain that now and then perhaps further explain where I was coming from originally.

There are two basic ways to view the reality of homosexuality: through the essentialist model and through the social constructionist model. The essentialist argues that homosexuality is a "natural, universal category that exists independent of culture, time, or situation". (David Greenberg) They regard the fundamental reality of homosexuality as residing in sexual orientation. Sexual behavior is secondary in nature. Concisely their goal in life is to find out what causes someone to prefer same-sex partners.

Social constructionists however believe that homosexuality is not a concrete reality, but instead "a phenomenon that exists because of the way it is defined socially, culturally, and situationally".

(David Greenberg) They are interested in the recognition of separate categories of humanity based on sexual orientation, as well as treatment based on that fact. They think that being a homosexual is experienced differently between different people, according to the social context within which it takes place, and that what it means to be a homosexual can vary across the board.

From what you've taught us this semester so far I've come to the understanding that there is no single infallible measure of homosexuality. I mean what actually defines a homosexual. Just the thought or desire to be with someone of the same sex, or is it perhaps a kiss with Madonna on MTV. Does one actually have to commit a sexual act...