Category Archives: Sexual Orientation

Sex and Gender

When someone says sex or gender, usually the first thing that comes to mind is “girl and boy.” Although sex and gender may sound like they are the same thing, they are actually very different. In sociology, sex is defined as the biological differences between boys and girls. Gender is defined as the social and cultural significance that we attach to the biological differences of sex. When one thinks about a male, the words that usually come up are masculine, provider, protector, and so on. When one thinks about a female, words like feminine, soft, and emotional usually come to mind. But why is this? Why do we classify different genders with different ‘labels’? The answer is simple: society.

The society we live in is almost always in control of classifying what defines males and females. Society and the people that live in it can—unwillingly—determine how a boy should behave and how a girl should behave, which begins at birth. Baby boys are usually wrapped up in blue blankets when they are born and are given dark-colored clothing to wear. Baby girls are wrapped up in pink blankets and wear light-colored clothing. This is known as gender socialization. Boys usually wear dinosaurs or trucks on their shirts, whereas girls will most likely wear butterflies and hearts. If a young boy was wearing a pink shirt, people would stop and stare at the child as if there was something wrong with him. This is because it is not normal for a boy to wear such a “girly” shirt. The parents of the boy would most likely be frowned upon as well for allowing their son to wear that shirt.

The toys we buy our children also classify them with gender. We usually buy young boys violent things—like trucks and plastic weaponry—while we buy young girls less violent things—like tea sets and dolls—because that’s the “normal” thing to do. Seeing a boy play with a Barbie is considered deviant, which means it’s not normal for that society. The same goes for girls who play with monster trucks. The normal thing to see is boys roughhousing with other boys and girls having tea parties with other girls. We never expect to see a boy in a tea party, although it does happen, but there should be nothing wrong with that. We get so caught up in what we “think” are the normal behaviors that boys and girls need to obey, we overlook a simple question: what if we’re wrong? Children should be allowed to express themselves however they want. So, if a boy wants to wear a tutu, we should let him. If a girl wants to play football, we should let her. We need to stop forcing our kids to become what we think they should be and let them be who they want to be.

Unfortunately, gender classification doesn’t stop at childhood. Teens and adults are still categorized as being either boy or girl by society. However, as people grow, they are more socially obligated to adhere to the stereotypes that society has placed on them. A boy is only classified as a “man” if he is strong, aggressive, active, and dominant. Likewise, a girl is only classified as a “woman” is she is nurturing, kind, submissive, and emotional. A man who displays any stereotype classified to women would be labeled as a “girl” or a “wussy.” A woman who displays manly aspects would be labeled as a “tomboy” or a “lesbian.” There is no escaping these stereotypes. Men must act like “men”, and women must act like “women.” If someone steps out of these boundaries, he/she will be negatively labeled for his/her deviance.

Although both genders experience stereotypes, one thing is true: gender inequality exists. It’s true that both men and women must alter their lives so that society will accept them, but it’s harder for women. Women are still treated unequally to men. Now, it’s true that women have more equality than they did decades ago, but they’re still fighting to be treated equally. One way women are still unequal to men is income. Women—to this day in the USA—only make about seventy-seven cents to a man’s dollar. This is called the gender pay gap. Woman must also face the facts that men get more opportunities in jobs and education than they do. It’s not just up to women to fight for women’s rights. Men should also reach out and try to help women become more equal. Together, they can change the world for the better.

Another aspect of our lives that classifies us as people is our sexual orientation. Although the majority of the world is known as heterosexual—liking those of the opposite—some people classify as something else. Some people classify as homosexual, which means they are attracted to the same sex. Bisexuality is another one, which means they are attracted to both sexes. There are even people who claim to be transsexual, which is when someone has the body of one sex, but they claim to have the mind and soul of the other sex. Sexual orientation has a huge impact on how others see us. Those who classify as homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, or anything else that isn’t heterosexual are usually frowned upon. This is because they aren’t considered “normal” and people believe they should be negatively sanctioned for their lifestyle choice. People should not be classified as “immoral” for being a little different from everybody else. Everyone deserves to be treated equally. Nobody should be ashamed of who they are.

Considering everything above, sex and gender plays a huge role in who we are. But why do we let our sex and gender control us? Everyone should not be afraid to be who they are. We should be able to live our lives the way we see fit without getting the “stink eye” from bystanders. We must also try to bring more equality to the world. I know that there’s been movements to try and bring equality to the world, but just because some have failed doesn’t mean that we should give up. Equality is desperately needed in this world and we have the power to bring great change.

–Aaron

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Homosexuality

Homosexual:  those who are attracted to members of the same sex. Homosexuality is considered a deviant act and goes against the social norms and values of our culture in the minds of heterosexuals. Sexual Orientation plays a huge part in the ways in which people judge one another based off who they are as a human. There are four different types of sexual identity:  Straight, Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian, all in which plays a part in roles we play and norms of society, relating to family, gender and marriage.

We are all obligated to pay taxes and follow the laws. But as we know, many are not living by the laws nor are we really paying taxes when we put single down on our tax return because homosexual marriage is not allowed by state law. Homosexual humans  are not given the same rights as heterosexual humans because we, as deviant people, are not granted  the same respect as those who follow the norms of the culture. However, no matter your gender, race, ethic background or sexual orientation, every U.S. citizen deserves the same opportunities as everyone one else. First we need to change the definition of what marriage stands for and end using the label of “Gay” to simply two people falling in love. Ending discrimination, homophobia, ignorance and the rejection of one’s true self.

Growing up as a homosexual has been a long, confusing road, due to the ways I grew up in the church and to the beliefs that were instilled in me. We humans are being constantly hammered with a moral code that contradicts our parents telling us to express ourselves and be who we are. I’ve known I was gay since I was in the eighth grade, however, I just came out a year ago to my family and recently to my friends and made it public on Facebook. This is one of the biggest fears that I have faced, but I finally feel free to be me and being free to be who I am and who I was created to be has been one of the greatest and sweetest joys that I’ve come to know. Living a life of secrets, lies and living in the unknown of what people may say or think about me, held me in bondage.  But now I’m finally set free! Life is too short to be something you’re not. Live life to the fullest; only you can make you happy. Fight for what you believe in, after all we do have freedom of speech.

Bisexuality

The concept that I decided to pick is bisexual.  An explanation of this concept would be when someone that is either a male or female is attracted to both genders. An example of this sexual orientation would be when I was in high school, I had someone in my grade that was a bisexual and it took me a while to realize what was going on. It seemed like one day she had a boyfriend and was holding his hand and stuff and then the next day she was with a girl acting the same way. I thought maybe the girl was her best friend or something but then I found out that they were more than friends when I saw them kiss.

In some cultures people would think of this in terms of heteronormativity, which means that it is considered a deviant behavior because they believe that everyone should be heterosexual. Being bisexual can be a problem because some people get offended by it and might judge them. Most people don’t like things that are out of the norm, and might react in vicious ways like bullying someone who is bisexual. This could happen anywhere but I could imagine that the making fun of would be worse in high school.

Bullying can cause major damage to a human emotionally, no matter what gender they are attracted too. Being brought down emotionally can cause major depression, suicide, and other harmful things. We can’t stop bullying entirely because people are going to do it no matter what. But we can try to prevent it by saying something when

–Mariah