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Modern sexual attitudes in America began with a scientific report called 'The Kinsey Report'...Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), by Dr. Alfred Kinsey
Kinsey blew the lid off social conventions and niceites. His report was based on 1000s of anonymous surveys and it showed that almost everybody, by the definitions of the 1950s, was a pervert! It showed that everyone had strong secret fantasies and sides of their sexuality that they were too scared to discuss publicly. Of course, it was very controversial (it still is), many people don't want to accept the truth about their human sexuality. Many people are sexually repressed.
But gradually over the last 50 years we have come to believe that repressing your sexual urges is psychologically unhealthy and that there is nothing immoral about responding to your sexual desires. This includes homosexual desires. As free citizens of America, everybody is allowed to sleep with whoever they want to sleep with and it is nobody else's business. Homosexuality is not immoral. It is not wrong. It is a free choice.
There are some groups (mostly religious) who try to prevent homosexuals for being free to express themsleves, but ultimately they are attempting to repress other people to impose their religious beliefs, and that is illegal.
The Kinsey report stated that nearly 46% of the male subjects had "reacted" sexually to persons of both sexes in the course of their adult lives, and 37% had at least one homosexual experience. And that was back in 1950! Whether we approve of it or not, society has to accept that homosexual behaviour is perfectly normal in a large section of society.
Well 50 years ago, the topic was very taboo, which means people thought it such an oddity, that it was never discussed, and certainly frowned upon in all circles of society. There were no famous people willing to promote the homosexual lifestyle as it was looked upon as abnormal or a mental weakness. During the seventies a more promiscuous approach to sex led to a more open viewpoint of sex in general as well as an acceptance of an open sex lifestyle. The media is the most powerful vehicle to change society attitudes and when shows like Ellen, and Will and Grace became popular, so did the acceptance of the gay lifestyle. Since then there has been so many issues in politics,law, and family, that our society has become more accepting. The rise in suicide and hate crimes among homosexuals made society more accepting and less judgemental. Religious groups have taken a more definitive stance against homosexuals, as the acceptance of gay bishops have led to many congregations leaving the denomination to form their own as the Bible does not say anything about homosexuality being an approved lifestyle, by God. There has been a significant division in the Episcopal Church in the USA. I think that it will be a long time before homosexuality is totally accepted by society due to religious, family, and political priorities.
Unfortunately it has not changed that much. In the year 2009, the fact that will still of gay marriage a an issue during election season, or the fact that CA once allowed same sex marriage, now has reversed that ruling. We have not come that far as a society, but there is some progress, and little by little more states are accepting gay marriage. It will be the states that make a difference, not our federal government.
It really hasn't changed that much. People still don't accept it unless you have what is called "standing" in the community. If you are rich, powerful, or successful, it is seen as quaint.
I think the previous posts are accurate in their assertion that there is more distance to go in the striving for full acknowledgement of gay/ lesbian/ transgendered individuals. However, I think that there are more personalized instances of gay individuals starting the process of reclaiming their voice and giving more strength to those who are struggling with their identity of being gay in a nation that has a difficult time in accepting it. There is more young adolescent literature about "coming out," and there is also a better and more healthy dialogue about what it means to be "different." Social workers are much more skilled and better equipped with understanding how to work with a child that is struggling to come out of the closet. While we, as a nation, are still struggling and wrestling with how to appropriate the issue of being gay in both our practices and belief, I think there is more out there for a child who realizes that they are gay. It certainly is an improvement in these cases than 50 years ago, where kids in such predicaments had little, if any, avenues to pursue.
Voice--what a wonderful thing to have and feel safe in using. That would probably be the biggest change. Some members of the Gay and Lesbian community have always been outspoken (and this is not meant to have a negative connotation). However, there have always been large numbers who didn’t feel due to job, family, personal safety, and etc. that it was safe to speak out. This is changing, but yes we still have "A long way to go baby!"
Homosexuality is definitely more accepted today than it was fifty years ago. Homosexuals are gaining more rights and they do not have to hide themselves away like they used to in fear of rejection or shame.
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