Examine what may happen with gays and lesbians in the future.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to hold a fairly optimistic viewpoint towards a more cohesive social integration of people who are gay and lesbian in American society.  Recent surveys and polls indicate that social attitudes are changing, reflective of greater inclusion towards people who are homosexual.  This can lead to the belief that the future, in terms of social integration, has much in way of promise for those who are gay or lesbian.

One reason for potential optimism in the greater social integration of people who are gay into American society revolves around the issue of homosexuality, itself.  In recent polling, greater number of Americans seem to believe that it is not as much of a "choice" as much as it is a matter of biology.  Roughly 60% of Americans no longer see anything wrong in being gay.  This is in stark contrast to the late 1970s, where the same percentage saw being gay as "wrong."  In trying to explain this shift, it is important to note that more Americans know someone they love, respect, or like as being gay.  The barrier that prevents social integration is overcome when the issue can be personalized, such as increasing contact with the dialectical "other."  In knowing more Americans who would be "gay," Americans have become more accepting of what it means to be gay.

Certainly, this increase in social integration and acceptance is where this week's recent judicial analysis of gay marriage exists.  A greater majority of the American public is in favor or in support of the issue of gay marriage.  This trend has markedly changed over the last decade.  Following such a trajectory, the people who oppose gay marriage will be in the minority.  The fact that political leaders have spoken out in favor of the issue, in support of people who are gay, is also reflective of the future seems bright for the social integration of those who are gay into American society.  For example, the President's change in his position last year paved the way for even Republican leaders such as Ohio Senator Rob Portman to assert their support in recognition of gay marriage.  The social discussion that is happening is on the whole positive towards the gay community, and this is where I think that one can see optimism with homosexuality in America.

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