Issues in Sexuality
Coming out and living as lesbians and gay men in regional and rural areas (Peer-Reviewed)
The attitudes and perspectives about homosexuality in Western society have undergone through periods of both tolerance/acceptance as well as periods in which gay men and lesbians were looked down upon or even prosecuted. This paper tests the hypothesis that the negative attitudes against women are exacerbated in rural areas (Gottschalk., 2008).
The study was mainly conducted through questionnaires and interviews.
Profile of Group Researched
The respondents in the study were recruited at random from lesbian and gay social groups. However, since a concise demographic profile of the gay men and lesbian population did not exist in some regions in Victoria, this research cannot claim to be representative to all homosexual persons in this region (Gottschalk., 2008).
Age of Respondents at time of study Women
n = 55
n = 40
Less than 20
20 to 24
25 to 34
35 to 44
45 to 54
55 or older
The age of first realization of same-sex attraction Age
Less than 10
10 to 14
15 to 19
20 to 24
25 to 34
35 to 44
45 to 54
55 or older
According to the table 2 above, it was found that while more women than men formed their sexual identity during the adult stages, more men than women identified themselves as homosexuals at a younger age.
Marital Status Women
n = 55
n = 40
It was found that 41.8% of lesbians had been married previously compared to 7.7% of men.
Current Relationship status
Not in a relationship at present
In a relationship with a woman
In a relationship with a man
The study found that 61.8% of women were currently in a relationship as compared to only 41% of men. It was also found that finding partners in rural areas was more difficult compared to urban areas (Gottschalk., 2008).
Interpretation and conclusion
The study shows that both young people as well as those who form their homosexual identities during adulthood do so in a stigmatized social environment. It confirms that gay men and lesbians in rural regions face more challenges as compared to those living in urban areas. The respondents in the study agree that what is deemed as absence of services and support in rural areas has made embracing a gay or lesbian lifestyle more difficult. This is due to the higher rate of hostility, discrimination, and social stigma combined with negative stereotypes (Gottschalk., 2008).
Homophobic? Maybe You are Gay (Popular Media)
In an article published by the New York Times in April 2012, the question is raised as to why public figures so often in the frontline of anti-gay rights campaigns are found in same-sex partner scandals. The article generally proposes that when homosexual urges are repressed due to fear or shame, these urges can manifest themselves as homophobia. This process is known as ‘reaction formation.’ This refers to the fight with one’s external environment against feelings that have been inwardly repressed. The articles hypothesis is quite compelling, even offering an example Ted Haggard, a well-known evangelist who advocated against homosexuality and termed it a sin. During his apology speech for his involvement in homosexuality he admitted that he advocated so strongly against homosexuality so fiercely partially due to his struggle with it (Ryan & Ryan, 2012).
The paper draws data from almost 800 university level students within Germany and the United States. All the participants estimated the level of their sexual orientation on a scale of 1 to 10, which ranged from straight to gay. Then participants then took a program-based test developed specifically to measure their sexual orientation. In this test, participants were presented with various words and images that imply either hetero or homosexuality, for example, words such as gay and faggot. The participants were then asked to sort them each into their appropriate categories, straight or homosexual, as fast as they could. A computer then measured the reaction time of each participant. The twist in this test was that prior to each image or word appearing, the word ‘other’ or ‘me’ was quickly displayed on the screen for a mere 35 milliseconds; just long enough for a participant to subliminally process but short enough to miss it consciously (Ryan & Ryan, 2012).
This theory in application here is known as semantic association. The theory suggests that when the word ‘me’ comes before precedes images or word that reflect ones sexual orientation, they tend to sort those images or word into their correct category quicker in comparison to when the word ‘me’ comes before images or words that are incompatible with one’s sexual orientation (Ryan & Ryan, 2012).
Interpretation and Conclusion
By applying this methodology, the study found that a small group of participants, despite having identified themselves as strongly straight, demonstrated a certain level of homosexual tendencies. Over 20 percent self-labeled strongly straight individuals indicated this disparity. In agreement with the hypothesis, individuals in this group were more likely than others to be strong advocates of anti-gay policy. They would also be willing inflict harsher punishments to individuals who were found to be guilty of homosexuality as well as petty crime offenders who were presumed to be homosexual. Therefore, the research supports the studies hypothesis that some people who radically oppose homosexuality tacitly harbor gay urges (Ryan & Ryan, 2012).
Both articles touch on the matter of sexuality; however, the two articles differ mainly in the method of research applied. To begin with, the peer reviewed article applies a qualitative approach in its research. The qualitative approach refers to the gathering of information focused on the description of a phenomenon in a comprehensive manner. This is through interviews questionnaires, or focus groups. This method requires a small number of participants since this approach is both time and resource consuming. On the other hand, the popular media article applied a quantitative approach in its research. This approach focuses on the description a phenomenon across many participants, which allows the researchers to summarize characteristics across large groups as was the case in the media articles research. The popular media article as opposed to the peer-reviewed article surveyed a wide range of individuals and applied computerized/statistical techniques in order to determine the overall patterns in the matter of homosexuality.
Both articles, however, also displayed a similarity where they acknowledge the stigmatization that accompanies homosexuality and homosexual individuals. It is evident from both articles that discrimination against the gay is a reality in the society and homosexual people, and people who associate with them are generally considered and treated as lesser than people of heterosexual orientation. The articles indicate that homophobia is mainly manifested as hostility, rejection, or fear towards homosexuals. According to the peer-reviewed article homophobia, can also be manifested in from of social ideologies that stigmatize the homosexual. However, it is evident that stigmatization and discrimination of the gay breeds no positive results but rather incorporates misunderstandings, fear, and hatred within the society.
The approach applied in the peer-reviewed article is disadvantageous to the study because it is impossible to generalize to the general population. Therefore, the findings of the study cannot be considered to be applicable beyond the area of research and the subjects involved. In addition, with the approach in the peer-reviewed paper, statistical methods incorporate to provide pin-point information/results or predict future possibilities. In the media article, on the other hand, the approach applied makes it difficult to recognize arising and unexplored phenomenon. In addition, the information availed using this approach is not straightforward. The approach avails complex sets of data that are impossible to interpret without a control group making it a hectic and cumbersome approach method.
Peer reviewed articles or journals are academic presentations that have undergone a set of mechanisms and guidelines which ensure that the research or theory in question has met specific quality standards before they are published. Professors usually require students to use peer-reviewed articles since their credibility can be proved. This way, the students learn to present data in a systematic manner that can earn credibility from third parties and also as a proof of quality (Research Information network, 2010).
According to research on teenage sexuality by the Crisis Pregnancy Programme in Ireland, 86% of young people have been exposed to some form of sex education. The sources of this information vary from TV, magazines, friends, the internet, parents, personal experiences and formal sex education in schools. The research was able to establish that formal sex education encouraged safer sexual behaviors such as the use of condoms among young adults. This is because it focuses on facts and explains scientifically the effects of and consequences of practicing sexual activity especially without the use of contraceptives. However, since formal sex education puts less emphasis on emotions, sexuality and relationships, young people acquire information from their peers.
The scholarly approach is of benefit to the reader mainly because scholarly articles require the authors use and indicate verifiable sources that they used in arriving at their conclusion. In addition, scholarly articles explore a wide range of alternative viewpoints in the subject they are studying, therefore, expanding the mind of the reader rather than ambushing them with a singular set of information. This in turn makes it easier for the reader to come to his conclusion about the truth, strengths, and weaknesses of the papers presentation. On the other hand, the popular approach revolves around publications intended for the general public. These publications’ main purpose is entertainment and for this reason they attract much attention. Articles in such publications will, therefore, be subject to a wider audience, which gives it an edge over the scholarly approach. Where the aim of the author is exposure or to create awareness; the popular approach is the most suitable.
Gottschalk., L., H. (2008). Coping with stigma: Coming out and living as lesbians and gay men in regional and rural areas in the context of problems of rural confidentiality and social exclusion. University of Ballarat.
Research Information Network. (2010). Peer Review: A guide for Researchers.
Ryan, R.M., & Ryan, W.S. (2012) Homophobic? Maybe You are Gay. The New York Times.