Assumption that heterosexuality is normal and preferred, with any
alternatives as abnormal, deviant, and non-conforming. It has been the cornerstone
of social organization and is an ideology which has tacitly permitted the fear,
ignorance and hatred of homosexuals. It is true that heterosexuality is more the
“norm”, but that does not have implications for being “natural”, or healthy.
The word homosexual and “queer” was replaced by the word “gay” for the same
reason that “black” replaced Negro and Colored. It was an effort by members of
the disparaged community to erase the many negative connotations that became
associated with the word. (Later, the term “African American” was introduced by
Jesse Jackson, replacing the label “Black” in an attempt to widen our definition of
people of color to their heritage. This is another example of quite recent social
transition, demonstrating that people seeking equality engage in a continuous
process to gain respect.
In the 1980’s, as gay people began being more “out”, gay women, simultaneous
with the women’s movement, wanted to declare that issues between gay women
and gay men were different, so many began using the word lesbian rather than gay.
On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage
equality for gays and lesbians in California, striking down Proposition 8, and also
ruled that portions of the federal Defense of Marriage at were unconstitutional.
As with all other rulings outlined above, the citizens are “split” on the meaning of
these rulings, but we as a nation are being called on to examine our treatment of
certain populations and our restrictions on civil behavior. It has been said that
“adaptability and flexible intelligence are key to human survival (Presnell)., yet
humans with reasonable intelligence continue to give evidence of rigidity and
narrow mindedness as each new challenge presents itself.
Promoting and adapting to major social change is both a collective and
personal challenge and journey