Homosexuality has been one of the most controversial issues in the world for a long time. When it started, the society banished the people that engaged in it. They were considered evil people who did not deserve to live with the normal people in the society. However, as time passed, the society started embracing their perceptions. The people that believed in homosexuality had set a fierce fight aimed at making the society appreciate their views. It is after that fight that led to the inclusion of homosexuality theme in many movies and television series. Additionally, the government introduced specific regulations that stated that discrimination based on sexual orientation was wrong and could lead to consequences. Homosexuality has had a long history through which it has become a widely acceptable concept, yet it was unrecognized and banished decades ago.
Homosexuality, unlike what many people know, is a practice that spans many centuries. There are suggestions that it was common in the ancient times of Greeks and Romans, although many people engaged in it while hiding. The practice kept on seeping to the next generations, whereby, there was a small percentage of individuals in any generation that were homosexuals. As time passed, the governments passed laws that were meant to discourage people from engaging in the practice. According to Massaquoi (2013), there was a law whose purpose was to bring those engaging in homosexuality to justice. Under that law, the sodomy act, people that engaged in homosexuality were punished through death.
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This law was common in Europe from the medieval times.
The sodomy law became a controversial issue when the scientific revolutions started. It was at this time some philosophers, like John Locke, claimed that human beings were free to do anything they wished for they were born free. Locke was of the opinion that there are basic rights a person is born with. In that spirit, France became the first country in the world to decriminalize homosexuality in 1791 (Massaquoi, 2013). This was a major step towards the rights of the people that engage in this practice. In the following century, many authors in Europe, for example, Heinrich Hoessli and Karl Heinrich wrote about male love, which was in support of people that were convicted of sodomy. Although these authors started small, their message became influential across Europe. A new concept to refer to the people that engaged in homosexuality, Urals, arose during that time (Massaquoi, 2013). In the following decades, Europeans and Americans started free love movements that were meant to coerce the government officials to allow homosexuality.
Governments and the majority of people, those that did not believe in homosexuality, were against the practice throughout. Although the sodomy law was decriminalized in most of these states, those that were known to engage in homosexuality were discriminated (Carroll, 2015). This practice was common throughout the twenty-first century, and there is nothing much the individuals engaging in the practice could do. However, there is a section of the people that believed in homosexuality joined hands and engaged in riots from 1969. Their objective was to ensure that they were recognized by the government as well as other individuals. The Stonewall riots of 1969 were influential in leading to the Gay Revolution, which encouraged the fight for gay rights (Kuhn, 2001).
Although things did not change overnight, there was recognition of the gay people in America and across the world. The condemnation they faced started to decline. Many people across the world started to acknowledge that these people had the same rights as others. They also started to appreciate that the people that believed in homosexuality were their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and relatives (Kuhn, 2001). This is evident in the 1971 television show, all in the Family, introduced a gay character. In the following year, 1972, East Lansing, a city in Michigan, became the first place where discrimination against the gays in hiring became a criminal offense. In the following years, many events took place in support of homosexuality (Kuhn, 2001).
There was a struggle for gay rights though because governments and the societies were still not ready to embrace the people that engaged in the practice fully. In the 1990s and early twenty-first century, many countries in Europe and America extended the common law to include same-sex partnerships. This was a major boost to these people because they could now declare their sexual orientation in public (Merin, 2010). Also, the society has now accepted homosexuality such that it does not raise any issues. Nowadays, employers do not care about the sexual orientation of a person. What matters to them is the ability of an individual to perform the duties assigned effectively (Merin, 2010).
In conclusion, it is clear there is a major difference in the way the society views homosexuality now compared to earlier times. For centuries, individuals that engaged in homosexuality were discriminated against and punished by death as per the laws of the time. The twentieth century was a game changer because the society started to recognize them as normal individuals. By the twenty-first century, many governments had extended the common law to include rights for the gay people, which ensured equality. Nowadays, it would be right to state that there are equal rights for gay individuals.
Carrol, J. (2015). Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Kuhn, B. (2001). Gay Power!: The Stonewall Riots and the Gay Rights Movement, 1969. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.
Massaquoi, J.A. (2013). Gay marriage rights now a global reality. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
Merin, Y. (2010). Equality for Same-Sex Couples: The Legal Recognition of Gay Partnerships in Europe and the United States. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press.
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