Social Problems: Sexual Orientation

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In today’s world, we face social problems but other people are living with is in a much more difficult way. One such social problem which can be in many areas is known as sexual orientation. Humans, across the world, have their way of living their life, and this issue can be a real issue when trying to build relationships with others. Some of the concepts are heterosexism, heterosexual privilege, inequality, and one’s gender. A theory that goes well with this social problem is known well known as functionalism.

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Sexual orientation has become a big issue in today’s world will always be a problem that people will have to deal with a day to day basis. People now have many different life choices and views; they can be straights against gays, gay, and lesbians in general, or bi-sexual.

Sexual orientation can describe as an individual’s choice how they choose their relationships, whether it be with someone of the opposite gender, same gender, or both sexes depending how they want to live their lives. (Barkan, n.d.). Sexual orientation is when a person has a deep connection to another person romantically, emotionally, and sexually. People must realize that this is their feelings or in their genetics and not just a personal choice. No amount of doctor visits to treat or going to therapy is going to change their feelings (Sexual, 2017). So many people start to have issues with this when they come out as being a lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Sexual orientation is one of the many social problems in which the person have had no control over for the past years. An example is that homosexuals have dealt with these social issues for many years because of how they live their lives. Today’s teenagers and some adults deal with being bullied by others that do not understand and hurt, some being denied employment which is against the equal employment rights, health issues, and being told they cannot swear their lives to the only they love in most states. (Barkan, n.d.).

In past years, homosexuality could be seen as something normal or could be frowned down on. From the 1950s to 1960s gay men and lesbians women dealt with risk for psychiatric lock-up or even jail their feelings. Some other issues people who choose this lifestyle did encounter was the loss of a job, child custody, or doctors would say they were sick claiming some illness (Morris, 2017). When 1965 came, some events started to make small changes for homosexuals. When a civil rights movement was brought up and won to no longer allow racial discrimination, it also allowed for the first ever gay rights demonstration to be held in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. This event had leaders who had been trying to help the situation for a long time, and they consisted of Frank Kenney and Barbara Gittings (Morris, 2017).

Some of these significant changes did not change for most gay liberation until June 28, 1969. At this time most people at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village decided to fight the police raids that were going on all around them (Morris, 2017). Some issues are still happening today; the area holds marches to show the pride of the people who fought hard battles to make this reality (Morris, 2017).

During 1972, people created a group called “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” (PFLAG) to help many family members. However, by the 1980s they suffered some major issue with the AIDS epidemic for many young gay men. Many people who did not favor gays or lesbians believed this was a way God was punishing people for how they lived (Morris, 2017). When the 20th century came about a massive movement in favor of homosexuals, it was said that when famous television host, Ellen DeGeneres, she accounted it to the television program and all of the viewers that she was gay April 1997. After that many other performers gave their support, some became the most massive activists for equal rights (Morris, 2017). By the 21st century, there came to be much more legal gains and support from people everywhere. The year 2000 brought the same-sex civil union to attention, and Massachusetts was the first state to allow same-sex marriage in 2004 which became a big deal across the United States (Morris, 2017). Still being a highly debated topic, the Supreme court also recognized the bond of friendship to same-sex couples in early 2015 (Morris, 2017).

Social problems could be improved by how parents teach their children as children grow up and how we adapt to the ever-changing world. Not one person is born to be judgemental to others, but for by the culture they are raised in and people they have around as they are learning influences them significantly. If the parents and school system teach a child that it is wrong to love or be involved with the same sex, they will believe it as they grow up into their teenage years and when they turn into young adults. If someone taught that it is not right to love another person of the same gender, they might grow up in fear of being judged by their parents for having the feeling for someone of the same gender. Many other issues can come out of having this fear like depression, anger, or even how well they pay attention and learn. Showing support of their people’s rights is very import to how we will grow as a culture; every state should have the law passed; every person can marry to whom every completes them. Having a judgment-free way of life can teach the young, teenager, and adults that this is perfectly natural for each person to love whomever they want. If it does not affect the way they live or how they love they should not be involved in another relationship or how they choose to live their lives.

The judgment goes beyond a boys’ and girls’ parents and peers as well. Employers should have specific procedures put into place because it is the law now, so no one can hire in favor of or against if they are gay, lesbian, or straight. Unwanted stress on a person is not needed when they are trying to find a job just because of how they live their personal life. Also, every employee should have some training to show that they can treat every person the same no matter what. Describing the problem of sexual orientation has many different concepts. One relates to the issue of heterosexism. Heterosexism defined by most is an act negatively, or any unjust acts toward someone in the LGBT community. (Barkan, n.d.). Seen in many ways from how a person is taught to act, gender, age, education, a region of which they live or grew up in, or a religion (Barkan, n.d.). A person may see the experience of heterosexism in a person’s behaviors, comments, or even events they have been a part. Individuals who are against homosexuals may show it through many different ways such as negative attitudes, being very discrimination, or presumption that the person is what they are not because of their own beliefs (Mohr, 2016). This concept can help show and explain why a person might choose to be the way they are because they discriminate, hurt, or bully a homosexual just for how they live from day to day.

The next topic to be dressed is gender. The word gender described as the expectations by the society in which a people lives. People often showed attitude toward a male or female. For example, a male is looked at to be masculine, and a female is supposed to be more feminine and gentle (Barkan, n.d.). However, when someone who is gay or lesbian comes into the picture, it is perceived differently how males and females were seen in the world. Some males may like to dress more feminine and look more like a girl, and a female might like sports instead of shopping and want to dress and look more like a boy. Therefore, then homosexual is discriminated because they do not live life like the rest of the world. Discrimination with this social problem is because of one’s gender has become a significant issue. Only because people choose to be in a group like gays, they feel they are being treated differently and can cause many issues. These individuals are at a hindrance because of a specific category (Foley, Ngo, Loi, & Zheng, 2015).

The third topic of sexual orientation is the heterosexual privilege and how to understand it better. These privileges are everywhere a person goes in the world no matter where they are. For example, heterosexuals do not worry about searching for a job, able to be married anywhere they wish and can show affection in public without fear or judgment. (Barkan, n.d.). Homosexuals nowadays deal with these issues every day, and there is not much they can say or do to people that will change their minds. It has happened that a homosexual was beaten by someone just because they showed the person they love affection.

The final part of this issue the inequality of these people. Gays, lesbians, and bi-sexual have to overcome issues in their everyday life. Some of the differences they deal with can include bullying and violence, employment discrimination, same-sex marriage laws in some states, military service which has lighted up with some issues still being worked out, and mental health (Barkan, n.d.). If an individual is down enough to where they struggle to get a job or rejected from the military, they can become mentally or physically ill over time feeling like they are not good enough for this world. The issue with this is that people can their lives in fear of coming out, so they choose to live in hiding or risk coming out and judged in a way they are then left alone.

A sociological theory that best explains sexual orientation would be the functionalist. The functionalist theory is a good representation that shows the stability of a society and makes sure that the organization is functional in every way. This theory states that a place or person is a significant component of the functioning society. If one piece of the puzzle is not working correctly, then it hinders the whole issue and creates problems for everyone (Crossman, 2017). In this case of sexual orientation, when a group of people believes that homosexuality is not right because of their own beliefs. By putting people who are in love with people of the same gender, it could insert a non-functional piece of the puzzle into their perfect little world and cause problems which do not need to be there if it does not affect them.

Sexual orientation is always going to be a significant part of the world where people have their taste of what sex or gender they want to have a relationship. Sexual orientation deals with all types of people in the world and explains that loving someone of the same sex or gender cannot be directly fixed or treated medically. In this critical social problem, it has to do with how homosexual people are treated and have to do with heterosexism, gender, heterosexual privilege, and inequality. The use of concepts of the functionalism theory allows a person to get a better understanding of the issue of sexual orientation.


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  2. Crossman, A. (2019, January 29). Everything You Need to Know About Functionalist Theory. Retrieved from
  3. Mohr, J. J. (2016, January). Daily heterosexism experiences and well-being among LGB young adults: The moderating role of attachment style. Retrieved from
  4. Morris, B.J. (2017). History of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender Social Movements. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from:
  5. Sexual orientation. (2017). Planned Parenthood. Retrieved from:
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Social Problems: Sexual Orientation. (2021, Apr 27). Retrieved from