The sexuality of a human being is an uncertain thing. Physically, it is determined at the conception of the child, as the X and Y chromosomes will reach a configuration that will allow the newly formed organism to be classified as male or female. The genitalia however that are so vital to many in determining whether one is a boy or a girl will not be visible until upwards of 17 to 20 weeks during a pregnancy. The physical sexuality of a person is determined early on in life, but the overall gender they allude to is an individual choice that must be decided later on. Gender is another stage in human development that is transitory, not permanent.
All individuals are born with one gender or another. Rarely, if ever, will it happen that an individual is born with both male and female genitalia. Even in this instance the individual’s body will seek to develop in a predetermined manner that will identify them as male or female. However, as an individual grows the changes that are normal to the human body will begin to take hold gradually, altering their appearance and changing their bodies in ways they do not anticipate. Their voices might lower, they may very well experience desires and urges that are completely foreign to their way of thinking, and they could quite possibly begin to question their own sense of self. The gender to which a person is born is not always the gender with which they will identify.
For many years the popular belief was that gender meant everything. A man should engage in manly pursuits, while a woman was expected to engage in womanly pursuits. Men were supposed to be the provider, the protector, and the lord of the manor. Women were expected to bear children, cook the meals, and keep up the home. More to the point, men and women were expected to be attracted to the opposite gender. Homosexuality was seen as a sin and something highly unnatural (Phelan, Whitehead, & Sutton, 2009).
Even in the common era homosexuality is still frowned upon in some locations, but it has become more acceptable as time has gone by. Instead of seeking to eliminate what is considered as a sin by some, tolerance has allowed for men to marry men and women to marry women. The trend has not stopped at homosexuality however, as a wide variety of genders have begun to become recognized by the LBGTQ community and by those that support their right to live as they desire. Being born as one gender no longer determines the course of a person’s life, nor the manner by which they choose to live.
Many believe that the human brain is hardwired to be one way or another, and in many cases this is true. Male and female genders are extremely fluid when an individual is still in their early, developmental stages (James, 2005). While the body and its naturally-occurring changes will take whatever course they may, the nurturing that a child receives can and does tend to influence the psychological and social makeup of the individual. In other words, what a child is exposed to can alter their way of thinking. This, coupled with their unique biology, will eventually give rise to their sense of self and their sexual identity.
Sexuality is defined as a person’s orientation or preference, and is typically a product of the biological and environmental processes that work in tandem to determine their development. Such factors are not guaranteed to produce one type of individual or another, but can in fact grant the individual a better understanding of who they are and what type of person they wish to be. For instance, a child raised by homosexual parents is not necessarily predisposed to be homosexual, but will very likely have a much greater understanding of the culture (Bailey& Zucker, 1995). On the opposite side of the spectrum, a homosexual individual raised in a heterosexual home will have a better understanding of what is expected in that culture.
Throughout history it has almost always been seen that the dominant culture in any
society will seek to make its beliefs and values the acceptable norm. It is also noted that this accepted culture will view other cultures as flawed in some way, even if they are acceptable by the dominant cultures accepted values. In the case of homosexuality and the division of genders there has been great conflict for quite some time. The widely accepted culture of the heterosexual determined early on that intimate and physical relationships were to exist between men and women only, and that anything else was unnatural. This in turn led to a widespread belief that homosexuality was in many ways irregular and even sinful.
What has been discovered over decades of struggle and turbulence between the two opposing cultures, those of homosexuals and heterosexuals, is that while love knows no gender, biology does. It is vital to have male and female relations in order to create a child, but the love between individuals is possible regardless of gender. Men may love men, women may love women, and any individual that questions their own gender has the freedom to discover which gender suits them best. For mankind to continue there must be a healthy balance between the biological process as well as the more intimate and sometimes controversial issue of one’s sexuality (Diamond, 2014).
Cultural norms have stood for a long time as a means to deny and even condemn the right to choose one’s own gender, particularly if the chosen gender is not what the individual was born with. Men have been looked down upon for feeling more feminine, while women have been all but ostracized for displaying more masculine attitudes. There are a host of factors that have throughout history contributed to society’s overall views of such individuals, but many have been rooted in the fear of something that is different and unknown. With the spotlight thrust upon this culture for being an uncertainty in the midst of accepted and known cultural norms, a great deal of scrutiny has come down upon homosexuals and their differentiated culture.
Some have called this a sickness, others a choice that is meant to make the individual different, to force them to stand out in a way that is all about “getting attention”. Despite the harsh glare of society that is cast upon the culture, the LGBTQ community has persevered and even prospered throughout the most recent decades (Moane, 2015). This culture has emerged as a much more prominent community than many ever realized, and has managed to earn its fair share within the world when it comes to employment, how they are treated, and how their choices are respected. Many still call this a sickness of the mind, but they are fewer in number and are no longer considered the overall societal norm.
The survival of humanity depends upon not only the sexual preference of human beings, but also their psychological and emotional proclivities. Biological factors are important to procreate, but emotional and psychological factors are necessary to maintain the necessary relations that make living more than just a mechanical process. What this means essentially is that by necessity, human beings must procreate to continue their existence, but by choice, they must decide how they choose to live. In order to experience a more fulfilling existence humanity must find the balance between their biological and psychological needs.
The future of humanity will not be decided by gender alone, or the ability to procreate. While this factor is quite important it is not the only facet of human life that must be preserved. Humans must also be capable of living with one another despite any differences, no matter that history has shown this to be futile and quite difficult at times. Entire generations have been marked by the conflict that has come from those who find it necessary to transition from one gender to another. This has created a divide with society that has taken far too long to heal. To live with one another and among each other humanity must embrace those differences and live together, not struggle to remain apart.
Bailey, J.M. & Zucker, K.J. (1995). Childhood sex-typed behavior and sexual orientation: A
conceptual analysis and quantitative review. Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 43-55.
Diamond, S.A. PhD. (2014). The Psychology of Sexuality. Psychology Today. Retrieved from
James, W.H. (2005). Biological and psychosocial determinants of male and female human sexual orientation. Journal of Biosocial Science, 37(5), 555-567.
Moane, G. (2015). Psychology along the spectrum of human sexuality. The Irish Times.
Phelan, J.E., Whitehead, N., Sutton, P.E. (2009). What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to
the APA Claims on Homosexuality. Journal of Human Sexuality. Retrieved from