It has to be noted that there is a subtle difference between being homosexual versus being a transvestite or transgendered person. A homosexual, irregardless of his appearance, job, personality or behaviour, has a sexual preference for the same sex. A homosexual male may totally express inherently male traits but he may still have gay tendencies.
Keeping in mind that many different cultures and societies display reversed gender roles and expectations does testify that environmental influence does matter in influencing gender role behaviour. However, it is the context of the environment that determines whether an individual's sexual orientation is considered deviant. The existence of homosexuality shows that the forces of nurture may not be strong enough to ensure that an individual conforms to his environment's expectations.
Psychiatrist William Reiner explored this with a group that had been surgically shifted from boys to girls. They were raised as girls and kept in the dark about the surgery. Invariably, Reiner found that these faux females ended up being attracted to women. If societal nudging was what made men gay, at least one of these boys should have grown up to be attracted to men. There is no documented case of that happening. Pertaining to the fact that there is a significant component that homosexuality is biological, psychologist Michael Bailey found that if one twin was gay, the other had a 50% chance of also being gay. Among fraternal twins, there was only a 20% chance (http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/born-gay).
Another supportive research has also found a positive correlation between the number of older brothers a boy has and the chances of him being gay, and it is believed to be caused by the immune system as pregnant mothers sometimes have immune reactions against male-only proteins on a boy foetus. If immune cells 'remember' earlier pregnancies and react more strongly with each one, then they might alter fetal brain cells that will later influence sexual behaviour (Blanchard, Zucker, Siegelman, Dickey & Klassen, 1998).
Since it is quite possibly a birthright to have natural sexual preferences to the same gender, then a large part of society and conventional institutions are unfairly discriminating against and suppressing something that makes a person who he is, just like discriminating against someone for the colour of his eyes or skin. When a gay man rejects homosexuality, is he continuing to struggle against his natural impulses, accepting celibacy or marriage as a socially-sanctioned substitute? There are psychosocio repercussions accompanying this.
This societal suppression accounts to an extent for the higher rates of emotional distress (Resnick et al., 1997), suicide attempts (Garofalo et al., 1998), and risky sexual behaviour and substance use (Resnick et al., 1997; Garofalo et al., 1998) that homosexual students report compared to heterosexual students. Due to their fear of harassment or harm, homosexual youths are less likely to seek help. Another alarming development is 'reparative therapy', and its potential risks also include depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient (http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html).
Suppression of one's natural sexuality also affects members of the family. A person's level of depression and anxiety has a significant negative correlation with his or her own level of marital satisfaction (Whisman, Uebelacker & Weinstock, 2003). A closet gay husband who is not in marital bliss will thus contribute to the overall negativity in marital satisfaction which will in turn affect both him and his wife, and subsequently the quality of parenting and upbringing of children (Hughes & Gordon, 2001). On the flip side, there is no evidence to support the claim that gay parents raise gay kids (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19950501-000024.html) or that having gay parents has a greater negative effect on the children as compared to having heterosexual parents (Paige, 2005).
Powerful social processes support institutional heterosexuality by limiting our perspectives and discriminating against homosexuality which is simply another form of living and loving. This discrimination which results in a homosexual's rejection of his sexual inclinations has negative psychosocio repercussions which have no real grounds of existing other than that they are caused by social sanctions imposed on the homosexual individual.
- The Real Story on Gay Genes. (2000, May 6) Retrieved November 14, 2007, from http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/born-gay.
- Blanchard, R., Zucker, K. J., Siegelman, M., Dickey, R. & Klassen, P. (1998). The Relation of Birth Order to Sexual Orientation in Men and Women, Journal of Biosocial Science, 30 (4), 511-519.
- Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. S., Jones, J., Tabor, J., Beuhring, T., Sieving, R. E., Shew, M., Ireland, M., Bearning, L. H. & Udry, J. R. (1997). Protecting Adolescents from Harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, Journal of the American Medical Association, 278 (10), 823-832.
- Garofalo, et al. (1998); Remafedi, G., Frendh, S., Story, M., Resnick, M. D. & Blum, R. (1998). The Relationship Between Suicide Risk and Sexual Orientation: Results of a Population-Based Study, American Journal Public Health, 88 (1), 57-60.
- Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel. (1998) Retrieved November 16, 2007, from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html.
- Whisman, M. A., Uebelacker, L. A., & Weinstock, L. M. (2004). Psychopathology and Marital Satisfaction: The Importance of Evaluating Both Partners, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72 (5), 830-838.
- Hughes, F. M. & Gordon, K. C. (2001). Spouses in the Parenting Role: Exploring the Link Between Marital Power and the Parenting Alliance. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from http://web.utk.edu/~kgordon1/srdc01.html.
- My Two Dads. (1995, May) Retrieved November 17, 2007, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19950501-000024.html.
- Paige, R. U. (2005). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004, from http://www.apa.org/governance/. (To be published in Volume 60, Issue Number 5 of the American Psychologist.)