Social conditioning and defining Sexual Orientation
Authored by Vedangshi Roy Choudhuri
Are We Socially Conditioned to Have A Clearly Defined Sexual Orientation?
Why should people face consequences for who they are, if it isn’t wrong to truly be what one is? Is being gay, queer, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, or pansexual not ‘OK’? Why doesn’t society realize that these people deserve the same rights and freedom as straight people?The fundamental stage of adolescence mostly revolves around understanding the sense of sexuality and how we fit into society. Whenever people come out on the other side of the “crisis”, it is a healthy understanding of their unique identity.
Identity has a vast spectrum and can be approached in different ways, though it could be answered by just one question “ who am I?”. Acceptance is hard for some, cause they haven’t yet come to terms with who they are and there isn’t much positive sense of identity and self. This can be especially tough when they are not familiar with ‘who they are’ to ones around them, or they doubt if they would be accepted by others.
For individuals who identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer), or are questioning this facet of their personality, establishing a positive sense of self can sometimes be difficult and confronting. This is not always the case( some LGBTQ people have found comfort and felt secure in their sexuality or gender identities for long, and have support from people who understand and appreciate them for who they are), it is unfortunate for most who struggle with developing a positive sense on who they are.
While some people are just plain rude and disrespectful on this matter, some are unaware that they had been offensive. Either way, respecting all beings indifferent to their sexual orientation should be followed and we should challenge prejudice when it comes to our notice. If not react, the least we could do is to not be involved in any prejudice or discrimination. This isn’t necessarily hard, even choosing to not laugh along to a homophobic, racist or misogynistic “joke” would be enough.
When some LGBTQ individuals indulge in internal homophobia or transphobia, they absorb social comments against the LGBTQ community which results in a feeling of guilt, shame, confusion, and a sense that they are not ‘normal’. These feelings could be the initial step to depression and low self-esteem, and therefore these thoughts must be challenged. In doing so, we would be questioning the source of such thoughts and realizing if these thoughts are good or just hurtful. It’s about time that we address and undo these social conditions, whereby we subconsciously repress sexual desires that we think don’t correspond to our designated sexual orientation.