HISTORY OF A DEVIANT BEHAVIOR 10
From a sociological perspective, deviance is seen as thenon-conformity to the established norms within a society, community,group or even country. There are certain generally accepted behaviorsand or actions in particular societies and whoever does anything thatis against what is considered normal in such a society is consideredas being deviant. However, there are some behaviors that are referredto as the formal deviant behaviors. These are behaviors which aregenerally accepted by almost all people across the world as beingdeviant or criminal such behaviors include murder and rape(Greenberg, 2014). There is no society across the world that wouldapprove murder and or rape expect for the extremists such asterrorists. Each and every sociological deviant behavior has ahistory in the society. Some societies have held certain behaviors asdeviant since time immemorial. However, there are some sociologicaldeviant behaviors which have evolved and developed over time.
Homosexuality is a behavior that has traditionally been consideredas immoral and deviant in many societies across the world. Societiesand religions that are against and which have been againsthomosexuality argue that the behavior is against the will of God andagainst Biblical teachings. Additionally, the behavior is consideredas out of what nature provides. Throughout history, there have beenchanges regarding the view and acceptance of homosexuals in society(Greenberg, 2014). In Europe, for instance, homosexuality seemed tohave been ignored by the Christians and the society although itexisted. People chose not to talk about homosexuality during the HighMiddle Ages. However, in the 12th century homosexualitywas considered as a deviant behavior and was punishable by death.Prior to the 12th century, the behavior was beingtolerated as masters would hire slaves across Europe to satisfy theirsexual behaviors. However, expression of sexual feelings betweenfemales has always been considered as being deviant across Europeeven before the 12th century. Lesbianism was considered asa threat to the men’s manhood in society (Greenberg, 2014).
The early American colonies also considered homosexuality as a sinor a deviant behavior. This made homosexuality a punishable act.Throughout the history of American independence, the behavior hasbeen considered deviant and discrimination has been common. Throughto the 19th century, the notion regarding homosexualitywas being viewed as a medical and psychiatry issue as opposed tobeing a moral issue (Greenberg, 2014). On one side, the society andthe church believed that the homosexuality was a moral issue and adeviant behavior in society. On the contrary, psychiatrists andpsychologists believed that homosexuality was medical or apsychological issue and the people practicing it needed to be treatedrather than punished or discriminated.
In the early 1920s, there were the first attempts in America bycivil rights movements to advocate for the rights of the homosexualsand to allow them into the fabrics of society. The Society for HumanRights, attempted to champion for the acceptance of homosexuals insociety, but it was soon dissolved due to political pressure. This isan indication that homosexuality was being fought even from politicalangles. In the 1950s, there were a number of gay rights groups, whichwee advocating for the acceptance of homosexuals in society. Thecampaigns were lead by Harry Hay who was a gay rights activist(Greenberg, 2014). During the 1950s, homosexuality in the UnitedStates was not only a social deviant behavior, but it was alsoillegal. The government would fire any homosexual in the military andother government offices terming them as a security risk. The fewlesbian bars would be raided by the police and the homosexualsarrested.
The pressure from the civil rights groups seemed to bear fruits whenthe Supreme Court ruled in favor of the homosexuals in One, Inc.v. Olesen. This saw the first amendment to the rights ofhomosexuals. Over the years until recent events in 2015, Americanshave been divided over the homosexuality behavior. It is evident thatthe behavior still remains deviant in some regions, but it isgenerally acceptable in some such as in Wisconsin (Greenberg, 2014).The homosexuals have legally been recognized and can now workeffectively even in the military. This is a huge paradigm shift fromthe traditional discrimination against the gay community.
It is clear from the discussion above that homosexuality behaviorwas not considered as a social deviant behavior prior to the 12thcentury or at least it was being ignored by the Europeans. Maleslaves were being used as tools of sexual pleasure by their malemasters and this was ignored by religious leaders and the society.However, by the 12th century, homosexuality was alreadybeing viewed as a deviant and unacceptable in society. Religions andthe society viewed the behavior as unnatural and against the will ofGod (Greenberg, 2014). The first settlers in America and the Americancolonies carried this belief and Americans assimilated the beliefthat homosexuals are outcasts in society and the behavior is satanic.
The issue of whether homosexuality is deviant varies across numerouscultures across the world. To the Americans, it is true to say thatthe behavior is no longer considered as completely deviant. However,there are still some people in the society who would consider thebehavior completely socially deviant and satanic. In the Africanculture, it is believed that sex should only between and woman(Palmer & Humphrey, 2013). Any sexual behavior between people ofthe same sex is considered a socially deviant behavior. The Africanculture is extremely conservative and Africans are strong believersin religion. Africans believe that the behavior of homosexuality isagainst the will of God who only ordained sex between married man andwomen.
In Europe, homosexuality has attracted varying public and politicalperceptions. Whereas some countries such as Belgium, Denmark andFrance recognize same sex marriages or homosexuality, there are othercountries such as Ukraine, Croatia and Bulgaria which only recognizesex between a man and a woman (Akers, 2011). It is clear that theissue of homosexuality and its consideration as a deviant behaviorvaries across various cultures across the world. Countries whichproclaim to be first world countries or the developed countries suchas America and France have legally accepted homosexuality (Palmer &Humphrey, 2013). However, countries especially in African haverejected homosexuality and some leaders such as the President ofUganda has publicly declared that homosexuality is unacceptable inUganda. Developing countries are still held hostage by religiousbeliefs and can hardly accept homosexuality.
Statistics will indicate that there are more heterosexualrelationships than homosexual relationships in the African culture.Additionally, American society and the European society will alsohave more heterosexual people than homosexual people (Palmer &Humphrey, 2013). This is the major reason why the behavior isconsidered as deviant in many cultures across the world. Consideringthat homosexuals cannot reproduce naturally is a reason enough todiscriminate homosexuals.
The recent visit by the US president Obama to Kenya signaled somechange on the attitude that the society and the political class haveregarding the rights of the homosexuals. Although the Kenyanpresident said this was a non-issue, it is becoming extremely clearthat te homosexual rights groups and the civil society in Africancountries are starting to fight for the rights of the homosexuals(Greenberg, 2014). Homosexual rights groups and civil rights groupsare continuously forcing the governments to decriminalizehomosexuality. In Uganda for example, the Sexual Minorities Ugandaare fighting hard for their rights. However, there is strictresistance from other groups such as the religious groups andpolitical groups. Religious groups across Africa are totally opposedto the same sex marriages and this due to the fact that they followthe bible and consider homosexuality as a western culture thatAfricans are importing from the developed countries. In Kenya, theGay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya is fighting for the rights of thehomosexuals. However, there are still some groups that are againsthomosexuality in African culture (Palmer & Humphrey, 2013). Thegroups fight to pass legislations that make homosexuality illegal.For instance in Kenya, the Kenya`s Republican Liberty Party istotally against homosexuality and argues that there was no person whowas born gay or lesbian. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that thereare groups across various cultures that support homosexuality andthere are those that are totally against homosexuality. The UnitedNations is always in support of the homosexuals across the world andthis as given the few groups supporting homosexuals some hope ofsucceeding in Africa.
Technology and homosexuality
On the issue of technology and how it has changed the trajectory ofthis behavior, it is clear that the spread of homosexuality behavioracross the world has been enhanced by social media. Social mediaplatforms such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are all avenuesthrough which homosexuals can communicate and discuss their plightwith regard to their human rights. In countries such as Uganda wherehomosexuals are discriminated and even jailed, social media platformsserve to as the only safe means of communication.
Gays and lesbian groups have formed groups on social media such asFacebook where they even recruit members. It is not a surprise tofind Facebook groups of gays and lesbians in Kenya with over 20,000members. The homosexuals use these groups to spread the behavior tothe young people and open a platform where homosexuals who previouslyfeared to express themselves are free to publicly express theirsexual orientation. The society may discriminate against the peoplewho publicly declare that there are homosexuals (Akers, 2011).However, on social media, there is no ridicule and homosexuals feelfree to express their feelings. It can therefore be argued that thesocial media, which is a result advances in technology, has changedthe trajectory of the behavior.
Besides communication amongst the homosexuals through the socialmedia, the homosexuals are able to find partners on social media. TheFacebook groups and or the twitter handles that the homosexualscreate are joined and or followed by likeminded people. As a result,the homosexuals are able to approach other members for sexual favors(Palmer & Humphrey, 2013). This was not possible before theadvent of the technology and social media. Homosexuals, especially inthe African countries were and still are extremely fearful ofapproaching another person of the same sex seeking for sexual favors.Such approaches have resulted in fights and even deaths. This impliesthat the social media has changed the trajectory of the behavior.
The growth in numbers of the homosexuals has been as a result oftechnology. It has been stated above that homosexuals are recruitingnew members through the internet and are allowing people to expresstheir views openly on social media. This has attracted numerouspeople. Another way that technology has changed this behavior is thatthe information they post on social media is accessible by all thepeople including young people and children (Palmer & Humphrey,2013). This makes the social media a tool for convincing the youngpeople who know little about their sexual orientation. As a result,the gays and lesbians have managed to recruit numerous members.
The behavior, which has largely been viewed as deviant behaviorespecially in African countries is starting to be viewed different bythe young people, thanks to technology. The homosexual groups areadvertising the behavior extremely well on social media and youngpeople are starting to know of it at a very young age (Akers, 2011).These have made many people to change their perception and arestarting to accept the homosexuals in society. Another critical rolethat technology has played is providing information through theinternet regarding other homosexuals in other countries such in theUnited States and Europe (Palmer & Humphrey, 2013). There isimmense information regarding the struggles that the homosexuals inthese countries have gone through and the successes that they areenjoying today. This is a source of inspiration to the Africanhomosexuals who are facing discrimination from the society. Theinternet also provides immense information regarding the rights ofthe homosexuals as human beings. This has helped the homosexuals tocontinue their struggle for acceptance and appreciation.
There are numerous behaviors that can be termed as deviant from asociological perspective. However, one behavior can be deviant in onesociety and be totally acceptable in another society (Akers, 2011).As it has been demonstrated across this paper, some deviant behaviorshave developed through time and some behaviors which were hardlyknown came to be known us deviant and out of the norm for thesociety. This one such behavior is homosexuality which was hardlyknown prior to the 12th century (Palmer & Humphrey,2013). However, in the 12th century, the behavior becameevident and it was considered a totally outcast behavior in Europeand across the United States. However, research has indicated thatthe behavior’s perception has changed over time with majority ofAmericans now accepting homosexuals.
Another aspect that has been discussed in this paper is howtechnology has changed the trajectory of homosexuality behavior. Itis clear from the discussion that technology has helped the spread ofhomosexuality and has helped in its acceptance (Palmer &Humphrey, 2013). People are now accessing information regardinghomosexuals and their rights. The social media has aided in therecruitment of new members and has also acted as a platform ofexpressing themselves. It is clear that homosexuality is a behaviorthat is viewed as a norm in some societies, while it is viewed astotally different in other societies.
Akers, R. L. (2011). Deviant behavior: A social learningapproach. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Pub. Co.
Greenberg, D. F. (2014). The construction of homosexuality.Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Palmer, S. H., & Humphrey, J. A. (2013). Deviantbehavior: Patterns, sources, and control. New York, N.Y: PlenumPress.