Changes in social stereotypes have improved the way that most people view the LGBTQ community. A few things factor into this, I believe. One is the gradual agnosticism that is taking over the country as well as mass public acceptance of alternative lifestyles culturally. The way homosexuals have were treated throughout history was horrifying. in 1533 in England, homosexuality was a crime punishable by hanging (Pickett, 2009) even today in countries like Afghanistan and other middle east nations where Sharia Law is followed, homosexuality is punishable by death. Even Angela Mason argues that homosexuals have been “The most sexually stigmatized group within society (Vernon, 2010).”
Only within most of our lifetime have we seen drastic changes happen in the LGBTQ community. With the public acceptance of homosexuality, we are now able to study and explore the culture at a macro level. Friendships that developed between homosexuals tend to have a stronger bond. Andrew Sullivan describes the types of friendship shared by two homosexuals as not centered around shared interests, but rather the alliance and shared experience between the two in a world where homosexuality is often considered a taboo (Vernon, 2010). We can look to the modern homosexual friendship as a blueprint of what a bond can be at its highest level. Not many things can bring people closer than the feeling of being hated by society and not allowed to express yourself without the fear of public humiliation or worse the fear of death. Philosopher Michel Foucault, A leading figure on postmodern thought, wrote that even psychologists in the late 1950s tried to mask homosexuality as a form of pathology. Foucault strongly influenced queer theory and was at the forefront of the early days of equal rights for homosexuals (Pickett, 2009).
The difference between what I consider to be typical inside a friendship and what my grandfather thought to be normal is as different as day and night. My grandfather, being a WWII Veteran and a former leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had different views on friendship than me. He had a few close friends that he knew almost nothing about besides their favorite baseball teams and what they bring to the table when fixing a classic car. I would imagine their only interactions being a stern handshake and conversations about who they think will win a sporting event of some sort. His friendships are vastly different than my close male friends and me. We know everything about each other. We often greet each other with a warm hug and often talk about personal things. The taboo that would have been in my grandfathers’ mind when interacting with other men has slowly gone away because the acceptance of homosexuals in our community has also allowed non-homosexuals to connect deeper than before.
Pickett, B. (2009). The A to Z of Homosexuality. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=337420&site=eds-live&scope=site
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning of Friendship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
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