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Environmental factors influence gender identity in various ways. First, gender identity is influenced by childhood events. After birth, parents assign social gender based on a child’s sex characteristics. Contemporary socialization theory explains that society gives templates, prescriptions and models of behavior that it considers appropriate for each sex. They help socialize the child so that he or she belongs to a culturally specific gender. There are compelling incentives that make the child give in to their being socialized. Those who behave differently are perceived to be improperly socialized or deviant. Behavior models are aimed at helping either a man or a woman develop interpersonal relationships. Gender expression is perfected or changed as a child grows up. It is the external manifestation of gender identity through feminine, masculine or gender neutral behavior, language, clothing, or body characteristics. In the modern world, liberalized cultures and societies are advocating for recognition of three or more genders, and a more complex and fluid gender spectrum. Hormonal factors facilitate sexual differentiation, which in turn shapes gender identity. For example, excess androgens in girls cause gender-stereotypic male traits.
Human Sexuality Stereotypes
There are many stereotypes concerning homosexuals. For example, gay men are believed to have feminine mannerisms (C.King, 2011). It is believed that they are shy and too accepting. They are believed to have feminine voice and also be emotionally involved in things that females do or like. They are believed to be found in careers such as hairdressing, professional dancing and designing. Gay women are believed to be “masculine” (C.King, 2011). It is stereotyped that they prefer male-dominated careers such as armed forces and athleticism.
Homosexuals are often viewed as a threat to children. It is believed that they have a sexually undeveloped brain that could lead to rape and lewdness, among other crimes. Many people believe that each partner assumes a gender role in any relationship. This means that one partner assumes a dominant role while the other assumes the “wife” role. It is stereotyped that homosexuality is a conscious and fully informed choice; that it is not biological. It is stereotyped that gay men are interested in casual sex. This means that gay men tend to have many sexual partners. Some people believe that gay people “recruit” other people into homosexuality. However, many people accept female homosexuality easily and are more problematic with male homosexuality.
Propagation of Stereotypes
The stereotype that homosexuals are dangerous to children is maintained to discredit homosexuality on the argument that it is abnormal and embarrassing. Parents and guardians try to prevent their children from having contacts with homosexuals and being lured into homosexuality. There is no relation between the femininity and masculinity of partners. Gay men are likely to prefer masculine partners while lesbians mostly prefer feminine partners. All gay men are likely to behave in a feminine way up to a certain degree. The stereotype that one partner assumes a “husband” role and the other a “wife” role is meant to discredit homosexuality. Being a rapidly growing phenomenon, various societies believe that homosexuality is a threat to traditional values and norms. The stereotype that homosexuality is a conscious choice is perhaps propagated by people with religious orientations since many religions are against homosexuality. These people are in a conscious effort to make people believe that homosexuality is a sin. The stereotype that gay men want many partners spreads on the basis of a perceived need to associate homosexuality with abnormality and untamed sexual desires. This is also the basis through which the stereotype that gay people recruit other gay people thrives.
Gender identity is influenced by environmental and biological factors. There are many stereotypes about homosexuality that are culturally maintained mainly on the basis of the perceived threat of homosexuality to societal traditions. Female homosexuality is not controversial compared to male homosexuality.
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