Theoretical Framework: Gay and Lesbian
Sexual orientation is considered a major aspect in the psychological assessment of human diversity. Getting to understand sexual orientation reduces heterosexist favoritism and enhances the insight of similarity and appreciation of differences (Garnets & Kimmel, 2003). There are numerous theories that explain the sexual orientation development and existence of gay and lesbian persons. Since individuals are unique and everyone has his/her own tale, no single theory describes all people. There are a number of factors that influence the development and existence of gaysim and lesbianism, and which are not yet explained by theory including race, religious conviction, customs, sex and ability. Some of the well known theories that explain the existence of gaysim and lesbianism within the society include the queer theory and the schema theory.
Traditional theory: Queer Theory
This theory is an essential theoretical approach that emphasizes on the centrality of sexuality. It closely examines socially created character of sexual identities and acts. In addition it looks at the constitutive discourse of homosexuality that has been developing since last century to survey current discussions that are for and the ones that are against the gay lesbians. Queer theory was initially associated with the fundamental politics of ActUp, Outrage, including other movements that embraced “queer” as an identity tag that pointed to a separatist and non-assimilationist politics. Queer explains the signs and critical representations that illustrate the disconnection in the supposedly firm relationships between chromosomal sex, gender and sexual desire (Jagose, 1996). In the 1960s and 1970s, gay and lesbianism movements were introduced in order to counter the widespread invisibility and denigration of homosexuals with the message of oneness, equality and pride. This theory provided a joining foundation that gay and lesbian characteristics is a steady aspect of universal spirit. According to queer, sexual identities should be regarded as acts and not facts. This means that sexual identities are not what individuals are but rather what they do. In addition, the theory sees the defining binary of gaysm and lesbianism as potentially relevant to anyone since it shapes the ways of thinking and living (Lovaas, 2013).
Contemporary human services theory: Schema theory
According to schema theory, gender schemas play a significant role in gender development and young people have an active role in attaining the gender schema. Based on this theory individuals are able to acquire and display traits, behaviors, and attitudes that are consistent with their gender identity. In the contemporary society, gay men and lesbians have become frequent subjects of modern politics, news, and court opinions. The theory asserts that both gay men and lesbians exhibit cross-gender behavior that is conventionally associated with the opposite sex. The schema theory has prevented such individuals with the rights to live just like other people in the society (Nebraska Symposium on Motivation & Hope, 2009). Gender schemas are generally cognitive networks linked with perceptions of masculinity and femininity (Bem, 1987). Individuals considered as highly gender-schematic are subject to organizing their views and evaluating ideas based on gender stereotypes and symbols and research indicates that this applies to male more often than females. Men are usually highly gender-schematic more often as compared to women, however as males and females grow older the gender stereotypes diminish significantly and men may end up taking on what are viewed feminine attributes, being more nurturing, while women may become more self-confident, a customarily male attribute (Helson & Wink, 1992).
Bem, S. L. (1981). Gender schema theory: A cognitive account of typing. Psychological Review, 88, 354-364.
Garnets, L., & Kimmel, D. C. (2003). Psychological perspectives on lesbian, gay, and bisexual experiences. New York: Columbia University Press.
Helson, R., & Wink, P. (1992). Personality change in women from the early 40s to the early 50s. Psychology and Aging, 7, 46-55.
Jagose, A. (1996). Queer theory. Retrieved from http://www.australianhumanitiesreview.org/archive/Issue-Dec-1996/jagose.html
Lovaas, K. (2013). LGBT Studies and Queer Theory: New Conflicts, Collaborations, and Contested Terrain. London: Routledge.
Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, & Hope, D. A. (2009). Contemporary perspectives on lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities. New York: Springer.