In the United States the hierarchy of privilege ranks homosexuality at the bottom of the chain due to a negative perception of sexual orientation. The expectations of gender greatly impact how people express themself sexually. Male homosexuality is perceived particularly negatively because of the culture expectations of manhood. Being Lesbian is less frowned upon than male homosexuality, because they are perceived as asserting more dominance than expected. American perception of Homosexuality and gender are shifting due to the changing demographic.
The Role of gender in Sexuality exists only because of pressure from society. Traditional gender roles stunt humanity limiting people to only one half of potential self-expression. “The rules of masculinity and femininity put limits on the full achievement of humanity, for all of us, whether we grow up boy or grow up girl” (Bradley 32). Homosexuality poses a threat to these gender expectations because it undermines a crucial aspect of those expectations. “All males are expected to be masculine and sexually attracted to females while all women are expected to be feminine and sexually attracted to males” (McCreary 521). When one aspect of these expectation are questioned it undermines the perception of who that person is and people have a hard time not having a way to understand how to define them. “We live in a society that attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual and nondisabled regardless of social class” (Johnson 8). This society is obsessed with definitions and classifications, which plays into prejudice against those who fail to meet society’s standards. People who discriminate against homosexuality are also very likely to have very high intolerance for breaching gender roles.
Both homosexuality and feminism represent departures from, and challenges to, traditional definitions of sex roles. The direct relationship between antihomosexual and nonfeminist attitudes is consistent with previous suggestions that these are related attitudes (Minnigerode 350). Perception is what really matters the most, as people do not discriminate if they are not aware of the difference. “Individuals receive privilege only because they are perceived by others as belonging to privileged groups and social categories” (Johnson 34).
Homosexuality is one of the more interesting classifications on Johnson’s hierarchy of privilege because unlike the others it is impossible to tell someone’s sexual identity just by looking at them. However this does not prevent people from making assumptions about people based solely on physical appearance or straying from traditional gender roles. “A major finding of the current investigation is that individuals do make inferences about sexual orientation of males and females, based solely on the information provided through a static photograph of the face” (Dunkle 163). This means that people are making judgments about who a person is attracted to, based exclusively on how they look. “By far, the attribution of someone as homosexual is most likely to occur if he or she possesses traits or engages in behaviors that a subject judges to be more appropriate to a person of the opposite sex” (Dunkle 158). This again is a superficial reason for assuming who someone is attracted to because it draws on stereotypes and socially constructed gender norms.
“Our identities as gendered and sexual beings are not simply imposed upon us, but are something which we are constantly engaged in creating and recreating” (Bradley 21). This idea of gender being a choice means that is something that individuals have the power to defy or confirm. Some homosexuals refuse to do their gender and in turn do the opposite of what is expected of them whereas others try desperately to pass as straight or fulfill as many of their gender expectations as they can. Some others who recognize that