Homosexuality refers to: sexual feelings, fantasies, or acts directed toward members of the same sex.
Whether this controversial act should be regarded a norm or a social problem mainly depends on various issues ranging from, social interaction, religion and culture.
It is not enough for a society such as Zimbabwe to enact laws and even have anti homosexual clauses in the constitution without looking at the social dimensions related to the act.
Data from the Institute for Sex Research released a decade ago estimates that the number of adult males who are predominantly homosexual ranges from 1 to 4 percent.
This means that 14 percent of the adult male population of about 12 million has had extensive homosexual experience (WcWhirter and Mattison, 1984). It is also estimated between 25 and 35 percent of male adults have had at least one homosexual encounter in their lifetime.
However female homosexuality or lesbianism is probably half as common.
Facts About Homosexuality
• Although some male homosexuals adopt feminine role-playing and some lesbians tend toward the masculine gender, most male and female homosexuals display no obvious exterior characteristics that depict their sexual preference.
In fact some homosexuals, particularly males, have been married at one time or another, have fathered children, and shared a normal family lifestyle.
• There is no evidence that homosexuals are any more likely than heterosexuals to proselytize for their sexual preference in different kinds of job settings.
• The majority of prostitutes at least 61 percent have had no homosexual experience whatsoever. Although some promiscuous women may be motivated to become prostitutes, most of them regard this as a impersonal economic exchange but at the same time enjoy sex with their husbands or male friends.
• Exposure to sexually explicit or arousing materials that have no aggressive component do not seem to produce negative effects on human mind leading to homosexuality. It is the aggressive nature of some pornography that may lead some people to view violence against women or males as acceptable or derisarable.
Is Homosexuality Defiance?
Whilst a lot of negative has been associated with homosexuality especially in Zimbabwe, nothing or little has been said about fetishism, voyeurism and masochism.
Fetishism is sex using non-living objects to achieve sexual excitement.
Voyeurism is whereby watching others undress or engage in sex arouses individuals.
Masochism is gaining sexual arousal by being humiliated, bound or beaten.
The first two are common in prisons and military camps where there are no opportunities for heterosexual contacts, and men and women who engage in this behavior don’t define themselves as homosexuals and resume heterosexual lifestyle once they are in open societies or released from prisons.
Institutions of sport, education and religion have also been identified as sources of the act and Zimbabwe is not an exception.
The same goes with prostitution, oral genital intercourse and anal intercourse, which have been made illegal.
So is homosexuality deviant behavior?
Many people in Zimbabwe including President Robert Mugabe believe it is and react harshly and at times violently against it.
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (20) Chapter 4 part 2 talks of prohibition of same sex marriages. An Act of law or realignment of the existing laws will be required to make this law enforceable.
However despite this homosexuals and lesbians have been increasingly open about their lifestyle.
So are homosexuals deviant? In some people’s eyes, certainly but not in their own.
This then make very difficult the drawing of a clear line between what is defiant and what is respectable and accepted.
Despite the fact that people’s views of homosexuality are often based on fallacies, the act is still commonly listed in many studies of public attitudes as a form of deviance and as a serious social problem.
Some studies say people were more than twice as likely to call homosexuality deviant, as they were to label murder as deviance placing considerable stigma to homosexuality.
According to Kinsey et al. 1948: 639
(People do not represent two discrete populations, HETEROSEXUAL and HOMOSEXUAL. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.
Whilst laws against same sex marriages are noble there must be ways of fighting the stigma, as not all people who engages in homosexual behavior under various pressures are necessarily homosexuals in the sense of having an identity or lifestyle of homosexuality.