Empirical Research and Developmental Theory

Sexual orientation can be defined as the classification of individuals based on their sexual conduct or desires, where the main three categories include heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. Sexual orientation just like racial classification consists of all races includes all sexual orientations, but the eons that are spoken more about are the marginalized groups. This is the same reason why when talking about sexual orientation, the groups that are spoken more about are the bisexual or the homosexuals. Despite these minority groups being researched and discussed extensively, there is the belief that the subject of sexual orientation is not adequately addressed. For this reason, it is essential for all social scientists studying or dealing with social issues to see that they have a deeper understanding of the sexual orientation of people, as this would help them understand how to deal with people of different sexual orientation.

Numerous scientific studies have identified that one does not choose their sexual orientation because it is determined by a combination of emotional, environmental, biological, and hormonal factors. This shows that a combination of different factors plays a significant role in determining an individual’s sexual orientation, and these factors differ from one individual to another. It is essential to mention that bisexuality and homosexuality are not caused by how an individual is brought up (Aerts, Van Houtte, Dewaele, Cox, & Vincke, 2016). Homosexual parents or guardians may bring up a child and such a child may end up being a heterosexual in their adulthood, and the reverse of this is also true. 

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It is essential to mention that homosexuals and bisexual individuals in many societies across the globe face marginalization and discrimination because of deep-seated religious beliefs that homosexuality is a sin that is forbidden by gods. In many countries in Africa, the middle east, and Asia there are laws that prohibit any form of homosexuality, and any individual found engaging in such sexual behaviors or relationships can be given decade long custodian jail terms. The west also has its fair share of marginalization and discrimination against homosexuals in society (Bos, Sandfort, de Bruyn, & Hakvoort, 2016). This type of discrimination has forced many homosexuals across the world to live in fear of their lives. Many of them choose to live their lives as heterosexuals, and this kind of life has led many of them to suffer from different psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.  

Despite these deep-seated beliefs that homosexuality is a sin, spirited campaigns led by governments and non-governmental organizations have been educating people and trying to debunk the controversial beliefs that make homosexuals to be discriminated against in society (Henetz 2012).  These campaigns have been changing these beliefs, and even though not much has been attained, this is a step in the right direction.

As a social worker, this research has enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the issue of sexual orientation and the challenges homosexuals and bisexuals face in society. I have understood that the discrimination and marginalization society gives homosexuals and bisexuals are so much, and for this reason, I will be more careful when working with these groups of people to ensure that I do not perpetuate this discrimination in any way. This will help me create a nondiscriminatory environment where I can work with all people in society irrespective of their sexual orientation. 


Aerts S, Van Houtte M, Dewaele A, Cox N, Vincke J. (2016). Sense of belonging in secondary

schools: A survey of LGB and heterosexual students in Flanders. Journal of Homosexuality. 2016;59:90–113.

Bos HMW, Sandfort TGM, de Bruyn EH, Hakvoort EM. (2016). Same-sex attraction, social

relationships, psychosocial functioning, and school performance in early adolescence.  Developmental Psychology. 2016;44:59–68.

Elze DE. (2015).  Risk factors for internalizing and externalizing problems among gay, lesbian,

and bisexual adolescents. Social Work Research. 2015;26:89–100.

Henetz P. (2012). Teen’s suicide spurs community to face gay bullying in northern Utah. The

Salt Lake Tribune. 

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