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Accepting Homosexuality

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Upon receiving this assignment, I was rather confused on how I would go about conducting an experiment for Social Psychology. So far this year we have learned of numerous experiments done in the past that have been more physical: experiments done by Milgram, Asch, Zimbardo, and many others. Honestly, I am rather shy when it comes to social events, so I was worried about what direction I could take on this assignment.

I decided to take a social topic and discover how people view and respond to that topic. The topic that I chose was same-sex rights and whether or not you believed they deserved to have those rights. The way I went about conducting my experiment was I created a survey and handed it out to 20 people, 10 being over the age of 35 and 10 under the age of 35. My objective was to compare and contrast my findings between the generations about homosexuality.

I also observed how people reacted to a person who was openly homosexual. A friend of mine, who happens to be transgender, sat down next to multiple people and I observed how long they sat there, what they said if anything when my friend started conversation, and how they reacted when my friend moved closer to them physically.

Prejudice and discrimination are seen all through-out society; sometimes it is subtle, but sometimes it is scary how �in your face’ it can be. Being a young single mother I have dealt with prejudice and discrimination firsthand, and I know how it feels when other people look down on you for your lifestyle. I wanted to observe whether or not people would be openly rude, accepting, or just tolerant of my friend. During the observation I saw something’s that were less than nice.

We conducted the experiment at the college in the halls when they were busy and filled with students. We chose the college because we could target people of all age groups, nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds. My friend wore her usual female clothing, make-up, and had her hair done up; keep in mind that even though I will call her she, she is visibly still male. Chelsea, as she likes to be called, is pre-op and still has physical characteristics of a male. She has an Adam’s apple, gets the 5 o’clock shadow, strong chin and forehead bones, and sounds masculine. She does wear a bra with inserts, regularly and also wears nothing but female clothing.

The first person that we saw was a man in his late 40’s, who was sitting on the benches in the hallway playing on his laptop. Chelsea sat down about 5 feet from the man, and almost as soon as he noticed that she was there is moved down about 2 feet. It was so obvious that Chelsea made him uncomfortable, but she continued to sit there and even tried to start a conversation. The man tried to be polite to Chelsea, but as soon as she inched toward him to carry on the conversation further, he got up and walked away.

A little while later Chelsea sat down next to a younger male, who looked to be about 20, if not a little older. The benches were somewhat crowded so she had to sit closer to the young man; the man stood up and propped himself against the wall. At this time we weren’t sure if it was because of her or because he didn’t want to sit down. So Chelsea started to speak with the guy, and he wouldn’t even acknowledge her. He stood there for approximately 3 minutes while she tried repeatedly to ask him what time it was; it was obvious that he had heard her because every time she asked he looked down at his watch and never answered her question. Finally Chelsea got irritated and spoke a little louder and asked the young man if he could tell her where the vending machines were because she was just visiting the college; he let out a huge sigh and walked away. I was shocked by how blatantly discriminatory he was towards her.

A little later Chelsea sat down next to this woman who was probably in her early 20’s. Not only did this girl seem accepting, she seemed interested in what Chelsea was doing. So interested in fact that she openly asked questions about her change and how far into it she was, some of the questions made Chelsea blush. The girl even introduced herself to Chelsea; her name was Mandy and she also introduced Chelsea to all of her friends who were hanging out within the group. Everyone seemed accepting and polite to Chelsea, it was a nice change from the last few people that she had encountered.

One of the most memorable guys that Chelsea came in contact with was this man in his late 20’s, early 30’s. She sat down next to him and pretended to read a book; we wanted to see how long he would sit there without her initiating conversation. She sat there for about 5 minutes when the man asked her if she had a cigarette. Chelsea said yes and offered him one. As soon as she answered him, you could tell that he finally realized that she wasn’t female, not only did he refuse the cigarette he stammered over his words to make an excuse of why he wouldn’t take one. He then kind of ran off and kept looking behind to see if Chelsea was following him. It was hilarious, but at the same time it was sad because we are in the 21st century and people still can’t be accepting of others.

For the most part through-out the whole experiment Chelsea kept a very good head about her. She knew that people would respond differently to her presence and was ready for whatever kind of confrontation that she would have. After the experiment I asked her what was the hardest thing for her and she said, “The hardest thing is that I go through that every day. From the time I step out of my house and go buy cigarettes to the time I get home and am by myself. It’s pretty sad that the only place I can feel completely accepted is in the confines of my own home. You would think that living in the era that we live in, that society would open their minds and their hearts and accept all different kinds of people.” It is crazy to me that discrimination, prejudice,



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