Andrew Sullivan's Essay 'What Is A Homosexual'

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Journal Responses #4 In his essay, ‘What Is A Homosexual,’ Andrew Sullivan accomplishes an in depth insight to the meaning and effects of homosexuality on an individual’s lifestyle by providing an analysis of his own past experiences as well as observations of the behaviors of other homosexuals. As humans, we are prone to making assumptions about those who are different than us, and in order to avoid rejection or alienation, many are forced to hide who they are in favor of risking the acceptance of their peers--as Sullivan describes, “there is something masculine and respected in the discipline of the arts and especially in the sciences. You can gain respect and still be different.” (156) Unfortunately, by covering the truth to dodge the disapproval of others, Sullivan notes that the results only end up causing self-loathing. What I appreciated about this essay was Sullivan’s delivery of an equally personal as well as…show more content…
In his essay, Staples recalls several experiences in which he unintentionally frightened passersby because of his age, gender, and most importantly, race, and what struck me was the effect it had on him psychologically. Despite being completely innocent in the stories he goes on to tell, Staples opens introduces the first woman who felt threatened by him as his “first victim,” and after the experience he describes feeling “surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed all at once” (221) for something he could not control. It is almost frightening how influential others’ perception and expectations of us can be on our own behavior. He mentions friends and relatives who took advantage of the “tough guy” image and ended up being locked away or buried (222), thus setting an example for Staples not to do the same and learn to break away from the misconceptions gathered from his
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