Homosexuality is rooted in a history of fighting for equality, from the riots of Stonewall to the current dispute for the right to marry. Lesbian women and gay men are fighting for the same rights, and want to be treated with equality from others.
But is one sexuality more accepted than the other? Is it easier for lesbians to gain acceptance than gay men? The two are working towards the same cause, so it stands to reason that their plight would be equal.
Saying that gay men and lesbians are treated equally by society shows a gross oversimplification of the issue, and a lack of understanding of the fight for equality.
As a general rule, women who only have feelings for other women are more understood by other individuals. Whereas being a homosexual male carries a heavier stigma. This difference is due in part to a male dominated society.
Despite 51 percent of the population being female, most of the power and societal norms are dictated by men. The men in our society carry the power to change how something is viewed. As a result, most of the attitudes surrounding homosexuality are determined by heterosexual males. Thus, lesbianism carries less of a threat.
Serving as the wet dream for heterosexual males, two girls kissing in public is seen as a bonus, something to brighten the day. While the same behavior from two gay men results in disgust, and even getting kicked out of some locations. This is because two men kissing is not a fantasy for most heterosexual males; it is not an object of sexual gratification for them.
Another cause of the differences is the attitudes around companionship. It is deemed acceptable and is often portrayed as typical for two women to be best friends. There is an understanding in their friendship, and it is not difficult to believe that they would take the next step and become lovers. Even within their friendship, it is okay for them to show signs of affection and even kiss each other without repercussions.
However, within most friendships between males, affection is not a factor. It is often seen as a feminine trait, and thought of as crossing the line. To take that a step further, and find love and compassion in another man, is repulsive. It threatens the masculinity of other males, and is a source of weakness.
It is not just men who hold this sentiment. There are many women who scorn men for finding friendship in one another. It is seen as weird, or makes them needy.
This line of thinking leads to some people thinking that NBA player Jason Collins is not only a lesser individual because he is gay, but that he is now a weaker man or less of a man because of his sexual orientation. When in fact he is a strong and brave individual for coming out when he is playing in a league made up almost entirely of heterosexual males.
While some may say that lesbians being more highly accepted is a good thing, existing purely for the sexual enjoyment of others is entirely counter productive. Just because it is easier for people to define lesbianism over gay men, does not mean that gay men deserve to be treated without respect and understanding.
The fight for equality for people based on their sexuality has come a long ways, but it still has more to go. One day, the majority of people will see both lesbianism and gay men as the same, not because they are having sex the way that someone else wants them to, but because they are people whose lives should not be judged for who they love.