An investigation into the impact of television portrayals of homosexuality on urban youth
There is growing concern about young people's exposure to sexual content through the media and its potential effects on their sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Researchers have documented the growing prevalence of homosexual talk and portrayals of homosexual behavior on television, as well as associations between the youths viewing patterns and their sexual activities, indicating that youth sexuality is associated with media use (Kunkel, Cope, Maynard- Farinola, 1999). A few studies have assessed the associations between the degree and nature of youth exposure to sexual content and their sexual attitudes and behaviors. Human rights groups argue that the media has a responsibility of serving society without discrimination by creating awareness for acceptance of the different genders and sexual orientations. However, there has been so much controversy surrounding the acceptance of homosexuality in Kenya as majority of the population led mainly by religious groups face off with human rights groups and Western countries, who claim that gay rights are human rights. This study investigated the impact of TV portrayals of homosexuality on urban youth by examining whether it has influenced them in developing their sexual orientation, understanding homosexuality, encouraging support for gay rights and/or promoting cultural tolerance toward homosexuals. The findings of this study indicated that there is a strong link between TV and the youth's sexual knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behavior, given its role as an important source of socialization. Therefore. it is recommended that TV -beinz a nowerful means of disseminating information and given the youth's strong involvement with it, and the ever evolving content- should self regulate by ensuring that the content aired relating to sexuality objectively educates and informs the public so that they can make informed decisions as opposed to encouraging perversion and violence.