The term 'homosexuality' was coined in the late 19th century by a German psychologist, Karoly Maria Benkert. Although the term is new. Homosexuality, sexual interest in and attraction to members of one's own sex. Here's what we know: Homosexuality is normal. Between 2 and 11 percent of human adults report experiencing some homosexual feelings.
Homosexuality, sexual interest in and attraction to members of one's own sex. is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation. Battling the 'homosexual agenda,' the hard-line religious right has made a series of incendiary claims. But they're just not true.
Lots of animals engage in homosexual behaviour, but whether they are truly homosexual is another matter entirely. “Being gay is bad. How wonderful it is that nobody has to be gay!” “Homosexual behavior should be allowed to take place. Isn't it fantastic that. Overview. Homosexuality As the United States and other countries grapple with the issue of same-sex marriage, a new Pew Research.
Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attractionor sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and homosexuals in a community of others who share those attractions. Along with bisexuality and heterosexualityhomosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual—homosexual continuum. The most common terms for homosexual people are lesbian for females and gay for males, but gay also commonly refers to both homosexual females and males.
The percentage of people who are gay or lesbian and the proportion of people who are in same-sex romantic relationships or have had same-sex sexual experiences are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons, including many gay and lesbian people not openly identifying as such due to prejudice or discrimination such as homophobia and heterosexism. Many gay and lesbian people are in committed same-sex relationships, though only in the s have census forms and political conditions facilitated their visibility and enumeration.
Krafft-Ebing's book was so popular among both laymen and doctors that the terms "heterosexual" and "homosexual" became the most widely accepted terms for sexual orientation. Many modern style guides in the U. Gay especially refers to male homosexuality,  but may be used in a broader sense to refer to all LGBT people. In the context of sexuality, lesbian refers only to female homosexuality. The word lesbian is derived from the name of the Greek island Lesboswhere the poet Sappho wrote largely about her emotional relationships with young women.
Although early writers also used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-sex context such as an all-girls schooltoday the term is used exclusively in reference to sexual attraction, activity, and orientation. The term homosocial is now used to describe single-sex contexts that are not specifically sexual. There is also a word homosexuals to same-sex love, homophilia. Some synonyms for same-sex attraction or sexual activity include men who have sex with men or MSM used in the medical community when specifically discussing sexual activity and homoerotic referring to works of art.
The range of acceptable use for these terms depends on the context and speaker. The American LGBT rights organization GLAAD advises the media to avoid using the term homosexual to describe gay people or homosexuals relationships as the term is "frequently used by anti-gay extremists to denigrate gay people, couples and relationships".
Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from expecting all males to engage in same-sex relationships, to casual integration, through acceptance, to seeing the practice as a minor sin, repressing it through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and to proscribing it under penalty of death. In cultures influenced by Abrahamic religionsthe law and the church established sodomy as a transgression against divine law or a crime against nature.
The condemnation of anal sex between males, however, predates Christian belief. It was frequent in ancient Greece; "unnatural" can be traced back to Plato. Many historical figures, including SocratesLord ByronEdward IIand Hadrian have had terms such as gay or bisexual applied to them. Some scholars, such as Michel Foucaulthave regarded this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a contemporary construction of sexuality foreign to their times,  though other scholars challenge this.
In social science, there has been a dispute between "essentialist" and "constructionist" views of homosexuality. The debate divides those who believe that terms such as "gay" and "straight" refer to objective, culturally invariant properties of persons from those who believe that the experiences homosexuals name are artifacts of unique cultural and social processes.
The first record of a possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnuman ancient Egyptian male couple, who lived around BCE.
The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian artsurrounded by what appear to be their heirs. The anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned "long term, erotic relationships" called motsoalle. Evans-Pritchard also recorded that male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on young male lovers between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in intercrural sex with their older husbands.
Among indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to European colonization, a common form of same-sex sexuality centered around the figure of the Two-Spirit individual. Typically, this individual was recognized early in life, given a choice by the parents to follow the path and, if the child accepted the role, raised homosexuals the appropriate manner, learning the customs of the gender it had chosen.
Two-Spirit individuals were commonly shamans and were revered as having powers beyond those of ordinary shamans.
Their sexual life was with the ordinary tribe members of the same sex. The Spanish conquerors were horrified to discover sodomy openly practiced among native peoples, and attempted to crush it out by subjecting the berdaches as the Spanish called them under their rule to severe penalties, including public executionburning and being torn to pieces by dogs. Hardwick that a state could criminalize sodomybut, inoverturned itself in Lawrence v.
Texas and thereby legalized homosexual activity throughout the United States of America. Same-sex marriage in the United States expanded from one state in to all fifty states inthrough various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes referendums and initiativesand federal court rulings. In East Asiasame-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history. Homosexuality in Chinaknown as the passions of the cut peach and various other euphemisms, has been recorded since approximately BCE.
Homosexuality was mentioned in many famous works of Chinese literature. The instances of same-sex affection and sexual interactions described in the classical novel Dream of the Red Chamber seem as familiar to observers in the present as do equivalent stories of romances between heterosexual people during the same period.
Confucianismbeing primarily a social and political philosophy, focused little on sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Opposition to homosexuality in China originates in the medieval Tang Dynasty —attributed to the rising influence of Christian and Islamic values,  but did not become fully established until the Westernization efforts of the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China.
The Laws of Manu mentions a "third sex", members of which may engage in nontraditional gender expression and homosexual activities.
The earliest Western documents in the form of literary works, art objects, and mythographic materials concerning same-sex relationships are derived from ancient Greece.
In regard to male homosexuality, such documents depict an at times complex understanding in which relationships with women and relationships with adolescent boys could be a part of a normal man's love life. Same-sex relationships were a social institution variously constructed over time and from one city to another.
The formal practice, an erotic yet often restrained relationship between a free adult male and a free adolescent, was valued for its pedagogic benefits and as a means of population control, though occasionally blamed for causing disorder.
Plato praised its benefits in his early writings  but in his late works proposed its prohibition. Little is known of female homosexuality in antiquity. Sapphoborn on the island of Lesboswas included by later Greeks in the canonical list of nine lyric poets. The adjectives deriving from her name and place of birth Sapphic and Lesbian came to be applied to female homosexuality beginning in the 19th century. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love sometimes requited, sometimes not for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate.
In Ancient Romethe young male body remained a focus of male sexual attention, but relationships were between older free men and slaves or freed youths who took the receptive role in sex. The Hellenophile emperor Hadrian is renowned for his relationship with Antinousbut the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on 6 Augustcondemning passive males to be burned at the stake.
Notwithstanding these regulations taxes on brothels with boys available for homosexual sex continued to be collected until the end of the reign of Anastasius I in Justiniantowards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well inwarning that such conduct can lead to the destruction of cities through the "wrath of God". During the Renaissancewealthy cities in northern Italy — Florence and Venice in particular—were renowned for their widespread practice of same-sex love, engaged in by a considerable part of the male population and constructed along the classical pattern of Greece and Rome.
From the second half of the 13th century, death was the punishment for male homosexuality in most of Europe. Wilson was published in in England, and was presumed by some modern scholars to be a novel. The edition of John Cleland 's popular novel Fanny Hill includes a homosexual scene, but this was removed in its edition.
Also inthe earliest extended and serious defense of homosexuality in English, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplifiedwritten by Thomas Cannonwas published, but was suppressed almost immediately. Desire is an amatory Impulse of the inmost human Parts. Between and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs published a series of twelve tracts, which he collectively titled Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love.
Inhe became the first self-proclaimed homosexual person to speak out publicly in defense of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws.
Although medical texts like these written partly in Latin to obscure the sexual details were not widely read by the general public, they did lead to the rise of Magnus Hirschfeld 's Scientific-Humanitarian Committeewhich campaigned from to against anti-sodomy laws in Germanyas well as a much more informal, unpublicized movement among British intellectuals and writers, led by such figures as Edward Carpenter and John Addington Symonds.
Beginning in with Homogenic LoveSocialist activist and poet Edward Homosexuals wrote homosexuals string of pro-homosexual articles and pamphlets, and "came out" in in his book My Days and Dreams. InElisar von Kupffer published an anthology of homosexual literature from antiquity to his own time, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur.
There are a handful of accounts by Arab travelers to Europe during the mids. Two of these travelers, Rifa'ah al-Tahtawi and Muhammad as-Saffar, show their surprise that the French sometimes deliberately mistranslated love poetry about a young boy, instead referring to a young female, to maintain their social norms and morals. Israel is considered the most tolerant country in the Middle East and Asia homosexuals homosexuals,  with Tel Aviv being named "the gay capital of the Middle East"  and considered one of the most gay friendly cities in the world.
On the other hand, many governments in the Middle East often ignore, deny the existence of, or criminalize homosexuality. Homosexuality is illegal in almost all Muslim countries. However, the probable reason is that they keep their sexuality a secret for fear of government sanction or rejection by their families. In ancient Sumera set of priests known as gala worked in the temples of the goddess Inannawhere they performed elegies and lamentations.
In ancient Assyriahomosexuality was present and common; it was also not prohibited, condemned, nor looked upon as immoral or disordered.
Some religious texts contain prayers for divine blessings on homosexual relationships. Some scholars argue that there are examples of homosexual love in ancient literature, like in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh as well as in the Biblical story of David and Jonathan. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the relationship between the main protagonist Gilgamesh and the character Enkidu has been seen by some to be homosexual in nature. In many societies of Melanesiaespecially in Papua New Guineasame-sex relationships were an integral part of the culture until the middle of the s.
The Etoro and Marind-anim for example, viewed heterosexuality as sinful and celebrated homosexuality instead. In many traditional Melanesian cultures a prepubertal boy would be paired with an older adolescent who would become his mentor and who would "inseminate" him orally, anally, or topically, depending on the tribe over a number of years in order for the younger to also reach puberty.
Many Melanesian societies, however, have become hostile towards same-sex relationships since the introduction of Christianity by European missionaries. The American Psychological Associationthe American Psychiatric Associationand the National Association of Social Workers identify sexual orientation as "not merely a personal characteristic that can be defined in isolation.
Rather, one's sexual orientation defines the universe of persons with whom one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling relationships": . Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual, like biological sex, gender identity, or age. This perspective is incomplete because sexual orientation is always defined in relational terms and necessarily involves relationships with other individuals.
Sexual acts and romantic attractions are categorized as homosexual or heterosexual according to the biological sex of the individuals involved in them, relative to each other. Indeed, it is by acting—or desiring to act—with another person that individuals express their heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. This includes actions as simple as holding hands with or kissing another person. Thus, sexual orientation is integrally linked to the intimate personal relationships that human beings form with others to meet their deeply felt needs for love, attachment, and intimacy.
In addition to sexual behavior, these bonds encompass nonsexual physical affection between partners, shared goals and values, mutual support, and ongoing commitment. The Kinsey scalealso called the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale,  attempts to describe a person's sexual history or episodes of his or her sexual activity at a given time. It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexualto 6, meaning exclusively homosexual.
In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reportsan additional grade, listed as "X", has been interpreted by scholars to indicate asexuality. Often, sexual orientation and sexual identity are not distinguished, which can impact accurately assessing sexual identity and whether or not sexual orientation is able to change; sexual orientation identity can change throughout an individual's life, and may or may not align with biological sex, sexual behavior or actual sexual orientation.
People with a homosexual orientation can express their sexuality in a variety of ways, and may or may not express it in their behaviors. Coming out of the closet is a phrase referring to one's disclosure of their sexual orientation homosexuals gender identity, and is described homosexuals experienced variously as a psychological process or journey. The first phase is that of "knowing oneself", and the realization emerges that one is open to same-sex relations.
The survey of publics in 39 countries finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia.
Opinion about the acceptability of homosexuality is divided in Israel, Poland and Bolivia. Attitudes about homosexuality have been fairly stable in recent years, except in South Korea, the United States and Canada, where the percentage saying homosexuality should be accepted by society has grown by at least ten percentage points since These are among the key findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center conducted in 39 countries among 37, respondents from March 2 to May 1, These are also among the richest countries in the world.
In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society. Age is also a factor in several countries, with younger respondents offering far more tolerant views than older ones. And while gender differences are not prevalent, in those countries where they are, women are consistently more accepting of homosexuality than men.
The view that homosexuality should be accepted by society is prevalent in most of the European Union countries surveyed. Views are not as positive in the U. Opinions about homosexuality are also positive in parts of Latin America. Publics in Africa and in predominantly Muslim countries remain among the least accepting of homosexuality. The original version of this report included public opinion data on the connection between religion and morality in China that has since been found to have been in error.
Specifically, the particular survey item that asked whether one needed to believe in a higher power or God to be a moral person was mistranslated on the China questionnaire, rendering the results incomparable to the remaining 39 countries. For this reason, the data from China has been removed from the current version of the report, re-released in May For further information, please contact info pewresearch.
There are some notable exceptions, however. For example, Russia receives low scores on the religiosity scale, which would suggest higher levels of tolerance for homosexuality. In most of the countries surveyed, views of homosexuality do not differ significantly between men and women.
But in the countries where there is a gender gap, women are considerably more likely than men to say homosexuality should be accepted by society. And, while majorities of women and men in Britain, Chile, France and the U. In many countries, views of homosexuality also vary across age groups, with younger respondents consistently more likely than older ones to say homosexuality should be accepted by society.
Age differences are particularly evident in South Korea, Japan, and Brazil, where those younger than 30 are more accepting than those ages who, in turn, are more accepting than those ages 50 and older. Himmler expressed his views on homosexuality like this: "We must exterminate these people root and branch. We can't permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be completely eliminated. MYTH 6 Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.
THE ARGUMENT Anti-gay activists, who have long opposed adding LGBT people to those protected by hate crime legislation, have repeatedly claimed that such laws would lead to the jailing of religious figures who preach against homosexuality — part of a bid to gain the backing of the broader religious community for their position. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — signed into law by President Obama in October — would "jail pastors" because it "criminalizes speech against the homosexual agenda.
In a related assertion, anti-gay activists claimed the law would lead to the legalization of psychosexual disorders paraphilias like bestiality and pedophilia. Bob Unruh, a conservative Christian journalist who left The Associated Press in for the right-wing, conspiracist news site WorldNetDaily, said shortly before the federal law was passed that it would legalize "all forms of sexual deviancy or 'paraphilias' listed by the American Psychiatric Association.
The First Amendment provides robust protections of free speech, and case law makes it clear that even a preacher who publicly suggested that gays and lesbians should be killed would be protected.
Neither do hate crime laws — which provide for enhanced penalties when persons are victimized because of their "sexual orientation" among other factors — "protect pedophiles," as Janet Porter and many others have claimed. According to the American Psychological Association , sexual orientation refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality — not paraphilias such as pedophilia.
Moreover, even if pedophiles, for example, were protected under a hate crime law — and such a law has not been suggested or contemplated anywhere — that would not legalize or "protect" pedophilia. Pedophilia is illegal sexual activity, and a law that more severely punished people who attacked pedophiles would not change that.
THE ARGUMENT Anti-gay groups have been adamantly opposed to allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, not only because of their purported fear that combat readiness will be undermined, but because the military has long been considered the purest meritocracy in America the armed forces were successfully racially integrated long before American civil society, for example.
If gays serve honorably and effectively in this meritocracy, that suggests that there is no rational basis for discriminating against them in any way. At the same time, gays and lesbians have served openly for years in the armed forces of 25 countries as of , including Britain, Israel, South Africa, Canada and Australia, according to a report released by the Palm Center, a policy think tank at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The Palm Center report concluded that lifting bans against openly gay service personnel in these countries "ha[s] had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness.
But a review of that poll by the Palm Center suggested a wide disparity between what soldiers said they would do and their actual actions. Yet when those countries lifted bans on gays serving openly, virtually no one left the service for that reason. Despite the fact that gay men and lesbians have been serving openly in the military since September , anti-LGBT groups continue to claim that openly gay personnel are causing problems in the military, including claims of sexual abuse by gay and lesbian soldiers of straight soldiers.
According to then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in , the repeal of DADT was being implemented effectively and was having no impact on readiness, unit cohesion or morale. MYTH 8 Gay people are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol. The most frequently used secular argument made by anti-LGBT groups in that regard is that homosexuality is inherently unhealthy, both mentally and physically. Some of these groups, including the particularly hard-line Traditional Values Coalition , claim that "homosexual activists" managed to infiltrate the APA in order to sway its decision.
The American Psychological Association states that being gay is just as healthy as being straight, and noted that the s-era work of Dr. Evelyn Hooker started to dismantle this myth. Studies of judgment, stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all show that gay men and lesbians function every bit as well as heterosexuals.
The American Psychiatric Association states that PDF; may not open in all browsers homosexuality is not a mental disorder and that all major professional health organizations are on record as confirming that. The organization removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual in after extensive review of the scientific literature and consultation with experts, who concluded that homosexuality is not a mental illness.
Though it is true that LGBT people tend to suffer higher rates of anxiety, depression, and depression-related illnesses and behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse than the general population, that is due to the historical social stigmatization of homosexuality and violence directed at LGBT people, not because of homosexuality itself.
Studies done during the past several years have determined that it is the stress of being a member of a minority group in an often-hostile society — and not LGBT identity itself — that accounts for the higher levels of mental illness and drug use. Richard J. Wolitski, an expert on minority status and public health issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, put it like this in : "Economic disadvantage, stigma, and discrimination Even as early as , external stressors were recognized as a potential cause of emotional distress of LGBT people.
In , a study , conducted by several researchers at major universities and the Rand Corporation, found that LGBT people living in highly anti-LGBT communities and circumstances face serious health concerns and even premature death because of social stigmatization and exclusion. One of the researchers, Dr. Homosexuality is not a mental illness or emotional problem and being LGBT does not cause someone to be mentally ill, contrary to what anti-LGBT organizations say.
Rather, social stigmatization and prejudice appear to contribute to health disparities in the LGBT population, which include emotional and psychological distress and harmful coping mechanisms. But if people are born gay — in the same way that people have no choice as to whether they are black or white — discrimination against gay men and lesbians would be vastly more difficult to justify.
Thus, anti-gay forces insist that sexual orientation is a behavior that can be changed, not an immutable characteristic. THE FACTS Modern science cannot state conclusively what causes sexual orientation, but a great many studies suggest that it is the result of both biological and environmental forces, not a personal "choice.
Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, said: "This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single 'gay gene' or a single environmental variable which could be used to 'select out' homosexuality — the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex.
And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here — heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Regardless, the APA concludes that "most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation. There are questions about what specifically causes sexual orientation in general, but most current science acknowledges that it is a complex mixture of biological, environmental, and possibly hormonal factors but that no one chooses an orientation.
This view is buttressed among religiously motivated anti-gay activists by the idea that homosexual practice is a sin and humans have the free will needed to reject sinful urges. A number of "ex-gay" religious ministries have sprung up in recent years with the aim of teaching gay people to become heterosexuals, and these have become prime purveyors of the claim that gays and lesbians, with the aid of mental therapy and Christian teachings, can "come out of homosexuality. THE FACTS "Reparative" or sexual reorientation therapy — the pseudo-scientific foundation of the ex-gay movement — has been rejected by all the established and reputable American medical, psychological, psychiatric and professional counseling organizations.
In , for instance, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution , accompanied by a page report, that repudiated ex-gay therapy.
The report concluded that compelling evidence suggested that cases of individuals going from gay to straight were "rare" and that "many individuals continued to experience same-sex sexual attractions" after reparative therapy.
The APA resolution added that "there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation" and asked "mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation.
A very large number of professional medical, scientific and counseling organizations in the U. Some of the most striking, if anecdotal, evidence of the ineffectiveness of sexual reorientation therapy has been the numerous failures of some of its most ardent advocates. For example, the founder of Exodus International, Michael Bussee, left the organization in with a fellow male ex-gay counselor because the two had fallen in love.
And Robert Spitzer, a preeminent psychiatrist whose research that seemed to indicate that some gay people had changed their orientation, repudiated his own study in In , Exodus International, formerly one of the largest ex-gay ministries in the world, shut down after its director, Alan Chambers, issued an apology to the LGBT community. Chambers, who is married to a woman, has acknowledged that his same-sex attraction has not changed.
Join the organization that fights hate and extremism on a daily basis. Search splcenter. Winter Issue. February 27, Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback. MYTH 1 Gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals. MYTH 2 Same-sex parents harm children.
MYTH 7 Allowing gay people to serve openly will damage the armed forces. MYTH 9 No one is born gay.