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Homosexuality

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Etymology:

"Homosexuality" is from the Greek ομος for "same" and the Latin sexus for "sex".

Homosexuality is "sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of one's own gender."[1] A male homosexual is termed gay (although gay is often used for any homosexual), and a female homosexual is termed a lesbian.


Contents

Prevalence

It is difficult to pin down the number of homosexuals for a variety of reasons. First, it is necessary to distinguish between homosexual behavior, a romantic or sexual attraction to the opposite sex, and a lasting self-identification as homosexual. Second, many people often change from one category to another in different phases of their lives, and often do not fit 100% into any category. Finally, the issue of sex, and especially homosexual sex, is so charged that it cannot be automatically assumed that people will give honest or accurate answers when interviewed. While sexual orientation may be a useful concept in modern Western societies, it should also be kept in mind that other parts of the world and other epochs of history may experience homosexual attraction and behavior in such a different way that a comparison is extremely difficult if not meaningless.

Depending on which of these aspects is emphasized, estimates of the prevalence of homosexuality may range from 1% to 20% of the population.[2]

The first well-known figures of prevalence were published by Alfred Kinsey, himself bisexual, in 1948 and 1953. The Kinsey Institute summarizes[3] his results as saying, "37% of males and 13% of females had at least some overt homosexual experience to orgasm; 10% of males were more or less exclusively homosexual and 8% of males were exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. For females, Kinsey reported a range of 2-6% for more or less exclusively homosexual experience/response. 4% of males and 1-3% of females had been exclusively homosexual after the onset of adolescence up to the time of the interview." It is now recognized that these figures were inflated because Kinsey's sample had an excess of the college educated, whites, and the institutionalized. The 10% figure was widely promulgated by the homosexual lobby and their supporters in the mainstream media, and is still believed by many people to be accurate. A 2011 survey showed that many people believe the percentage of homosexuals to be as high as 30%.[4][5]

In recent, more carefully controlled, surveys,[6][7][8] the number of people not identifying themselves as heterosexual varies up to a factor of two from country to country.

  • 1.7% identify as homosexual and 1.8% as bisexual in the USA.
  • 1.2% identify as homosexual and 1.2% as bisexual in Australia.
  • 1.1% identify as homosexual and 0.9% as bisexual in Canada.
  • 1.0% identify as homosexual and 0.5% as bisexual in the UK.

In the United States,[9] an estimated 0.3% of adults are transgender, an estimated 8.2% report that they have engaged in same-sex sexual behavior, and 11% acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction. In Australia,[10] 8.6% of men and 15.1% of women had some same-sex attraction or experience.

A 1995 survey of men and women in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France found[11]

  • 7.9-11.7% reporting some homosexual attraction but no homosexual behavior since age 15,
  • 16.3-20.8% reporting either homosexual behavior or homosexual attraction since age 15, and
  • 2.1-10.7% reporting having had sexual contact with someone of the same sex in the previous 5 years.


Genetics

Xq28

Xq28 is a chromosome band and genetic marker situated at the tip of the X chromosome. In 1993 a group of researchers led by Dean Hamer reported a link between the Xq28 marker and male sexual orientation.[12] In the first phase of the study, the families of 114 homosexual men were studied. An increased rate of homosexuality was found among maternal uncles and cousins, but not among paternal relatives, suggesting that there might be linked genes on the x-chromosome, since males always inherit their copy of the x-chromosome from their mothers. The group then studied markers on the x-chromosomes of 40 pairs of gay brothers and found that the Xq28 genes were correlated with a statistical confidence level of more than 99 percent. In a 1995 follow-up study that also included heterosexual brothers, the Hamer lab in collaboration with two groups of statistical experts corroborated their initial findings.[13]

A similar Canadian study in 1999 found the excess of homosexuality among maternal relatives, but did not find the linkage of markers.[14][15] Two other studies from 1995 and 1998[16][17] did find a linkage of the markers.

In 2012 the first large, comprehensive multi-center genetic linkage study of male sexual orientation was reported by an independent group of researchers at the American Society of Human Genetics.[18] The study population included 409 independent pairs of gay brothers, who were analyzed with over 300,000 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. The data strongly replicated Hamerʻs Xq28 findings.

Twin studies

A more recent twin study has suggested a moderate genetic influence on the expression of homosexuality in humans, explaining about a third of the variance in males and about half that in females, although confidence intervals were wide, and non-genetic environmental factors such as pre-birth hormone levels were not ruled out. Nevertheless, environmental causes remained the main factor.[19][20]

In animals

A group of geneticists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology altered the sexual preferences of female mice by removing a single gene linked to reproductive behavior. Without the gene, the mice exhibited masculine sexual behavior and attraction toward urine of other female mice. Those mice who retained the gene fucose mutarotase (FucM) were attracted to male mice.[21]

The complete pathway of sexual differentiation of the brain and the behaviors it controls is well established in both males and females of the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.[22]

Brain structure

Several researchers have found differences between structures in the brains of heterosexuals and homosexuals, including

  • a difference in the size of the suprachiasmatic nucleus between homosexual and heterosexual men,[23]
  • a difference related to sexual orientation in the size of the anterior commissure,[24] and
  • a difference in the size of the INAH3 group of neurons in the hypothalamusbetween homosexual and heterosexual men.[25]

These anatomical features of the brain were chosen for investigation because they were known to play a role in sexuality and/or were known to be different in men and women. The studies by Allen and Gorski and by LaVay were based on autopsies of deceased men. In the cases where there was no evidence to determine the sexual orientation of the subject, both studies assumed the subject was heterosexual. This was justifed on the grounds that a large majority of men are heterosexual. Misclassifying a homosexual subject as heterosexual would tend to make it harder to discover any differences present. These studies could not determine when during the fetal development or lifetime of the subjects the changes in anatomy developed.

Environmental influences

Although genetic and environmental influences have a complex interaction that can never be cleanly separated, the twin studies mentioned above suggest that the influence of the environment on the development of homosexuality is twice as strong as that of genetics. This conclusion is reinforced by studies showing a correlation of homosexuality with a variety of sociological factors, including the personalities and ages of the parents, the number, sex, and order of siblings, and urbanization of the place of residence. Furthermore, while homosexual behavior has been present in every culture, "gayness" in the sense of a specific subset of the population with a lasting and more or less exclusive sexual attraction to the same sex, that is, homosexuality as a sexual identity, did not exist before the second half of the nineteenth century.[26] Historian of homosexuality David Benkof, citing other historians, writes:

Journalists trumpet every biological study that even hints that gayness and straightness might be hard-wired, but they show little interest in the abundant social-science research showing that sexual orientation cannot be innate. The scholars I interviewed for this essay were variously dismayed or appalled by this trend.

For example, historian Dr. Martin Duberman, founder of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, said “no good scientific work establishes that people are born gay or straight.” And cultural anthropologist Dr. Esther Newton (University of Michigan) called one study linking sexual orientation to biological traits ludicrous: “Any anthropologist who has looked cross-culturally (knows) it’s impossible that that’s true, because sexuality is structured in such different ways in different cultures.”

While biology certainly plays a role in sexual behavior, no “gay gene” has been found, and whatever natural-science data exists for inborn sexual orientations is preliminary and disputed. So to date, the totality of the scholarly research on homosexuality indicates gayness is much more socio-cultural than biological.[26]

Homosexual behavior in animals

Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates have been observed engaging in sexual activity, courtship, affection, pair bonding, or parenting among same-sex animal pairs. The nature of the activity varies greatly between species, and the neuroscientist Simon LeVay cautioned that "Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity."[27] Further, homosexual behaviour in animals is often not as a result of sexual motivation—ritualised aggression is one reason—and is more common in captive animals than in the wild.[28][29]

  • The only species (aside from humans) in which exclusive homosexual orientation has been reported is domesticated sheep (Ovis aries).[30] Again citing Simon LeVay, "About 10% of rams (males) refuse to mate with ewes (females) but do readily mate with other rams."[31]
  • In one study involving 3,200 hours of observation of giraffes in the Arush and Tarangire National Parks of Tanzania, 17 homosexual mounts and only 1 heterosexual mount were recorded.[32] Bagemihl pointed out some of the difficulties in determining the true extent and nature of homosexual behaviors in animals: "Every male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only "revolving around" dominance, competition or greetings.[33]
  • Courtship, mounting, and full anal penetration between bulls is common among American Bison.[34][35]
  • Amazon river dolphin often perform sex in non-reproductive ways, using snout, flippers and genital rubbing, without regard to gender. Male dolphins in captivity have been observed to perform penetration of the gentital hole and the blowhole of other males.[36]

Viewpoints

Historically Christians have held that homosexual relations are unconditionally wrong, based upon the Biblical evidence, by which they see that God created humanity to be heterosexual. Prolific evangelical writer Robert A. J. Gagnon sums up this position in stating, "every "piece of evidence that we have about Jewish views of same-sex intercourse in the Second Temple period and beyond is unremittingly hostile to such behavior".[37][38] And that "every narrative, law, proverb, exhortation, metaphor, and piece of poetry in the Hebrew Bible having anything to do with sexual relations presupposes a male-female prerequisite.”[39] Most Christians today disapprove of homosexual acts, believing that they constitute sins, although this view is not universal.[40] Many persons in recent times have refrained from expressing such disapproval, or even have regarded the acts as morally neutral, often arguing that the Biblical verses have been misinterpreted. Christians generally believe that some[41][42][43][44][45] [46] or all of the Mosaic law does not fully apply today (for example, the penalties of such laws as Deuteronomy 21:18–21, while upholding the morality of such), with ceremonial law being defined and its literal observance abrogated, (Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 9:10; 10:1,9-10; Gal. 4:10) and revisionists extend this to rejecting the condemnation of homosexuality, although the Mosaic law is not the only basis for its rejection. In response, numerous traditional scholars and authors have written refutations of the revisionist arguments used by pro-homosexual authors.

Social scientists, particularly psychologists, have also expressed a range of opinions. Until 1973, homosexuality was regarded as pathological in the United States, but a vote in that year at the American Psychological Association (APA) resulted in the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. It is contended by some that this change was due to pressure from the homosexual lobby,[47] which Nicholas Cummings, former president of the APA, states, "is very strong in the APA."[48][49]

While most Christians denominations which hold to the historical position on the full Divine inspiration of Scripture, and most evangelicals in general oppose homosexuality,[50][51][52][53] there are over 5,000 homosexuality-friendly Christian churches worldwide, according to a leading homosexual Christian website.[54] The Metropolitan Community Church is an entire denomination founded specifically to support homosexual Christians.

According to the ReligiousTolerance web-site, the following lists the two ends of the spectrum of views on homosexuality.[55]

Question The most conservative view The most liberal view
What homosexuality is A chosen lifestyle, and an identity formed around it. An innate orientation that one does not choose.
What causes it Multiple causes including: poor parenting, sexual molestation during childhood, demon possession. Addiction traps them in the lifestyle. Genetic causes plus unknown environmental factor in early childhood which "turns on" the gay gene(s).
At what age can it be detected During the teenage years, after puberty, when it is chosen. Same-sex orientation can be detected in pre-school children.
Is it a sin? Yes, a most serious sin, endangering the family and social stability. No, since there is no choice, there is no sin. Safe and consensual relationships are not inherently sinful.
Is it natural? It is unnatural and deviant, violating the principle of male-female relationships found throughout nature. It is normal and natural for a minority of humans, just as it is found in a minority of animals and birds of many species.
What should a homosexual do? Choose to remain celibate or attempt to change their orientation to hetersexual through therapy. Accept their sexual orientation and find a monogamous relationship with a same-sex partner. Attempting to change sexual orientation is impossible; therapies are futile and even dangerous.
God's attitude towards homosexuality He loves the sinner but hates the sin. He loves homosexuals but homosexual behavior is always sinful. He loves homosexuals as persons and approves of homosexual love if it is consensual and committed.
Can sexual preference be changed? Yes, through counseling, reparative therapy and prayer. Yet requires great effort because it is so addictive. No. Sexual orientation is fixed from birth. Therapy is ineffective and potentially dangerous, leading to depression and suicide.
Are anti-discrimination laws beneficial? No. Granting special privileges to a group defined by their moral choice is wrong. It can encourage more youth to embrace homosexuality. Yes. Homosexuals are a discriminated-against minority in need of protection.
What happens to children raised by gay or lesbian parents? A large percentage will become homosexuals. Those who don't will be deeply disturbed by their parents' homosexual lifestyle. The vast majority will be heterosexual, more tolerant and less judgmental than average.
Should same-sex couples be permitted to marry? No. By changing the time-honored basis of marriage, permitting same-sex marriages threatens regular families and thus the stability of society. Yes. Official recognition of their relationship and government benefits that come with it are a fundamental civil right.
Should churches recognize committed monogamous same-sex relationships? No. Gay relationships are an abomination, hated by God. Yes. All loving, committed adult relationships should be recognized and honored as God's gift of love.
Should gays be eligible for ordination as clergy? No. It would be a major lowering of standards and the condoning of sin. Yes. One's sexual orientation has no bearing on one's ability to be a priest or minister.
Religioustolerance.org. Retrieved November 28, 2007.

Opposition

Many Christians call homosexual acts an "abomination," (Leviticus 18:22, KJV).

While most Christian opposition to homosexuality is done by means of apologetics, or peaceful confrontational evangelism, including some at homosexual events, a few have engaged in more provocative behavior. The most extreme case was that of Fred Phelps[56] of the Westboro Baptist church. However, he enjoyed little support, even amongst evangelical Christians, most of whom rejected his tactics and at least part of his message.[57][58] In addition, some Christians see the mainstream media portraying Phelps as typical of evangelicals.[59] Phelps has been barred from the UK [60]

Biblical position

The Bible is seen directly condemning homosexual relations in both the Old and New Testaments.

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) tells us: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13 (KJV) elaborates: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."

Romans 1:26-27 (KJV) includes women as well as affection: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: {27} And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

The International Standard Version renders the last sentence, "Males committed indecent acts with males, and received in themselves the appropriate penalty for their perversion".

More controversial references are Deuteronomy 23:17, 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10

Advocacy

Homosexual activists have pressured legislators, the media, and the public to accept their views, often making use of abusive and misleading commentary.

Homosexual activists often indicate that they see most forms of opposition as persecution, while routinely engaging in certain psychological tactics and demonstrative public confrontations, as well as advocation of hate crime laws, which appear to be designed to censure and intimidate those who oppose them in any way.[61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68]

The term "homosexuality"

The word "homosexuality" was coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny in 1869 to distance practitioners from the laws against sodomy.[69] However, today groups such as GLAAD object to the use of the term as "offensive". GLAAD's reasoning is that the word "homosexual" has a medical or psychiatric connotation and implies that homosexuals are diseased,[70] although they are happy to use the term "homophobia" of people they disagree with, despite that term having a similar connotation and being explicitly intended to refer to an irrational fear.

Claiming discrimination

A major tactic of homosexuals has been to claim "discrimination", but generally without justifying that the discrimination is unjustified, or by justifying it on their presumptive view that homosexuality is legitimate. Contrary to the impression often given by people claiming discrimination in all sorts of matters, discrimination is not itself necessarily a bad thing. People legitimately discriminate all the time, choosing one flavour of ice cream over another, or choosing to hire a skilled worker over an unskilled worker. Governments have always criminalised activities that they consider to be unacceptable, such as robbery and rape, and historically homosexual activity was also criminalised for the same general reason (that it was considered unacceptable).

Yet homosexual activists and their supporters have generally failed to show that discrimination against homosexual activities and those who practice them is not legitimate, except by first deeming homosexuality to be legitimate according to their worldview (even though this point is widely contested), often supported by misinformation such as the numbers of homosexuals in a given population.[5][71]

In other cases, claims of discrimination may be legitimate, in that they cannot be morally justified, but such cases, such as homosexuals being beaten up, were already considered unacceptable on other grounds, such as these being physical assaults. Yet these cases are often included in claims of discrimination in order to strengthen otherwise weak arguments.

An example illustrating many of those points is that of comments made by United States judge John E. Jones, in Whitewood v. Wood, a case in the United States district court in Pennsylvania.[72]

That the gay and lesbian community has endured historical discrimination at the national level is uncontested. In terms of government-sanctioned discrimination, in 1952, Congress prohibited gay men and women from entering the country or securing citizenship. (Doc. 115-1, pp. 129-30). In 1953, President Eisenhower issued an executive order banning the employment of homosexuals and requiring that private contractors currently employing gay individuals search out and terminate them. (Id. p. 129). Although the ban on hiring gay employees was lifted in 1975, federal agencies were free to discriminate against homosexuals in employment matters until President Clinton forbade the practice in 1998. (Id. p. 137). Beginning in World War II, the military developed systematic policies to exclude personnel on the basis of homosexuality, and, following the war, the Veterans Administration denied GI benefits to service members who had been discharged because of their sexuality. (Id. p. 128).

Within our lifetime, gay people have been the targets of pervasive police harassment, including raids on bars, clubs, and private homes; portrayed by the press as perverts and child molesters; and victimized in horrific hate crimes. (E.g., id. pp. 126-28, 131-32, 141). Gay and lesbian persons have been prevented from adopting and serving as foster parents, and the majority of states prohibit same-sex marriage. (Id. pp. 139, 142).

Perhaps most illustrative of the pervasive historic discrimination faced by gays and lesbians was the widespread and enduring criminalization of homosexual conduct. Before the 1960s, all states punished sexual intimacy between men, and, until the publish of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, thirteen states categorized sodomy as a felony offense. (Id. p. 121). Our country’s military continued to make sodomy a crime until 2013. (Id. p. 128).

Denigration of opponents

For more information, see Homophobia.

A common tactic of homosexual activists is to label anyone who disagrees with them for any reason as "homophobic".[73] A phobia is an irrational fear of something, so applying this label gives the impression that the person objecting to some aspect of homosexuality is is only doing so because they are afraid of homosexuality, and irrationally so.

A better term for those who oppose homosexuality is anti-gay.

Claiming discrimination in marriage

Marriage is an institution originally ordained by God, whereby a man and a woman commit to joining their lives together as one. Governments have long recognised and controlled marriage. Laws governing marriage typically restrict who can marry whom, with people being unable to marry somebody below a specified age, someone already married, or someone too closely related. Some cultures do allow polygamous marriages, but Western societies do not. Such laws also either assume or explicitly state that a person can only marry another person (e.g. not an animal), and one of the opposite gender. These restrictions are all consistent with God's standards on two people joining together as one.

Homosexual activists claim that such laws are discriminatory, as they prevent homosexuals from marrying, when in fact such laws have no such restrictions. What the activists want is not the right for homosexuals to marry, but a relaxation on who they can marry, i.e. a person of the same gender.

Silencing critics

Despite often claiming that giving homosexuality legitimacy doesn't impinge on the rights of others, homosexual activists are prepared to silence dissent. In Quebec, Canada, the Justice Ministry has supported a homosexual group's launch of a "registry of homophobic acts", with the group saying that people "must" report "homophobic" acts, and the definition of that includes "any negative word or act toward a homosexual or homosexuality in general".[74][75]

References

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  71. Homosexual Orientation and the "Ten Percent" Myth, Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia, American Life League.
  72. Jones, U.S. District Judge (20 May 2014), ["Whitewood v. Wolf, No. 1:13-cv1861 http://coop.pamd.uscourts.gov/13-1861.pdf] (See pp. 28-30)", U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
  73. Erik Holland, "The Nature of Homosexuality", iUniverse, Inc. Fri. 12th November, 2004Fri. November 12th, 2004, ISBN 978-0595305087.
  74. John-henry Westen, Government-funded ‘registry of homophobic acts’ launched today in Quebec, LifeSiteNews.com, Mon. 18th June, 2012Mon. June 18th, 2012.
  75. Une première mondiale - Déploiement d'un registre d'actes homophobes anonyme et confidentiel, Mon. 18th June, 2012Mon. June 18th, 2012.
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