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Were you trying to use the word "gay" as an insult? If so, please grow up.
Homosexuality is against nature! This is true. Just like walking on water or rising from the dead after a few days. You could also come to the conclusion that homosexuality is a similar miracle.
—Herman Finkers[1]

Homosexuality is the sexual and/or romantic attraction of an individual to another of the same gender and/or the same sex. Save for sexual orientation, homosexuals share all the varieties of humanity with heterosexuals, who are attracted to the other sex, or bisexuals, who might be attracted to people of either sex. There are no tangible social, moral, or cultural differences shared by all gay people that would somehow differentiate any gay individual from their culture at large.

Homosexuality has a very long history, being written about and depicted since the invention of writing and depicting respectively. Notably, homosexuality was depicted in ancient Greece, China, and Japan, thousands of years ago. Homosexuality is also found in virtually every culture around the world, as well as numerous non-human animal species.

Unlike what many religious fundamentalists say, homosexuality is neither a choice[citation needed] nor harmful, and cannot be "cured", and one is still gay even if they don't "act on it".


In modern English, and the US in particular, the word "gay" usually refers to homosexual men, whereas "lesbian" refers only to homosexual women (though "gay" can refer to both).[note 1] Many other words are also used, and while some are crude epithets used only by bigots, many of these same words have arguably been reclaimed by homosexuals in order to neutralize them; however, they may still be used effectively by these same bigots in order to demean homosexuals. Examples of the latter include "queer", "dyke", and, to a lesser extent, "fag/faggot". Notably, sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who is gay, used to have his letter writers address him as "Hey Faggot".[4] The word once meant "happy" (as in "The Gay Nineties"). Technically, both the 1890s AND the 1990s could be called the "Gay Nineties" — although with different connotations.

Men who have sex with men[edit]

"Men who have sex with men" (abbreviated MSM) is a term for men who choose to have sex with men, whether or not they actually self-identify as gay or bisexual[5] – examples may include sex workers, prisoners, sailors, or people who just like a little man-on-man action every now and again but who don't see that behavior as part of a broader gay identity.

The term was created in the 1990s by epidemiologistsWikipedia in order to study the spread of disease among men who have sex with men, regardless of identity,[5] and is often used in clinical settings such as in the prevention and treatment of STDs, where a person's sexual history is more relevant than their orientation.

Outside of medicine, it is often seen as a reduction of gay identity to just a mere sex life. ("Straight" people are not considered "men who have sex with women" or vice versa.)

An alternative to "MSM" used by some gays in a less clinical context is "MLM" (men loving men), with lesbians being "WLW".


Male homosexuality in Greek artwork, ca. 480 BCE.

It is a common stereotype (a mistake even made by "gay-friendly" people) that most gay men can be easily identified as the best-dressed males in the room, and their uncanny ability to color coordinate. This stereotype includes admitting that, like black people, they are also usually the best dancers at any club. Continuing in this vein of innuendo, if a man can see the colors fuchsia, periwinkle, chartreuse, or identify more than three shades of white, there is a 98.74539475%[note 2] chance he is gay. There also exists a widely-believed stereotype, even perpetuated within gay culture, that gay men can be identified by a certain accent or way of walking, both of which are perceived as less masculine. (In practice, this is usually put on by them as a subcultural sign for other gay men to identify them, for mutually beneficial cock.) Most of these stereotypes can be easily explained by pure ignorance about what homosexuality is, while others can be seen as instances of the toupée fallacy. For example, it is easy to target gay men who act feminine, while it is harder to target gay men who do not, and therefore one can incorrectly infer that all gay men act feminine.

It is felt that lesbians are harder to identify[citation needed] — but skilled 'phobes know that you can always tell them by their sensible shoes, the emasculated male rottweiler they own, the chainsaw they keep in the trunk of their car,[note 3] or just by their being butch tomboys.

Contrary to the paranoid worries of many such bigots, most gay or bisexual men do not want to touch them. At all. Ever.

Similarly, most queer women and lesbians will never want to touch them either.[note 4]

(Most people in general will not want to touch them.)

(And get your hands off that, you're in public for cripe's sake!)


It is quite difficult to estimate the percentage of homosexuals among the population. The main problem is that there is no easy way to know the sexual orientations of a large sample of people if not by asking them; but many answers can be insincere due to stigmas and fears associated with homosexuality, even if the survey is anonymous. Another problem is correctly formulating the question. For example, asking "have you ever had same-sex sexual intercourse?" is a bad method to count homosexuals because, on the one hand, it includes a lot of non-homosexuals (bisexuals, sex workers, rape victims...) and, on the other hand, excludes some homosexuals (virgins and homosexuals living a heterosexual life).

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, about 5.1% of women in the US identified as lesbian or bisexual, whereas 3.9% of men in the US identified as gay or bisexual.[6] Similarly, the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey reported that about the 1.7% of Canadians aged 18 to 59 consider themselves as homosexuals.[7] A 2019–2020 survey of mainland Chinese university students found 4.58% of the respondents were gay (and over 20 percent responded with something other than "heterosexual").[8][9]

Notably, according to Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there are no homosexuals in Iran,[10] though 17 percent of young Iranians begged to differ in a 2014 government survey.[11][12] The same assertion was made by the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in respect to his own country, who claimed that if there were any gays in Chechnya, they would have been killed by their own families.[13]

Theories on the origin of homosexuality[edit]


Homosexual behavior has been observed in the animal kingdom. Mallard Fillmore may very well be a Log Cabin Republican.

There may be genes that predispose men, and perhaps women, to be gay. Research is actively being done, but the results are so far inconclusive. It appears the environment has an effect as well. A so-called "gay gene," XQ28, was reported as having an influence on sexual orientation. However, the original study failed to be replicated.[14]

The mechanisms which cause an individual to develop a particular sexual orientation are still largely unknown, although most researchers consider it unlikely that any one particular gene or environmental influence is a dominant factor. The prenatal environment has been implicated as one factor.[15] Notably, this means that even though sexual orientation is not completely genetic (as demonstrated by identical twins with different orientations), many people may still be born immutably gay. As suggested by some, prenatal hormonal treatment may have an impact on the fetus's sexual orientation, possibly reducing the probability of homosexuality.[16]

Based on a reinterpretation of prior studies, a new hypothesis proposes that epigenetics plays a role in homosexuality.[17] Among the possible explanations are that these epigenetic factors change a person's sensitivity to androgens, thereby altering their orientation.[18]

It has recently been suggested that animals were originally bisexual, with heterosexuality being mostly the bias of reproduction.[19] This commonly known as the "Any hole's a goal" theory of sexuality.

Super-uncles theory[edit]

The super-uncles theory, or, more properly, the super-uncles hypothesis proposes that homosexuality evolved as a way of providing additional caregivers for children. In the event that a parent died, a gay relative could serve as a surrogate parent, since he would not be occupied with caring for children of his own. It is based on a single long-running study on the Pacific island of Samoa which studied women, straight men, and the Fa'afafine,Wikipedia who are men who prefer other men as sexual partners and are considered a third gender category.[20][21]

This role, unique to the island, has been part of the culture for many years. Native Samoans state that applying the definition of homosexuality to Fa'afafine is incorrect.[22] It is pointed out that Fa'afafine will have relationships with men and women, but never other Fa'afafine, and homosexuality as a concept doesn't exist in Samoa.[23]

BS theories[edit]

Watch out! This 1910 painting by Eliseu Visconti might turn you gay!

There are a lot of unscientific theories about the origin of homosexuality which, although being unsubstantiated by any evidence whatsoever, often occur in the media and in the political conversation on homosexuality.

  • Growing up with a dominant opposite-gender parent and a weak/absent same-gender parent.
  • Brain-infection or other pathological insult to the brain, as "theorized" by pseudo-scientist Gregory M. Cochran.
  • The media and "propaganda", according to Russians.[24]
  • Strontium in the water supply.[25]
  • Pornography.[26]
  • Birth control.[27]
  • Soy. Or so says a WND columnist and Christian minister called Jim Rutz.[28] His reasoning is that soy contains phytoestrogens, which is like taking estrogen supplements. Which will make you gay. A 2008 meta-analysis in Fertility and Sterility says that soy-based phytoestrogens do not increase the estrogen level in men, or decrease testosterone levels.[29] Plus, you know, the Japanese eat shitloads of soy and they still seem to not have run out of heterosexuals. Paul Joseph Watson of Prison Planet has taken Rutz' stupid idea and run with it, turning it into the insult "soy boy".
  • Lack of physical fitness. That's the theory of John Sullivan, Gloucestershire local election candidate for United Kingdom Independence Party, who evidently has never met a Muscle Mary or a gym bunny.[30]
  • Sexual abuse.[31]
  • Having sex with demons.[32]
  • The Fall of Man (a less extremist but still homophobic position taken by Side B and some Side X Christians)

In nature[edit]

Homosexual sex (as well as transgenderism) among animals is found among many species of mammals and birds; due to societal taboos, much of the documentation of this was suppressed by self-censorship or just ignored.[33]:1-2,87-93,265-655 Female homosexual pairings of birds is common in some species, and the pairings sometimes outperform heterosexual pairings in chick rearing[33]:23 — an argument that could be used to counter arguments against gay marriage being unnatural.

The bonobo (Pan paniscusWikipedia) is as closely related to humans as to chimpanzees (Pan troglodytesWikipedia); bonobos frequently exhibit both heterosexual and homosexual sex in males and females.[33]:269-275[34]:88 Homosexual behaviors include courtship, affection, sex and pair-bonding.[33]:269-275 The chimpanzee also exhibits male and female homosexual behavior, but at lesser frequencies than bonobos.[33]:276-279 Homosexual behavior is also found in our next closest relatives, gorillasWikipedia (Gorilla gorillaWikipedia) and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeusWikipedia).[33]:280-288

Religious views on homosexuality[edit]

Male homosexuality in Persian artwork, 1660.

Like every aspect of personal life, religions have something to say about homosexuality, and — surprise, surprise — usually it is not good. Two things about religions and homosexuality are worth noting. First, religious view of homosexuality might have changed with time, so that a particular religion might have been more or less tolerant of homosexuality in the past than nowadays. Second, many religious texts/prophets do not technically speak about homosexuality, because that word simply did not exist, but instead use other terms referring to non-strictly heterosexual and procreative sexual activities (sodomy, promiscuity, sexual misconduct, impure acts...). Therefore, instead of indulging in historical and semantics discussions, below we try to summarize the current views on homosexuality by the major religions, how they are today and how they are intended by their followers and religious leaders.

  • Buddhism: The third of the Five Precepts of Buddhist ethics is "To refrain from committing sexual misconduct." In 1997, during a press conference, the 14th Dalai Lama, after being asked whether or not homosexuality is acceptable in Buddhism, responded that "it is sexual misconduct."[35] However, in 2014, the Dalai Lama changed his position, saying that: "So there are different forms of sex – so long (as it is) safe, OK, and (if both people) fully agree, OK."[36]
  • Christianity: most of the Christian denominations do not accept homosexuality and consider gay sex a sinful act. Among them there are: The Roman Catholic Church,[37] which teaches that homosexuals must practice chastity,[38] the Eastern Orthodox church,[39] the Oriental Orthodox churches,[40] Missouri and Wisconsin Synod Lutherans,[41][42][43][44] Jehovah's Witnesses,[45] and Mormons.[46] However, there are less mainstream Christian denominations which do not consider homosexuality as a sin and which are also supportive of gay rights, for example: the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ.[47] The Episcopal Church (USA) also backs LGBTQ people,[48] as does the American Presbyterian Church.[49] In a delicious reversal of religious anti-homosexual rhetoric, the Quakers in the UK actively campaigned for marriage equality on the grounds that prohibiting them from solemnising homosexual unions was an infringement of their religious freedom.[50] The bible itself does not explicitly condemn sex between two women. Only one passage could potentially be viewed as condemning lesbianism (Romans 1:26). However, the passage does not explicitly say what 'unnatural' behavior women engaged in. Some interpret this unnatural behavior as lesbian sex due to the subsequent passage condemning men for unnatural sexual activity, but it is never made explicit what the women were guilty of.
  • Islam: All major Islamic schools disapprove homosexuality,[51] and consider same-sex desires as an unnatural temptation.[52] Many Islamic leaders condemn homosexuality, among them: Iran's current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said that "There is no worst form of moral degeneration than [homosexuality]",[53] and Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Iraq.[54] In a 2016 poll of 1,081 British Muslims, 52% said that "Homosexuality should be illegal in Britain", and 47% said that "It is not acceptable for a homosexual person to be a teacher in a school".[55]


See also[edit]

Want to read this in another language?[edit]

Homosexualidad es la versión en español de este artículo.

External links[edit]


  1. "Gay" is also an ordinary family name, such as Arnold GayWikipedia or Tyson GayWikipedia or given name[2] and even name of places[3]).
  2. But note that 99.99345% of all statistics are made up on the spot :-)
  3. This is a true story. (Sure it is.)
  4. And their sexuality does not serve the purpose of fulfilling the stereotypical heterosexual man's polygynous dreams.


  1. Herman Finkers (31 dec 2015 22:30) npo (archived from January 2, 2016).
  2. See the Wikipedia article on Gay (given name).
  3. See the Wikipedia article on Gay (disambiguation).
  4. Dan Sagave, The First Savage Love., 23 September 1991.
  5. 5.0 5.1 UNAIDS: Men who have sex with men. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Accessed 1 June 2015.
  6. In U.S., Estimate of LGBT Population Rises to 4.5% (May 22, 2018) Gallup.
  7. Same-sex couples and sexual orientation… by the numbers: Sexual orientation (2015) Statistics Canada.
  8. Tris Reid-Smith (May 19, 2020). "Over 20% of Chinese university students say they are not straight". Gay Star News, via
  9. Zhang Wanqing (May 15, 2020). "National Survey Lays Bare the Sex Lives of Chinese Students". Sixth Tone.
  10. Ahmadinejad: No homosexuals in Iran (Jul 21, 2015) AP.
  11. "Throwing off the covers". The Economist. August 9, 2014. ISSN 0013-0613. "An 82-page document recently issued by Iran’s parliamentary research department is stark in its findings. … Illicit unions are not just between girls and boys; 17% of the 142,000 students who were surveyed said that they were homosexual." 
  12. Erdbrink, Thomas (2015-05-23). "Our Man in Tehran Answers Your Questions About Iran" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  13. Chechen police 'have rounded up more than 100 suspected gay men' (2 Apr 2017) The Guardian
  14. Ingrid Wickelgren. Discovery of 'Gay Gene' Questioned. Science, Vol. 284 no. 5414, 1999 p. 571
  15. Effect of birth order on sexual orientation This paper suggests that an immune reaction on behalf of the mother can cause some male children to become gay.
  16. Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality by Shari Roan (August 15, 2010) Los Angeles Times.
  17. WR Rice, U Friberg, S Gavrilets (2013) Homosexuality via canalized sexual development: A testing protocol for a new epigenetic model Bioassays 35(9) 764-770.
  18. Richards, Sabrina. "Can Epigenetics Explain Homosexuality?" The Scientist 1 January 2013.
  19. An alternative hypothesis for the evolution of same-sex sexual behaviour in animals,, November 18, 2019
  20. Study Supports Gay Super Uncles Theory by Julie Bolcer (February 05 2010 12:25 PM EST) The Advocate.
  21. Gay men may have 'super uncle' evolutionary advantage: Researchers by David Wylie (February 4, 2010) Montreal Gazette (archived from September 15, 2010).
  22. A Retrospective Study of Childhood Gender-Atypical Behavior in Samoan Fa’afafine by Nancy H. Bartlett & Paul L. Vasey (2006) Archives of Sexual Behavior 35: 659–666. doi:10.1007/s10508-006-9055-1.
  23. Like a Lady in Polynesia - The Māhū of Tahiti, the Fa'a Fafine in Samoa, the Fakaleiti in Tonga and More by Roberta Perkins (March 1994 Last Update: October 2013) The Gender Centre. Article appeared in Polare magazine (archived from December 21, 2013).
  24. Study: Half Of Russians Believe The Media Makes You Gay by Dan Avery (May 21, 2012 at 6:05am) Queerty.
  25. Peruvian mayor: strontium in water makes you gay by David Pescovitz (8:46 am Sat Nov 26, 2011) BoingBoing.
  26. Coburn staffer: Porn makes you gay by Glenn Thrush (09/21/2009 01:24 PM EDT) Politico.
  27. 'Birth Control Is Turning the Men Gay!' 14 Lessons from the Most Bizarre Anti-Contraception Video Ever by Erin Gloria Ryan (October 2, 2012) Jezebel (archived from Novembe4 10, 2012).
  28. Soy is making kids 'gay' by Jim Rutz (2/12/2006 at 1:00 AM ) WND (archived from February 4, 2012).
  29. Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis by Jill M. Hamilton-Reeves et al. (2010) Fertil. Steril. 94(3):997–1007. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.038.
  30. Physical excercise[sic prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate] by Dan Littauer (27 Apr 2013) Gay Star News.
  31. Uninvited, Chick Publications.
  32. Christian Group Says Demon Sex Makes You Gay: A Christian magazine warns that homosexuality is caused by sex with demons. And that's just the beginning. (November 26, 2012) Alternet (archived from November 28, 2012).
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl (1999) St. Martin's Press. ISBN 096588001X.
  34. The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure by Jonathan Peter Balcombe (2011) University of California Press. ISBN 0520260244.
  35. Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do? by James Shaheen (08/13/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011) Huffington Post.
  36. Dalai Lama supports gay marriage: Dalai Lama throws his moral weight behind gay marriage (10:05AM GMT 07 Mar 2014) AFP via The Telegraph.
  37. Catechism of the Catholic Church – Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 2 Article 6 St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
  38. Catechism of the Catholic Church The Vatican.
  39. Holy Synod – Encyclicals – Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life (July, 1992) Orthodox Church in America.
  40. Is the Armenian Church Against Homosexuality? (Last modified on Monday, 14 September 2015 21:45) Saints Joachim & Anne Armenian Apostolic Church (archived from August 2, 2017).
  41. Sexuality The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.
  42. Asked Questions – LCMS Views The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.
  43. Homosexuality Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
  44. God allowing homosexuality? (2015/05/26) Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
  45. Homosexuality – How Can I Avoid It? (February 2007) Awake!. Pages 28-30.
  46. Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: "Same-Gender Attraction" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  47. United Church of Christ Backs Same-Sex Marriage by Shaila Dewan (July 5, 2005) The New York Times.
  48. LGBTQ in the Church.
  49. Patrick D. Heery, What same-sex marriage means to Presbyterians., 20 March 2015.
  51. Al Jumuah, Shaban 1416 AH (2004/3/30) (archived from June 5, 2004).
  52. Homosexuality in the Light of Islam (March 27, 2006) Alinaam (archived from December 6, 2006).
  53. Iran's Supreme Leader Says "There Is No Worst Form of Moral Degeneration Than Homosexuality" (May 27, 2016) Outright Action International.
  54. Youth's issues: General Rules Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Hussain Al-Sistani.
  55. ICM Muslims Survey for Channel 4 (11 April 2016) ICM Unlimited.
  56. Lesbian Symbols Lesbian Friends (archived from April 23, 2012).