Silver-level article


From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Homosexuals)
Jump to: navigation, search
Wedding of Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf.
We're so glad you came
Icon sex.svg
Reach around the subject
Female bisexuality symbol-colour.svg
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.


In modern English, and the US in particular, the word "gay" usually refers to homosexual men, whereas "lesbian" refers only to homosexual women (occasionally "gay" refers to both). It's important to know that "Gay" is also an ordinary family name[2][3] or given name[4] and even name of places[5]) 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". Notably, sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who is gay, used to have his letter writers address him as "Hey Faggot".[citation needed] 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[6] – 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's W.svg in order to study the spread of disease among men who have sex with men, regardless of identity,[6] 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 blacks, 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 1] 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 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 2] or just by 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 3]

(It must also be noted that 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 homosexual 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 to 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.[7] Similarly, the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey reported that about the 1.7% of Canadians aged 18 to 59 consider themselves as homosexuals.[8]

Notably, according to Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there are no homosexuals in Iran.[9]

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 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.[10]

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. Prenatal environment has been implicated as one factor.[11] 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[12].

Based on a reinterpretation of prior studies, a new hypothesis proposes that epigenetics plays a role in homosexuality. [13] Among the possible explanations are that these epigenetic factors change a person's sensitivity to androgens, thereby altering their orientation.[14]

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's W.svg who are men who prefer other men as sexual partners and are considered a third gender category.[15][16]

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.[17] It is pointed out that Fa'afafine will have relationships with men/woman, but never other Fa'afafine, and homosexuality as a concept doesn't exist on Samoa.[18]

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 the homosexuality which, although being unsubstantiated by any evidence whatsoever, often occur in the media and in the political conversation on homosexuality.

In nature[edit]

The bonobo is as closely related to humanity as chimpanzees; frequent bisexual sex is the norm for males and females. [28] This is not the case for chimpanzees, however. [29]

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 may have changed with time, so that a particular religion may 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."[30] 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."[31]
  • 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[32], which teaches that homosexuals must practice chastity,[33] the Eastern Orthodox church,[34] the Oriental Orthodox churches,[35] Missouri and Wisconsin Synod Lutherans,[36][37][38][39] Jehovah's Witnesses[40] and Mormons.[41] 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.[42] The Episcopal Church (USA) also backs LGBTQ people[3], as does the American Presbyterian Church.[4]
  • Islam: All major Islamic schools disapprove homosexuality,[43] and consider same-sex desires as an unnatural temptation.[44] 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]",[45] and Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Iraq.[46] 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".[47]


See also[edit]

Want to read this in another language?[edit]

Homosexualidad es la versión en español de este artículo.

External links[edit]


  1. But note that 99.99345% of all statistics are made up on the spot :-)
  2. This is a true story. (Sure it is.)
  3. And their sexuality does not serve the purpose of fulfilling the stereotypical heterosexual man's polygynous dreams.


  2. Arnold Gay[1]
  3. [2]Tyson Gay
  4. See the Wikipedia article on Gay (given name).
  5. See the Wikipedia article on Gay (disambiguation).
  6. 6.0 6.1 UNAIDS: Men who have sex with men. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Accessed 1 June 2015.
  7. Gallup (2017). "In U.S., Estimate of LGBT Population Rises to 4.5%". 
  8. "Same-sex couples and sexual orientation... by the numbers". 2015. 
  9. "Ahmadinejad: No homosexuals in Iran". 
  10. Ingrid Wickelgren. Discovery of 'Gay Gene' Questioned. Science, Vol. 284 no. 5414, 1999 p. 571
  11. 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.
  12. Shari Roan (August 15, 2010). "Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality". Los Angeles Times. 
  13. 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.
  14. Richards, Sabrina. "Can Epigenetics Explain Homosexuality?" The Scientist 1 January 2013.
  16. Wylie, David (February 4, 2010). "Gay men may have 'super uncle' evolutionary advantage: Researchers". Montreal Gazette. Canwest. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2016. 
  17. A Retrospective Study of Childhood Gender-Atypical Behavior in Samoan Fa’afafine
  18. Like a Lady in Polynesia - The Māhū of Tahiti, the Fa'a Fafine in Samoa, the Fakaleiti in Tonga and More
  19. So says Richard Cohen, self-certified "Sexual Re-orientation Coach"
  20. STUDY: Half Of Russians Believe The Media Makes You Gay, Queerty
  21. Peruvian mayor: strontium in water makes you gay, BoingBoing
  22. Coburn staffer: Porn makes you gay, Politico
  24. Soy is making kids 'gay'
  25. Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis
  26. Physical excercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate, Gay Star News
  27. Christian Group Says Demon Sex Makes You Gay, Alternet
  28. Balcombe, Jonathan Peter (2011). The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure. University of California Press. p. 88.
  29. M, Morris. "The Addicted Apes That Prove Homosexuality Is Natural." Knowledge Nuts. N.p., 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.
  30. The Huffington Post, 07/13/09, Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?,
  31. "Dalai Lama supports gay marriage". The Telegraph. 2014. 
  32. "Catechism of the Catholic Church – Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 2 Article 6". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  33. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2359.
  34. "Holy Synod – Encyclicals – Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  36. "Sexuality". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  37. "Frequently Asked Questions – LCMS Views". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  38. "WELS – Homosexuality". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  39. "WELS – God allowing homosexuality?". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  40. "Homosexuality – How Can I Avoid It?". Awake!: 28–30. February 2007. 
  41. "Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: "Same-Gender At". Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  42. "United Church of Christ Backs Same-Sex Marriage"
  43. See, for example, this website
  44. "Homosexuality in the Light of Islam"
  46. "Youth's issues » General Rules". 
  47. "ICM Muslims Survey for Channel 4". ICM Unlimited. 11 April 2016. 
  48. "Lesbian Symbols". [dead link]