Homosexual: Wikis


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Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior among members of the same sex. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions primarily to" people of the same sex; "it also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."[1][2][3]

Homosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation, along with bisexuality and heterosexuality, within the heterosexual-homosexual continuum. Currently the most common adjectives in use are lesbian for women and gay for men, though gay can to refer to either men or women. The number of people who identify as gay or lesbian — and the proportion of people who have same-sex sexual experiences — are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons.[4] In the modern West, major studies indicate a prevalence of 2% to 13% of the population.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] A 2006 study suggested that 20% of the population anonymously reported some homosexual feelings, although relatively few participants in the study identified themselves as homosexual.[16] Homosexuality is also widely encountered in the animal kingdom.[17][18]

Homosexual relationships and acts have been admired as well as condemned throughout recorded history, depending on the form they took and the culture in which they occurred. Since the end of the 1800s, there has been a movement towards increased visibility, recognition and legal rights for homosexual people, including the rights to marriage and civil unions, adoption and parenting, employment, military service, and equal access to health care.

The explanation for why some people are homosexual are, like the bases of sexual orientation in general, still poorly understood, and attempts to understand it have been somewhat hampered historically by misinformation and prejudice,[19] such as the once widely held view that homosexuality is a negative thing, and either the product of abnormal environmental influences, or an immoral "choice". The now longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is an example of normal and positive variation in human sexual orientation.[20] The current literature and most scholars in the field state that one’s sexual orientation is not a choice; that is, individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual. There is, moreover, no scientific evidence that parenting, sexual abuse, other adverse life events, or early childhood experiences influence sexual orientation.[21][22] Historically, efforts to change sexual orientation were fruitless or damaging, and because the professional consensus is that homosexuality is an expression of normal human variation, then the possibility and need for change is seen as unwarranted. None have sanctioned efforts to change sexual orientation and most have policy statements, directed at professionals and the public, advising caution in relation to treatments claiming to change sexual orientation.


Etymology and usage

The word homosexual is a Greek and Latin hybrid with the first element derived from Greek homos, 'same' (not related to the Latin homo, 'man', such as in Homo sapiens), thus connoting sexual acts and affections between members of the same sex, including lesbianism.[23] Gay generally 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 Lesbos, where the poet Sappho wrote largely about her emotional relationships with young women.[24][25]

The adjective homosexual describes behavior, relationships, people, orientation, etc. The adjectival form literally means "same sex", being a hybrid formed from Greek homo- (a form of homos "same"), and "sexual" from Medieval Latin sexualis (from Classical Latin sexus). Many modern style guides in the U.S. recommend against using homosexual as a noun, instead using gay man or lesbian.[26] Similarly, some recommend completely avoiding usage of homosexual as it has a negative, clinical history and because the word only refers to one's sexual behavior (as opposed to romantic feelings) and thus it has a negative connotation.[26] Gay and lesbian are the most common alternatives. The first letters are frequently combined to create the initialism LGBT (sometimes written as GLBT), in which B and T refer to bisexual and transgender people.

The first known appearance of homosexual in print is found in an 1869 German pamphlet by the Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria Kertbeny, published anonymously,[27] arguing against a Prussian anti-sodomy law.[28][29] In 1879, Gustav Jager used Kertbeny's terms in his book, Discovery of the Soul (1880).[29] In 1886, Richard von Krafft-Ebing used the terms homosexual and heterosexual in his book Psychopathia Sexualis, probably borrowing them from Jager. Krafft-Ebing's book was so popular among both layman and doctors that the terms "heterosexual" and "homosexual" became the most widely accepted terms for sexual orientation.[29][30]

As such, the current use of the term has its roots in the broader 19th-century tradition of personality taxonomy.

Although early writers also used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-sex context (such as an all-girls' school), today 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 referring to same-sex love, homophilia. Other terms include men who have sex with men or MSM (used in the medical community when specifically discussing sexual activity), homoerotic (referring to works of art), heteroflexible (referring to a person who identifies as heterosexual, but occasionally engages in same-sex sexual activities), and metrosexual (referring to a non-gay man with stereotypically gay tastes in food, fashion, and design). Pejorative terms in English include queer, faggot, fairy, poof, and homo. Beginning in the 1990s, some of these have been reclaimed as positive words by gay men and lesbians, as in the usage of queer studies, queer theory, and even the popular American television program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The word homo occurs in many other languages without the pejorative connotations it has in English. As with ethnic slurs and racial slurs, however, the misuse of these terms can still be highly offensive; the range of acceptable use depends on the context and speaker. Conversely, gay, a word originally embraced by homosexual men and women as a positive, affirmative term (as in gay liberation and gay rights), has come into widespread pejorative use among young people.

Sexuality and gender identity

Sexual orientation, identity, behavior

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state:

Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions primarily to men, to women, or to both sexes. It also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them. Although sexual orientation ranges along a continuum from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual, it is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual (having sexual and romantic attraction primarily or exclusively to members of the other sex), homosexual (having sexual and romantic attraction primarily or exclusively to members of one’s own sex), and bisexual (having a significant degree of sexual and romantic attraction to both men and women). Sexual orientation is distinct from other components of sex and sexuality, including biological sex (the anatomical, physiological, and genetic characteristics associated with being male or female), gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female), and social gender role (adherence to cultural norms defining feminine and masculine behavior).

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.

Consequently, sexual orientation is 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 that, for many individuals, comprise an essential component of personal identity.[3]

Sexual identity development: "coming-out process"

Many people who feel attracted to members of their own sex have a so-called "coming out" at some point in their lives. Generally, coming out is described in three phases. The first phase is the phase of "knowing oneself," and the realization or decision emerges that one is open to same-sex relations. This is often described as an internal coming out. The second phase involves one's decision to come out to others, e.g. family, friends, and/or colleagues. This occurs with many people as early as age 11, but others do not clarify their sexual orientation until age 40 or older. The third phase more generally involves living openly as an LGBT person.[31] In the United States today, people often come out during high school or college age. At this age, they may not trust or ask for help from others, especially when their orientation is not accepted in society. Sometimes their own families are not even informed.

According to Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter, Braun (2006), "the development of a lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) sexual identity is a complex and often difficult process. Unlike members of other minority groups (e.g., ethnic and racial minorities), most LGB individuals are not raised in a community of similar others from whom they learn about their identity and who reinforce and support that identity. Rather, LGB individuals are often raised in communities that are either ignorant of or openly hostile toward homosexuality."[32]

Outing is the practice of publicly revealing the sexual orientation of a closeted person.[33] Notable politicians, celebrities, military service people, and clergy members have been outed, with motives ranging from malice to political or moral beliefs. Many commentators oppose the practice altogether,[34] while some encourage outing public figures who use their positions of influence to harm other gay people.[35]

Explanations for homosexuality

The current literature and most scholars in the field agree that an individual's sexual orientation is not a matter of choice; that is, individuals do not choose to be homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual. There is, moreover, no scientific evidence that early childhood experiences, parenting, troubled family dynamics, sexual abuse, "faulty psychological development", or other adverse life events influence sexual orientation, as was formerly believed;[21][22] those assumptions are now understood to have been based on misinformation and prejudice.[19] Nevertheless, the reasons why some people are homosexual remain poorly understood;[19][21] experts generally believe, however, that sexual orientation is not determined by a single factor, but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.[21][36] Biological explanations are becoming more favoured, based chiefly on genetics and prenatal exposure to hormones.[21]

Sexual orientation change efforts

In 2009 the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded:

Efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates. Even though the research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, regardless of sexual orientation identity, the task force concluded that the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views that lead them to seek to change their sexual orientation. Thus, the appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek SOCE involves therapist acceptance, support, and understanding of clients and the facilitation of clients’ active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.[37]

No major mental health professional organization has sanctioned efforts to change sexual orientation and virtually all of them have adopted policy statements cautioning the profession and the public about treatments that purport to change sexual orientation. These include the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, National Association of Social Workers in the USA[38], the Royal College of Psychiatrists[39], and the Australian Psychological Society[40].

The American Psychological Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists expressed concerns that the positions espoused by NARTH are not supported by the science and create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.[39][41]

Gender identity

The earliest writers on a homosexual orientation usually understood it to be intrinsically linked to the subject's own sex. For example, it was thought that a typical female-bodied person who is attracted to female-bodied persons would have masculine attributes, and vice versa.[42] This understanding was shared by most of the significant theorists of homosexuality from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, such as Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Magnus Hirschfeld, Havelock Ellis, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as well as many gender variant homosexual people themselves. However, this understanding of homosexuality as sexual inversion was disputed at the time, and through the second half of the 20th century, gender identity came to be increasingly seen as a phenomenon distinct from sexual orientation.

Transgender and cisgender people may be attracted to men, women or both, although the prevalence of different sexual orientations is quite different in these two populations (see sexual orientation of transwomen). An individual homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual person may be masculine, feminine, or androgynous, and in addition, many members and supporters of lesbian and gay communities now see the "gender-conforming heterosexual" and the "gender-nonconforming homosexual" as negative stereotypes. However, studies by J. Michael Bailey and K.J. Zucker have found that a majority of gay men and lesbians report being gender-nonconforming during their childhood years.[43] Richard C. Friedman, in Male Homosexuality published in 1990,[44] writing from a psychoanalytic perspective, argues that sexual desire begins later than the writings of Sigmund Freud indicate, not in infancy but between the ages of 5 and 10 and is not focused on a parent figure but on peers. As a consequence, he reasons, homosexual men are not abnormal, never having been sexually attracted to their mothers anyway.[45]

Social construct

Because a homosexual orientation is complex and multi-dimensional, some academics and researchers, especially in Queer studies, have argued that it is a historical and social construction. In 1976 the historian Michel Foucault argued that homosexuality as an identity did not exist in the eighteenth century; that people instead spoke of "sodomy", which referred to sexual acts. Sodomy was a crime that was often ignored but sometimes punished severely (see sodomy law).

The term homosexual is often used in European and American cultures to encompass a person’s entire social identity, which includes self and personality. In Western cultures some people speak meaningfully of gay, lesbian, and bisexual identities and communities. In other cultures, homosexuality and heterosexual labels don’t emphasize an entire social identity or indicate community affiliation based on sexual orientation.[46] Some scholars, such as David Green, state that homosexuality is a modern Western social construct, and as such cannot be used in the context of non-Western male-male sexuality, nor in the pre-modern West.[47]

Same-sex romance and relationships

People with a homosexual orientation can express their sexuality in a variety of ways, and may or may not express it in their behaviors.[48] Some have sexual relationships predominately with people of their own gender identity, another gender, bisexual relationships or they can be celibate.[48] Research indicates that many lesbians and gay men want, and succeed in having, committed and durable relationships. For example, survey data indicate that between 40% and 60% of gay men and between 45% and 80% of lesbians are currently involved in a romantic relationship.[49] Survey data also indicates that between 18% and 28% of gay couples and between 8% and 21% of lesbian couples in the U.S. have lived together ten or more years.[50] Studies have found same-sex and opposite-sex couples to be equivalent to each other in measures of satisfaction and commitment in romantic relationships,[51][52] that age and gender are more reliable than sexual orientation as a predictor of satisfaction and commitment to a romantic relationship,[52] and that people who are heterosexual or homosexual share comparable expectations and ideals with regard to romantic relationships.[53]


Reliable data as to the size of the gay and lesbian population is of value in informing public policy.[54] For example, demographics would help in calculating the costs and benefits of domestic partnership benefits, of the impact of legalizing gay adoption, and of the impact of the U.S. military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.[54] Further, knowledge of the size of the "gay and lesbian population holds promise for helping social scientists understand a wide array of important questions—questions about the general nature of labor market choices, accumulation of human capital, specialization within households, discrimination, and decisions about geographic location."[54]

Measuring the prevalence of homosexuality may present difficulties.[4] The research must measure some characteristic that may or may not be defining of sexual orientation. The class of people with same-sex desires may be larger than the class of people who act on those desires, which in turn may be larger than the class of people who self-identify as gay/lesbian/bisexual.[54]

In 1948 and 1953, Alfred Kinsey reported that nearly 46% of the male subjects had "reacted" sexually to persons of both sexes in the course of their adult lives, and 37% had had at least one homosexual experience.[55] Kinsey's methodology was criticized.[56][57] A later study tried to eliminate the sample bias, but still reached similar conclusions.[58]

Estimates of the occurrence of exclusive homosexuality range from one to twenty percent of the population, usually finding there are slightly more gay men than lesbians.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][59][60][61]

Estimates of the frequency of homosexual activity also vary from one country to another. A 1992 study reported that 6.1% of males in Britain had had a homosexual experience, while in France the number was 4.1%.[62] According to a 2003 survey, 12% of Norwegians have had homosexual sex.[14] In New Zealand, a 2006 study suggested that 20% of the population anonymously reported some homosexual feelings, few of them identifying as homosexual. Percentage of persons identifying homosexual was 2–3%.[16] According to a 2008 poll, while only 6% of Britons define their sexual orientation as homosexual or bisexual, more than twice that number (13%) of Britons have had some form of sexual contact with someone of the same sex.[15]

In the United States, according to exit polling on 2008 Election Day for the 2008 Presidential elections, 4% of electorate self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the same percentage as in 2004.”[63]


Psychology was one of the first disciplines to study a homosexual orientation as a discrete phenomenon. The first attempts to classify homosexuality as a disease were made by the fledgling European sexologist movement in the late 19th century. In 1886 noted sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing listed homosexuality along with 200 other case studies of deviant sexual practices in his definitive work, Psychopathia Sexualis. Krafft-Ebing proposed that homosexuality was caused by either "congenital [during birth] inversion" or an "acquired inversion". In the last two decades of the 19th century, a different view began to predominate in medical and psychiatric circles, judging such behavior as indicative of a type of person with a defined and relatively stable sexual orientation. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, pathological models of homosexuality were standard.

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state:

In 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association published its first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, homosexuality was included as a disorder. Almost immediately, however, that classification began to be subjected to critical scrutiny in research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. That study and subsequent research consistently failed to produce any empirical or scientific basis for regarding homosexuality as a disorder or abnormality, rather than a normal and healthy sexual orientation. As results from such research accumulated, professionals in medicine, mental health, and the behavioral and social sciences reached the conclusion that it was inaccurate to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder and that the DSM classification reflected untested assumptions based on once-prevalent social norms and clinical impressions from unrepresentative samples comprising patients seeking therapy and individuals whose conduct brought them into the criminal justice system.

In recognition of the scientific evidence,[64] the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, stating that “homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities.” After thoroughly reviewing the scientific data, the American Psychological Association adopted the same position in 1975, and urged all mental health professionals “to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations.” The National Association of Social Workers has adopted a similar policy.

Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.[3]

The research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality. The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.[65] The World Health Organization's ICD-9 (1977) listed homosexuality as a mental illness; it was removed from the ICD-10, endorsed by the Forty-third World Health Assembly on May 17, 1990.[66][67] Like the DSM-II, the ICD-10 added ego-dystonic sexual orientation to the list, which refers to people who want to change their gender identities or sexual orientation because of a psychological or behavioral disorder (F66.1). The Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed homosexuality from its Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders in 2001 after five years of study by the association.[68] According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists "This unfortunate history demonstrates how marginalisation of a group of people who have a particular personality feature (in this case homosexuality) can lead to harmful medical practice and a basis for discrimination in society.[22] There is now a large body of research evidence that indicates that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment. However, the experiences of discrimination in society and possible rejection by friends, families and others, such as employers, means that some LGB people experience a greater than expected prevalence of mental health and substance misuse problems. Although there have been claims by conservative political groups in the USA that this higher prevalence of mental health difficulties is confirmation that homosexuality is itself a mental disorder, there is no evidence whatever to substantiate such a claim."[69]

Most lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who seek psychotherapy do so for the same reasons as heterosexual people (stress, relationship difficulties, difficulty adjusting to social or work situations, etc.); their sexual orientation may be of primary, incidental, or no importance to their issues and treatment. Whatever the issue, there is a high risk for anti-gay bias in psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients.[70] Psychological research in this area has been relevant to counteracting prejudicial ("homophobic") attitudes and actions, and to the LGBT rights movement generally.[71]

The appropriate application of affirmative psychotherapy is based on the following scientific facts[65]:

  • Same-sex sexual attractions, behavior, and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality; in other words, they are not indicators of mental or developmental disorders.
  • Homosexuality and bisexuality are stigmatized, and this stigma can have a variety of negative consequences (e.g., minority stress) throughout the life span (D’Augelli & Patterson, 1995; DiPlacido, 1998; Herek & Garnets, 2007; Meyer, 1995, 2003).
  • Same-sex sexual attractions and behavior can occur in the context of a variety of sexual orientations and sexual orientation identities (Diamond, 2006; Hoburg et al., 2004; Rust, 1996; Savin-Williams, 2005).
  • Gay men, lesbians, and bisexual individuals can live satisfying lives as well as form stable, committed relationships and families that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects (APA, 2005c; Kurdek, 2001, 2003, 2004; Peplau & Fingerhut, 2007).
  • There are no empirical studies or peer-reviewed research that support theories attributing same-sex sexual orientation to family dysfunction or trauma (Bell et al., 1981; Bene, 1965; Freund & Blanchard, 1983; Freund & Pinkava, 1961; Hooker, 1969; McCord et al., 1962; D. K. Peters & Cantrell, 1991; Siegelman, 1974, 1981; Townes et al., 1976).


The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Association of Social Workers stated in 2006:

Currently, there is no scientific consensus about the specific factors that cause an individual to become heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual — including possible biological, psychological, or social effects of the parents’ sexual orientation. However, the available evidence indicates that the vast majority of lesbian and gay adults were raised by heterosexual parents and the vast majority of children raised by lesbian and gay parents eventually grow up to be heterosexual.[3]

The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice.[22]

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in Pediatrics in 2004:

Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences. In recent decades, biologically based theories have been favored by experts. Although there continues to be controversy and uncertainty as to the genesis of the variety of human sexual orientations, there is no scientific evidence that abnormal parenting, sexual abuse, or other adverse life events influence sexual orientation. Current knowledge suggests that sexual orientation is usually established during early childhood.[21][22]

The main reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation cited include genetic and environmental factors, likely in combination.[72][73] Other factors that may play a role include prenatal hormone exposure, where hormones play a role in determining sexual orientation as they do with sex differentiation;[74][75] and prenatal stress on the mother.[76][77][78]

The American Psychological Association has stated that "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people". It stated that, for most people, sexual orientation is determined at an early age.[79] Research into how sexual orientation may be determined by genetic or other prenatal factors plays a role in political and social debates about homosexuality, and also raises fears about genetic profiling and prenatal testing.[80]

Professor Michael King states: "The conclusion reached by scientists who have investigated the origins and stability of sexual orientation is that it is a human characteristic that is formed early in life, and is resistant to change. Scientific evidence on the origins of homosexuality is considered relevant to theological and social debate because it undermines suggestions that sexual orientation is a choice."[81]

Innate bisexuality (or predisposition to bisexuality) is a term introduced by Sigmund Freud, based on work by his associate Wilhelm Fliess, that expounds that all humans are born bisexual but through psychological development – which includes both external and internal factors – become monosexual, while the bisexuality remains in a latent state.

The authors of a 2008 study stated that "there is considerable evidence that human sexual orientation is genetically influenced, so it is not known how homosexuality, which tends to lower reproductive success, is maintained in the population at a relatively high frequency". They hypothesized that "while genes predisposing to homosexuality reduce homosexuals' reproductive success, they may confer some advantage in heterosexuals who carry them". Their results suggested that "genes predisposing to homosexuality may confer a mating advantage in heterosexuals, which could help explain the evolution and maintenance of homosexuality in the population".[82] A 2009 study also suggested a significant increase in fecundity in the females related to the homosexual people from the maternal line (but not in those related from the paternal one).[83] A 2010 study stated: "The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation."[84]


LGBT parenting is when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are parents to one or more children, either as biological or non-biological parents. Gay men face options which include: "foster care, variations of domestic and international adoption, diverse forms of surrogacy (whether "traditional" or gestational), and kinship arrangements, wherein they might coparent with a woman or women with whom they are intimately but not sexually involved."[85][86][87][88][89] LGBT parents can also include single people who are parenting; to a lesser extent, the term sometimes refers to families with LGBT children.

In the 2000 U.S. Census, 33 percent of female same-sex couple households and 22 percent of male same-sex couple households reported at least one child under eighteen living in their home.[90] Some children do not know they have an LGB parent; coming out issues vary and some parents may never come out to their children.[91][92] LGBT parenting in general, and adoption by LGBT couples may be controversial in some countries. In January 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that same-sex couples have the right to adopt a child.[93][94] In the U.S., LGB people can legally adopt in all states except for Florida.[95]

There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents.[96] No research supports the widely held conviction that the gender of parents matters for child well-being.[97] If gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents were inherently less capable than otherwise comparable heterosexual parents, their children would evidence problems regardless of the type of sample. This pattern clearly has not been observed. Given the consistent failures in this research literature to disprove the null hypothesis, the burden of empirical proof is on those who argue that the children of sexual minority parents fare worse than the children of heterosexual parents.[98]

Professor Judith Stacey, of New York University, stated: “Rarely is there as much consensus in any area of social science as in the case of gay parenting, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics and all of the major professional organizations with expertise in child welfare have issued reports and resolutions in support of gay and lesbian parental rights”.[99] These organizations include the American Academy of Pediatrics,[96] the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,[100] the American Psychiatric Association,[101] the American Psychological Association [102], the American Psychoanalytic Association [103], the National Association of Social Workers,[3] the Child Welfare League of America,[104] the North American Council on Adoptable Children,[105] and Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). CPA is concerned that some persons and institutions are mis-interpreting the findings of psychological research to support their positions, when their positions are more accurately based on other systems of belief or values.[106]

The vast majority of families in the United States today are not the "middle class family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children" that has been viewed as the norm. Since the end of the 1980’s, it has been well established that children and adolescents can adjust just as well in nontraditional settings as in traditional settings.[107]



These safer sex recommendations are agreed upon by public health officials for women who have sex with women to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs):
  • Avoid contact with a partner’s menstrual blood and with any visible genital lesions.
    • Cover sex toys that penetrate more than one person’s vagina or anus with a new condom for each person; consider using different toys for each person.
    • Use a barrier (e.g., latex sheet, dental dam, cut-open condom, plastic wrap) during oral sex.
    • Use latex or vinyl gloves and lubricant for any manual sex that might cause bleeding.[108]
These safer sex recommendations are agreed upon by public health officials for men who have sex with men to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Avoid contact with a partner’s bodily fluids and with any visible genital lesions.
    • Use condoms for anal and oral sex.
    • Use a barrier (e.g., latex sheet, dental dam, cut-open condom, plastic wrap) during anal–oral sex.
    • Cover sex toys that penetrate more than one person with a new condom for each person; consider using different toys for each person and use latex or vinyl gloves and lubricant for any sex that might cause bleeding.[109][110]

Men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW) refers to people who engage in sexual activity with others of the same sex regardless of how they identify themselves as many choose not to accept social identities as lesbian, gay and bisexual.[111][112][113][114][115] These terms are often used in medical literature and social research to describe such groups for study, without needing to consider the issues of sexual self-identity. The terms are seen as problematic, however, because it "obscures social dimensions of sexuality; undermines the self-labeling of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people; and does not sufficiently describe variations in sexual behavior".[116] MSM and WSW are sexually active with each other for a variety of reasons with the main ones arguably sexual pleasure, intimacy and bonding. In contrast to its benefits, sexual behavior can be a disease vector. Safe sex is a relevant harm reduction philosophy.[117] The United States prohibits men who have sex with men from donating blood "because they are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion."[118] Many European countries have the same prohibition.[118]


When it was first described in medical literature, homosexuality was often approached from a view that sought to find an inherent psychopathology as its root cause. Much literature on mental health and homosexual patients centered on their depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Although these issues exist among people who are non-heterosexual, discussion about their causes shifted after homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in 1973. Instead, social ostracism, legal discrimination, internalization of negative stereotypes, and limited support structures indicate factors homosexual people face in Western societies that often adversely affect their mental health.[119] Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination stemming from negative societal attitudes toward homosexuality lead to a higher prevalence of mental health disorders among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals compared to their heterosexual peers.[120] Evidence indicates that the liberalization of these attitudes over the past few decades is associated with a decrease in such mental health risks among younger LGBT people.[121]

Gay and lesbian youth

Gay and lesbian youth bear an increased risk of suicide, substance abuse, school problems, and isolation because of a "hostile and condemning environment, verbal and physical abuse, rejection and isolation from family and peers".[122] Further, LGB youths are more likely to report psychological and physical abuse by parents or caretakers, and more sexual abuse. Suggested reasons for this disparity are that (1) LGBT youths may be specifically targeted on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation or gender non-conforming appearance, and (2) that "risk factors associated with sexual minority status, including discrimination, invisibility, and rejection by family members...may lead to an increase in behaviors that are associated with risk for victimization, such as substance abuse, sex with multiple partners, or running away from home as a teenager."[123] A 2008 study showed a correlation between the degree of rejecting behavior by parents of LGB adolescents and negative health problems in the teenagers studied:

Higher rates of family rejection were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes. On the basis of odds ratios, lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.[124]

Crisis centers in larger cities and information sites on the Internet have arisen to help youth and adults.[125] The Trevor Helpline, a suicide prevention helpline for gay youth, was established following the 1998 airing on HBO of the Academy Award winning short film Trevor.


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 a detailed compilation of historical and ethnographic materials of Preindustrial Cultures, "strong disapproval of homosexuality was reported for 41% of 42 cultures; it was accepted or ignored by 21%, and 12% reported no such concept. Of 70 ethnographies, 59% reported homosexuality absent or rare in frequency and 41% reported it present or not uncommon." [126]

In cultures influenced by Abrahamic religions, the 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.[127]

Many historical figures, including Socrates, Lord Byron, Edward II, and Hadrian,[128] have had terms such as gay or bisexual applied to them; some scholars, such as Michel Foucault, have regarded this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a contemporary construction of sexuality foreign to their times,[129] though others challenge this.[130]

A common thread of constructionist argument is that no one in antiquity or the Middle Ages experienced homosexuality as an exclusive, permanent, or defining mode of sexuality. John Boswell has countered this argument by citing ancient Greek writings by Plato,[131] which describe individuals exhibiting exclusive homosexuality.

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum. Illustration from photograph © 1999 Greg Reeder.


Though often ignored or suppressed by European explorers and colonialists, homosexual expression in native Africa was also present and took a variety of forms. Anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned "long term, erotic relationships" called motsoalle.[132] E. E. 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. The practice had died out by the early 20th century, after Europeans had gained control of African countries, but was recounted to Evans-Pritchard by the elders to whom he spoke.[133]

The first recorded homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an Egyptian male couple, who lived around the 2400 BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian art, surrounded by what appear to be their heirs.


Dance to the Berdache
Sac and Fox Nation ceremonial dance to celebrate the two-spirit person. George Catlin (1796–1872); Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

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 in 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.

Homosexual and transgender individuals were also common among other pre-conquest civilizations in Latin America, such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Quechuas, Moches, Zapotecs, and the Tupinambá of Brazil.[134][135]

Balboa setting his war dogs upon Indian practitioners of male love in 1513; New York Public Library

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 execution, burning and being torn to pieces by dogs.[136]

East Asia

In East Asia, same-sex love has been referred to since the earliest recorded history.

Homosexuality in China, known as the pleasures of the bitten peach, the cut sleeve, or the southern custom, has been recorded since approximately 600 BCE. These euphemistic terms were used to describe behaviors, not identities (recently some fashionable young Chinese tend to euphemistically use the term "brokeback," 斷背 duanbei to refer to homosexual men, from the success of director Ang Lee's film Brokeback Mountain).[137] The relationships were marked by differences in age and social position. However, 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.

Homosexuality in Japan, variously known as shudo or nanshoku has been documented for over one thousand years and was an integral part of Buddhist monastic life and the samurai tradition. This same-sex love culture gave rise to strong traditions of painting and literature documenting and celebrating such relationships.

Similarly, in Thailand, Kathoey, or "ladyboys," have been a feature of Thai society for many centuries, and Thai kings had male as well as female lovers. While Kathoey may encompass simple effeminacy or transvestism, it most commonly is treated in Thai culture as a third gender. They are generally accepted by society, and Thailand has never had legal prohibitions against homosexuality or homosexual behavior.


Roman man penetrating a youth, possibly a slave, middle of the 1st century AD. Found in Bittir (?), near Jerusalem

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 of male homosexuality such documents depict a world in which relationships with women and relationships with youths were the essential foundation 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[138] but in his late works proposed its prohibition.[139] In the Symposium (182B-D), Plato equates acceptance of homosexuality with democracy, and its suppression with despotism, saying that homosexuality "is shameful to barbarians because of their despotic governments, just as philosophy and athletics are, since it is apparently not in best interests of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or physical unions, all of which love is particularly apt to produce".[131] Aristotle, in the Politics, dismissed Plato's ideas about abolishing homosexuality (2.4); he explains that barbarians like the Celts accorded it a special honour (2.6.6), while the Cretans used it to regulate the population (2.7.5).[131]

Youth females are depicted as surrounding Sappho in this painting of Lafond "Sappho sings for Homer", 1824

Little is known of female homosexuality in antiquity. Sappho, born on the island of Lesbos, was 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.[140][141] Sappho's poetry centers on passion and love for various personages and both genders. 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.[142][143] There is no evidence that she ran an academy for girls.

Sappho reading to her companions on an Attic vase of c. 435 BC.

In Ancient Rome the 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. All the emperors with the exception of Claudius took male lovers. The Hellenophile emperor Hadrian is renowned for his relationship with Antinous, but the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on August 6, 390, condemning passive males to be burned at the stake. Justinian, towards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well (in 558), warning that such conduct can lead to the destruction of cities through the "wrath of God". Notwithstanding these regulations, taxes on brothels of boys available for homosexual sex continued to be collected until the end of the reign of Anastasius I in 518.

During the Renaissance, wealthy cities in northern ItalyFlorence 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.[144][145] But even as many of the male population were engaging in same-sex relationships, the authorities, under the aegis of the Officers of the Night court, were prosecuting, fining, and imprisoning a good portion of that population. The eclipse of this period of relative artistic and erotic freedom was precipitated by the rise to power of the moralizing monk Girolamo Savonarola. In northern Europe the artistic discourse on sodomy was turned against its proponents by artists such as Rembrandt, who in his Rape of Ganymede no longer depicted Ganymede as a willing youth, but as a squalling baby attacked by a rapacious bird of prey.

The relationships of socially prominent figures, such as King James I and the Duke of Buckingham, served to highlight the issue, including in anonymously authored street pamphlets: "The world is chang'd I know not how, For men Kiss Men, not Women now;...Of J. the First and Buckingham: He, true it is, his Wives Embraces fled, To slabber his lov'd Ganimede" (Mundus Foppensis, or The Fop Display'd, 1691).

Love Letters Between a Certain Late Nobleman and the Famous Mr. Wilson was published in 1723 in England and was presumed by some modern scholars to be a novel. The 1749 edition of John Cleland's popular novel Fanny Hill includes a homosexual scene, but this was removed in its 1750 edition. Also in 1749, the earliest extended and serious defense of homosexuality in English, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplified, written by Thomas Cannon, was published, but was suppressed almost immediately. It includes the passage, "Unnatural Desire is a Contradiction in Terms; downright Nonsense. Desire is an amatory Impulse of the inmost human Parts."[146] Around 1785 Jeremy Bentham wrote another defense, but this was not published until 1978.[147] Executions for sodomy continued in the Netherlands until 1803, and in England until 1835.

Between 1864 and 1880 Karl Heinrich Ulrichs published a series of twelve tracts, which he collectively titled Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love. In 1867 he 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. Sexual Inversion by Havelock Ellis, published in 1896, challenged theories that homosexuality was abnormal, as well as stereotypes, and insisted on the ubiquity of homosexuality and its association with intellectual and artistic achievement.[148] 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 Committee, which campaigned from 1897 to 1933 against anti-sodomy laws in Germany, as 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 1894 with Homogenic Love, Socialist activist and poet Edward Carpenter wrote a string of pro-homosexual articles and pamphlets, and "came out" in 1916 in his book My Days and Dreams. In 1900, Elisar von Kupffer published an anthology of homosexual literature from antiquity to his own time, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe in der Weltliteratur. His aim was to broaden the public perspective of homosexuality beyond its being viewed simply as a medical or biological issue, but also as an ethical and cultural one. In a backlash to this, the Third Reich specifically targeted LGBT people in the Holocaust.

Middle East, South and Central Asia

Dance of a bacchá (dancing boy)
Samarkand, (ca 1905–1915), photo Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Among many Middle Eastern Muslim cultures egalitarian or age-structured homosexual practices were, and remain, widespread and thinly veiled. The prevailing pattern of same-sex relationships in the temperate and sub-tropical zone stretching from Northern India to the Western Sahara is one in which the relationships were—and are—either gender-structured or age-structured or both. In recent years, egalitarian relationships modeled on the western pattern have become more frequent, though they remain rare. Same-sex intercourse officially carries the death penalty in several Muslim nations: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen.[149]

A tradition of art and literature sprang up constructing Middle Eastern homosexuality. Muslim—often Sufi—poets in medieval Arab lands and in Persia wrote odes to the beautiful wine boys who served them in the taverns. In many areas the practice survived into modern times, as documented by Richard Francis Burton, André Gide, and others.

In Persia homosexuality and homoerotic expressions were tolerated in numerous public places, from monasteries and seminaries to taverns, military camps, bathhouses, and coffee houses. In the early Safavid era (1501–1723), male houses of prostitution (amrad khane) were legally recognized and paid taxes. Persian poets, such as Sa’di (d. 1291), Hafez (d. 1389), and Jami (d. 1492), wrote poems replete with homoerotic allusions. The two most commonly documented forms were commercial sex with transgender young males or males enacting transgender roles exemplified by the köçeks and the bacchás, and Sufi spiritual practices in which the practitioner admired the form of a beautiful boy in order to enter ecstatic states and glimpse the beauty of god.

Today, governments in the Middle East often ignore, deny the existence of, or criminalize homosexuality. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his 2007 speech at Columbia University, asserted that there were no gay people in Iran. Gay people do live in Iran, but most keep their sexuality a secret for fear of government sanction or rejection by their families.[150]

The Laws of Manu, the foundational work of Hindu law, mentions a "third sex", members of which may engage in nontraditional gender expression and homosexual activities.[151]

South Pacific

In many societies of Melanesia, especially in Papua New Guinea, same-sex relationships were an integral part of the culture until the middle of the last century. The Etoro and Marind-anim for example, even 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.[152]

Law, politics, society and sociology


     No information
Homosexuality legal      Same-sex marriage      Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)      Foreign same-sex marriages recognized      No recognition of same-sex couples
Homosexuality illegal      Minimal penalty      Large penalty      Life in prison      Death penalty


Most nations do not impede consensual sex between unrelated persons above the local age of consent. Some jurisdictions further recognize identical rights, protections, and privileges for the family structures of same-sex couples, including marriage. Some nations mandate that all individuals restrict themselves to heterosexual relationships; that is, in some jurisdictions homosexual activity is illegal. Offenders can face the death penalty in some fundamentalist Muslim areas such as Iran and parts of Nigeria. There are, however, often significant differences between official policy and real-world enforcement. See Violence against LGBT people.

Although homosexual acts were decriminalized in some parts of the Western world, such as Poland in 1932, Denmark in 1933, Sweden in 1944, and the United Kingdom in 1967, it was not until the mid-1970s that the gay community first began to achieve limited civil rights in some developed countries. On July 2, 2009, homosexuality was decriminalized in India by a High Court ruling.[153] A turning point was reached in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, thus negating its previous definition of homosexuality as a clinical mental disorder. In 1977, Quebec became the first state-level jurisdiction in the world to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. During the 1980s and 1990s, most developed countries enacted laws decriminalizing homosexual behavior and prohibiting discrimination against lesbian and gay people in employment, housing, and services. On the other hand, many countries today in the Middle East and Africa, as well as several countries in Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, outlaw homosexuality. In six countries, homosexual behavior is punishable by life imprisonment; in ten others, it carries the death penalty.[154]

Sexual orientation and the law

  • Employment discrimination refers to discriminatory employment practices such as bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, and compensation, and various types of harassment. In the United States there is "very little statutory, common law, and case law establishing employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation as a legal wrong."[155] Some exceptions and alternative legal strategies are available. President Bill Clinton's Executive Order 13087 (1998) prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the competitive service of the federal civilian workforce,[156] and federal non-civil service employees may have recourse under the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.[157] Private sector workers may have a Title VII action under a quid pro quo sexual harassment theory,[158] a "hostile work environment" theory,[159] a sexual stereotyping theory,[160] or others.[155]
  • Housing discrimination refers to discrimination against potential or current tenants by landlords. In the United States, there is no federal law against such discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but at least thirteen states and many major cities have enacted laws prohibiting it.[161]
  • Hate crimes (also known as bias crimes) are crimes motivated by bias against an identifiable social group, usually groups defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. In the United States, 45 states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of bias-motivated violence or intimidation (the exceptions are AZ, GA, IN, SC, and WY). Each of these statutes covers bias on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity; 32 of them cover sexual orientation, 28 cover gender, and 11 cover transgender/gender-identity.[162] In October 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which "...gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability," was signed into law and makes hate crime based on sexual orientation, amongst other offenses, a federal crime in the United States.[163]

Political activism

Since the 1960s, many LGBT people in the West, particularly those in major metropolitan areas, have developed a so-called gay culture. To many, gay culture is exemplified by the gay pride movement, with annual parades and displays of rainbow flags. Yet not all LGBT people choose to participate in "queer culture", and many gay men and women specifically decline to do so. To some it seems to be a frivolous display, perpetuating gay stereotypes. To some others, the gay culture represents heterophobia and is scorned as widening the gulf between gay and non-gay people.

With the outbreak of AIDS in the early 1980s, many LGBT groups and individuals organized campaigns to promote efforts in AIDS education, prevention, research, patient support, and community outreach, as well as to demand government support for these programs. Gay Men's Health Crisis, Project Inform, and ACT UP are some notable American examples of the LGBT community's response to the AIDS crisis.

The bewildering death toll wrought by the AIDS epidemic at first seemed to slow the progress of the gay rights movement, but in time it galvanized some parts of the LGBT community into community service and political action, and challenged the heterosexual community to respond compassionately. Major American motion pictures from this period that dramatized the response of individuals and communities to the AIDS crisis include An Early Frost (1985), Longtime Companion (1990), And the Band Played On (1993), Philadelphia (1993), and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989), the last referring to the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, last displayed in its entirety on the Mall in Washington, D.C., in 1996.

Publicly gay politicians have attained numerous government posts, even in countries that had sodomy laws in their recent past. Examples include Peter Mandelson, a British Labour Party cabinet minister, and Per-Kristian Foss, formerly Norwegian Minister of Finance.

LGBT movements are opposed by a variety of individuals and organizations. Some social conservatives believe that all sexual relationships with people other than an opposite-sex spouse undermine the traditional family[164] and that children should be reared in homes with both a father and a mother.[165][166] There is concern that gay rights may conflict with individuals' freedom of speech,[167][168][169][170][171] religious freedoms in the workplace,[172][173] the ability to run churches,[174] charitable organizations[175][176] and other religious organizations[177] in accordance with one's religious views, and that the acceptance of homosexual relationships by religious organizations might be forced through threatening to remove the tax-exempt status of churches whose views don't align with those of the government.[178][179][180][181]

Critics charge that political correctness has led to the association of sex between males and HIV being downplayed.[182][183]


In 2006, the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association and National Association of Social Workers stated in an Amicus Brief presented to the Supreme Court of the State of California: "Gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects. The institution of marriage offers social, psychological, and health benefits that are denied to same-sex couples. By denying same-sex couples the right to marry, the state reinforces and perpetuates the stigma historically associated with homosexuality. Homosexuality remains stigmatized, and this stigma has negative consequences. California’s prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples reflects and reinforces this stigma". They concluded: "There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage."[3]

Military service

Policies and attitudes toward gay and lesbian military personnel vary widely around the world. Some countries allow gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people to serve openly and have granted them the same rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts. Many countries neither ban nor support LGB service members. A few countries continue to ban homosexual personnel outright.

Most Western military forces have removed policies excluding sexual minority members. Of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, more than 20 permit openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve. Of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, two (United Kingdom and France) do so. The other three generally do not: China bans gay and lesbian people outright, Russia excludes all gay and lesbian people during peacetime but allows some gay men to serve in wartime (see below), and the United States (see Don't ask, don't tell) technically permits gay and lesbian people to serve, but only in secrecy and celibacy. Israel is the only country in the Middle East region that allows openly LGB people to serve in the military.

While the question of homosexuality in the military has been highly politicized in the United States, it is not necessarily so in many countries. Generally speaking, sexuality in these cultures is considered a more personal aspect of one's identity than it is in the United States.

According to American Psychological Association empirical evidence fails to show that sexual orientation is germane to any aspect of military effectiveness including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment and retention.[184] Sexual orientation is irrelevant to task cohesion, the only type of cohesion that critically predicts the team’s military readiness and success.[185]


Though the relationship between homosexuality and religion can vary greatly across time and place, within and between different religions and sects, and regarding different forms of homosexuality and bisexuality, current authoritative bodies and doctrines of the world's largest religions generally view homosexuality negatively. This can range from quietly discouraging homosexual activity, to explicitly forbidding same-sex sexual practices among adherents and actively opposing social acceptance of homosexuality. Some teach that homosexual orientation itself is sinful,[186] while others assert that only the sexual act is a sin. Some claim that homosexuality can be overcome through religious faith and practice. On the other hand, voices exist within many of these religions that view homosexuality more positively, and liberal religious denominations may bless same-sex marriages. Some view same-sex love and sexuality as sacred, and a mythology of same-sex love can be found around the world. Regardless of their position on homosexuality, many people of faith look to both sacred texts and tradition for guidance on this issue. However, the authority of various traditions or scriptural passages and the correctness of translations and interpretations are hotly disputed.

Heterosexism and homophobia

In many cultures, homosexual people are frequently subject to prejudice and discrimination. Like members of many other minority groups that are the objects of prejudice, they are also subject to stereotyping, which further adds to marginalization. The prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping are all likely tied to forms of homophobia and heterosexism, which is negative attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. Heterosexism can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the norm and therefore superior. Homophobia is a fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexual people. It manifests in different forms, and a number of different types have been postulated, among which are internalized homophobia, social homophobia, emotional homophobia, rationalized homophobia, and others.[187] Similar is lesbophobia (specifically targeting lesbians) and biphobia (against bisexual people). When such attitudes manifest as crimes they are often called hate crimes and gay bashing.

Negative stereotypes characterize LGB people as less romantically stable, more promiscuous and more likely to abuse children, but there is no scientific basic to such assertions. Gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects.[3] Sexual orientation does not affect the likelihood that people will abuse children.[107][188] Claims that there is scientific evidence to support an association between being gay and being a pedophile are based on misuses of those terms and misrepresentation of the actual evidence.[189][190][191]

Violence against gay and lesbian people

In the United States, the FBI reported that 15.6% of hate crimes reported to police in 2004 were based on perceived sexual orientation. Sixty-one percent of these attacks were against gay men.[192] The 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student, is one of the most notorious incidents in the U.S.

Homosexual behavior in animals

Roy and Silo, two New York Central Park Zoo male Chinstrap Penguins similar to those pictured, became internationally known when they coupled and later were given an egg that needed hatching and care, which they successfully did.[193]

Homosexual behavior in animals refers to the documented evidence of homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior in non-human animals. Such behaviors include sex, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting. Homosexual and bisexual behavior are widespread in the animal kingdom: a 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them.[17][18] Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species. The motivations for and implications of these behaviors have yet to be fully understood, since most species have yet to be fully studied.[194] According to Bagemihl, "the animal kingdom [does] it with much greater sexual diversity -- including homosexual, bisexual and nonreproductive sex -- than the scientific community and society at large have previously been willing to accept."[195]

See also


  1. ^ "Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality", APAHelpCenter.org, http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=31, retrieved 2007-09-07 
  2. ^ APA California Amicus Brief Please fix this cite and remove this comment when done.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Case No. S147999 in the Supreme Court of the State of California, In re Marriage Cases Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4365(…)
  4. ^ a b LeVay, Simon (1996). Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality. Cambridge: The MIT Press ISBN 0-262-12199-9
  5. ^ a b ACSF Investigators (1992). AIDS and sexual behaviour in France. Nature, 360, 407–409.
  6. ^ a b Billy, J. O. G., Tanfer, K., Grady, W. R., & Klepinger, D. H. (1993). The sexual behavior of men in the United States. Family Planning Perspectives, 25, 52–60.
  7. ^ a b Binson, D., Michaels, S., Stall, R., Coates, T. J., Gagnon, & Catania, J. A. (1995). Prevalence and social distribution of men who have sex with men: United States and its urban centers. Journal of Sex Research, 32, 245–254.
  8. ^ a b Bogaert, A. F. (2004). The prevalence of male homosexuality: The effect of fraternal birth order and variation in family size. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 230, 33–37. [1] Bogaert argues that: "The prevalence of male homosexuality is debated. One widely reported early estimate was 10% (e.g., Marmor, 1980; Voeller, 1990). Some recent data provided support for this estimate (Bagley and Tremblay, 1998), but most recent large national samples suggest that the prevalence of male homosexuality in modern western societies, including the United States, is lower than this early estimate (e.g., 1–2% in Billy et al., 1993; 2–3% in Laumann et al., 1994; 6% in Sell et al., 1995; 1–3% in Wellings et al., 1994). It is of note, however, that homosexuality is defined in different ways in these studies. For example, some use same-sex behavior and not same-sex attraction as the operational definition of homosexuality (e.g., Billy et al., 1993); many sex researchers (e.g., Bailey et al., 2000; Bogaert, 2003; Money, 1988; Zucker and Bradley, 1995) now emphasize attraction over overt behavior in conceptualizing sexual orientation." (p. 33) Also: "...the prevalence of male homosexuality (in particular, same-sex attraction) varies over time and across societies (and hence is a ‘‘moving target’’) in part because of two effects: (1) variations in fertility rate or family size; and (2) the fraternal birth order effect. Thus, even if accurately measured in one country at one time, the rate of male homosexuality is subject to change and is not generalizable over time or across societies." (p. 33)
  9. ^ a b Fay, R. E., Turner, C. F., Klassen, A. D., & Gagnon, J. H. (1989). Prevalence and patterns of same-gender sexual contact among men. Science, 243, 338–348.
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  182. ^ Chin, James (March 12, 2007). "The risks in hiding the HIV/AIDS truth". 9. Business Day. http://www.netassets.co.za/medical/medical.asp?websiteContentItemID=67274. 
  183. ^ "The people punish Mr Blair". Daily Mail (UK). May 6, 2005. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-347665/The-people-punish-Mr-Blair.html. 
  184. ^ American Psychological Association Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004
  185. ^ American Psychological Association: [Report of the APA Joint Divisional Task Force on Sexual Orientation & Military Service]
  186. ^ "Charge #1 and specifications preferred by the Presbytery of Southern California against The Rev. C. Lee Irons" (PDF). Presbytery of Southern California of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. http://www.upper-register.com/irons_trial/charges.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-27. "claiming that homosexuality is an unchosen "condition," rather than a sin of the heart, [...] contradicts the teaching of Scripture that both the desire and the act are sin." 
  187. ^ The Riddle Homophobia Scale from Allies Committee website, Department of Student Life, Texas A&M University
  188. ^ American Psychological Association: Lesbian & Gay Parenting
  189. ^ Dr. James Cantor
  190. ^ Buchanan, Wyatt (October 7, 2006). "Foley incident stirs up a stereotype about gay men". http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/07/MNG9HLKTVH1.DTL. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  191. ^ Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D.: Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation
  192. ^ "Crime in the United States 2004: Hate Crime", FBI, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/hate_crime/index.html, retrieved 2007-05-04 
  193. ^ Smith, Dinitia (February 7, 2004). "Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0C1EF83A5F0C748CDDAB0894DC404482. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  194. ^ Gordon, Dr Dennis (10 April 2007). "‘Catalogue of Life’ reaches one million species". National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20070713004634/http://www.niwascience.co.nz/pubs/mr/archive/2007-04-10-3. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  195. ^ Gay Lib for the Animals: A New Look At Homosexuality in Nature - 2/1/1999 - Publishers Weekly




Journal articles

Online articles

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Homosexuality article)

From Wikiquote

Quotes about homosexuality.



Real people

  • If all lesbians suddenly turned purple today, society would be surprised at the number of purple people in high places.
    • Sidney Abbott & Barbara Love, Sappho was a right-on woman, 1972
  • King James' favorite male lovers were the Earl of Somerset and the Duke of Buckingham.
    • Ben Edward Akerly, The X-rated Bible
  • ¿A quién le importa lo que yo haga?
¿A quién le importa lo que yo diga?
Yo soy así, así seguiré,
¡y nunca cambiaré!
(Who cares what I say? Who cares what I do? I'm like this, I'll stay like this, and I will never change!)
    • Alaska, ¿A quién le importa?
  • [To a gay-basher] You'd better be careful. The last time I was this close to another man, we were slow dancing.
    • Antony, in The Other Side of the Closet
  • "Well, maybe I'm a latent homosexual." He considered that for a moment. "Or maybe I'm a latent heterosexual. Anyway I'm pretty latent."
  • At this mention of the one category of man who had never shown any interest in her, Ainsley's large blue eyes filled with tears.
  • — Didja make your quota, Lois?
    — Yup, kissed a woman from every state in the Union. Rhode Island was a drag queen, though. Do you think that counts?
    • Thea and Lois, in Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For
  • James's sexual orientation was so widely known that Sir Walter Raleigh joked about it in public saying "King Elizabeth" had been succeeded by "Queen James."
    • Catherine D. Bowen, The Lion and the Throne
  • Grace, who's five, has a friend over and I hear her say to her friend, "Let's pretend we're gay." The friend goes, "What's gay?" And Grace says, "Gay is when two girls get together, dance and have fun."
  • Amid this whole uproar [over gays in the military], the most apt comment I heard was on my local eleven o'clock TV news when they interviewed a woman on the street. She said, "I don't understand somethin'. These guys are supposed to travel all over the world, live in trenches, sleep in mud, and walk over minefields. But they can't take some guy lookin' at 'em?"
    • Sara Cytron and Harriet Malinowitz, Take My Domestic Partner... Please!
  • ...here are some homosexuals whom we would do well to take seriously.
  • Even though adult homosexuals have fought hard to win rights and liberties... too many people are still scandalized by the mere idea that youth discovering their gay orientation could be given the same liberties and possibilities as straight ones. Whereas the discovery of heterosexual desire is celebrated as the sign that "he's becoming a man" and therefore largely encouraged, without anyone seeing any sort of proselytizing in it, it's a completely different story when it's homosexual desire that's surfacing. Everything happens as if gays and bisexuals under 18 didn't exist, or at least shouldn't exist.
    • Dr. Michel Dorais, Mort ou fif
  • [Among young gay men], it is the rebel who, in rejecting homophobia, develops a resistance that will protect him in a certain way from depression and suicide.
    • Dr. Michel Dorais, Mort ou fif
  • There is object proof that homosexuality is more interesting than heterosexuality. It's that one knows a considerable number of heterosexuals who would wish to become homosexuals, whereas one knows very few homosexuals who would really like to become heterosexuals.
    • Michel Foucault, quoted in Aldrich, Robert and Wotherspoon, Gary (Eds.) (2001). Who's Who in Contemporary Gay & Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day. New York: Routledge. ISBN 041522974X.
  • Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness.
    • Sigmund Freud, letter to an American mother's plea to cure her son's homosexuality, 1935
  • I do not in the least underestimate bisexuality ... I expect it to provide all further enlightenment.
  • And now, the main thing! As far as I can see, my next work will be called "Human Bisexuality." It will go to the root of the problem and say the last word it may be granted to say -- the last and the most profound.
  • A man's heterosexuality will not put up with any homosexuality, and vice versa.
  • Appropriate patterns of reproductive, gender, and sexual conduct are all products of specific cultures and all can be viewed as examples of socially scripted conduct. Western societies now have a system of gender and sexual learning in which gender differential scripts are learned prior to sexual scripts, but take their origins in part from the previously learned gender scripts... There are two important point: The first is that both gender and sexuality are learned forms of social practice, and the second is that looking to "natural differences" between women and men for lessons about sexual conduct is an error.
    • John Gagnon, "The Eplicit and Implicit Use of the Scripting Perspective in Sex Research", 1990
  • From the perspective of scripting theory, same-gender erotic preferences are elicited and shaped by the systems of meaning offered for conduct in a culture. What is usually construed as culture against "man" or culture against nature is thus actually conflict among differently enculturated individuals or groups.
    What is required is a constant recognition that acts of usage and explanation are acts of social control in the strong sense, that "homosexual" and "homosexuality" are names that have been imposed on some persons and their conduct by other persons -- and that this imposition has carried the right of the latter to tell the former the origins, meaning, and virtue of their conduct.
  • The dilemma of traditional sex research lay in the unconscious, but unquestiongly assumed division into opposing drives and hereditary factors... The division into heterosexuality and homosexuality, into hetersexuals and homosexuals, is also an artefact that rests on a grave error, namely, on the assumption that a fundamentally different model is necessary to explain heteorsexual and homosexual behavior. The entire investigation of etiology was ideologically loaded beforehand because it separated a segment of the sexual contiuum and attempted to make analyses with the help of fundamentally different concepts.
    • Rolf Gindorf, "Scientific ideologies in change: Fear of Homosexuality as an Intellectual Event", 1977
  • As long as our culture makes coming out an act of civil disobedience, being gay will be a political statement. Accept, at least for now, that your sexuality has political ramifications.
    • Kenneth Hanes, "The Gay Guy's Guide to Life"
  • Loosen up. Being masculine doesn't mean being a statue. Wrists were made to bend.
    • Kenneth Hanes, "The Gay Guy's Guide to Life"
  • Before you criticize queens, fairies or someone who acts "too queer", consider where we'd be without them.
    • Kenneth Hanes, "The Gay Guy's Guide to Life"
  • When a straight couple's relationship fails, it's because of his/her drinking, inability to commit, infidelity, and so on. In other words, a straight couple's relationship fails because of personal flaws, not because its participants are heterosexual. But when a gay relationship fails, "they" say it's because gay relationships inherently can't work. Call this double standard what it is - a crock of homophobic crap.
    • Kenneth Hanes, The Gay Guy's Guide to Love
  • Nobody knows what "causes" homosexuality any more than they know what "causes" heterosexuality. (Of course, there is far less interest in what causes the latter.) Overtly, the old psychoanalytic bugaboos are dead; there is no evidence, according to the Kinsey Institute, that male homosexuality is caused by dominant mothers and/or weak fathers, or that female homosexuality is caused by girls' having exclusively male role models. Furthermore, children who are raised by gay and lesbian couples are no more likely to be homosexual than children of heterosexual couples. Nor do people become adult homosexuals because they were seduced by older people or went to same-sex boarding schools...
    Though the causes of sexual orientation are unknown and the definitions fluid, the likelihood of converting a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation, or vice versa, is very slight. Some homosexual men and women voluntarily come for therapy to change from same-sex to opposite-sex partners, but it is not clear whether the limited "success" rate refers to a change in their feelings and the pattern of their desire, or just in their ability to consciously restrict their sexual contact to members of the opposite sex.
    • Patricia Hersch, The Family Therapy Networker, Jan/Feb 1991
  • I dunno how you all feel about it, gays in the military. Here's how I feel about it. Anyone dumb enough to want to be in the military should be allowed in. End of fucking story.
  • You know, I'm so sick - I've watched all these fucking congressional hearings and all these military guys and the pundits seriously, "Oh, the esprit du corps will be affected", and "Oh we are such a moral..." Excuse me?! Aren't you all just fucking hired killers?! Shut up!
    • Bill Hicks (comedian), on gay people in the military, Rant in E-Minor
  • None of the Gospel writers, nor the missionary Paul, nor the formulators of the Tradition, possess the psychological, sociological, and sexological knowledge which now inform our theological reflections about human sexuality. They knew nothing of sexual orientation or of the natural heterosexual-bisexual-homosexual continuum that exists in human life. They did not postulate that persons engaging in same-gender sex acts could have been expressing their natural sexuality. They presumed that persons engaged in same-gender acts were heterosexual, presumed only one purpose for for sexuality (procreation) and presumed that anyone engaged in same-gender sex acts was consciously choosing perversion of what was assumed to be natural sexuality (i.e., heterosexuality). We now know that same-gender sex acts have been observed in a multitude of species from sea gulls to porcupines... We know that same-gender oriented persons can experience deep love with one another and can nurture meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
    • William R. Johnson, Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life, ed. Betty Berzon, 1992
  • The very general occurrence of the homosexual in ancient Greece, and its wide occurrence today in some cultures in which such activity is not taboo suggests that the capacity of an individual to respond erotically to any sort of stimulus, whether it is provided by another person of the same or opposite sex, is basic in the species.
  • It would encourage clearer thinking on these matters if persons were not characterized as hetereosexual or homosexual, but as individuals who have had certain amounts of heterosexual experience and certain amounts of homosexual experience. Instead of using these terms as substantives which stand for persons, or even as adjectives to describe persons, they may better be used to describe the nature of the overt sexual relations, or of the stimuli to which an individual erotically responds.
  • Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheeps and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.
  • What do you mean, since when did I become such a radical fairy? Since I started knowing twits like you, you twit!
    • Larry Kramer, Just Say No
  • This pioneer of sexology [Krafft-Ebing] even came to question whether homosexuality might be innate (and people began to forgive us for living, as if it would matter to anyone if being an Atlético de Madrid fan was innate or not.)
  • Now then, I hasten to repeat that these practices [S&M] are certainly not usual or universal among us, but rather are variants practiced by a minority that is not representative of all gay people, although they do make up an identifiable sector that I don't want to leave out (as do many politically correct gay people, who like to give the impression that gay men only sodomize each other on Versace cushions by candlelights to Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach's Suites for Cello.)
  • It is my opinion that while the word bisexual may have its uses as an adjective, ... it is not only useless but mendacious when used as a noun.
    • John Malone, Straight Women/Gay Men
  • Indeed, Miss Manners has come to believe that the basic political division in this country is not between liberals and conservatives but between those who believe that they should have a say in the love lives of strangers and those who do not.
    • Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Miss Manners Rescues Civilization
  • Dear Miss Manners: What should I say when I am introduced to a homosexual "couple"?
Gentle Reader: "How do you do?" "How do you do?"
    • Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
  • The time has come, I think, when we must recognize bisexuality as a normal form of human behavior... we shall not really succeed in discarding the straitjacket of our cultural beliefs about sexual choice if we fail to come to terms with the well-documented, normal human capacity to love members of both sexes.
  • Jackie Biskupski is running for a seat in the Utah Legislature, and she's attracting a lot of attention because she's a lesbian. Her Republican opponent, Dan Alderson, is a staunch Mormon, and is running a negative ad campaign calling her lifestyle abnormal and deviant. His six wives agree.
  • If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.
"You gotta give them hope."
    • Harvey Milk (Shilts, R. The Mayor of Castro Street, pp 184, 375)
  • Homosexuality was invented by a straight world dealing with its own bisexuality.
    • Kate Millett, Flying
  • Concerning the Pope's claim that homosexuality is 'unnatural'. Perhaps the Pope is suggesting that it lies beyond the scope of 'normal' human behavior. If so, this has uncomfortable implications for an association of old men who wear dresses, hear voices and practice ritual cannibalism. Self-enforced celibacy is all but unknown among other animal species. If any sexual behavior is out of tune with the natural world, it is surely that of the priesthood.
    • George Monbiot, The Guardian, July 13, 2000
  • Bisexuality should be the norm...It's the cure for many problems. I don't believe in gay versus straight. The message of the gay liberation movement should have been freedom of sexuality, not antagonism toward sexuality other than gay sex. Most people are going to want to be straight, this is true, be cause most people breed, and nature wants us to breed. However, I believe in the liberation of all avenues of pleasure, and I want all straight people to have their options open without it implicating them. The impulses are there if they aren't repressed, so people should choose to live without those labels.
  • I don't mind straight people as long as they act gay in public.
    • T-shirt worn by Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls during a network-TV interview
  • If I was gay, there would be no closet, you would never see the closet I came out of. Why? I would have burned it for kindling by the time I was 12. Because I know with all certainty in my mind, there is nothing wrong with being gay, and you know it.
  • Oh! I want to put my arms arms around you, I ache to hold you close. Your ring is a great comfort. I look at it and think she does love me or I wouldn't be wearing it!
  • We come out of our mothers naked; everything else is just drag!
    • RuPaul in her book "Letting it All Hang Out"
  • The homosexual never thinks of himself when someone is branded in his presence with the name homosexual. ...His sexual tastes will doubtless lead him to enter into relationships with this suspect category, but he would like to make use of them without being likened to them. Here, too, the ban that is cast on certain men by society has destroyed all possibility of reciprocity among them. Shame isolates.
    • Jean-Paul Sartre, quoted in Who's Who, from Sartre's Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr (New York, 1963)
  • I maintain that inversion is the effect of neither a prenatal choice nor an endocrinal malformation nor even the passive and determined result of complexes. It is an outlet that a child discovers when he is suffocating.
    • Jean-Paul Sartre, quoted in Who's Who, from Sartre's Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr (New York, 1963)
  • He told me to pull my socks up; find a nice girl and get married. I told my doctor I wanted to see a psychiatrist. He said I was a namby-pamby. He told me to get a piece of paper and draw pictures of nude women. I think he was off his rocker.
    • Michael Schofield, A Minority
  • Insistence on having a sexual orientation in sex is about defending the status quo, maintaining sex differences and the sexual hierarchy; whereas resistance to sexual orientation, regimentation is more about where we need to be going.
    • John Stoltenberg (1989)
  • Butch (definition): Macho with a purse.
    • Richard Summerbell, "Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary", 1985
  • Closet (definition): Basement suite of a heterosexual outhouse.
    • Richard Summerbell, "Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary", 1985
  • Deviant (definition): A person who wanders from the One True Path and is caught urinating somewhere in the midst of the unthinkable. A person taking any exit ramp off the freeway of self-righteousness."
    • Richard Summerbell, "Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary", 1985
  • Unnatural act (definition): Any everyday act not equally typical of cattle, sheep, and horses. Singing, smoking, and various heterosexual and homosexual acts are included.
    • Richard Summerbell, "Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary", 1985
  • Gays are not oppressed on a whim, but because of the specific need of capitalism for the nuclear family. The nuclear family, as the primary -- and inexpensive -- provider and carer for the workforce, fulfilled in the nineteenth century and still fulfills an important need for capitalism. Alternative sexualities represent a threat to the family model because they provide an alternative role model for people. Gays are going to be in the front line of attack whenever capitalism wants to reinforce family values.
    • Louise Tierney, "Looking to the Future"
  • The reason no one has yet been able to come up with a good word to describe the homosexualist (sometimes known as gay, fag, queer, etc.) is because he does not exist. The human race is divided into male and female. Many human beings enjoy the sexual relations with their own sex, many don't; many respond to both. The plurality is the fact of our nature and not worth fretting about.
  • The ongoing psychopathic hatred of same-sexuality has made the United States the laughingstock of the civilized world. In most of the First World, monotheism is weak. Where it is weak or nonexistent, private sexual behavior has nothing to do at all with those not involved, much less the law. At least when the Emperor Justinian, a Christian monotheist, decided to outlaw sodomy, he had to come up with a good practical reason, which he did. It is well known, Justinian declared, that buggery is a principal cause of earthquakes, and so must be prohibited. But our monotheists, always eager to hate, still quote Leviticus, as if that loony text had anything useful to say about anything except, perhaps, the inadvisability of eating shellfish in the Jerusalem area.
    • Gore Vidal, (The Great Unmentionable) Monotheism and its Discontents, essay
  • He has told me he likes men as well as he likes women, which seems only natural, he says, since he is the offspring of two sexes as well as two races. No one is surprised he is biracial; why should they be surprised he is bisexual? This is an explanation I have never heard and cannot entirely grasp; it seems too logical for my brain.
  • My sexuality is my own sexuality. It doesn't belong to anybody. Not to my government, not to my brother, my sister, my family. No.
    • Ashraf Zanati, in the documentary Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World; Zanati was one of The Cairo 52, a group of men imprisoned for homosexuality in Egypt.


  • Love, golden-haired boy, tosses
His purple ball to me one more time,
Invites me to play
With the girl in colourful sandals.
But she's from towering Lesbos,
And my hair, being white,
She despises. She's gasping
For another girl...
    • Anacreon
  • Coming toward them, on the path, were two glittering, loud-talking fairies....Ida said, "I always feel so sorry for people like that."
Ellis grinned. "Why should you feel sorry for them? They've got each other."
  • But the base philanderer
Ogled with another;
So, of course, to despite her,
I decided to transfer
Affections to her brother.
    • John Barford, "Serve Her Right"
  • If it be sin to love a lovely lad
Oh there sin I.
  • And what is she (quoth he) whom thou do'st love?
Look in this glasse (quoth I) there shalt thou see
The perfect forme of my faelicitie.
When, thinking that it would strange Magique prove,
He open'd it: and taking of the cover,
He straight perceav'd himselfe to be my Lover.
  • My voice rings down through thousands of years
To coil around your body and give you strength,
You who have wept in direct sunlight,
Who have hungered in invisible chains,
Tremble to the cadence of my legacy:
An army of lovers cannot fail.
  • Iuventius, if I were always allowed
to kiss your honey-sweet eyes,
I might kiss you three hundred
thousand times, and never be sated.
  • I believe the more you love a man,
The more you give your trust, the more you're bound to lose,
Although, when shadows fall,
I think if only somebody splendid really needed me,
Someone affectionate and dear,
Cares would be ended if I knew that he
Wanted to have me near...
  • A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought with gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was a fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping and I cried, "Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?" He said, "My name is Love."
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, "He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame."
Then sighing said the other, "Have thy will,
I am the Love that dare not speak its name."
  • In an article published seventy years ago Erich Bethe observed that the intrusion of moral evaluation, 'the deadly enemy of science', had vitiated the study of Greek homosexuality; and it has continued to do so. A combination of a love of Athens with hatred of homosexuality underlies the judgments that homosexual relations were 'a Dorian sin, cultivated by a tiny minority at Athens' (J.A.K. Thomson, ignoring the evidence of the visual arts) or that they were 'regarded as disgraceful both by law and ... by general opinion' (A.E. Taylor, ignoring the implications of the text to which he refers in his footnote)...I know of no topic in classical studies on which a scholar's normal ability to perceive differences and draw inferences is so easily impaired; and none on which a writer is so likely to be thought to have said what he has not said or to be charged with omitting to say something which he has said several times.
    • K.J. Dover, (1989). Greek Homosexuality, preface, p.vii. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674362705.
  • Puisqu'il faut choisir, à mots doux je peux le dire
Sans contrefaçon, je suis un garçon
Et pour un empire, je ne veux me dévêtir
Puisque sans contrefaçon, je suis un garçon
(Since I have to choose, softly I can say it
Without counterfeiting, I am a boy
Even for all the world, I don't want to undress myself
Since without counterfeiting, I am a boy)
    • Mylène Farmer, "Sans contrefaçon"
  • He pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married... Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg- a cosy, loving pair.
  • Forty-six now and dying by inches, I finally see how our lives align at the core, if not in the sorry details. I still shiver with a kind of astonished delight when a gay brother or sister tells of that narrow escape from the coffin world of the closet. Yes yes yes, goes a voice in my head, it was just like that for me. When we laugh together then and dance in the giddy circle of freedom, we are children for real at last, because we have finally grown up.
    • Paul Monnette, Becoming A Man. Harper Collins, ISBN 0060595647
  • And I'll stay away from Verlaine, too; he was always chasing Rimbauds.
  • Kissing Agathon, I held my life on my lips.
It wanted to pass over, poor thing, into him.
  • We two boys together clinging,
One the other never leaving,
Up and down the roads going, North and South excursions making,
Power enjoying, elbows stretching, fingers clutching,
Arm'd and fearless, eating, drinking, sleeping, loving,
No law less than ourselves owning, sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening,
Misers, menials, priests alarming, air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statues mocking, feebleness chasing,
Fulfilling our foray.
  • I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced to tell lies is much worse.
  • Once I pass'd through a populous city imprinting my brain for future use with its shows, architecture, customs, tradition,
Yet now of all that city I remember only a man I casually met there who detained me for love of me,
Day by day and night by night we were together - all else has long been forgotten by me,
I remember I saw only that man who passionately clung to me,
Again we wander, we love, we separate again,
Again he holds me by the hand, I must not go,
I see him close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous.
  • What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.



  • Melvin Udall: Never, never, interrupt me, okay? Not if there's a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there's a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you're going to faint. Even then, don't come knocking. Or, if it's election night, and you're excited and you wanna celebrate because some fudgepacker that you date has been elected the first queer president of the United States and he's going to have you down to Camp David, and you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don't knock. Not on this door. Not for ANY reason. Do you get me, sweetheart?
  • You're not listening to me! I am fucking gay!
    • Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), Chasing Amy
  • Mom, I've been sitting around all day trying to decide whether to tell you it's just a phase, or to tell you the truth.
    • Eric, Edge of Seventeen
  • There's a man in the city, a wonderful, beautiful man, who loves me very much. And he's going to love you too. And we're going to be a family.
    • Sweet William, The Hanging Garden
  • You are gay! You are a homosexual! I know it, your family knows it, dogs know it! The only one who doesn't know it is you!
    • The Doctor (Dave Foley), Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy
  • [describing a straight woman's infatuation with a gay man:] We had this electric moment when you said to me, "Why do you have to be gay?" and I said to you, "Me? Why do you have to be a woman?"
    • Nick, It's My Party
  • Oh please, you are not bisexual. I went to a bar mitzvah once; that doesn't make me Jewish.
    • Lucia (Lisa Kudrow), The Opposite of Sex
  • [Refusing heterosexual sex:] I've never tried communism, but I know I wouldn't like that. It's the same thing. Or grits.
    • Matt Mateo, "The Opposite of Sex"
  • When a gay man has way too much fashion sense for one gender, he is a drag queen.
    • Miss Noxeema, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
  • It's too bad gays aren't as sick as they're made out to be. It would sure as hell be more fun at these Show Choir competitions!
    • James Spring II, Local Civil Rights Activist


  • Judy Fan: I'm about to go out with some friends... you're welcome to come. They're all friends of Dorothy. You are a friend of Dorothy, aren't you?
Winston: ...yeah, I guess I am.
Judy Fan: We're going to have to teach you to smile when you say that.
    • "A Friend of Dorothy", from Boys Life

  • Peter Malloy: One day I just clicked. I said: "Mom, dad, Sparky, I'm gay."
Howard Brackett: So what happened?
Peter Malloy: My mom cried, for exactly 10 seconds, my boss said: "Who cares?", and my dad said: "But you're so tall...!".

  • Inspector Roverini: È possibile che ha tendenze… omosessuali? '[translation: It is possible he has homosexual tendencies?]
Peter Smith-Kingsley: He wants to know if you're a homosexual.
Tom Ripley: No!
Peter Smith-Kingsley: No.
    • The Talented Mr. Ripley; played by Sergio Rubini, Jack Davenport, and Matt Damon in order of mention

  • Seishiro: So I suppose we can pick a date for our wedding now.
Subaru: Um, but I'm a boy...
Seishiro: So I noticed.
    • Nanase Ohkawa, Tokyo Babylon

  • -Wait'll you see MY act. Bertha Venation, in the Dance ... of the Virgin.
-Which she does completely from memory.
    • Bertha Venation and Marsha Dimes, in Torch Song Trilogy

  • Norma Cassady: I think that the right woman could reform you.
Carroll 'Toddy' Todd: You know, I think the right woman could reform you.
    • Victor/Victoria; played by Lesley Ann Warren and Robert Preston in order of mention


  • Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy
Who were the one they could talk about around town as they put you down
And as hard as they would try to hurt, they made you cry
But you never cried to them, just to your soul...
You leave in the morning with everything you own in a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain on a sad and lonely face...
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away...
    • Bronski Beat, "Small Town Boy"
  • But if we can hump dead animals and antelopes
then there's no reason that a man and another man can't elope
  • This is what I am, I am a man
so come and dance with me Michael
So strong now, its strong now
so come and dance with me Michael
I'm all that you see, you wanna see
so come and dance with me Michael
  • I kissed a girl, her lips were sweet
She was just like kissing me
I kissed a girl, won't change the world
But I'm so glad I kissed a girl
  • "See the nice boys dancing in pairs/Golden earring, golden tan, blow-wave in their hair/Sure they're all straight! Straight as a line/All the gays are macho; see their leather shine".
    • Joe Jackson, "Real Men"
  • They hug in silence as the sun sets on their empty street.
Her suspicions, well they're rising high.
And the man who sweeps him off she doesn't meet.
  • Why make it sad to be gay?
    Doing your thing is okay.
    Our body's our own, so leave us alone
    And play with yourself today.
  • "It was January 1963 when Johnny came home for a gift for me. He said 'I bought it for you because I love you and I bought it for you because it's your birthday, too.'. He was so very nice, he was so very kind to think of me, at this point in time....I just want you to be mine. I don't want this world to shine. I don't want this bridge to burn. Oh Johnny do you miss me? I just want to feel free."
  • "Constantly harrassed and misunderstood. I'm the 'lost and found' of the the neighbourhood. And I am not a part of society. So don't get off the ground, just be with me."
  • ...but here am I;
Once a caterpillar, now a butterfly.
  • "What I wanted to be was a family man, / but Nature had some alternative plans."
  • Remember when you were more easily led
Behind the cricket pavillion and the bicycle shed
Trembling as your dreams came true
You looked up into those blue eyes and knew
It was love, and now you can't pretend
You've forgotten all the promises of that first friend...
  • To free in me the trust I never dared
I always thought the risk too great
But suddenly, I don't hesitate
So take my hand, don't think of complications
Now, right now, your love is liberation
  • She's made you some kind of laughing stock
Because you dance to disco and you don't like rock
She made fun of you and even in bed
Said she was going to go and get herself a real man instead
  • But for all of those who don't fit in,
Who follow their instincts and are told they sin,
This is a prayer for a different way.
  • The more that you hate, the more that it grates.
  • To being an "us" for once instead of a "them:"
La vie bohème!
    • Rent, "La Vie Bohème"
  • "Straight-looking Marine seeks straight cop to please..." / How straight do they look when they're down on their knees?
  • We've all got an image that we want to convey
And drag is something each of us does every single day
    • Romanovsky & Phillips, "My Mother's Clothes"
  • I said to my dad, who's a Methodist minister, 'you know...one day...a niece or a nephew, sooner or later we're going to get a gay or a lesbian,' so he might as well get used to it!
    • Tori Amos, spoken on VH-1 Storytellers before performing her song "Raspberry Swirl" (New York, 1999)
  • Shock the middle class, take it up your punk rock ass.
    You rub your puny thing, when you see studs with tight jeans pass you on the street.
    Who wears short shorts? You wear short shorts.
    You're so full of shit
    Why don't you admit that you don't have the balls to be a queer.
    • Screeching Weasel, "I Wanna Be a Homosexual"
  • Better pray for your sins. Better pray for your sins, 'cause the Gay Messiah's coming. No it will not be me. Rufus the Baptist I be. No I won't be the one....
    • Rufus Wainwright, "Gay Messiah"


  • If it wasn't for gay men, I wouldn't talk to men at all.
    • Margaret Cho in her stage show "I'm the One That I Want". (Extensive exclusion of Ms. Cho's opinions on homosexuality at her wiki-link.)
  • I love the word "faggot," because it describes my kind of guy! You see, I am a fag hag. Fag hags are the backbone of the gay community. Without us, you're nothing! We have been there all through history guiding your sorry ass through the underground railroad! ...We went to the prom with you!
  • I love my gay male friends, but when I was a little girl I always used to wish that I would be constantly surrounded by gorgeous guys, and I am, and I should have been more specific.
  • [quoting her friends from high school, Alan and Jeremy] I do not need nobody tellin' me who I am! I know who I am!... I be walkin' down the hallway, they call me names. They call me faggot, they call me sissy, I say, 'Oh yeah? Well, you forgot, I'm also a model and a actress, so fuck you too!'
  • I'm queer, I'm gay, I'm homosexual, I'm a poof, poofter, ponce, I'm a bumboy, batty boy, backside artist, bugger, I'm Bent. I am that arse bandit, I lift those shirts. I'm a faggot arse, fudge-packing, shit-stabbing uphill gardener, I dine at the downstairs restaurant, I dance at the other end of the ballroom, I'm Moses in the parting of the red cheeks. I fuck and I'm fucked, I suck and I'm sucked, I rim them and wank them and every single man's had the fucking time of his life. And I'm NOT a pervert.
    • Aidan Gillen as Stuart Allen Jones in Queer as Folk 2 (UK Series), written by Russell T. Davies
  • He's here, he's queer, I'm buying him a beer!
  • If I came out, it would kill Mother. ...I'll do it tonight.
    • Oscar Wildcat, in Queer Duck
  • I always get the feeling that when lesbians look at me, they're thinking, "That's why I'm not a heterosexual."
  • Haven't you noticed that John is just a little bit... festive?
  • Let Them Marry.Why shouldn't They be as Miserable as the Rest of Us?
  • -Mr Garrison, can I ask you a question?
-Of course, Stanley. What is it?
-What's a - homosexual?
-Oh. Well, Stanley, I guess you came to the right person. Sit down. ...Stanley, gay people - well, gay people are evil. Evil right down to their cold black hearts, which pump not blood like yours and mine, but rather a thick vomitous oil that oozes through their rotten veins and clots in their pea-sized brains, which becomes the cause of their Naziesque patterns of violent behaviour. Do you understand?
-I guess.
-Good. I'm glad we could have this little talk, Stanley. Now you go outside and practice football like a good little heterosexual.
  • This news [of the government's refusal to allow same-sex marriages] has sent shock waves through the gay community of the Northwest Territories. We go to him now.
    • This Hour Has 22 Minutes


  • For death, or life, or toil,
To thee myself I join;
I take thy hand in mine,
With thee I would grow old.
    • From an ancient Chinese male-male wedding ceremony
  • Cruise the Straits with BC Ferries
    • BC Ferries advertising slogan, 1980s
    • New York Post headline, c. 1968

Real people

  • Vaginas always scared me. I came out of one and I'm sure as shit not going back into one.
    • Darzie Power
  • I played at clubs in Washington, D.C. to these wonderful gay men. They taught me how to become a woman.
  • Of course we let lesbians and gays march in our St. Patrick's Day
Parade. What would Ireland be without its fairies?"
  • Sarah Jane Moore got life for missing Gerald Ford.
    • Anonymous reporter, after Dan White got two years for assassinating Harvey Milk and George Moscone, quoted in Randy Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street
  • Thank God, now we can sodomize again!
    • Anonymous Florentine official, during riots against the influence of the monk Savonarola
  • I'm not saying that the religious right is wrong for condemning homosexuals and terrorizing them for thousands of years. I'm just saying...FUUUUCK YOU.
  • Yes, I am Dick Armey. And if there is a 'dick army,' Barney Frank would want to join up.
  • People...do not believe there can be tears between men. They think we are only playing at a game and that we do it to shock them.
  • Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?
  • Being gay is a spectacular irrelevance to getting on with your life.
  • Wouldn't it be great if you could only get AIDS by giving money to television preachers?
  • I don't think we're born self-hating. It's how we respond to bullies. And if any place in the world grows tough bullies, it's this country. They're our chief export. George Bush cut his bully teeth on people like me.
    • Kate Bornstein
  • According to the Gospels, Jesus did not devote any serious time or effort denouncing either abortion or homosexuality though he did devote serious time and effort denouncing the rich along with self-righteous religious hypocrites. Maybe today's Religious Right could learn a few things about prioritizing from Jesus?
    • E.T.B.
  • Alexander the Great? Another gay in the military.
    • E.T.B.
  • [Male Heckler] Are you a lesbian?! [Cameron] Are you my alternative?
    • Rhona Cameron
  • I discovered my own gayness, I realized it would make me an outsider in society. I began to identify with other groups of outsiders, people who had no control over their own lives. I identified with women in their struggles against oppression, with the working class in their struggles against exploitation and with the Third World in their struggles against imperialism and poverty.
    • Bob Cant
  • As everyone knows, a fag is a homosexual gentleman who has just left the room.
  • The Religious Right dislikes both abortions and homosexuality. But who has fewer abortions than gays?
  • It's always Leviticus. "Thou shalt not lie with man as with woman." Well, I don't.
    • Maggie Cassella
  • Why be nice to ignorant hicks? My advice to all of you gay boys that live in a horrible town is: be a BITCH and you'll never be afraid of walking down the hall. Be strong. Never let stupid people make you ashamed of who you are!
    • Chad, quoted in XY Magazine
  • Okay, conservatives have changed my mind. Allowing gay marriage, I have been persuaded, will destroy the family, weaken Western civilization, turn America into Sodom and Gomorrah, increase the trade deficit with Japan, endanger the family farm and promote tooth decay. The impeccable logic of conservative opponents is simply too powerful to deny.
    • Stephen Chapman
  • He did Carol Channing better than I did.
    • Carol Channing, on drag queen Charles Pierce
  • Saturday night I at last was taken into the arms of love again! Seldom have I had such affection offered me. An athlete - very strong - 20 only - dark-haired - distantly Bohemian. I hope it will last a while - I deserve a little kindness and he was so kind!
  • John Paulk, the poster boy for the ex-gays... was found in a gay bar in Washington. He said he was there to use the bathroom. But nobody thought to ask him for what.
  • When asked, "Shall I tell my mother I'm gay?", I reply, "Never tell your mother anything."
  • A lifetime of disco music is a high price to pay for one's sexuality.
  • If you're going to be gay, you might as well be fabulous. It's a birthright.
    • Frank deCaro
  • Did you read Holly Near's book? Let me save you the trouble. This is the most exciting sentence in the book: 'I feel like a lesbian when I'm making love to a woman.' Good, Holly! Well, the major difference between me and Holly Near is that I feel like a lesbian when I am BREATHING!
  • He looked me right in the face and said, 'You fucking bulldyke!' And I thought to myself, 'Oooh, what a smart man! Why, I'll bet he took one look at me and knew I was white, too!'
  • I'm at West Virginia University to do a show, right, and they've done all this fucking publicity about it... So when I get to my show, who's waiting for me but five hundred Christian protestors with great big signs. 'Lea DeLaria is going to hell.' Not generic 'gay is not good;' 'Lea DeLaria is going to hell.' Which is what I need five hundred strangers to tell me, like twelve years of Catholic fucking school wasn't enough, right?!
  • My mother said to me, 'Why do you have to call yourself a dyke? Why can't you be a nice lesbian?' 'Because I'm not a nice lesbian, I'm a big dyke!'
  • They are preserving the sanctity of marriage, so that two gay men who've been together for twenty-five years can't get married, but a guy can still get drunk in Vegas and marry a hooker at the Elvis chapel! The sanctity of marriage is saved!
  • What do you mean, you 'don't believe in homosexuality?' It's not like the Easter Bunny; your belief isn't necessary.
  • In any marginalized community, whether people identify themselves or not affects us all.
  • Somedays the line I walk turns out to be straight; other days the line tends to deviate.
  • It's you straights who have all the special rights. You straights have the special right to marry. You straights have the special right to be in the military, go out on a date with the person you love, talk about it the next day, and not get kicked out for it. You straights have the special right not to be prevented from visiting your loved one in the hospital.... To say that gays and lesbians are asking for special rights is the height of lunacy.
    • Elijah Elders
  • I knew I was gay when I came out of my mothers womb. I looked back and thought 'I'm never going up one of those again'.
  • If we're going to be killing people for their lifestyle, you or I may end up being dead tomorrow.
    • Ron Gaither, uncle of fatal gay-bashing victim Billy Jack Gaither
  • Our country is founded on a sham: our forefathers were slave-owning rich white guys who wanted it their way. So when I see the American flag, I go, 'Oh my God, you're insulting me.' That you can have a gay parade on Christopher Street in New York, with naked men and women on a float cheering, 'We're here, we're queer!' -- that's what makes my heart swell. Not the flag, but a gay naked man or woman burning the flag. I get choked up with pride.
  • Anyone who thinks that love needs to be cured has not experienced enough of it in their own lives.
    • Joan Garry
  • Years and years I have fear'd the shame
And the cruel speech of the world.
But over our heads in the darkness now
Is the banner of love unfurl'd,
(Lean closer, cling to me, kiss my lips,
Our love can despise the world.)
    • Gabriel Gillet
  • Love knows no gender.
    • Hugh Goldring
  • The more [gay people] are portrayed on screen as understandable human beings, the more threatening they seem off-screen. ...No one - whether supportive about gay rights or not - should confuse the fantasy tolerance of television with a culture in which gays are treated as equal citizens.
    • Richard Goldstein
  • We do not recruit. We can only impress.
    • Marga Gomez
  • Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.
    • Butch Hancock
  • One wedding cake designer I called said, 'We specialize in elaborate beautiful white flowers all over the cake.' So I said, 'I should tell you, this is for two men.' There was a slight pause and she said, 'I can put little baseball players all over it?'
    • Mark Harris
  • If AIDS is God's punishment for sex, why is a little piece of rubber so effective in avoiding it?
    • Rev. Jim Huber
  • This redneck came up to me and said, "What do you want me to call you? Queer? Fag? Homo?"
I said, "You can call me... Paul Jacek."
    • Paul Jacek
  • Men and women, women and men. It will never work.
  • My mother tells people, 'My daughter... is a comedian... and a lesbian. Both... at the same time.'
    • Elvira Kurt
  • Okay, yes, there is a homosexual agenda, okay? There's just two things on it:
1) don't get killed;
2) a decent brunch. That's it!
    • Elvira Kurt
  • If you remove all the homosexuals and homosexual influences from what is generally regarded as American culture, you are pretty much left with Let's Make a Deal.
  • There is probably no heterosexual alive who is not preoccupied with his latent homosexuality.
  • Doy gracias a Dios por ser gay.
Translation: "I give thanks to God that I'm gay."
    • Fr. José Mantero
  • I wrote [a National Coming Out Day card] for myself... Mine would go,
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm a lesbian,
And so is Aunt Phyllis.
    • Sabrina Matthews
  • Someday, I want to go to this town in Michigan called Dyke. Every year, all the women on their way to the Michigan Womyn's Festival make a pilgrimage to Dyke to have their picture taken at the Dyke city-limits sign... Apparently, the citizens of Dyke don't appreciate this yearly pilgrimage... If they don't want us to visit, just change the name of the town. Change it to "Uptight Straight White Guy" - we'll stay away.
    • Sabrina Matthews
  • I was performing at a comedy club and when I said I'm a lesbian, a guy in the audience yelled out, "Can I watch?" I said, "Watch me what? Fix my car?"
    • Sabrina Matthews
  • It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain.
    • Francis Maude
  • I love Christians who tell me something sweet and Christian, like, 'You're going to hell!' It's not hard for me to picture gay hell. 'The scorching wind from the fiery pit messed up my hair, there's no mousse? No blow-dryer? This is hell! There's nothing on TV but Hee Haw. My furniture is from Levitz! I'm living in a trailer park! Aaaah!'
    • Danny McWilliams
  • Wherever it has been established that it is shameful to be involved with sexual relationships with men, that is due to evil on the part of the rulers, and to cowardice on the part of the governed.
  • [On whether ex-gays are really straight] Just because you sleep in a garage doesn't make you a car.
    • Gary Rimar
  • I read that a big earthen dyke crumbled in Utah. Don't laugh. I knew her.
    • Karen Ripley
  • I thank God for creating gay men. Because if it wasn't for them, us fat women would have no one to dance with.
  • I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven inch heels, four foot wigs, and skintight dresses?
    • RuPaul
  • I spent my whole childhood going, "Oh my God... All right, fine. I may be attracted to women, but I can't be a lesbian. I like Laura Ashley polished cottons! And I throw like a girl! And I cry for no apparent reason all the time! Oh my God, I'm a gay man!"
    • Vickie Shaw
  • The church says we should get down on our knees and repent! Well, excuse me, but didn't being on my knees cause most of my sins?
    • Bob Smith
  • Gays started with the Renaissance. It was probably two gay guys at a party saying, 'Wouldn't it be fun to make religious paintings of hot naked guys, and sell them to churches? Oh, that would be a hoot!'
    • Bob Smith
  • I came out to my family on Thanksgiving. I said, mom, please pass the gravy to a homosexual. She passed it to my father. A terrible scene ensued.
    • Bob Smith
  • I came out to my sister, and she said, 'Oh my god, you're gay! Are you seeing a psychologist?' I answered, 'No, I'm seeing a schoolteacher.'
    • Bob Smith
  • I was raised Roman Catholic, and according to the Catholic Church it's okay to be homosexual, as long as you don't practice homosexuality. Which is interesting, because I think it's okay to be Catholic, so long as you don't practice Catholicism.
    • Bob Smith
  • My mom blames California for me being a lesbian. 'Everything was fine until you moved out there...' That's right, Mom; we have mandatory lesbianism and the Gay Patrol busted me, and I was given seven days to add a significant amount of flannel to my wardrobe...
    • Coley Sohn
  • You know, they say that marriage is reserved for only a man and a woman... I of all people know that simply does not work.
  • [Pinky] said that I was a fairy, a weak person, and maybe didn't even deserve to live. OK, I'm not sure, but I think this means that me and Pinky, we're not best friends anymore.
    • Trevor
  • The pope runs all over the world condemning homosexuality, dressed in high drag. Now I ask you!
    • Robin Tyler
  • If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work. 'Hello, can't work today. Still queer.'
    • Robin Tyler
  • If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work. "Hello. Can't work today, still queer."
    • Robin Tyler
  • In high school, while your children were doing what kids that ages should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a life without dignity. You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse.
    • Sharon Underwood
  • I am comfortable with being gay. I'm just not comfortable with people knowing.
    • Unknown
  • If AIDS is a divine punishment does that make lesbians God's chosen people?
    • Unknown
  • The gay rights movement is not a party. It is not a lifestyle. It is not a hair style. It is not a fad or a fringe or a sickness. It is not about sin or salvation. The gay rights movement is an integral part of the American promise of freedom.
  • Dear Abby: [upset because a gay couple has just moved in across the street.]
How can we improve the quality of the neighbourhood?
You could move.
    • Abigail Van Buren
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that homosexuality "is a lifestyle I don't agree with." This is a trope you hear from the religious right a good deal... but it is a very odd thing to say. No one speaking rationally says, "I don't agree with the Pacific Ocean" or "I don't agree with the Grand Canyon."
    • Paul Varnell
  • I said some things about homosexuals, particularly in the 60s when reporting about the popularity of discotheques, that I regret having said. Times are changing and we are learning that it is not a sickness, and frankly I never thought that it was. I said what was said to me as fact at that time. It's not a fact. It was damned stupid. We're all learning.
    • Barbara Walters
  • "How did you first know you were gay? What did you feel?" "Apparently, another girl."
    • Suzanne Westenhoefer
  • I didn't choose to be gay; I was chosen! Are you serious? I get to be queer? Oh, thank you. I didn't even fill out the application, I am so thrilled. No, I did. I bought the ticket, I scratched it off... Look, I'm a lesbian! I won!
    • Suzanne Westenhoefer
  • If they don't want us in the military, then I say that straight men can't be florists and straight women can't be UPS drivers.
  • It is for the teenagers who can be hours away from slitting their wrists that I am out.
    • Courtney Wilson


  • I feel sorry for Homophobic people in the U.S.A. because they all hide every time they look in the mirror.
    • Alex Carter
  • Victory [over homophobia] may require five or maybe 20 years. Yet I have no doubt that “don’t ask, don’t tell” and same-sex adoption bans will be as unspeakable and inexplicable to my grandchildren as counting a slave as three-fifths of a human being.


  • “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.”
  • “If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nailbiters.”
  • “If homosexuality was the normal way, God would have made Adam and Bruce"
  • Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.
    • Paul Cameron, commenting on AIDS in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (March 1985)
  • It probably would be a lot cheaper to just exterminate male homosexuals.
    • Paul Cameron, discussing concentration camps for AIDS victims in an interview with Dawn Stover published in Forum Magazine (November 1985)
  • Homosexuality is a crime against humanity.
    • Paul Cameron, in a pamphlet titled Criminality, Social Disruption and Homosexuality, quoted by Mark E. Pietrzyk, in News-Telegraph (10 March 1995)
  • I think that actually AIDS is a guardian. That is I think it was sent, if you would, about forty years ago, to destroy Western civilization unless we change our sexual ways. So it's really a Godsend.
    • Paul Cameron, as quoted by Mark E. Pietrzyk, in News-Telegraph (10 March 1995)
  • Don't use the word "gay" unless it's an acronym for "Got Aids Yet?"
  • AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah's chariotters.
  • AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
  • Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches.
  • The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian.
  • The promotion of homosexuality would lead to the eventual destruction of the human race.
  • I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts.
  • If you got to castrate your miserable self with a piece of rusty barb wire, do it.
  • Hear the word of the LORD, America, fag-enablers are worse than the fags themselves, and will be punished in the everlasting lake of fire!
  • You telling these miserable, Hell-bound, bath house-wallowing, anal-copulating fags that God loves them!? You have bats in the belfry!
  • American Veterans are to blame for the fag takeover of this nation. They have the power in their political lobby to influence the zeitgeist, get the fags out of the military, and back in the closet where they belong!
  • Not only is homosexuality a sin, but anyone who supports fags is just as guilty as they are. You are both worthy of death.
  • [Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers.
  • If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [Gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything!
  • Oh, you're one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it.
    • Michael Savage (Savage Nation)
  • I want to coin a phrase here, and I don't mind help. What would be the communication version of "ethnic cleansing?" Because that's what in particular the homosexual activists try to do.
    • Laura Schlessinger
  • AIDS is a racial disease of Jews and Niggers, and fortunately it is wiping out the queers. I guess God hates queers for several reasons. There is one big reason to be against queers and that is because every time some white boy is seduced by a queer into becoming a queer, means his white bloodline has run out.
    • J. B. Stoner
  • Sodomy is a graver sin than murder. – Unless there is life there can be no murder.
    • David Trosch


  • He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win.
We drew a circle that took him in.
    • Edwin Markham
  • Every friend loves, but not all men
Who love are friends. You'll find this true,
Then, whomsoever you may love,
Be his friend too.
    • Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial)
  • A double brightness burned me: rays
There were which travelled in the gaze
Of that boy's eyes, the beams of Love;
And others from the Sun above.
    • Meleager
  • And the day came when the risk it took to remain closed in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
  • Sweet boy, gentle boy,
Don't be ashamed, you are mine forever:
The same rebellious fire is in both of us,
We are living one life.
I am not afraid of mockery:
Between us, the two have become one,
We are precisely like a double nut
Under a single shell.
  • When she left, she wept
a great deal; she said to me, "This parting must be
endured, Sappho. I go unwillingly."
I said, "Go, and be happy
but remember (you know
well) whom you leave shackled by love."



  • [Advising his daughter on how to discourage a boy who likes her] "Six simple words: 'I'm not gay, but I'll learn'."
    • Homer Simpson
  • I like my beers cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming.
    • Homer Simpson
  • Time to get Homer-erotic!
    • Homer Simpson
  • Of course! No one would marry the Earl of Doncaster! Except perhaps the Duke of Beauford.
    • Prince Edmund Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), trying to avoid his wedding, Blackadder
  • I'm the only gay in the village.
    • Daffyd (Matt Lucas), Little Britain
  • [to Dr. Laura] Get off the gay man's back and leave some room for me!
    • Queer Duck
  • Hetrosexuality doesn't really exist, folk are only straight by default!
    • Unknown
  • Any one that insults a homosexual or bisexual, is only hiding their own fear... that their so called "Friends" will hate them for it!
    • UnKnown


  • [Ross browses ex-wife Carol and her partner Susan's apartment.]
Ross: Wow, you guys sure have a lot of books about bein' a lesbian.
Susan: Well, you know, you have to take a course. Otherwise, they don't let you do it.

  • Jovi: You're fired, sacked, canned, you're getting the boot, your show is cancelled.
Cyanne: You can't fire me, you're not my boss dyke!
Jovi: My friend is, and you can't use people like you use drugs. Now go get help and shake all those demons out of your head. When you're better, then I'm willing to meet you half way, but until then get out. And dykes are for the Dutch, I'm a Lessssssbian, get it straight. (to Marisa) Can I have a double Espresso?
    • Metropia; played by Zainab Musa, Kristin Fairlie, and Tracy Michailidis in order of mention

  • Jack: For your information, most people who meet me do not know that I am gay.
Will: Jack, blind and deaf people know you're gay. Dead people know you're gay.
Jack: Grace, when you first met me, did you know I was gay?
Grace: My dog knew.
    • Will and Grace; played by Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, and Debra Messing in order of mention


  • Aldrich, Robert and Wotherspoon, Gary (Eds.) (2001). Who's Who in Contemporary Gay & Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day. New York: Routledge. ISBN 041522974X.

See also

External links

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