Homosexuality refers to romantic and sexual attraction or sexual behavior between people of same sex or gender. This is not a disease or disorder but an orientation. Homosexuality is not new. It dates back to Greeks. Once considered unnatural or crime against humanity, homosexuality is now accepted as natural and normal. Research has suggested genetic and early uterine environmental factors as the basis. About 16 – 20% people have same sex attraction or behavior during their lifetime. Though not all of these progress to full scale homosexuality. Commonly males are called gay and females as lesbians. They can live a normal life as others and have committed relationship.
The homosexual orientation defines how a person is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling relationships. In addition to sexual behavior between partners, this includes nonsexual physical affection, shared goals, shared values, mutual support, and commitment.
Coming out of closet is a phrase that refers to one’s disclosure of sexual orientation. First phase of this is self realization, second phase is telling others and third phase is living openly. This can be stressful and can face hurdles due to attitude of close ones. The term outing is used to publicly reveal a person’s sexual orientation by others.
Once a person realize own orientation, he or she can go through many emotions. There can be
- Shame and embarrassment
Due to more social acceptance and awareness, more people now accept own orientation without huge emotional turmoil. But they can still face challenges when it comes to living a normal life:
- Opposition in family and by friends
- Discrimination at work place
- Ridicule in society
- Difficulty in finding right partner
- Challenges of a safe future
The good thing is that society is more open. Laws are in favor. And people’s attitude is more positive and respectful
Research and studies
Research has now proved it as normal. In first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by American Psychiatric Association in 1952, homosexuality was included as disorder. Later in 1973 it was removed. Similarly WHO listed homosexuality as illness in ICD 9 but removed in ICD 10.
Research favors genetic and early embryonic environmental factors.
According to American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association
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.
According to Royal College of Psychiatrists
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.
According to American Academy of Pediatrics
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.
The Kinsey scale which is also called the Heterosexual Homosexual Rating Scale, describes a person’s sexual history or episodes of sexual activity at a given time. The scale is from 0 meaning exclusively heterosexual to 6 meaning exclusively homosexual. Report also use X for asexuality.
Family and parenting
Homosexuals are as fit as heterosexuals in making a family and as parents. Their children can be either homosexual or heterosexual like any other child.
There are no major or different health problems than those seen in heterosexuals. The psychological issues like denial, guilt or depression are mostly due to society attitude.