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Societal attitudes toward homosexuality

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Title: Societal attitudes toward homosexuality  
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Societal attitudes toward homosexuality

Pew Global Attitudes Project 2013: "Which one of these comes closer to your opinion, number 1 or number 2?: #1 – Homosexuality should be accepted by society, #2 – Homosexuality should not be accepted by society". Percentage of responders who were in favor of #1:
  No data

Societal attitudes toward homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods, as do attitudes toward sexual desire, activity and relationships in general. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality, while others may disapprove of such activities in part.[1] As with heterosexual behaviour, different sets of prescriptions and proscriptions may be given to individuals according to their gender, age, social status and/or social class.

Many of the world's cultures have, in the past, considered procreative sex within a recognized relationship to be a sexual norm — sometimes exclusively so, and sometimes alongside norms of same-sex love, whether passionate, intimate or sexual. Some sects within some religions, especially those influenced by the Abrahamic tradition, have censured homosexual acts and relationships at various times, in some cases implementing severe punishments.[2] Many countries have also seen rising support for LGBT rights in modern times (including the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, and other such rights).

Since the 1970s, much of the world has become more accepting of same-sex sexuality between partners of legal age.[3] The Pew Research Center's 2013 Global Attitudes Survey "finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, most of Latin America, and parts of Asia but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia". The survey also finds "acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people's lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society. Age is also a factor in several countries, with younger respondents offering far more tolerant views than older ones. And while gender differences are not prevalent, in those countries where they are, women are consistently more accepting of homosexuality than men."[4]


  • Difficulties interpreting homosexuality in different cultures 1
  • Measuring attitudes toward homosexuality 2
  • Law 3
    • Application of Islamic law 3.1
  • Religion 4
  • Corporate attitudes 5
  • Anti-homosexual attitudes 6
    • Conservatism 6.1
    • Psychology and attempts at modification of sexual orientation 6.2
    • Stereotypes 6.3
    • Blame for plagues and disasters 6.4
    • Association with child abuse and pedophilia 6.5
      • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association 6.5.1
    • Opposition to "promotion of homosexuality" 6.6
  • Violence 7
  • Anti-gay rhetoric 8
  • Regions and historical periods 9
    • Ancient Greece 9.1
    • Ancient Rome 9.2
    • Ancient China 9.3
    • Ancient Israel 9.4
    • Early Christianity 9.5
    • Christian Roman Empire/Byzantine Empire 9.6
    • Medieval Europe 9.7
    • New Guinea 9.8
    • Russia 9.9
    • Arab world 9.10
    • Netherlands 9.11
    • United States 9.12
      • McCarthy era 9.12.1
      • LGBT civil rights movement 9.12.2
      • Statistics 9.12.3
  • See also 10
  • References 11

Difficulties interpreting homosexuality in different cultures

Contemporary scholars caution against applying modern Western assumptions about sex and gender to other times and places; what looks like same-sex sexuality to a Western observer may not be "same-sex" or "sexual" at all to the people engaging in such behaviour. For example, in the Bugis cultures of Sulawesi, a female who dresses and works in a masculine fashion and marries a woman is seen as belonging to a third gender;[5] to the Bugis, their relationship is not homosexual (see sexual orientation and gender identity). In the case of 'Sambia' (a pseudonym) boys in New Guinea who ingest the semen of older males to aid in their maturation,[6] it is disputed whether this is best understood as a sexual act at all.[7] In recent times, scholars have argued that notions of a homosexual and heterosexual identity, as they are currently known in the Western world, only began to emerge in Europe in the mid to late 19th century.[8][9] Behaviors that today would be widely regarded as homosexual, at least in the West, enjoyed a degree of acceptance in around three quarters of the cultures surveyed in Patterns of Sexual Behavior (1951).[10]

Measuring attitudes toward homosexuality

Pew Global Attitudes Project 2013: "Which one of these comes closer to your opinion, number 1 or number 2?: #1 – Homosexuality should be accepted by society, #2 – Homosexuality should not be accepted by society." source
Country #1 #2
North America
Canada 80% 14%
United States 60% 33%
Spain 88% 11%
Germany 87% 11%
Czech Republic 80% 16%
France 77% 22%
Britain 76% 18%
Italy 74% 18%
Greece 53% 40%
Poland 42% 46%
Russia 16% 74%
Middle East
Israel[a] 40% 47%
Lebanon 18% 80%
Turkey 9% 78%
Palestinian ter. 4% 93%
Egypt 3% 95%
Jordan 3% 97%
Tunisia 2% 94%
Australia 79% 18%
Philippines 73% 26%
Japan 54% 36%
South Korea 39% 59%
China 21% 57%
Malaysia 9% 86%
Indonesia 3% 93%
Pakistan 2% 87%
Latin America
Argentina 74% 21%
Chile 68% 24%
Mexico 61% 30%
Brazil 60% 36%
Venezuela 51% 42%
Peru 51% 43%
Bolivia 43% 49%
El Salvador 34% 62%
South Africa 32% 61%
Kenya 8% 90%
Uganda 4% 96%
Ghana 3% 96%
Senegal 3% 96%
Nigeria 1% 98%

^a Survey of Israel oversample Arabs.[11]

From the 1970s, academics have researched attitudes held by individuals toward lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, and the social and cultural factors that underlie such attitudes. Numerous studies have investigated the prevalence of acceptance and disapproval of homosexuality, and have consistently found correlates with various demographic, psychological, and social variables. For example, studies (mainly conducted in the United States) have found that heterosexuals with positive attitudes towards homosexuality are more likely to be female, white, young, non-religious, well-educated, politically liberal or moderate, and have close personal contact with out homosexuals.[12] They are also more likely to have positive attitudes towards other minority groups[13] and are less likely to support traditional gender roles.[14] Several studies have also suggested that heterosexual females' attitudes towards gay men are similar to those towards lesbians, and some (but not all) have found that heterosexual males have a more positive attitude toward lesbians.[14][15][16] Herek (1984) found that heterosexual females tended to exhibit equally positive or negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. The heterosexual males, however, tended to respond more negatively, or unfavorably, to gay men than lesbians.[17]

Social psychologists such as Gregory Herek have examined underlying motivations for homophobia (hostility toward lesbians and gays), and cultural theorists have noted how portrayals of homosexuality often center around stigmatized phenomena such as AIDS, pedophilia, and gender variance. The extent to which such portrayals are stereotypes is disputed.

Contemporary researchers have measured attitudes held by heterosexuals toward gay men and lesbians in a number of different ways.[18]

Certain populations are also found to accept homosexuality more than others. In the United States, African-Americans are generally less tolerant of homosexuality than European or Hispanic Americans.[19] However, recent polls after President Barack Obama's public support of same-sex marriage shift attitudes to 59% support among African Americans, 60% among Latinos and 50 percent among White Americans.[20] Israelis were found to be the most accepting of homosexuality among Middle Eastern nations and Israeli laws and culture reflect that. According to a 2007 poll, a strong majority of Israeli Jews say they would accept a gay child and go on with life as usual.[21] A 2013 Haaretz poll found that most of the Arab and Haredi sector saw homosexuality negatively, while the majority of secular and traditional Jews say they support equal rights for gay couples.[22]

Much less research has been conducted into societal attitudes toward bisexuality.[23] What studies do exist suggest that the attitude of heterosexuals toward bisexuals mirrors their attitude toward homosexuals,[24] and that bisexuals experience a similar degree of hostility, discrimination, and violence relating to their sexual orientation as do homosexuals.[25]

Research (mainly conducted in the United States) show that people with more permissive attitudes on sexual orientation issues tend to be younger, well-educated, and politically liberal. Tolerant attitudes toward homosexuality and bisexuality have been increasing with time. A 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 48 percent of voters in the state of Delaware supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 47 were opposed and 5 percent were not sure.[26] 6 March 2011 poll by Lake Research Partners, showed that 62% in Delaware favor allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions, while 31% were opposed, and 7% were not sure.[27]


The legal status of homosexuality varies greatly around the world. Homosexual acts between consenting adults are known to be illegal in about 70 out of the 195 countries of the world.

Homosexual sex acts may be illegal, especially under sodomy laws, and where they are legal, the age of consent often differs from country to country. In some cases, homosexuals are prosecuted under vaguely worded "public decency" or morality laws. Some countries have special laws preventing certain public expressions of homosexuality.[28] Nations or subnational entities may have anti-discrimination legislation in place to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the workplace, housing, health services and education. Some give exemptions, allowing employers to discriminate if they are a religious organisation, or if the employee works with children.

Worldwide laws regarding homosexual relationships and expression
Restricted freedom of expression
Civil union, registered partnership or unregistered cohabitation
Unenforced penalty

Marriage recognized but not performed
Same-sex unions not recognized
Up to life in prison
Death penalty
Click on map to view an enlarged version where rings in various locations become visible. These indicate places with local or case-by-case applications of law.

Legal recognition of same-sex relationships also varies greatly. Legal privileges pertaining to different-sex relationships that may be extended to same-sex couples include parenting, adoption and access to reproductive technologies; immigration; spousal benefits for employees such as pensions, health funds and other services; family leave; medical rights, including hospital visitation, notification and power of attorney; inheritance when a partner dies without leaving a will; and social security and tax benefits. Same-sex couples without legal recognition may also lack access to domestic violence services, as well as mediation and arbitration over custody and property when relationships end. Some regions have laws specifically excluding same-sex couples from particular rights such as adoption.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to recognize same-sex marriage. Since then same-sex marriages were subsequently recognized in Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), Luxembourg (2015) and all jurisdictions in the United States (2015). In Slovenia and in Finland, same-sex marriage is to become effective in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Same-sex marriage is also recognized in two Mexican states, namely Quintana Roo and Coahuila, and the Mexican federal district of Mexico City. England, Wales and Scotland, constituent countries of the United Kingdom, have also legalized same-sex marriage but it remains illegal in Northern Ireland. Other legal recognition of same sex relationships (offering fewer benefits than marriage) include civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Application of Islamic law

On the other end of the spectrum, several countries impose the death penalty for homosexual acts, per the application of some interpretations of Shari'a law. As of 2015, these include Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Sudan, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, northern Nigeria and parts of Somalia.[29][30]

In Saudi Arabia, the maximum punishment for homosexuality is public execution. However, the government will use other punishments – e.g., fines, jail time, and [31]

Iran is perhaps the nation to execute the largest number of its citizens for homosexuality. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the Iranian government has executed more than 4,000 people charged with homosexual acts.[32]

Most international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime. Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violate the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Of the nations with a majority of Muslim inhabitants, many, even those with secular constitutions, continue to outlaw homosexuality, though only in a minority (Iran, Saudi Arabia,[33] Yemen,[34] and Afghanistan[35]) is it punishable by death. Of the countries where homosexuality is illegal, only Lebanon has an internal effort to legalize it.[36] Muslim countries where homosexuality is not criminalized include Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation by population, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kosovo and Albania.


As with social attitudes in general, religious attitudes towards homosexuality vary between and among religions and their adherents. Traditionalists among the world's major religions generally disapprove of homosexuality, and prominent opponents of social acceptance of homosexuality often cite religious arguments to support their views. Liberal currents also exist within most religions, and modern lesbian and gay scholars of religion sometimes point to a place for homosexuality among historical traditions and scriptures, and emphasise religious teachings of compassion and love.

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Islam, and various denominations of Christianity, traditionally forbid sexual relations between people of the same sex and teach that such behaviour is sinful. Religious authorities point to passages in the Qur'an,[37] the Old Testament[38] and the New Testament[39] for scriptural justification of these beliefs.

Among Indic religions (also known as Dharmic religions), including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, teachings regarding homosexuality are less clear. Unlike in western religions, homosexuality is rarely discussed. However, most contemporary religious authorities in the various Dharmic traditions view homosexuality negatively, and when it is discussed, it is discouraged or actively forbidden.[40] Ancient religious texts such as the Vedas often refer to people of a third gender, who are neither female nor male. Some see this third gender as an ancient parallel to modern western lesbian, gay, transgender and/or intersex identities. However, this third sex is usually negatively valued as a pariah class in ancient texts.[41] Ancient Hindu law books, from the first century onward, categorize non-vaginal sex (ayoni) as impure.[42] Same-sex sexuality and gender transformations are common among the Hindu pantheon of deities.

Among the Sinic religions of East Asia, including Confucianism, Chinese folk religion and Taoism, passionate homosexual expression is usually discouraged because it is believed to not lead to human fulfillment.[43]

A mythology of same-sex love can be found around the world.

Corporate attitudes

In some

  • Buijs, Laurens; Hekma, Gert; Willem Duyvendak, Jan (2011). As long as they keep away from me': The paradox of antigay violence in a gay-friendly country"'".  
  1. ^ Murray, Stephen O. (2000). Homosexualities. University of Chicago. 
  2. ^ a b Crompton, Louis (2003). Homosexuality and Civilization. Harvard University Press. 
  3. ^ Seth Faison (2 September 1997). "Door to Tolerance Opens Partway As Gay Life Is Emerging in China". The New York Times. p. A8. 
  4. ^ "The Global Divide on Homosexuality" (PDF). Pew Research Center. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Graham, Sharyn, Sulawesi's fifth gender, Inside Indonesia, April–June 2001.
  6. ^ Herdt G., Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea. New York: Rinehart and Winston, 1987
  7. ^ Leila J. Rupp, "Toward a Global History of Same-Sex Sexuality", Journal of the History of Sexuality 10 (April 2001): 287–302.
  8. ^ Katz, Jonathan Ned, The Invention of Heterosexuality Plume, 1996
  9. ^ Andrews, Walter and Kalpakli, Mehmet, The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society Duke University Press, 2005 pp. 11–12
  10. ^ Ford, C. S. & Beach, F. A. (1951). Patterns of Sexual Behavior. New York: Harper and Row.
  11. ^ The Global Divide on Homosexuality (PDF) (Report). Pew Research Center. 4 June 2013. p. 13. Retrieved 7 January 2015. Multi-stage cluster sample stratified by Israel’s six districts, urbanity, and socioeconomic status, with an oversample of Arabs 
  12. ^ Studies finding that heterosexual men usually exhibit more hostile attitudes toward gay men and lesbians than do heterosexual women:
    • Herek, G. M. (1994). "Assessing heterosexuals' attitudes toward lesbians and gay men". In B. Greene and G. M. Herek (Eds.) Psychological perspectives on lesbian and gay issues: Vol. 1 Lesbian and gay psychology: Theory, research, and clinical applications. Thousands Oaks, California: Sage.
    • Kite, M. E. (1984). "Sex differences in attitudes toward homosexuals: A meta-analytic review". Journal of Homosexuality 10 (1–2): 69–81.  
    • Morin, S.; Garfinkle, E. (1978). "Male homophobia". Journal of Social Issues 34 (1): 29–47.  
    • Thompson, E.; Grisanti, C.; Pleck, J. (1985). "Attitudes toward the male role and their correlates". Sex Roles 13 (7/8): 413–427.  
    For other correlates, see:
    • Larson; et al. (1980). "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Homosexuality". The Journal of Sex Research 16: 245–257.   Category:CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al.)
    • Herek, G (1988). "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men". The Journal of Sex Research 25: 451–477.  
    • Kite, M. E.; Deaux, K. (1986). "Attitudes toward homosexuality: Assessment and behavioral consequences". Basic and Applied Social Psychology 7: 137–162.  
    • Haddock, G.; Zanna, M. P.; Esses, V. M. (1993). "Assessing the structure of prejudicial attitudes: The case of attitudes toward homosexuals". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65: 1105–1118.  
    See also: Lewis, Gregory B., "Black–White Differences in Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Gay Rights", Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 67, Number 1, pp. 59–78
  13. ^ Herek, G. M. (1991). "Stigma, prejudice, and violence against lesbians and gay men". In: J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich (Eds.), Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy (pp. 60–80). Newbury Park, Califorinia: Sage.
  14. ^ a b Kyes, K. B.; Tumbelaka, L. (1994). "Comparison of Indonesian and American college students' attitudes toward homosexuality". Psychological Reports 74: 227–237.  
  15. ^ Kite, M. E. (1984). "Sex differences in attitudes toward homosexuals: A meta-analytic review". Journal of Homosexuality 10 (1–2): 69–81.  
  16. ^ Millham, J.; San Miguel, C. L.; Kellogg, R. (1976). "A factor-analytic conceptualization of attitudes toward male and female homosexuals". Journal of Homosexuality 2 (1): 3–10.  
  17. ^ Herek, G. M. (1984). "Beyond 'homophobia': A social psychological perspective on attitudes toward lesbians and gay men". Journal of Homosexuality 10 (1/2): 1–21.  
  18. ^ Commonly used scales include those designed by Herek, G. (1988), Larson et al. (1980), Kite, M. E., & Deaux, K. (1986), and Haddock et al. (1993)
  19. ^ Janell L. Carroll. Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Wadsworth Publishing. 
  20. ^ "New Poll Shows Dramatic Shifts in Public Opinion of Gay Marriage Post-Obama Announcement".  
  21. ^ Kobi Nahshoni (2007-07-07). "Most Israelis would accept a gay child".  
  22. ^ Ho, Spencer (15 December 2013). "Poll: 70% of Israelis support recognition for gays". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  23. ^ Herek, Gregory M. Heterosexuals' attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the United States, Journal of Sex Research, Nov, 2002. online
  24. ^
    • Ochs, R. (1996). "Biphobia: It goes more than two ways". In: B. A. Firestein (Ed.), Bisexuality: The psychology and politics of an invisible minority (pp. 217–239). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage
    • Rust, P. C. (2000). "Bisexuality: A contemporary paradox for women". Journal of Social Issues 56 (2): 205–221.  
    • Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., & Pryor, D. W. (1994). Dual attraction: Understanding bisexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Mohr, J. J.; Rochlen, A. B. (1999). "Measuring attitudes regarding bisexuality in lesbian, gay male, and heterosexual populations". Journal of Counseling Psychology 46: 353–369.  
  25. ^
    • Paul, J. P., & Nichols, M. (1988). "'Biphobia' and the construction of a bisexual identity". In: M. Shernoff & W. Scott (Eds.), The sourcebook on lesbian/gay health care (pp. 142–147). Washington, DC: National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation.
    • Ochs, R. (1996). "Biphobia: It goes more than two ways". In: B. A. Firestein (Ed.), Bisexuality: The psychology and politics of an invisible minority (pp. 217–239). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage
    • Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., & Pryor, D. W. (1994). Dual attraction: Understanding bisexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Herek, Gillis, and Cogan (1999) found that 15% of bisexual women (n = 190) and 27% of bisexual men (n = 191) had experienced a crime against their person or property because of their sexual orientation. compared to 19% of lesbians (n = 980) and 28% of gay men (n = 898). (Gillis, J. R., & Cogan, J. C. (1999). Psychological sequelae of hate crime victimization among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 945–951.)
    • Note: the Kaiser Family Foundation (2001) found that bisexuals reported experiencing less prejudice and discrimination, while a 1997 study of heterosexual U.S undergraduate students found that they had more negative attitudes toward bisexuals than towards lesbians and gays. (Kaiser Family Foundation (2001), Inside-out: A report on the experiences of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in America and the public's view on issues and politics related to sexual orientation. ; Eliason, M. J. (1997). "The prevalence and nature of biphobia in heterosexual undergraduate students". Archives of Sexual Behavior 26: 317–326.  
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  33. ^ Labi, Nadya (2007-05-01). "The Kingdom in the Closet".  
  34. ^ Hildebrandt, Amber (2013-06-20). "Gay Yemeni Activist Facing Death Threats Seeks to Stay in Canada".  
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  36. ^ Helem
  37. ^
  38. 7:80–81
  39. 26:165
  40. ^
  41. Leviticus 18:22
  42. ^
  43. Romans 1:26–27
  44. I Timothy 1:9–10
  45. ^
    • See Buddhism and sexual orientation for pronouncements from Thai, Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist leaders.
    • The supreme body of Sikhism condemned homosexuality in 2005: World Sikh group against gay marriage bill, CBC News, Tuesday, 29 March 2005.
    • Hinduism is diverse, with no supreme governing body, but the majority of swamis opposed same-sex relationships in a 2004 survey, and a minority supported them. See: "Discussions on Dharma", by Rajiv Malik, in Hinduism Today. October–November–December 2004.
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    • Morgan, Kristen. "Recent Cases Show Homosexual Agenda's Threat to Religious Liberty". Concerned Women for America. 
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  68. ^ What do you think about the Tsunami that hit Asia on December 26, 2004? Was it God's wrath? What about the children who were killed?", Westboro Baptist Church FAQ""". Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. 
  69. ^ See Plato's Phaedrus and Lucian's Erotes.
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  88. ^ Cloud, John (13 January 2003). "Pedophilia".  
  89. ^ Sexual Exploitation of Children: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives (pp 106). University Press of the Pacific. 2002.  
  90. ^ a b Gregory M. Herek:Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation
  91. ^ Michael Lamb, Affidavit – United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (2009)
  92. ^ "Sexual orientation, homosexuality, and bisexuality". American Psychological Association. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  93. ^ Mirkin, Harris (1999). "The Pattern of Sexual Politics: Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia". J.Homosexuality 37 (2): 1–24.  
  94. ^ Hall, Louise (9 July 2014). "Judge compares incest and paedophilia to past attitudes towards homosexuality, claiming they might not be taboo anymore". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  95. ^ Stam, Paul (25 June 2014). "'"Stam calls pedophilia, sadism 'sexual orientations. WRAL. 
  96. ^ "Lithuania bans promotion of homosexuality". Jamaica Observer. 2009-06-17. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  97. ^ "Agnosticism / Atheism – Free Inquiry, Skepticism, Atheism, Religious Philosophy". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  98. ^ "Lithuania: Move to criminalise the promotion of homosexuality".  
  99. ^ "UK law which banned 'promotion of homosexuality' and obstructed HIV prevention passes into history".  
  100. ^ James Chapman (2009-02-07). "Cameron apologises to gays for Section 28: Maggie's law to ban promotion of homosexuality in schools was wrong, says Tory leader".  
  101. ^ "Morocco Targets Promotion of Homosexuality". Baltimore Gay Life. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  102. ^ "Uganda: ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ Bill Threatens Liberties and Human Rights Defenders". Common Dreams. 
  103. ^ Uganda Action Alert: Dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
  104. ^ "Lithuania MPs votes for gay promotion ban". Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  105. ^ "Russian region repeals gay propaganda law".  
  106. ^ Flintoff, Corey (18 June 2013). "Russian parliament may pass anti-gay law". NPR. 
  107. ^ "Russia: Federal laws introducing ban of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" (PDF).  
  108. ^ Trilling, David (16 October 2014). "Kyrgyzstan moves towards adoption of Russia's anti-gay law". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  109. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  110. ^ Kirby, David (24 November 1998). "From Soft Words To Hard Fists: When Antigay Rhetoric Fills The Air, Attacks On Gay Men and Lesbians Are Not Far Behind". The Advocate. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  111. ^ Murray, Stephen O., Homosexualities, University of Chicago 2000
  112. ^ Tsuneo Watanabe and Jun'ichi Iwata, The Love of the Samurai: A Thousand Years of Japanese Homosexuality, GMP Publishers Ltd, London 1989
  113. ^ Dover, 1978, passim
  114. ^ Plato, Symposium; 182c
  115. ^ "The Greeks – Homosexuality". 
  116. ^ Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality (Oxford University Press, 1999, 2010), p. 304, citing Saara Lilja, Homosexuality in Republican and Augustan Rome (Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1983), p. 122.
  117. ^ Craig A. Williams, Roman Homosexuality (Oxford University Press, 1999, 2010), p. 18 et passim; Marilyn Skinner, introduction to Roman Sexualities (Princeton University Press, 1997), p. 11.
  118. ^ Thomas A.J. McGinn, Prostitution, Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome (Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 326.
  119. ^ Catharine Edwards, "Unspeakable Professions: Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome", in Roman Sexualities, pp. 67–68.
  120. ^ Amy Richlin, The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor (Oxford University Press, 1983, 1992), p. 225, and "Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men", Journal of the History of Sexuality 3.4 (1993), p. 525.
  121. ^ Plutarch, Moralia 288a; Thomas Habinek, "The Invention of Sexuality in the World-City of Rome", in The Roman Cultural Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 39; Richlin, Not before Homosexuality, pp. 545–546.
  122. ^ Sara Elise Phang, Roman Military Service: Ideologies of Discipline in the Late Republic and Early Principate (Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 93. A passage in Polybius has sometimes been taken to mean that soldiers who engaged in same-sex acts with each other were subject to execution; soldiers were free to use male slaves for sex.
  123. ^ Catharine Edwards, The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome (Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 63–64. "Democratic" politicians in particular were accused by the conservative elite of effeminacy and passive homosexual behavior.
  124. ^ Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 20; Skinner, introduction to Roman Sexualities, p. 12; Amy Richlin, "The Meaning of irrumare in Catullus and Martial", Classical Philology 76.1 (1981) 40–46.
  125. ^ Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (Yale University Press, 1992, 2002, originally published 1988 in Italian), p. xii et passim.
  126. ^ Edwards, The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome, p. 71; Marguerite Johnson and Terry Ryan, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Society and Literature: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2005), p. 7. Scholars disagree as to whether the penalty for stuprum against a minor was death or a fine.
  127. ^ John Pollini, "The Warren Cup: Homoerotic Love and Symposial Rhetoric in Silver", Art Bulletin 81.1 (1999), p. 34.
  128. ^ Edward Gibbon , The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London, 1776), vol. 1, p. xii.
  129. ^ Thomas Habinek, "The Invention of Sexuality in the World-City of Rome", in The Roman Cultural Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 1ff., especially p. 31.
  130. ^ Juvenal, Satire 2; Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 28.
  131. ^ Suetonius Life of Nero 28–29; Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 279 ff.
  132. ^ Amy Richlin, "Sexuality in the Roman Empire", in A Companion to the Roman Empire (Blackwell, 2006), p. 346; Bernadette J. Brooten, Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 1.
  133. ^ Lucian, Dialogues of the Courtesans 5.
  134. ^ Jonathan Walters, "Invading the Roman Body: Manliness and Impenetrability in Roman Thought", pp. 30–31, and Pamela Gordon, "The Lover's Voice in Heroides 15: Or, Why Is Sappho a Man?", p. 283, both in Roman Sexualities; John R. Clarke, "Look Who's Laughing at Sex: Men and Women Viewers in the Apodyterium of the Suburban Baths at Pompeii", in The Roman Gaze: Vision, Power, and the Body (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), p. 168.
  135. ^ Martial 1.90 and 7.67, 50; Richlin, Sexuality in the Roman Empire, p. 347; John R. Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art 100 B.C.–A.D. 250 (University of California Press, 1998, 2001), p. 228.
  136. ^ Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, p. 228.
  137. ^ Kang, Wenqing. Obsession: male same-sex relations in China, 1900–1950, Hong Kong University Press. Page 2
  138. ^ Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. University of California Press. pp. 35–36.
  139. ^ Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. University of California Press. p. 56
  140. ^ Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. University of California Press. p. 77-78.
  141. ^ Kang, Wenqing. Obsession: male same-sex relations in China, 1900–1950, Hong Kong University Press. Page 3
  142. ^ "Homosexuality in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved 2010-04-09. KJV: (King James Version): "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." 
  143. ^ "Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, Gospel According to Saint John Chapter 8". 
  144. ^ "Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, First Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians Chapter 6". 
  145. ^ "Malalas". 
  146. ^ G. Legman "The Guilt of the Templars" (New York: Basic Books, 1966): 11.
  147. ^ Crompton, Louis, Homosexuality and Civilization, Harvard University, 2003. Page 187
  148. ^ Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia, Gilbert H. Herdt, ed. University of California Press, 1984
  149. ^ "Views on Homosexuality in Russian Society". the Levada Centre: The Yuriy Levada Analytical Centre. 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  150. ^ a b Buijs, et al., p. 649.
  151. ^ a b c Buijs, et al., p. 633.
  152. ^ a b c Buijs, et al., p. 634.
  153. ^ Buijs, et al., p. 635.
  154. ^ a b Buijs, et al., p. 648.
  155. ^ Healey, Dan. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent. University of Chicago Press. 2001. p. 209.
  156. ^ "BBC NEWS – Europe – Moscow's anti-gay protesters held". 
  157. ^ Cuordileone, K. A. "'Politics in an Age of Anxiety': Cold War Political Culture and the Crisis in American Masculinity, 1949–1960" The Journal of American History 87 (2) (2000): 515–545
  158. ^ Lerner, Max, The Unfinished Country: A Book of American Symbols Simon and Schuster, 1959 pp 313–316
  159. ^ Von Hoffman, Nicholas, Citizen Cohn Doubleday, 1988, pp 130
  160. ^ "Who's Gay? What's Straight? – Employment Of Homosexuals And Other Sex Perverts In Government (1950) – Assault On Gay America – FRONTLINE – PBS". 
  161. ^ Von Hoffman, Nicholas, Citizen Cohn Doubleday, 1988
  162. ^ " – Transcripts". 
  163. ^ Kimberly, Margaret, "Freedom Rider: Gay Rights, Civil Rights" at The Black Commentator
  164. ^ "NAACP endorses same-sex marriage, says it's a civil right". Los Angeles Times. 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  165. ^ Gray, Stephen. "'"Desmond Tutu: Anti-gay laws 'as wrong as apartheid. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  166. ^ "Desmond Tutu: All Are God's Children: On Including Gays and Lesbians in the Church and Society". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  167. ^ "New Surveys on Experiences of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals and the Public's Views Related to Sexual Orientation". Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  168. ^ "The American-Western European Values Gap".  
  169. ^ "New Surveys on Experiences of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals and the Public’s Views Related to Sexual Orientation – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation". 
  170. ^ Kludt, Tom (18 March 2013). "Poll:New High Of 58 Percent Support Same-Sex Marriage". Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  171. ^ "Gay marriage support hits new high in Post-ABC poll". The Washington Post. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  172. ^ McCarthy, Justin. "Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%". Gallup. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  173. ^ Lauren Markoe (8 November 2012). "Election 2012 Shows A Social Sea Change On Gay Marriage". The Huffington Post. Religion News Service. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 


See also

A separate study shows that, in the United States, the younger generation is more supportive of gay rights than average, and that there is growing support for LBGT rights. In 2011, for the first time, a majority of Americans supported the legalization of same-sex marriage.[167] In 2012, President Barack Obama voiced support for gay marriage, and in the November elections, three states voted to legalize gay marriage at the ballot box for the first time in history[168] while an attempt to restrict same-sex marriage was rejected.

In terms of support of public policies, according to the same 2001 study, 76% of the general public think that there should be laws to protect gay and lesbian people from job discrimination, 74% from housing discrimination, 73% for inheritance rights, 70% support health and other employee benefits for domestic partners, 68% support social security benefits, and 56% support GL people openly serving in the military. 73% favor sexual orientation being included in the hate crimes statutes. 39% support same-sex marriage, while 47% support civil unions, and 46% support adoption rights. A poll conducted in 2013 showed a record high of 58% of the American people supporting legal recognition for same-sex marriage.[165][166]

73% of the general public in the United States in 2001 stated that they knew someone who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.[162] This is the result of a steady increase from 1983 when there were 24%, 43% in 1993, 55% in 1998, or 62% in 2000. The percentage of the general public who say there is more acceptance of LGB people in 2001 than before was 64%. Acceptance was measured on many different levels — 87% of the general public would shop at a store owned by someone who is gay or lesbian but only 46% of the general public would attend a church or synagogue where a minister or rabbi is openly gay or lesbian. A 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that 60% of U.S. adults think homosexuality should be accepted.[163] Males and people over 65 years old are more likely to think it is wrong. Among people who don't know someone who is LGB, 61% think the behavior is wrong. Broken down by religion, 60% of evangelical Christians think that it is wrong, whereas 11% with no religious affiliation are against it. 57% of the general public think that gays and lesbians experience a lot of prejudice and discrimination, making it the group most believed to experience prejudice and discrimination. (Black Americans come in second at 42%).[164]


On the other, however, the Desmond Tutu, have made clear their support for LGBT rights and equate it with other human rights and civil rights movements.[159][160][161]

Some opponents of the movement say the term LGBT civil rights is a misnomer and an attempt to piggyback on the civil rights movement. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, for example, called the comparison of the civil rights movement to the "gay rights movement" a "disgrace to a black American". He said that "homosexuality is not a civil right. What we have is a bunch of radical homosexuals trying to attach their agenda to the struggles of the 1960s,"[157] while Jesse Jackson has said "Gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution." Gene Rivers, a Boston minister, has accused gays of "pimping" the civil rights movement.[158]

Attitudes toward homosexuality have changed in developed societies in the latter part of the 20th century, accompanied by a greater acceptance of gay people into both secular and religious institutions.

Beginning in the 20th century, LGBT rights organization.)

LGBT civil rights movement

There were other perceived connections between homosexuality and Communism. Wherry publicized fears that [155] McCarthy and Roy Cohn more often used the secrets of closeted gay American politicians as tools for blackmail than did foreign powers.[156]

The film Boys Beware (1961)

Senator Kenneth Wherry likewise attempted to invoke some connection between homosexuality and antinationalism as, for example, when he said in an interview with Max Lerner that "You can't hardly separate homosexuals from subversives." Later in that same interview he draws the line between patriotic Americans and gay men: "But look Lerner, we're both Americans, aren't we? I say, let's get these fellows [closeted gay men in government positions] out of the government."[153]

Senator Joseph McCarthy used accusations of homosexuality as a smear tactic in his anti-Communist crusade, often combining the Second Red Scare with the Lavender Scare. On one occasion, he went so far as to announce to reporters, "If you want to be against McCarthy, boys, you've got to be either a Communist or a cocksucker."[152]

In the 1950s in the United States, open homosexuality was taboo. Legislatures in every state had passed laws against homosexual behavior well before this, most notably anti-sodomy laws. Many politicians treated the homosexual as a symbol of antinationalism, construing masculinity as patriotism and marking the "unmasculine" homosexual as a threat to national security. This perceived connection between homosexuality and antinationalism was present in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia[150] as well, and appears in contemporary politics to this day.[62][151]

Senator Joseph McCarthy

McCarthy era

United States

They argued that "antigay violence is a remarkably grave problem" in that country.[146] They explained that members of five ethnic groups, Dutch-Antilleans, Dutch-Greeks, Dutch-Moroccans, Dutch-Serbs, Dutch-Turks, "are less accepting towards homosexuality, also when controlled for gender, age, level of education and religiosity".[149] They also stated that the culture in the Armed Forces of the Netherlands "is notoriously masculine and intolerant towards homosexuality".[149] Until the year 2000, right wing politicians in the Netherlands generally opposed homosexuality, but as of 2011 show support of homosexuality and oppose anti-gay attitudes in immigrant groups, stating that the country has a "Dutch tradition of tolerance" for homosexuality.[146]

Laurens Buijs, Gert Hekma, and Jan Willem Duyvendak, authors of the 2011 article "'As long as they keep away from me': The paradox of antigay violence in a gay-friendly country", said that the Netherlands has a "tolerant and gay-friendly image",[146] and that Dutch people, according to cross-national survey research, exhibit more acceptance of homosexuality than "most other European peoples".[147] They also stated that Dutch people exhibit support for equal rights for and non-discrimination of homosexuals.[147] They explained "Amsterdam, in particular is often associated with gay emancipation, as it provided the setting for the world's first legally recognized 'gay marriage' in 2001, and hosts the famous gay parade with festively decorated boats floating through the city's picturesque canals each year."[147] According to the article, despite this reputation, the aspects of attempts of men to seduce other men, anal sex, behavior perceived as "feminine" from males, and public displays of affection among homosexuals are likely to trigger homophobia in the Netherlands.[148]


Men who have sex with other men in Arab societies do not commonly refer to each other as homosexuals. Laurens Buijs, Gert Hekma, and Jan Willem Duyvendak, authors of the 2011 article "'As long as they keep away from me': The paradox of antigay violence in a gay-friendly country", said "This might explain why they are more likely to condemn men who explicitly claim a homosexual identity."[145] In the 2011 article they said that among men in Arab countries who do not identify as homosexual, anal sexual intercourse is "often said to be common" and that the men's "masculine gender role is not at stake as long as they take up the active role".[145]

Arab world

The Levada Centre reached the following conclusions on the distribution of these view in different groups of society. "In Russian society, homophobia is most often encountered among men, older respondents (over 55), and people with an average level of education and low income... Women, young Russians (18–39), and well educated and comfortably off respondents showed more tolerance for people of a non-traditional sexual orientation, and more understanding of related issues. Respondents over 40, people of average or lower education or low incomes, and rural people — the sectors retaining the inertia of Soviet thinking — are more likely to believe that homosexuality is a disease requiring treatment, and that homosexuals must be isolated from society".[144]

On the other hand, many Russians (45%) were in favour of the equality of homosexuals with other citizens (41% against, 15% undecided). Most supported the introduction in Russia of laws forbidding discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and incitement of hatred for gays and lesbians (31% against, 28% undecided).

A survey run by the Levada Centre in Russia in July 2010 concluded that "homophobia is widespread in Russian society". It draws this conclusion from the following findings. 74% of respondents believed that gays and lesbians are immoral or psychologically disturbed people. Only 15% responded that homosexuality is as legitimate as traditional sexual orientation. 39% consider that they should be compulsorily treated or alternatively isolated from society. 4% considered that it is necessary to liquidate people of a non-traditional sexual orientation.


The Bedamini people of New Guinea believe that semen is the main source of masculinity and strength. In consequence, the sharing of semen between men, particularly when there is an age gap, is seen as promoting growth throughout nature, while excessive heterosexual activities are seen as leading to decay and death.[143]

New Guinea

In medieval Europe, homosexuality was considered sodomy and was punishable by death. Persecutions reached their height during the Medieval Inquisitions, when the sects of Cathars and Waldensians were accused of fornication and sodomy, alongside accusations of Satanism. In 1307, accusations of sodomy and homosexuality were major charges leveled during the Trial of the Knights Templar.[141] The theologian Thomas Aquinas was influential in linking condemnations of homosexuality with the idea of natural law, arguing that "special sins are against nature, as, for instance, those that run counter to the intercourse of male and female natural to animals, and so are peculiarly qualified as unnatural vices".[142]

Medieval Europe

After the emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire and made Christianity the official state religion in the 4th century, Christian attitudes toward sexual behavior were soon incorporated into Roman Law. In the year 528, the emperor Justinian I, responding to an outbreak of pederasty among the Christian clergy, issued a law which made castration the punishment for sodomy.[140]

Christian Roman Empire/Byzantine Empire

Saint Paul was even more explicit in his condemnation of sinful behavior, including sodomy, saying, "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God."[139] However, the exact meanings of two of the ancient Greek words that Paul used that supposedly refer to homosexuality are disputed among scholars. In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, however, the relevant words employed in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy are the same words employed in Leviticus 18 to denote male-on-male homosexuals.

Many contend that from its earliest days, [138]

Early Christianity

Throughout most of the history of ancient Israel, intercourse between males was condemned outright as an "abomination" and Mosaic Law demanded the death penalty for those men who "lie with a man as with a woman".[137] Other aspects of same-sex relations were not discussed.

Ancient Israel

Opposition to homosexuality in China originates in the medieval Tang Dynasty, attributed to the rising influence of Christian and Islamic values,[135] but did not become fully established until the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China.[136] The Chinese Psychiatrists' Association removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in April 2001. However, as scriptwriter and teacher Cui Zi'en, one of the few openly gay intellectuals in today's China points out, in his country, it is still seen as a psychological disorder. "In the West, it's frowned on to criticize homosexuals and even more to make them feel different", says Cui Zi'en, contrasting it with Chinese society which, "is changing, but there'll always be people who'll feel disgust".

Like the cultures of many ancient civilizations, the Chinese had no concept of homosexuality and heterosexuality,[132] and according to Louis Crompton, there are historical records that tacitly assumed bisexuality as the human norm in China.[2] Many early Chinese emperors are speculated to have had homosexual relationships, accompanied by heterosexual ones.[133] Writings from the Liu Song Dynasty claimed that homosexuality was as common as heterosexuality in the late 3rd century, stating that "All the gentlemen and officials esteemed it. All men in the realm followed this fashion to the extent that husbands and wives were estranged. Resentful unmarried women became jealous."[134] Same-sex practices have been documented there since the "Spring and Autumn Annals" period (parallel with Classical Greece) and its roots are found in the legend of China's origin, the reign of the Yellow Emperor, who, among his many inventions, is credited with being the first to take male bedmates.

Ancient China

Same-sex relations among women are infrequently documented during the Republic and Principate, but better attested during the Empire.[127] An early reference to homosexual women as "lesbians" is found in the Roman-era Greek writer Lucian (2nd century AD): "They say there are women like that in Lesbos, masculine-looking, but they don't want to give it up for men. Instead, they consort with women, just like men."[128] Since male writers thought a sex act required an active or dominant partner who was "phallic", they imagined that in lesbian sex one of the women would use a dildo or have an exceptionally large clitoris for penetration, and that she would be the one experiencing pleasure.[129] The poet Martial describes lesbians as having outsized sexual appetites and performing penetrative sex on both women and boys.[130] Satiric portrayals of women who sodomize boys, drink and eat like men, and engage in vigorous physical regimens, may reflect cultural anxieties about the growing independence of Roman women.[131]

The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon declared that of the first fifteen Roman emperors, only Claudius was "entirely correct" in his sexual practices, by which Gibbon meant exclusively heterosexual.[123] Confining one's sexual activities to women was considered unusual among the Romans.[124] Although Roman law did not recognize marriage between men, and in general Romans regarded marriage as a heterosexual union with the primary purpose of producing children, in the early Imperial period some male couples were celebrating traditional marriage rites. Juvenal remarks that his friends often attended such ceremonies.[125] The emperor Nero had two marriages to men, once as the bride (with a freedman Pythagoras) and once as the groom. He had his pederastic lover Sporus castrated, and during their marriage Sporus appeared in public as Nero's wife wearing the regalia that was customary for Roman empresses.[126]

Homosexual behaviors were regulated in so far as they threatened or impinged on an ideal of liberty for the dominant male, who retained his masculinity by not being penetrated.[120] The Lex Scantinia imposed penalties on those who committed a sex crime (stuprum) against a freeborn male minor; it may also have been used to prosecute adult male citizens who willingly took the "passive" role.[121] Children who were born into slavery or became enslaved had no legal protections against sexual abuse; a good-looking and graceful slave-boy might be chosen and groomed as his owner's sexual favorite.[122] Pederasty in ancient Rome thus differed from pederastic practice in ancient Greece, where by custom the couple were both freeborn males of equal social status.

It was considered natural for a man to be attracted to a beautiful young male,[115] but the bodies of citizen youths were strictly off-limits.[116] Acceptable male partners were slaves, male prostitutes, or others who lacked social standing (the infames). Same-sex relations among male citizens of equal status, including soldiers, were disparaged, and in some circumstances penalized harshly.[117] In political rhetoric, a man might be attacked for effeminacy or playing the passive role in sex acts, but not for performing penetrative sex on a socially acceptable male partner.[118] Threats of anal or oral rape against another man were forms of masculine braggadocio.[119]

Male couple on an ancient Roman oil lamp

"Homosexual" and "heterosexual" were not categories of Roman sexuality, and Latin lacks words that would translate these concepts exactly.[111] The primary dichotomy of Roman sexuality was active/dominant/masculine and passive/submissive/"feminized". The masculinity of an adult male citizen was defined sexually by his taking the penetrative role, whether his partner was female or a male of lower status.[112] A Roman citizen's political liberty (libertas) was defined in part by the right to preserve his body from physical compulsion or use by others;[113] for the male citizen to use his body to give pleasure was considered servile and subversive of the social hierarchy.[114]

Ancient Rome

Athens and Sparta[110] are both well known for encouraging same-sex relationships as part of a youth's education and socialization. In both societies, though, once a youth came of age he was expected to take on another youth as beloved, and eventually to marry and continue the family line.

In Ancient Greece homoerotic practices were widely present, and integrated into the religion, education, philosophy and military culture.[108] The sexualized form of these relationships was the topic of vigorous debate. In particular, anal intercourse was condemned by many, including Plato, as a form of hubris and faulted for dishonoring and feminizing the boys. Relations between adult males were generally ridiculed. Plato also believed that the chaste form of the relationship was the mark of an enlightened society, while only barbarians condemned it.[109]

Male couple (erastes and eromenos) kissing (Attic red-figured cup, ca. 480 BC)

Ancient Greece

Societal attitudes toward homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods, as do attitudes toward sexual desire, activity and relationships in general. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality, while others disapprove of such activities.[106] As with heterosexual behaviour, different sets of prescriptions and proscriptions may be given to individuals according to their gender, age, social status and/or social class. For example, among the samurai class of pre-modern Japan, it was recommended for a teenage novice to enter into an erotic relationship with an older warrior (see Shudo), but sexual relations between the two became inappropriate once the boy came of age.[107]

Regions and historical periods

Anti-gay rhetoric

Gay people have been the target of violence for their sexuality in various cultures throughout history. Violence against gay people reached its height during the Holocaust, when 100,000 gay men were arrested, and between 5,000–15,000 gay men perished in Nazi concentration camps.[104] Violence against LGBT people continues to occur today, fueled by anti-gay rhetoric,[105] usually by teenage boys and young men who are very hostile to LGBT people and men who do not conform to traditional gender roles.


As of October 2014, Kyrgyzstan was in the process of adopting a law which would "mandate jail terms for gay-rights activists and others, including journalists, who create 'a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations'".[103]

Lithuania put in place a similar such ban 16 June 2009 amid protests by gay rights groups. LGBT rights groups stated that it would be taken to the European Court of Human Rights for violation of European Human rights laws.[99] Several territories in the country of Russia had implemented similar laws restricting the distribution of "propaganda" promoting homosexuality to minors, including Ryazan, Arkhangelsk, and Saint Petersburg.[100] In June 2013, a federal bill was passed that made the distribution of materials promoting "non-traditional sexual relationships" among minors a criminal offence; the bill's author Yelena Mizulina argued that the law was intended to help protect "traditional family values".[101][102]

In the United Kingdom, Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act banned "promotion of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" by local government employees in the course of their duties. The act was aimed to prevent the "promotion of homosexuality" in schools. It was later repealed in Scotland on 21 June 2000 as one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, and on 18 November 2003 in England and Wales by section 122 of the Local Government Act 2003, with the Labour government also issuing an apology to LGBT people for the act.[94][95] This "promotion" is opposed by Morocco.[96] See also Article 200 section of the Penal Code of Romania, which was amended in 1996 and repealed in 2001, and the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill for similar such proscriptions.[97][98]

"Promotion of homosexuality"[91] is a group of behaviours believed by some gay rights opponents to be carried out in the mass media,[92] public places[93] etc.

Opposition to "promotion of homosexuality"

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Past societal attitudes toward homosexuality have sometimes been compared to present societal attitudes toward pedophilia, since each was at one time viewed as self-evidently wrong,[88] particularly in light of the lack of a marital relationship between the sexual partners.[89] Lawmakers and social commentators have sometimes expressed a concern that normalizing homosexuality would also lead to normalizing pedophilia, if it were determined that pedophilia too were a sexual orientation.[90]

The empirical research show that sexual orientation does not affect the likelihood that people will abuse children.[85][86][87] Many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.[85]

Johns Hopkins University psychiatrist Dr. Frederick Berlin, who runs a treatment program for offenders, says it's flawed to assume that men who molest young boys are attracted to adult men; Berlin defines attraction to children as a separate orientation of its own.[83] Psychotherapist Dr. A. W. Richard Sipe also argues that the sexual deprivation that occurs in the priesthood could lead one to turn to children and that boys are more accessible to priests and other male authority figures than girls.[75] A study by Dr. A. Nicholas Groth found that nearly half of the child sex offenders in his small sample were exclusively attracted to children. The other half regressed to children after finding trouble in adult relationships. No one in his sample was primarily attracted to same-sex adults.[84]

A number of small-scale studies by Dr. Carole Jenny, Dr. A.W. Richard Sipe, and others have not found evidence that homosexuals are more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.[74][75][76] Based on the responses of a sample of thousands of admitted child molesters, one study found that 70% of the sex offenders who targeted boys rated themselves as predominantly or exclusively heterosexual in adult orientation on the Kinsey scale, and only 8% as exclusively homosexual.[77][78] Using phallometric tests on community males, Dr. Kurt Freund found that "androphiles" (men with a preference for adult males) are no more attracted to adolescent or younger boys than "gynephiles" (men with a preference for adult females) are to adolescent or younger girls.[79][80] Analyzing sex offender samples, he concluded that only rarely does a sex offender against male children have a preference for adult males.[79] Sex offenders targeting boys — especially prepubescent boys — may more often have a heterosexual adult orientation, as measured by the penile plethysmograph.[81][82]

Some people fear exposing their children to homosexuals in unsupervised settings, because they believe the children might be study commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,[70] under the auspices of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an all-lay review board headed by Illinois Appellate Court Justice Anne M. Burke, "81% of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys." The review board went on to conclude that, "the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior", and in light of this, "the current crisis cannot be addressed without consideration of issues related to homosexuality." According to Margaret Smith, one of John Jay's researchers, however, it is "an unwarranted conclusion" to assert that the majority of priests who abused male victims are gay. Though "the majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature [...] participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man."[71] Psychology professor Gregory Herek also analyzed a number of studies and found no relationship between sexual orientation and molestation.[72] One of her fellow researchers, Louis Schlesinger, argued that the main problem was pedophilia or ephebophilia, not sexual orientation and said that some men who are married to adult women are attracted to adolescent males.[73]

Relationships between adults and youths, both male and female, were practiced historically dating back to at least antiquity, when they were reported among a number of cultures, among which the Celtic, the Persian and the Greek.[64] The best documented, and perhaps the most formalized, the Greek tradition has become emblematic of erotic relations between men and adolescent boys, known as pederasty. The association of modern masculine desire for adolescent youths with Greek pederastic practices has been approved of by literary figures such as Oscar Wilde.[65][66]

Association with child abuse and pedophilia

  • Jerry Falwell made remarks interpreted as blaming "pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way" for the September 11 attacks, but later apologized for his remarks. (Pat Robertson was also participating in the broadcast.)[62]
  • Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps blames homosexuals for the September 11th attacks and his church blames the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 on American, Swedish, and Thai homosexuals.[63]

Other contemporary American examples:

Since the end of the 1980s similar accusations have been made, inspired by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with preachers such as Jerry Falwell blaming both the victim and a supposedly tolerant societal view of homosexuality.[60] In the years since, the epidemic has spread and now has many more heterosexual victims than homosexual.[61]

Since the Middle Ages, sodomites were blamed for "bringing down the wrath of God" upon the land, and their pleasures blamed for the periodic epidemics of disease which decimated the population. This "pollution" was thought to be cleansed by fire, as a result of which countless individuals were burned at the stake or run through with white-hot iron rods.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as takes place in the Bible is sometimes attributed to attempted homosexual rape, but this is disputed[58] and differs from earlier beliefs. Early Jewish belief (and some Jews today)[59] variously attributed the destruction to turning a blind eye to social injustice or lack of hospitality.[59]

Blame for plagues and disasters

Bisexual men and women are often seen as being sexually immoral, manipulative, insincere or undecided. Male bisexuals are particularly stereotyped as "living on the down-low", and female bisexuals may be portrayed as attention-seeking and having bad experiences with men.

Lesbians (or gay women) are usually viewed or portrayed as exhibiting masculine traits ("butch") including having a preference for short haircuts, tattoos and male attire.

Homosexual males are often viewed or portrayed as effeminate, being interested in women's fashion such as fashion design or hairdressing, and having a circle of friends consisting of heterosexual females.


In many non-Western post-colonial countries, homosexual orientation is still considered to be a mental disorder and illness. In Muslim areas, this position is ascribed to the earlier adoption of European Victorian attitudes by the westernized elite, in areas where previously native traditions embraced same-sex relations.[57]

[56] Another study refuting the claims of conversion therapy proponents was done in 2001 by Dr. Ariel Shidlo and Dr. Michael Schroeder, which showed only 3% of the participants claiming to have completely changed their orientation from gay to straight.[55], but he later realized that his research was flawed and apologized for the damage it may have done.Robert Spitzer but that this therapy is unnecessary, potentially harmful, and the effectiveness has not been rigorously and scientifically proven. Much attention was given to the dissent from this opinion by Dr. [54] Many religious groups and other advocates, like

In 1973, the ego-dystonic sexual orientation in the ICD-10.

Psychology and attempts at modification of sexual orientation

More generally, conservatives—by definition—prefer that institutions, traditions and values remain unchanged, and this has put many of them in opposition to efforts designed to increase the cultural acceptance and legal rights of homosexuals.

As this statement illustrates, those who believe that a disapproving attitude toward homosexuality is a tenet of their religion can see efforts to abolish such attitudes as an attack on their religious freedom. Those who regard homosexuality as a sin or perversion can believe that acceptance of homosexual parents and same-sex marriage will redefine and diminish the institutions of family and marriage.

The homosexual activist movement are driving an agenda that will severely limit the ability to live and practice the Gospel, whether it is in the boardroom, the classroom, halls of government, private organizations, and even in places of worship. In their relentless attempts to obtain special rights, that no other special interest group has, they are in the process of redefining the family, demanding not only 'tolerance' ... but 'acceptance', and ultimately seeking to marginalize, censor, and punish those individuals who stand in the way of their multiple goals.[50]

An example of conservative views can also be found in the discussion of what conservatives call "Alliance Defense Fund states:

The strongest predictor of positive attitudes toward homosexuals was that the interviewee knew a gay man or lesbian. The correlation held across each demographic subset represented in the survey—sex, education level, age—bar one: political persuasion."[49]

and that:

The ATLG and its subscales are consistently correlated with other theoretically relevant constructs. Higher scores (more negative attitudes) correlate significantly with high religiosity, lack of contact with gay men and lesbians, adherence to traditional sex-role attitudes, belief in a traditional family ideology, and high levels of dogmatism[48]

Thus Herek, who established the Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men Scale in psychology, states:

The finding that attitudes to alternative sexualities correlate strongly with nature of contact and with personal beliefs is stated in a variety of research over a substantial time period, and conservative men and women stand out in their views specifically.

While conservatism includes people of many views, it has a significant proportion of adherents who consider homosexuals, and especially the efforts of homosexuals to achieve certain rights and recognition, to be a threat to valued traditions, institutions and freedoms. Such attitudes are generally tied in with opposition to what some conservatives call the "homosexual agenda".[47]

Conservatism is a term broadly used for people who are inclined to traditional values.


Protesters at a 2006 gay pride event. San Francisco, United States.

Anti-homosexual attitudes


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