Homosexuality, Homosexuals, Possible Homosexuals

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Humans and other animals that are oriented toward the opposite sex are called heterosexuals. Those that are oriented toward the same sex are called homosexuals. Those that are oriented toward both sexes are called bisexuals. Those that have no evident sex or sex organs or lack interest in or desire for sex are called asexuals.

HOMOSEXUAL

Merriam-Webster Inc., the oldest and largest dictionary publisher in the United States, made plans in 1998 to remove offensive slurs and synonyms for “homosexual” in its on-line as well as printed thesauruses. Offending words: faggot; fruit; invert; limp-wristed; nancy; pederast; swish; uranist.

The company previously had not included entries for ethnic or racial minorities like Jews, blacks, or people of Hispanic descent because many of the synonyms were negative. On the other hand, some academics hold, it is important to date usages and include such words as “offensive slang” in dictionaries. Phrases change meanings, for example, a “gay deceiver” actually a reference to “falsies” or foam-plastic bust-forms used by heterosexual women. Similarly, “gay” and “queer,” which formerly were considered to have negative overtones, were commonly used by same-sexers toward the end of the 20th century.

Homosexual Marriage

In 2009, Same Sex Marriage was allowed in six European countries - Netherlands (in 2001), Belgium (in 2003), Spain (in 2005), Norway (in 2009), and Sweden (in 2009).

Canada (in 2005) and South Africa (in 2006) also legally recognize same-sex couples, and in the United States Massachusetts (in 2003), Connecticut (in 2008), and Iowa and Vermont (in 2009) do.

In 1996, Iceland became the fourth European country to allow civil unions and registered partnerships. Others are: Anndorra, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

Although some United States critics have objected, particularly on religious grounds, complaining that “the flames of self-centered morality are licking at the very foundation of our society, the family unit,” others such as Michael Kavey of Chappaqua, NY, have declared that “the real threats to the family unit are the high rates of illegitimacy, domestic violence, and divorce. Allowing consenting, committed couples to formalize their relationships under the law serves to strengthen the American family, not tear it apart.”

In 1998 at a Canterbury, England conference of the world’s Anglican bishops, those present voted overwhelmingly to endorse a resolution declaring homosexual activity to be “incompatible with Scripture” and advising against the ordination of homosexuals. The once-a-decade gathering at the Lambeth Conference voted 526 to 70, representing a victory for an international group of conservative bishops, particularly those from Africa and Asia. The resolution was non-binding upon leaders who represent a reported 73 million Anglicans in 160 nations. {The New York Times, 18 July 1996}

Groups - primarily religious groups - actively oppose same sex marriage. One such group is Ban Same Sex Marriage.

In the 21st century, more and more cities, states, and countries are changing their laws to allow non-heterosexuals to marry. Wikipedia keeps an up-to-date listing of the places where same sex marriage is legally recognized.

In its unanimous ruling in April 2009, the Iowa court wrote:

  • The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution a constitutionally sufficient justification.

Homosexual Rights in South Africa

South Africa, which has the most recent written constitution of major nations, includes the following:

• (3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, and birth.
• (4) No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.
• (5). Discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (3) is unfair unless it is established that the discrimination is fair.

HOMOSEXUALS

Africans, Role of Gay Men in Spreading of the Virus that Causes AIDS

A 20 July 2009 New York Times article by Donald G. McNeil Jr., is about the prevalence of H.I.V. in Africa:

The role of gay sex in the transmission of the virus that causes AIDS in Africa has been long ignored, say the authors of a new study in the medical journal Lancet.
While most transmission of the virus in Africa is heterosexual, 19 recent studies of African men who have sex with men show that they have “considerably higher” infection rates than other adult men in their respective countries, said the authors, who were from Oxford University and research institutions in Ghana and Kenya.
These men also have less access to prevention and care; most African countries have allocated no money to gay men, and homosexual sex is illegal in 31 African countries, in four of which men risk the death penalty.
African male sexual networks overlap with male-female ones, the authors found, since many of the men also report recent sex with women or are married. In three genetic studies the authors compared, gay white men in South Africa had a virus from a type common among gay European and American men, while gay black men in Kenya and Senegal had the type circulating in their country’s black populations.
Gay men face ridicule from their families and health care workers and harassment by the police, the study reported. And because African governments and media aimed very little safe-sex information at gay men, false rumors were common — including rumors that gay sex or anal sex were safer than heterosexual sex.

Demand for circumcisions has surged in Orange Farm, South Africa, despite government involvement. In The New York Times (19 July 2009), Celia W. Dugger describes how Dr. Dino Rech says he had "done 53 in a seven-hour day, me, myself, personally." The article adds,

Circumcision has been proven to reduce a man’s risk of contracting H.I.V. by more than half. Yet two years after the World Health Organization recommended the surgery, the government here still does not provide it to help fight the disease or educate the public about its benefits.
Some other African nations are championing the procedure and bringing it to thousands. But in South Africa, the powerhouse country at the heart of the epidemic, the government has been notably silent, despite the withering international criticism the country has endured for its previous foot-dragging in fighting and treating AIDS.
“Countries around us with fewer resources, both human and financial, are able to achieve more,” said Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim, the first director of South Africa’s national AIDS program in the mid-1990s under President Nelson Mandela. “I wish I understood why South Africa, which has an enviable amount of resources, is not able to respond to the epidemic the way Botswana and Kenya have.”

Closeted Homosexuals

"G-men always get their men," in this case J. Edgar Hoover got Clyde Tolson, his constant companion for 40 years

To be "closeted" carries the connotation of having motives that are secret. Examples of those who have been accused are Federal Bureau of Invewstigation (FBI) Director J. Edgar Hoover; former New York City Mayor Ed Koch; former Idaho Senator Larry Craig; former U. S. Representative Jim Crery; and Florida Governor Charlies Crist.

In 2009, mob informer Robert Mormando told a judge that it had been difficult concealing his being gay from the Gambino crime gang. In seeking a lower sentence, the divorced father of two explained he had lived for many years as a closeted homosexual in the mob and now was renouncing his membership in La Cosa Nostra:

  • There are certain rules — explicit rules — that all made members of the mob are meant to follow: No beards. No sleeping with another gangster’s wife. No cooperation with the government in accordance with “omertà,” the Mafia code of silence.

Some who came "out of the closet" have been U.S. Representative Barney Frank, U. S. Representative Jim Kolbe, and New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey.

Famous Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual People (who tried it at least once)

Matt and Andrej Koymasky have created an online A to Z directory of purported gays, lesbians, transgenders, and bisexuals.

Gay Life in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, a Costa Rican View

Alex Cox in Costa Rica has written an article in Spanish about gay life.

A Danish Transgender
Thomas Beatie, pregnant at 22 weeks

Homosexuals, Muslim

Male and female homosexuals who are Muslim experience the same fears and doubts as those who are raised Christians. Al-Fatiha Foundation (405 Park Avenue, Suite 1500, New York, NY 10022) is an international organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Muslims. In 1999 it arranged a first North American conference, “Creating a Community,” in the hope that it would become the beginning of a movement to create a community and an identity. “My mother would commit suicide if she found out I was gay,” a male said at the conference. “My father knows I’m gay but insists that I marry,” another male said. “Please help me find a gay male in the States who will marry me and get me out of this country,” a lesbian pleaded in an e-mail message. Following is a typical non-academic discussion of the problems homosexual Muslim face, an attempt to assess the Qur’an and those who interpret its sacred text:

  • Re: Homosexuality and same-sex acts in Islam:
• There is a general consensus amongst the scholars of Islam (both past and present) that homosexuality is a deviation of man’s true (heterosexual) nature. Thus the act of homosexuality is sinful and perverted and is viewed with contempt in most Muslim societies and Islamic countries.
• There are approximately seven verses in the Qur’an (the holy text of the Muslims) that supposedly refer to homosexuality and same-sex acts. The majority of these verses refer to the nation of Lot (the biblical nation of Sodom and Gomorrah). The following are examples of a few verses:
We also sent Lut (Lot): he said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” Surah VII (Araf), Verses 80-81
• Of all creatures in the world, will ye approach males. And leave those whom Allah (God) has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are people transgressing all limits? Surah XXVI (Shu’araa), Verses 165-166)
• If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone: for Allah (God) is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. Surah IV (Nisaa), Verse 16
• There are approximately four hadith (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) in reference to homosexuality, same-sex acts, and cross-dressing. A few include the following:
When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Kill the one that is doing it and also the one that it is being done to. (in reference to intercourse) – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Cursed are those men who wear women’s clothing and those women who wear men’s clothing. – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
• During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (d. 632 AD) there was not one single case of a reported punishment or execution for homosexuality or same-sex acts. The first execution to ever have been carried out was during the time of the third Caliph, Omar, who ordered a homosexual man to be burned alive. Scholars at the time differed in opinion on this form of punishment, arguing that no human should be burned (according to the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), thus it was decided that homosexuals should be thrown off of the highest building and then stoned to death.
• Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence differ on the issue of homosexuality. Sex between males was treated differently by the various legal schools, on the basis of differing interpretation of the traditional literature. All the legal schools regard sex between males as unlawful, but they differ over the severity of the punishment. The Hanafite school (predominant in South Asia and East Asia today) maintains that it (same-gender sex) does not merit any physical punishment. The Hanbalites, on the other hand (predominant in the Arab world) believe that sex between males must be punished severely. The Sha’fi school of thought (also predominant in the Arab world) argues that punishment for sodomy can only be carried out if there are four adult male witnesses who actually see the penetration, “as though the key is going into the key whole.”
• According to the Ahmadi Muslim Jama’at (a small sect within Islam), homosexual behavior is a symptom of the decadence of society. In an essay entitled “Homosexuality & Islam,” the Ahmadi sect states (regarding the decadence of society), “As this process continues, people find and invent even more bizarre and perverted means to satisfy natural urges, and trends like child and adult pornography, bisexuality, homosexuality and bestiality appear.” They go on to say that homosexuality “is utterly contrary to every natural law of human and animal life, and counter to the morals, purposes and institutions of a procreative society.”
• The Ismaili sect of Islam (also known as the Agha Khani movement), with a population of approximately 2 million people, believes Islam to be a continuously evolving faith that must be reinterpreted to adapt to modern-day society and culture. Their spiritual leader, the Prince Agha Khan, who is thought to be a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, has been open to dialogue and communication with progressive movements within Islam. Although he has not officially made any gay-affirming statements, it is believed that he will soon make a declaration regarding this issue.
• In 1988, scholars from Al-Azhar University, the oldest and most prominent Islamic school in the world, located in Cairo, Egypt, passed a fatwa (decree) that sex reassignment surgeries were permissible in Islam. The Grand Mufti of the University stated, “It is permissible to perform the operation in order to reveal what was hidden of male or female organs. Indeed, it is obligatory to do so on the grounds that it must be considered a treatment. . . . It is, however, not permissible to do it at the mere wish to change sex from woman to man, or vice versa.” This fatwa has set a precedent for the Muslim transgender movement for acceptance within the bounds of the Islamic faith.
• There have been many executions and arrests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Muslims. These stories range from executions in Afghanistan, deportations of transvestites and cross-dressers in Saudi Arabia, to the present-day corruption and sodomy trial of ex-Prime Minister Anwar in Malaysia. It is also estimated that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the government has executed more than 4,000 homosexuals.
• Although Islam has been declared as the official religion in most Arab countries (except for Lebanon), European law heavily influences their constitutions. For example, in Algeria, a country heavily influenced by French law(s), sodomy may be punished with imprisonment from two months to two years and a fine (500-2,000 Algerian dinars). Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, where shariah (Islamic law) was always enforced, liwat (sodomy) is to be treated like fornication, and must be punished in the same way. If muhsan (sane) and free, one must be stoned to death, while a free bachelor must be whipped 100 lashes and banished for one year. However a non-Muslim who sodomizes a Muslim must always be stoned to death. Sodomy is proved either by the culprit confessing four times or by the testimony of four trustworthy Muslim men.
• Since the occupation of Afghanistan, in 1992, by the extreme conservative army of the Taliban, there have been approximately 10 public executions in the country. The men, all accused of committing sodomy had a wall toppled on top of them. According to Taliban law, if the accused survive the execution after 30 minutes, they are innocent and are then taken to a hospital to be treated for their injuries.
• Islamic extremists tried to beat up a gay man and threatened to kill him at a London conference on “Islamaphobia,” designed to promote understanding and tolerance of Muslim values, and attended by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders. The conference, held in London, England, claimed that “Islam is wrongly and unjustly portrayed as barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent and aggressive.” During the question and answer session, an OutRage! Activist and a former Muslim of Pakistani descent, asked the panel of speakers how negative attitudes towards Muslims among gay people could be overcome, given that Islam advocates the burning alive of homosexuals. Most of the conference (then) turned on him. He was surrounded by over a hundred Muslims who screamed abuse and threatened to kill him. None of the Muslim, Christian or Jewish leaders on the platform (panel) intervened to calm the situation or condemn the violence. One Muslim cleric shouted that he had no need to ask what Muslims thought of homosexuals: all he had to do was look at the audience’s reaction. The man was quoted as saying, “Muslims want tolerance for themselves but not for lesbians and gays. They condemn Islamaphobia, while zealously promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals.”
• Imam Siraj Wahaj, an African-American convert to Islam, and a prominent cleric and scholar of Islam in the United States was quoted as saying the following in 1992, in reference to the supposed opening of a gay mosque in Toronto: “I would burn down the masjid (mosque) myself, if I could.”
• The Islamic Society of North America’s Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, answering a question posed on homosexuality, says, “Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption. . . . NO person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or a murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.” Attempting to explain why homosexuality is a sin, he says, “There are many reasons why it is forbidden in Islam. Homosexuality is dangerous for the health of the individuals and for the society. It is a main cause of one of the most harmful and fatal diseases. It is disgraceful for both men and women. It degrades a person. Islam teaches that men should be men and women should be women. Homosexuality deprives a man of his manhood and a woman of her womanhood. It is the most un-natural way of life. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of family life.”
• Although mainstream Islam officially condemns homosexuality there is a growing movement of progressive-minded Muslims, especially in the Western world, who see Islam as an evolving religion that must adapt to modern-day society. It is within this movement that Al-Fatiha Foundation hopes to work in order to enlighten the world that Islam is a religion of tolerance and not of hate, and that Allah (God) loves His creation, no matter what their sexual orientation may be.

Some Muslims are outspoken concerning women’s having to cover their bodies or men’s being condemned for what they wear. Following is a typical response sent anonymously by one female on the Internet:

• Salaam all my brothers and sisters! I am curious, for those of us who support upholding the Hadith as part of the Deen. Can you explain to me how this makes us closer to God? How does my wearing a veil and hijab bring me closer to God? If we are going to use physical objects to make us closer to God, why don’t we all just worship rocks and trees? How does barring me from the masjid because of my period bring me or anyone else closer to God? The Prophet (God bless him) wore a full beard and a mustache, and even this is incorporated in the hadith. So how does a beard and a mustache bring a man closer to God? I wonder about this because it seems that in our adoration of our Prophet (saw), we may have forgotten the ultimate goal of our religion—the contemplation of the Vision of The Beloved. Please do not count me among those who deny the respect and reverence that is due to Mohammed (saw), because he holds a special place in my heart and I admire him immensely. But I realize that Mohammed (upon whom be Allah’s peace and mercy) was a man living in the 7th century. I can follow the religion that God sent him with. I can adore the Prophet (saw) and strive to incorporate aspects of his noble character into my own personality. But I cannot BE Mohammed (saw). I cannot be a Middle Eastern man living in the 7th century. The essential qualities of Mohammed’s character can survive in modern times without bending the rules of the religion, however the practices which are attributed to him (stoning homosexuals, misogyny, comparing women to donkeys and suggesting that their periods make us impure) cannot. The Quran was sent down for ALL times. Why do we seek further additions to the Deen? Allah does not care what we look like, and all of our personalities are diverse. What exactly is “trying to look or behave like men” supposed to mean? Is there anyone that believes this crap— that because a man dresses in a skirt he is deserving of wrath from God? or a woman wearing shorter hair and trousers? LIES ALL LIES. May the angels rip out the tongue of whoever attributed this blatant LIE to our prophet (saw). I seek refuge in Allah, The Watchful, The Loving, against the accursed shaytan.

Homosexuals, Myanmar

A 13 April 2014 news article describes the New Year water festival. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/404726/shadow-of-tension-still-lingers-over-the-splashes

Homosexuals, Noted in 2013

Out listed the 50 prominent homosexuals in 2013. #1 was Ellen DeGeneres and #50 were the founders of Slate, Simon Halls & Stephen Huvane.

Homosexuals, Olympic Games Medalists

The following were listed by The Advocate (26 August 2008) as being "out medalists." The story is as follows:

Myth has it that Hercules created the Olympics in the days when men and gods mingled on Grecian mountaintops. But the first recorded games took place in 776 bce with just one event -- a 210-yard dash known as the stade -- which a naked runner named Coroebus of Elis won. While we can’t say whether Coroebus was gay, we do know of at least 21 gay athletes who’ve taken home medals in the last century of Olympic competition.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias United States: 80-meter hurdles, gold, 1932; javelin, gold, 1932; high jump, silver, 1932
Ronnie Robertson United States: Figure skating, silver, 1956
Toller Cranston Canada: Figure skating, bronze, 1976
John Curry United Kingdom: Figure skating, gold, 1976
Greg Louganis United States: Platform diving, silver, 1976, gold, 1984, 1988; springboard diving, gold, 1984, 1988
Bruce Hayes United States: 4x200-meter swimming freestyle relay, gold, 1984
Holly Metcalf United States: Rowing, gold team, 1984
Brian Orser Canada: Figure skating, silver, 1984, 1988
Mark Tewksbury Canada: 4x100-meter swimming medley relay, silver, 1988, bronze, 1992; 100-meter backstroke, gold, 1992
Robert Dover United States: Equestrian, bronze team, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004
Gigi Fernandez United States: Tennis doubles, gold, 1992, 1996
Marc Leduc Canada: Boxing, silver, 1992
Conchita Martinez Spain: Tennis doubles, silver, 1992, bronze, 1996
Camilla Andersen Denmark: Handball, gold, 1996, 2000
Judith Arndt Germany: Cycling, bronze, 1996, silver, 2004
Gunther Seidel United States: Equestrian, bronze team, 1996, 2000, 2004
Sheryl Swoopes United States: Basketball, gold team, 1996, 2000, 2004
Mia Hundvin Norway: Handball, bronze, 2000
Johan Kenkhuis Netherlands: 4x200-meter swimming freestyle relay, bronze, 2000; 4x100-meter swimming freestyle relay, silver, 2004
Imke Duplitzer Germany: Fencing, silver, 2004
Amélie Mauresmo France: Tennis singles, silver, 2004

(Source:Outsports.com)


Homosexuals, Same-Sex Couples

Partners Task Force in Seattle, Washington, denies the popular myth that same-sex relationships do not last. Following are some examples:

Years
Together
75 Mazo de la Roche (author) and Caroline Clement
They were cousins who met when Mazo was seven. From that time on, these two lived together until Mazo’s death in 1961. Mazo adapted her novel “Whiteoaks of Jalna” into play form, which ran in London for 827 performances and on Broadway for 14 weeks with Ethel Barrymore. In the play, eighteen-year-old Fitch is a talented pianist who is disgusted by his homoerotic feelings. Contrary to many plays and films on homosexuality, before and since, Fitch is not punished for being gay, and further is rewarded as he becomes the sole beneficiary of his grandmother’s estate.
66 Bruhs Mero (dancer) and Gean Harwood (pianist, composer, author)
Bruhs Mero and Gean Harwood met in New York in 1929, and remained together until Bruh’s death in 1995. They co-wrote about sixty songs. Gean authored their story in a book titled, The Oldest Gay Couple in America. A musical about their life together was written by Tom Wilson Weinberg in 2003, called Sharing a Dance: Sixty Years with Bruhs & Gean, later produced as Bruhs and Gean.
60 Edith Hamilton (educator, historian) and Doris Fielding Reid (banker)
55 Romaine Brooks (painter) and Natalie Barney (heiress)
55 George Nader (actor, author) and Mark Miller (secretary)
53 Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby
52 Mary Woolley (Mt. Holyoke College president) and Jeannette Marks
50 J.C. Leyendecker (illustrator) and Charles Beach (artists model)
50 Mary “Molly” Dewson (known as “Americas first female political boss”)
and Polly Porter
50 Octave Thanet and Jane Crawford
50 Mary Renault (author) and Julie Mullard
50 William Haines (20s-30s movie actor) and Jimmie Shields (househusband)
49 George Edward Kelly (playwright) and William Weagly
48+ Maud Hunt Squire (artist) and Ethel Mars (artist)
46 Axel Axgil (Danish gay activist) and Eigil Axgil
(World’s first “Registered :: Partnership” couple.
44 Ismail Merchant (film producer) and James Ivory (film director)
44 J. Edgar Hoover (FBI chief, transvestite) and Clyde Tolson (FBI special agent)
44 Edward Perry Warren (art connoisseur) and John Marshall (archaeologist)
40+ H.D. [Hilda Doolittle (poet) and Bryher (writer)
40 Sir John Gielgud (actor) and Martin Hensler
40 Benjamin Britten (composer) and Peter Pears (singer)
40 Marguerite Yourcenar (author) and Grace Frick (academic)
40 Rosa Bonheur] (painter) and Natalie Micas
40 Willa Cather (author) and Edith Lewis
40 Warren Allen Smith (Philosopedia founder) and Fernando Vargas (recording studio co-owner)

The many other examples include Gertrude Stein] and Alice B. Toklas (39) as well as Paul Cadmus (painter) and Jon Andersson (singer, actor), 35 years.

Homosexuals, Theist

In September 2009, Gaytheists.org was founded "as a group blog for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning/Queer) Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists."

Homosexuals, the Bonobo and Others

The pansexual Bonobo, a rare breed of chimpanzees which is said most to resemble humans, engage in homosexual conduct.

Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep (2400 B.C.E.?) reportedly shared life and death together .

King Akhenaten (ruled 1379—1362 B.C.E.) followed Egyptian custom by marrying his mother and four other women, but he also had an intimate relationship with a man named Smenkhkare. The two males were assassinated by polytheistic (fundamentalist) priests who were unhappy that the king had introduced monotheism into the culture. The Judeo-Christian Bible tells how Jonathan loved David so much the two made a covenant together. When Jonathan died, David lamented, “Thy love to me was wonderful passing the love of women.” When cited, heterosexuals usually are not listed as being such inasmuch as they constitute the majority and have never been considered freaks for having sex in the various manners and fashions in which they engage. ]

{Jerry Sloan, Freedom Writer Magazine, July-August 1997}

Achilles.jpg
Achilles Wraps a Bandage Around Wounded Arm of his lover, Patroclus
Eros.jpg

In Ancient Greece, shown is a group of males standing around naked while at least one couple is in the process of having homosexual intercourse.

HOMOSEXUALITY

Homosexuality

The United States consists of a combination of diverse communities which, on the one hand, prize their freedom to believe and do what they choose and, on the other hand, have historically been more affected by religious observance and curbed by religious restraints than have most other Western countries. To display one’s sexual orientation may be a Constitutional and democratic right, but to do so often results in puritans’ objections and feelings of guilt. For left-handed individuals to complain that they are discriminated against by tool makers or for women or members of ethnic minorities to object that they are discriminated against is allowable.

For male or female prostitutes to ply their trade may be frowned upon by American religionists more so than by Latin American or European religionists, resulting in a double standard whereby some regularly use the prostitutes but decry what the prostitutes do. And for homosexuals even to admit that they are not celibate, let alone to hold hands on the street, can bring down the wrath of the religiously orthodox, who among others hold that homosexuality is a “preference” which is “treatable,” not, as still others claim, a biological phenomenon related to one’s genetic background and, like eye color, a profound and unchangeable part of themselves.

“The fear that 16-year-olds will be corrupted by older homosexuals is not necessarily valid,” remarked The Economist’s reviewer of Sexual Behavior in Britain. “Most psychiatrists believe a boy’s sexual preference is fixed before 16.” Gays note that in 1994 some psychiatrists may have erroneously felt that one “chooses” to be gay. In 1999, however, it would be difficult to find a psychiatrist—even in Britain—who would not have used the word “orientation” instead of “preference.” “Queen Victoria, legend has it, refused to accept that women did that sort of thing,” the reviewer added (The Economist, 29 Jan 1994).

In the search for sexual identity, with biologists and geneticists still attempting to find what determines a person’s gender, other animals which are homosexual appear not to be affected by their status. In some non-Eurocentric societies, homosexuals are considered “special gifts of nature.”

Elsewhere, as observed by journalist Chandler Burr, conservatives disapprove of the search for gay genes and the origins of sexual orientation, fearing homosexuality is not chosen and therefore needs to be tolerated. Liberals, on the other hand, worry that the search will lead “to eugenics and other medical misuses, and they distrust attempts to establish civil rights based on biology rather than on principle.” Burr adds, “Conservatives misunderstand what this research does. Liberals’ fears are misplaced.”

At the root of much of the problem is the Judeo-Christian Bible. Early Christian leaders condemned homosexuality, and by the Middle Ages homosexuals were often tried and executed as heretics. Bishop Epiphanius linked homosexuality with the form of Christianity called Gnosticism and accused many of the Gnostics of heresy, warning against any sexual practices such as homosexuality that did not produce children. During the Middle Ages, in his attempt to break the power of soldier-monks known as Knights Templar, the French King Philip IV accused the monks of having secret homosexual rituals, tortured them to extract confessions of sacrilegious practices, and confiscated their considerable wealth.

Such a religious interpretation of the Bible has been more successful in giving Americans “guilt feelings” about their sexual practices than it has Europeans, Africans, or Asians (a generalization which is widely felt but difficult to prove). In the Mediterranean regions where Christianity arose, homosexuality was a fact of life.

Homosexuality, Encyclopedia of

See the encyclopedia online that Gardland Publishing withdrew from sale.

Homosexuality, Eroticism In

• [Michelangelo] thought the height of beauty was the young male body. . . . [Caravaggio’s] Greek gods have the look of rent boys. We know for certain that [Da Vinci] never had a woman. Boys, yes. — Robert Hilferty an interview with Sister Wendy Beckett in Out', (March 1998)
• Eroticism is in the eye of the beholder. I see no reason to take on a judgment when you’re simply describing a fact. Everybody knows about Leonardo da Vinci. That was the way God made him. — Sister Wendy Beckett, 67-year-old Catholic nun who has a televised series, “Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting”
• But these are facts the Church normally denies or condemns. Even your analysis of the Mona Lisa is insightfully outrageous. You’re the only critic in the history of art who has dared to explain that inscrutable smile in terms of the artist’s homosexuality. You say that Mona smiles because she knows that in spite of his brilliant portrait making he can never really know her intimately—meaning sexually. — Robert Hilferty, continuing the interview
• He’s just painting away, unaware of what he is telling us about himself as well as about her. No one has ever said it, and I do think that it explains the smile. Isn’t that just my good luck to have seen it as opposed to something extraordinary. . . . I [hesitate to] publicly deny what is at the moment the Church’s teaching. I would not spell it out. But it is clear to those who can read between the lines. — Sister Wendy Beckett, continuing the interview

Homoexuality, International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)

On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. IDAHO is a United Kingdom organization that calls attention to the fact that in 2008 it is still a criminal offence to be gay in seventy-seven countries, places that punish women, men and children because of their sexuality and in seven countries the punishment is death.

IDAHO provides a platform for demanding improvements for the quality of life for LGBT people both overseas and here in the UK.

(See entry for homophobia).

Squak and Milo, two young male Chinstrap homosexual penguins at New York's Central Park Zoo

Homosexuality and Bisexuality in Animals

"Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom," an article by Emily V. Driscoll in Scientific American (July 2008), quotes sociologist Eric Anderson of the University of Bath in England,

  • Animals don’t do sexual identity. They just do sex.

Comments Driscoll,

  • Unlike most humans, however, individual animals generally cannot be classified as gay or straight: an animal that engages in a same-sex flirtation or partnership does not necessarily shun heterosexual encounters. Rather many species seem to have ingrained homosexual tendencies that are a regular part of their society. That is, there are probably no strictly gay critters, just bisexual ones.

A study of animal homosexuality was made in 1896 by French entomologist Henri Gadeau de Kerville of the Society of Friends of Natural Sciences and the Museum of Rouen. It included a drawing of two male scarab beetles that were copulating. In the early 1900s, various investigators described homosexual behavior in baboons, garter snakes and gentoo penguins, among other species, Driscoll found. Back then, scientists generally considered homosexual acts among animals to be abnormal. In some cases, they “treated” the animals by, say, castrating them or giving them lobotomies. In 1914, Gilbert Van Tassel Hamilton, a psychopathologist

  • reported that same-sex behavior in 20 Japanese macaques and two baboons occurred largely as a way of making peace with would-be foes. In the Journal of Animal Behavior Hamilton observed that females offered sex to the more dominant macaques of the same sex: “homosexual behavior is of relatively frequent occurrence in the female when she is threatened by another female, but it is rarely manifested in response to sexual hunger.” And in males, he penned, “homosexual alliances between mature and immature males may possess a defensive value for immature males, since they insure the assistance of an adult defender in the event of an attack.”

Driscoll describes numerous other findings. Biologist Joan E. Roughgarden of Stanford University is said to believe

  • that evolutionary biologists tend to adhere too strongly to Darwin’s theory of sexual selection and have thus largely overlooked the importance of bonding and friendship to animal societies and the survival of their young.“ [Darwin] equated reproduction with finding a mate rather than paying attention to how the offspring are naturally reared.”

Silo the male penguin, who had coupled with Roy for six years, in 2004 revealed that he was malleable: "One spring day in 2004 a female chinstrap penguin named Scrappy—a transplant from SeaWorld in San Diego—caught his eye, and he abruptly left Roy for her. Meanwhile Roy and Silo’s 'daughter,' Tango, carried on in the tradition of her fathers. Her chosen mate: a female named Tazuni."

Driscoll's conclusion is that unorthodox sex is far more common in the animal kingdom than has been acknowledged in the past. Further, it plays an important role in survival.

Homosexuality and Homophobia

See entry for homophobia).

Homosexuality in Classical Times

Homo3.jpg

The writings and art of Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Athenaeus, and others give a picture of same-sex love in ancient Greece.

Pederasty was common, but love between an adult male and an adolescent boy was generally disapproved of, although records exist of such couples. Mostly, such behavior was ridiculed.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary defines "homosexual" as an activity, not an identity. One engaged in homosexual activities. Any sexual activity during which a male penetrated another - a social inferior - might be regarded as normal, and such social inferiors could include male youths, foreigners, prostitutes, women, and/or slaves. But being penetrated by a social inferior was considered potentially shameful.

It is not clear about society's stand concerning love between women, but examples are found as far back as the time of Sappho.

Differing views by scholars are easily found:

Davidson, James, A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece (2007)
Chrisophter Hart critiques Davidson's views about whether or not past scholars have over-emphasized any similarity between ancient homosexuality and that which is contemporary.
Hubbard, Thomas K., Homosexuality in Greece and Rome (2003)
Percy, William A. III, Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece (1996)
Hornblower, Simon and Antony Spawforth, eds., Oxford Classical Dictionary (1996)
Halperin, David, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality (1989)
Dover, Kenneth J., Greek Homosexuality (1978)
Flaceliere, Robert, Love in Ancient Greece (1962)

Homosexuality in Literature

The earliest examples are of the friendship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu (3rd Millennium B.C.E.) and 1 and 2 Samuel (c. 1012-872 B.C.E.)

An extensive listing of readings about homosexuality in literature is found in The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature, Readings from Western Antiquity to the Present Day (1998).

  • The earliest text, the Epic of Gilgamesh (3rd millennium B.C.E.), describes the friendship of Gilgamesh for Enkidu.
  • The friendship of David and Jonathan, in the first and second books of Samuel (c. 1012-872 B.C.E.) came much later.
  • Also later there were the friendship tales in the Iliad (8th century B.C.E.) about Zeus and Ganymede, Achilles and Patroclus, Harmodius and Aristogeiton, Orestes and Pylades, and many others.
  • According to Chapter 19 of Genesis, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with fire and brimstone around 1900 B.C.E. Centuries later, Philo of Alexandria and some religious writers interpreted this to have been an angry God’s punishment for the inhabitants of the two cities. Such an interpretation hinges on an unlikely translation of the ambiguous Hebrew word meaning “to know,” in only a few cases of which does its biblical use connote sexual activity, states Reay Tannahil in Sex in History (1982).
  • Christians who cite the call in Leviticus for the death penalty for homosexuals do not, however, demand capital punishment for the sin of cursing one’s parents (Leviticus 20:9) or for adultery (Leviticus 20:10).
  • In 371 B.C.E., a Sacred Band of Thebes formed in Greece, a military unit consisting of some 150 male couples and believed to be effective inasmuch as lovers would die together, not shame one another.
  • Alexander the Great (356—323 B.C.E.), whose love for Bagoas is the basis for Mary Renault’s The Persian Bo'y', is but one of numerous homosexuals whose personal life is discreetly overlooked by most
  • Plato in his Symposium wrote that humanity first consisted of three sexes—its members were joined in pairs: two men, two women, or a man and a woman. To diminish their power and to teach them to fear the gods, Zeus cut each pair apart. As a result, he wrote, humans are said to spend their lives searching for their other half in order to enjoy the fullness of love. Around 393 to 387 B.C.E. Plato wrote The Symposium, Phaedrus, and other works celebrating homosexual love.
  • In 594 B.C.E., Solon declared the death penalty for any adult who mingled in school yards with boys below the age of puberty, although poets of the time wrote homoerotically that “boys in the flower of their youth are loved,” and there was no legal problem at that time for adults to have relationships with post-pubescent youths.
  • Around 580 B.C.E., Sappho in Lesbos wrote to her own students the earliest known lesbian writings.
  • Sixty or so years after the birth of Jesus, Saint Paul wrote in Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6-9 statements that appear to support homophobia, although scholar John Boswell infers that the real intent of the writer was otherwise.

. Hadrian (76—138 C.E.), who had a Greek lover and his same-sex love is described by Marguerite Yourcenar’s masterpiece, Memoirs of Hadrian (1951).

  • In 533, Byzantine Emperor Justinian I decreed that homosexuality and blasphemy are equally to blame for famines, earthquakes, and pestilences, and he ordered castration for offenders.
  • About 650, a manual used by priests, the Cummean Penitential, provided guidelines for homosexual sin:
“Simple kissing” by two males under the age of twenty called for six special fasts.
Kissing “with emission or embrace” called for ten special fasts.
Mutual masturbation by men over twenty made the offenders liable to twenty days penance; for anal intercourse, the period jumped to seven years.
  • Kallimachos, unlike the Hebrew Jehovah, found that Zeus admired both sexes:
Hate him O Zeus if he hates me—.
Theokritos, my Theokritos, deliciously bronzed—
Hate the boy four times as much as he hates me!
Heavenly Zeus, by Ganymede I swear,
The goldenhaired, you in your time have loved.
I say no more. {Translations by Dudley Fitts}
  • In 1073, all known copies of Sappho’s lesbian poems were burned by ecclesiastical authorities in Constantinople and Rome. In 1210—15, the Council of Paris declared sodomy to be a capital offense. In 1252, St. Thomas Aquinas declared that God created the sex organs specifically and exclusively for reproduction, calling homosexual acts “unnatural” and heretical and inspiring intolerance of homosexuality throughout the Catholic world.
  • About 1260, the legal school of Orleans ordered that women found guilty of lesbian acts must have their clitoris removed for the first offense, mutilated for a second offense, and that they be burned at the stake for a third.
  • In 1450—1453, Pope Nicholas empowered the Spanish Inquisition to investigate and punish homosexuality.
  • In 1513, Balboa while exploring present-day Panama reported that “the most abominable and unnatural lechery is practiced by the King’s brother and many other younger men in women’s apparel,” and Balboa threw forty of the offenders to his dogs.
  • Other explorers reported that the Mayan people of Mexico were “great sodomites,” and one wrote back that everyone in the New World seemed to practice sodomy.
  • In 1918, Earl Lind’s Autobiography of an Androgyne was published, although he had begun writing it in 1899 at the age of 25. He considered himself to be an androgyne, an invert, and a fairie, by which words he meant he was psychologically a female with male genitalia. Urnings, he said,
love an adolescent as a normal man loves a woman, and desires active paedicatio [anal penetration] or else mutual onanism [masturbation]. Fairies are distinct from urnings, he wrote, for they “love the adolescent as a woman loves a man, and desire fellatio [oral sucking of the penis] or occasionally play the part of the pathic [bottom] in paedicatio.” (In contemporary usage, fairies would be “bottoms,” urnings “tops,” and sodomites “trade.”) In 1967, Ronald Reagan, who was later to become the President of the United States, called homosexuality “a tragic illness.” In 1995, Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, said that homosexuals have “no rights at all” and are “worse than dogs and pigs.” The Allyson Almanac (1989) cites numerous historical events involving homosexuality, ending with accounts of the 1980s in which hundreds of thousands of marchers in Washington, DC, demanded civil rights for homosexuals. The book lists where some religious organizations stood on the subject in the 1980s:
• The Roman Catholic Church consistently has condemned all homosexual activity as inherently sinful. In 1986 the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter in which homosexuality was referred to as “behavior to which no one has any conceivable right.” In 1994, Pope John Paul II preached that the notion of gay or lesbian marriage is “a serious threat to the future of the family and society” and said such unions could not be “recognized and ratified as a marriage in society.” He made the statement two weeks after the European Parliament in Strasbourg offered support for the idea of homosexuals’ marrying and adopting children. Specifically, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) notes that “tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” However, the catechism continues, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” Finally, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” In short, past tradition appears to have been one thing, but now that it is 1994 homosexuals are told they did not “choose” their “condition,” they can expect to encounter difficulties from non-homosexuals, and they are advised to be chaste. (See entry for Andrew Sullivan, the gay editor of The New Republic, who is a Catholic.)
• The Protestant Episcopal Church was the first denomination to ordain a woman who was openly lesbian.
• The Presbyterian Church in 1976 voted that it would be “injudicious if not improper” to ordain homosexuals to the ministry. At the same time, the Assembly reaffirmed a previous resolution which stated that the “practice of homosexuality is a sin.”
• The United Methodist Church in 1975 unanimously approved a statement that declared that the bishops did not “advocate or support ordination for practicing homosexuals.”
• The United Church of Christ in 1972 was the first to ordain an openly gay person to the ministry. In 1975, it affirmed the civil liberties of gay and bisexual persons, stating that the church “must bear a measure of responsibility for the suffering visited upon same-gender-oriented persons.”
• The Southern Baptist Church in 1987 condemned homosexuality as “a manifestation of a depraved nature” and “a perversion of divine standards,” being one of the most conservative among the mainline denominations.
• Judaism’s Orthodox and Conservative synagogues generally take a dim view of the practice of homosexuality. In 1979, a Reform group, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, upheld the human rights of homosexuals.
• The Unitarian Universalist Association has gone further than most other denominations to defend the rights of gay men and lesbians. A series of resolutions from 1970 on has upheld the rights of gay men and lesbians, and the group has an Office of Gay Concerns. Homosexuals as well as lesbians are often found as Unitarian ministers across the United States, as was the case in other denominations at the end of the century.

In the 1990s, gay groups among almost every denomination—Methodists, Mormons, Baptists, Catholics, Friends, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, etc.—have formed and have worked both outside and inside the national church organizations. A Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (5300 Santa Monica Boulevard #304, Los Angeles, California 90029), an ecumenical religious denomination which is predominantly gay and lesbian, is found throughout the United States.

Wainwright Churchill’s Homosexual Behaviour Among Males: A Cross-Cultural and Cross-Species Investigation (1967) found that homosexual conduct has been observed by scientists among monkeys, dogs, bulls, rats, porcupines, guinea pigs, goats, horses, donkeys, elephants, hyenas, bats, mice, lions, rabbits, cats, raccoons, baboons, porpoises, and apes. Churchill added that “homosexuality among the apes is highly significant since man is in the same order of animal life.”

Gay American History (1976), a documentary by Jonathan Katz, contains an extensive bibliography of books on the subject. Included is the fact that in 1776 Jefferson and other leading citizens began a thorough-going revision of Virginia law, stripping it of all former monarchical and aristocratic aspects and bringing it into conformity with republican principles. In 1777, Katz reports, “Thomas Jefferson was among those liberals who suggested that ‘Rape, Sodomy, Bestiality . . . be punished by Castration,’ rather than, as earlier, by death. As finally written, bill number 64, authored by Jefferson himself and ‘Reported by the Committee of Advisors, 18 June 1779’ adds polygamy to the list.”

A. L. Rowse’s Homosexuals in History (1977) describes how sexual ambivalence since ancient times has been one of man’s major concerns and pleasures, and his research is echoed in many other volumes which describe homosexuality throughout the human as well as the animal world. Rowse names dozens and dozens for whom same-sex love was predominant.

Writing about Shakespeare’s Hamlet, playwright Terrence McNally observed, “The greatest gay character ever written is Hamlet. . . . Reconsider his misogynic treatment of both his mother and his alleged girlfriend, reexamine his relationship with his best friend, Horatio, and check out his over-the-top enthusiasm for the theater and actors. If it takes one to know one, Hamlet is one. Trust me on this.”

Both sadism and masochism occur in homosexuality. For example, Proust illustrated his own “peculiarity” in confiding to André Gide that he sometimes needed intense sensations to achieve orgasm, such as watching warring rats. Biographer Ronald Hayman further describes Proust’s compulsion, “the lifelong habit of trying to buy good will. Even when making love or when having love made to him, he couldn’t believe he was lovable.”

Ackerman writes that although Marcel Proust claimed Remembrance was not autobiographical, “most scholars believe it is, and that the narrator’s entanglements with Albertine echo Proust’s doings with his lover, Alfred Agostinelli.” Instead of buying Alfred a Rolls-Royce, Proust bought him one of the first airplanes “and Alfred died in it, spinning into the Mediterranean where he drowned, which gave him the dubious honor of being one of the first people to die in an airplane crash.” As Ackerman observes, Proust would probably have agreed with Baudelaire’s definition of love as “an oasis of horror in a desert of boredom.” Meanwhile, Proust played love voluptuously in his mind, caressing the memories with his pen.

A Gay American Indian Anthology (1988) by Maurice Kenny describe the American Indians’ Berdache tradition, which placed effeminate men on a high social level among the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Ponca, and other tribes. For example, “To the Cheyenne we were no curiosity. We were friends or wives of brave warriors who hunted for our cooking pots and who protected our tipis [teepees] from Pawnee. We went to the mountain for our puberty vision. No horse or lance or thunderbird crossed the dreaming eye which would have sent us into war or the hunter’s lonely woods. To some song floated on mountain air. To others, colors and design appeared on clouds. To a few, words fell from eagle wings. And they took to the medicine tent, and in their holiness made power for the people of the Cheyenne Nation. There was space for us in the village. The Crow and Ponca offered deerskin when the decision to avoid the warpath was made. And we were accepted into the fur robes of a young warrior, and lay by his flesh and knew his mouth and warm groin, or we married (a second wife) to the chief. And if we fulfilled our duties, he smiled and gave us his grandchildren to care for.” (See entry for Berdache, which is an Arabic, not an Indian, word.)

The Greek goddess Aphrodite was said by Hesiod to have risen from the foam of the sea where Uranus’s genitals fell after Kronus mutilated the Greek god of the sky, the mythological father of the Titans. The story in 1867 inspired Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825—1895), a lawyer and early gay rights advocate, to call himself an Urning to the surprise of a convention of German jurists. Homosexuals have offensively been called homos, pansies, fruits, fairies, fag[got]s, swishes, lesbos, and dykes. Some have been called intersexes, androgynes, epicenes, perverts, and gays.

Gore Vidal, who prefers same-sex sex to homosexuality, thinks gay is “a ridiculous word to use as a common identification for Frederick the Great, Franklin Pangborn, and Eleanor Roosevelt.” (At Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural, Mrs. Roosevelt wore a ring given her by her close friend, Lorena Hickock.)

Many contemporary homosexuals call themselves queer rather than or in addition to what they consider the passé word gay. Queer once was used to designate pickpockets and con men, for “queer as Dick’s hatband” commonly was understood to mean “out of order.” Later, as noted in Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811), the word meant “wrong, improper.”

Many gays and queers in the 1990s show little or no interest in organized religions, which they document as being a major cause for their centuries of being considered immoral. They are apt to express, particularly in their numerous books and magazines, more interest in the Ancient Greeks, pointing to Athena’s proud bisexuality and to Zeus’s escapades with the male Ganymede. (See entry for a gay secular humanist publication, Qwer.) Those, however, who are attracted to Christianity sometimes speculate that Jesus and at least some of his all-male “disciples” bonded not only religiously but also sexually. Monotheism, they note, originally meant the “oneness” of God, implying God’s bisexuality. (See entry for Kallimachos.)

In 1986, when Canada Customs discovered that The Joy of Gay Sex discussed as well as depicted anal sex, a bookstore challenged the refusal and won the case. Judge Bruce Hawkins, of the trial-level court for civil cases in Ontario, observed, “To write about homosexual practices without dealing with anal intercourse would be equivalent to writing a history of music and omitting Mozart.” Canada Customs then amended the guidelines, although many United States books continue to be refused entry.

The late John Boswell, called “a devout Catholic” by The New Yorker, contended in Sex Unions in Premodern Europe (1994) that the Catholic Church blessed homosexual marriages as recently as the 1700s and even used a kind of liturgy, complete with prayers, to perform them:

  • Send down, most kind Lord, the grace of Thy Holy Spirit upon these Thy servants, whom Thou hast found worthy to be united not by nature but by faith and a holy spirit. Grant unto them Thy grace to love each other in joy without injury or hatred all the days of their lives.

Doug Stumpf, once Boswell’s editor at Villard, mentions that most of the ceremonies were in Greek, language of the early Catholic Church, but that the following is from an elaborate fourteenth-century version originally in Serbian-Slavonic. It is one of eighty versions of the same-sex marriage ceremony in manuscripts dating from the eighth through the sixteenth centuries:

  • Lord God almighty, who didst fashion humankind after thine image and likeness and give unto them eternal and everlasting life, who didst choose thy holy disciples and glorious apostles Peter and Paul, and Philip and Bartholomew, to be united not in the bond of birth, but in faithfulness and love, let these love each other without envy and without temptation all the days of their lives. It hath pleased Thee that thy holy martyrs Serge and Bacchus were united not in the bond of birth, but in spiritual faith and love. Grant also that these two servants of thine, N. and N., love teach other without jealousy or temptation. Let them abide all the days of their lives under the Holy Spirit and the prayers of our most pure Queen, the Mother of God, and all thy saints who have pleased Thee through the ages. For thine is the power and thine the kingdom, thine the strength and the glory, Father and Son.

Boswell implied that Jesus and John had some kind of same-sex relationship, that same-sex marriages occurred in sanctified churches, and that, as shown in the above excerpts, the unions invoked the names of God, disciples, and apostles. Apologists countered that perhaps the ritual was a form of “fraternal adoption” or something like a commemoration of “an undying spiritual bonding.”

In the fourteenth century, the same-sex ceremony began to be banned for the Church and society were “gripped by a rabid and obsessive negative preoccupation with homosexuality as the most horrible of sins,” stated Boswell, who claimed same-sex unions are still being performed quietly in some parts of Eastern Europe.

Cartoonist Gray Trudeau publicized the finding, having one of his comic strip’s characters report that some Yale professor had written a book saying that “for 1000 years the church sanctioned rituals for homosexual marriages.” Boswell is accustomed to controversy. In 1980, he wrote Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, maintaining that Christianity was not originally or inherently hostile to homosexuality. His work, he insists, can help people “incorporate [same-sex love] into a Christian life-style.” A male couple in Washington, D.C., did choose one of his ceremonies for their wedding, wrote Bruce Holsinger in The Nation, but a priest in Hartford who used the rituals to perform a number of gay and lesbian marriages was immediately excommunicated.

Episcopal Bishop John S. Spong in his Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism (1991) wrote that St. Paul was a “self-loathing and repressed gay male.” Spong also championed the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church and, in the 1980s, called on priests in his diocese to “bless” homosexual unions.

Bonnie and Vern Bullough have written “The Causes of Homosexuality: A Scientific Update” (Free Inquiry, Fall, 1993), in which after extensive and up-to-date research they conclude as follows:

  • Although the research on homosexuality is in a rapidly changing state, there is evidence accumulating to suggest that sexual preference [changed to “orientation”] is the product of a complex interaction between three factors: (1) a genetic predisposition; (2) physiological factors; and (3) the socialization process. It is no longer possible to argue that either nature or nurture alone is in the answer; it is clear that both are involved in producing sexual preference. Given the power of these influences and the small amount of control exercised by the individual, punitive political policies seem out of place. It seems just as silly to discriminate against someone for his sexual preference as it does for his race or age.

Linguistically, homo is the Greek for same, not Latin for man, and the word homophobia is Greek, not a mixture of Latin and Greek. Homophobia therefore means “hatred of homosexuals” although it appears to mean “hatred of one’s own kind.” Or so some linguists point out. Simon LeVay of the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education and Dean H. Hammer of the National Institutes of Health present evidence for a biological influence in male homosexuality in Scientific American (May 1994). However, in the same issue William Byne of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine argues that current data lack substance, that even if genetic and neuroanatomical traits turn out to be correlated with sexual orientation, causation is far from proved.

In its “Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles and Values,” the Council for Secular Humanism specifies the stand of secular humanists:

• We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationalist, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.

Meanwhile, the majority’s opinion in the United States against homosexuality—which usually is based on Biblical doctrine—stood fast at the end of the 20th century. Political leaders joined with religious leaders and millions of their supporters in justifying their widely held view that the social fabric demands no “giving in” to homosexual demands for the same equality accorded to women and ethnic groups such as African Americans. Protection under the law is already available for homosexuals, insist the majority. As for a possible ruling by the court in Hawaii that would recognize marriages between two people of the same sex, Congress was quick in 1996 to pass legislation barring such and allowing individual states to ignore same-sex unions which might be made legal in Hawaii or elsewhere. During the debate, Representative Barr, a Republican from Georgia, insisted that “America will not be the first country in the world that throws the concept of marriage out the window and for the very first time in the history of civilization says that homosexual marriages are as important as, and rise to the level of the legal and moral equivalency of, heterosexual marriage.” Instead, he spoke for the majority by saying that “the flames of hedonism, the flames of narcissism, the flames of self-centered morality are licking at the very foundation of our society, the family unit.” (See entries for Heterosexuality, Hostility, Immorality, N. L. Stones [a transsexual], and for the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association. Hawaii in 1999 voted against adopting such legislation.) {AA; ACK; Terrence McNally, Los Angeles Times, 9 December 1996}

Homoexuality in Zimbabwe and Elsewhere

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in 1995, at an international book fair group, said that the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) group was excluded. When Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer of South Africa and others objected, Mugabe responded that homosexuals have “no rights at all,” that they are “worse than dogs and pigs,” and that they should be hounded out of the country. “Let the Americans keep their sodomy, bestiality, stupid and foolish ways to themselves!” he ejaculated.

Not long afterwards, in 1998, the Rev. Canaan Banana, Zimbabwe’s president from 1980 to 1987, was found guilty of sodomy with young bodyguards, gardeners, and cooks. The charges grew out of a 1995 murder trial of a police inspector, Jefta Dube, who killed a colleague who had called him “Banana’s wife.” Homosexuality is not given special moral or psychological significance in many cultures.

In 1951, a survey of 190 different societies around the world reported that in 70% of those studied homosexual practices are considered acceptable behavior. The practices are found throughout the animal kingdom. {CE}

What the Judeo-Christian Bible Says

What the Bible “really” says about homosexuality, a study by Mel White, is an online source .

Why God Hates Fags

Some religious leaders have a direct line to God. The Web site of the Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, explains "Why God Hates Fags" and tells of his disgust for "Fag-ass American Soldiers Charged in a Gay Porn Case"

TRANSGENDER

Transgendered individuals are found throughout the world and called by various names:

gallae - were castrated in Ancient Rome
hijra - the third gender in cultures of the Indian subcontinent
kathoey - effeminate men are also called this in Laos and Thailand
mukhannathun = called by persons of the Islamic faith who are accepted
within the boundaries of Islam
Ła'mana - term used by some Native American and Canadian First Nations
people, such as the Zuñi; also winkte and berdache and hwamee and
Two Spirit and Muxe
salzikrum - According to the Code of Hammurabi, salzikrum had inheritance
rights like that of a priestess; she inherited from her father, unlike regular
daughters. Her father could also stipulate that she inherit a certain amount.

Trans-bashers or transphobiacs who dislike transgender people mistakenly call the condition a lifestyle, something the medical establishment and trans community thoroughly reject.


The Pregnant Man

Thomas Beatie

Thomas Beatie in Oregon is legally male and legally married to Nancy. But he has written

  • I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire

Obtaining cryogenic sperm at a sperm bank, the Beaties resorted to home insemination and expect a baby girl some time around 3 July 2008.

Wikipedia has a thorough entry about transgender. It discusses terms such as androgyny, bigender, cross-dressing, drag king, drag queen, genderqueer, intersexuality, questioning, third gender, transsexualism, and transvestism.

In 2009, Thomas Beatie gave birth to his second child, a boy that arrived between Mother's Day and Father's Day. The boy arrived almost a year after the so-called "pregnant man" and his wife, Nancy, welcomed a girl, Susan. It arrived via natural childbirth, and Nancy planned to breastfeed him. Beatie, 35, made headlines in 2008 when photos of him with a beard, mustache, and big belly were made public. He revealed he was born Tracy Beatle and lived as a woman until his 20s, even competing in the Miss Teen Hawaii USA beauty pageant. But 10 years prior, he underwent a sex-change operation although choosing to keep his female reproductive organs - this allowed him to bear children after his 46-year-old wife learned that she could not. "I'm a person," Beatie told the media, "and I have the right to have a biological child."

PC Air's Maiden Flight with Third Gender Cabin Crew

On 24 December 2011, PC Air claimed to be the first airline in the world to employ the third gender as a cabin crew.

Other

Renée Richards, the Ivy League educated scholar and opthalmologist, prefers transexual to transgender.

(Gender Reassignment Surgery for procedures including penile inversion and colon sectioning is pictured at a website in Thailand.)

(See entries for homosexuality and heterosexual sex acts.