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Societal attitudes toward homosexuality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pew Global Attitudes Project 2013: Should homosexuality be accepted in society? Percentage of responders that answered that it should be accepted:    81–90%   71–80%   61–70%   51–60%   41–50%   31–40%   21–30%   11–20%   1–10%   No data
Pew Global Attitudes Project 2013: Should homosexuality be accepted in society? Percentage of responders that answered that it should be accepted:
  No data

Societal attitudes toward homosexuality vary greatly across different cultures and 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 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] Homophobic attitudes in society can manifest themselves in the form of anti-LGBT discrimination, opposition to LGBT rights, anti-LGBT hate speech, and violence against LGBT people.

Since the 1970s, much of the world has become more accepting of homosexual acts and relationships.[3] A 2017 book by Professor Amy Adamczyk based on years of mixed methods research, shows that these cross-national differences in acceptance can be explained by three factors: the strength of democratic institutions, the level of economic development, and the religious context of the places where people live.[4] The Pew Research Center's 2013 Global Attitudes Survey "finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, 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."[5]

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  • ✪ Thinking Biblically About Homosexuality (Selected Scriptures)
  • ✪ Gay Men of Color and Internalized Homophobia


Well, tonight I want to talk to you on the subject of what God thinks of homosexuals. It is not a particularly enjoyable subject to discuss, nor would any sin be enjoyable to discuss, for that matter. But it has become pertinent and essential and necessary for us to get a biblical view of this rapidly increasing and normalizing effort to accept homosexuality in our culture. We need to understand what the Word of God has to say. There is so much confusion on this outside the church that's explicable. But there seems to be about equal confusion inside the church. In fact, there is a new kind of evangelicalism that labels itself, "tolerant, loving, non-judgmental," that is affirming those who carry about and legitimize these kind of lusts and behaviors and they do so while maintaining the name of Jesus Christ in an affirmation that they themselves are Christians. I want you to look at 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and all I want to do is just give you a biblical picture so that you'll know how God views this kind of behavior. And let me say at the very beginning, and I will show you this, but I want to say it because I want you to understand it. Homosexual sin is nothing more or nothing less than a perverse sexual act, or is no more than that, it is no less than that. It is a perverse abnormal sexual behavior. I'm reluctant even to call someone a homosexual because that seems to identify them with some kind of staple character that draws them into that behavior. It is no more or no less than a perverse act or acts. In 1 Corinthians chapter 6, go down to verse 9, the Apostle Paul writes these words, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." Here is the good news that answers our question...what does God think of homosexuals? It is God's desire that they be saved, that they be justified, that they be sanctified, that they be washed. And that homosexuality and that homosexual behavior be only part of their past so that it can be said of them, "Such were some of you." Now the list here is interesting for a lot of reasons. There are many sins, we're just looking at the sin of homosexuality, but there are all these other kinds of sins, as well, from which we need to be delivered and washed and sanctified and justified. Also, this list gives us some idea of the kind of people who were part of the Corinthian church. Now if you knew that a church was full of ex-fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, covetous, alcoholics, slanderers, extortioners, etc., etc., it might be the kind of crowd you'd want to avoid. But these are precisely the people who made up the Corinthian church. And that tells us not only about the church, but it tells us a lot about that society. It was a society not unlike our own society which is full of the same kinds of people...fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, etc., nothing much has changed. So this church, Grace Community Church, like the church at Corinth is populated by people who fit into these former categories, but you have been washed, you have been sanctified, separated from those kinds of behaviors and you have been justified before God because God has set His loving forgiveness and grace upon you because of faith in Christ. I have baptized and others have baptized in the waters of baptism right here people who have been delivered from all these sins, including homosexuality. By God's grace and through His saving love, homosexual sinners are redeemable and some of you sitting out there are living testimony to that fact. I remember sitting in the office one day, receiving a phone call from a man who said, "My name is David Chastane(?)." He said in a faint voice, "I am in a hospital, I need you to come and see me." I went to a nearby hospital, I walked in the room, I knew immediately he was dying of AIDS because I know the look, I've seen it enough. He was surrounded by friends, all of whom were obviously homosexual. He was being attended to by an obviously homosexual nurse, or attendant. And I came up to his bed and he grasped my hand as tightly as he could in his weakened condition and said, "I have lived a homosexual life for over 20 years, I was raised in a Christian family and a Christian home and a Christian church. I know the gospel. I have rejected it and hated it all my life. Now I'm going to die from AIDS and I do not want to go to hell. Can you help me?" And I said, "Of course I can." And I began to give him the gospel and the room was empty in ten seconds. I'm telling you, ten seconds, if that. And he opened his heart to Christ. I prayed a long prayer and I asked God to be gracious to him and to save him while he clutched my hand, after which I said, "If you desire to pray, this is your opportunity to ask for forgiveness." And he did and he prayed one of the most heart wrenching prayers I've ever heard in my life, pleading with God to forgive him for the wretched life that he had lived in defiance of what he had been raised to know is true. And after this long and passionate prayer, he stared at the wall and I said to him, "What are you looking at?" He said, "I'm looking at the clock over there because I want to remember the time of my new life." And he was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. He said, "I have a lot to make up for in a very little time." I took some books down to him which he read as rapidly as he could. He gave testimony of his faith in Christ. And I think if I remember right, it was about five days and he was gone. Not all of the conversions like that are quite that dramatic. That was one of the most dramatic. I'll tell you about another one at the end. One of the supreme tragedies in our day is reclassification of homosexuality as a non-sin, as a normal behavior, as an acceptable behavior, even as a noble behavior because that's the way you're made, instead of defining it the way the Bible defines it as a perversion from which you need to be rescued. Wrong diagnosis obviates the cure. And the evangelical church must stick with a biblical definition of sin and confront the sinner with every sin, whether conventionally popular or not. And there is a massive movement to appease the guilt of homosexual behavior, and it is a fierce guilt that needs relentless appeasement. There is a massive movement to somehow free these people from their behavior that is a result of unchecked lust and to make them feel okay about what they do. There is an effort to redefine it as an acceptable alternate life style, sexual orientation, genetic difference, or personal preference. But it is not that. It's nothing more than a perverse sex act. That's all it is, nothing less, nothing more. And people who get engaged in it and drawn into it for a number of reasons, find themselves spiraling deeper and deeper into this kind of conduct. The same kind of addiction that comes on those who are addicted to pornography, or for that matter adultery, only this one seems to be far more intense and far more available in terms of its fulfillment. These people who are so driven to divest themselves of guilt, to release and free themselves from any assessment that they are sinning are promoting and selling their perversion as if it's normal on every level in this nation, starting with elementary schools, TV sitcoms, films, and every other form of media. The government has stepped up to help fund their efforts and accommodated them in all kinds of ways with non-discriminatory laws. Politicians seek the homosexual vote by campaigning for homosexual rights. They want us to accept the notion that homosexual behavior is really something that is natural for a legitimate minority, that it's the same as being African/American, or it's the same as being Hispanic. These people are a minority who have been unjustly discriminated against and now are entitled a special treatment under the law to make up for this long harsh discrimination. The best statistics that I could find indicate that somewhere between one and two percent of the population in our country would classify themselves as engaging in homosexual sex acts. But this very small portion of our population is commanding the attention of the 98 to 99 percent of the rest of us. They're endeavoring to make us accept the fact that this is some kind of normal behavior. Not only that, they deserve special treatment because they've been so abused in the past. Their agenda is simple, they just want to desensitize us to the sinful character of this. They want to desensitize us. They don't need us to become advocates, they just need us not to care, to roll over, if you will, to acknowledge them as just another minority who should enjoy same human rights that others enjoy. But this is not a race of people. This is a sexual behavior...nothing more, nothing less. It is ridiculous to assume that because they do a specific sexual act or acts, they therefore demand certain rights and should be granted those rights. I don't know how you can separate it from giving people the same rights to people who do other deviant acts, like pedophiles, murderers, rapists, drug dealers. They all have a different orientation, should they have rights? Wife beaters? Child molesters? Where do we end this? All sin comes because people are bent toward it. And when a society decides that certain sins and certain sinners should have special rights, they have moved long and far from the true understanding of sin and Scripture. Are we going to give the same rights to rapists? Well, this is just the way they're bent. They're drawn that way, they have strong impulses that way. They should be able to express themselves in any way that they like and we should give them rights because they're bent that direction. People who are rapists I understand are compelled, driven. So are those who are child molesters, pedophiles. Their preference has become the cause of the most devastating public health epidemic in this nation's history. They launched the AIDS epidemic. Their preference, if it continues along with the other sexual deviations in our culture, will cause the most devastating corruption that any nation has known since the plagues of the Middle Ages, to say nothing of the financial eruption in the medical health community trying to take care of all these people. They are very aggressive in recruiting children, as young as they can get to them in elementary school to draw them into the pit of their perversion and make themselves feel normal. They now have been given the right to adopt children so that they can have their own casualties right under their own noses in their own houses. This would be like taking two mass murderers and telling them they can adopt children and expecting that a normal child would be produced in that kind of environment. Their behavior is nothing more than the expression of a sexual lust that is unnatural, twisted and uncontained. And no matter how you try to glamorize it and make it look normal, and make it look nice and all of that, let me give you some statistics. Eighty percent of people engaged in homosexual acts say half their partners are total strangers, one out of two. How many partners do they have? The latest statistics that I can find indicate that the average homosexual has had more than 500 sexual partners...500. By their own admission, 50 percent of them, total strangers. Thirty percent have had a thousand partners. Some as many as 1600. The latest that I could find out on the average, the average has 300 a year, almost one different person a day. The conduct of their acts has no bounds, it all was launched in what were called gay bath houses where they used to have anonymous contact with ten to thirty unknowns in one day. Similar kind of behavior is now found its way into other places. Every conceivable and inconceivable act is included, none of which we need to talk about. They are one to two percent of the population, but 50 percent of the people with AIDS. One in twenty of these people is a child molester, for the normal population it's about one in 500 at the the least. They are one thousand times more likely to get AIDS, one hundred times more likely to be murdered. Eighty percent of them have sexually transmitted diseases. The average death of our population is now 75. The average American dies at 75, the average person engaged in homosexual life dies at 39. Two percent live to 65. Just to take the glamor off of it, that's what it really is. It is a sexual lust gone mad. It is suicidal. And I can give an almost endless parade of statistics and a litany of information on the problem which doesn't, after a certain point, help. What is more important is to understand it from God's viewpoint for what it really is. Let's go back to our text in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. There is a mention there in verse 9 of the word "effeminate...effeminate." Marginal note in the NAS says effeminate by perversion, malakos is the Greek word. It seems to have been a technical term for the passive partner in homosexual relationships. Artin(?) Gingrick(?), one of the best of Greek lexicons, says that the word probably also included men and boys who allowed themselves to become male prostitutes and were the passive partners. It's more than effeminate in the sense that we think of effeminate as a kind of superficial style, it is a kind of homosexual prostitution. Then the word homosexuals, arsenokoites, two Greek words, one meaning sexual relations, the other meaning men. It is man having sexual relations with men, it means just that. These people practice a sin which excludes them from the Kingdom of God. They will not inherit the Kingdom of God. They will never belong to God's Kingdom as long as they continually live in that life style. Amazingly churches today that are supposed to represent God's Kingdom, open their doors and their arms to these people who do this kind of deviant behavior and embrace them. The Word Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches decades ago declassified this as a sin. Major denominations ordain those who practice homosexuality, both men and lesbian women, to the pastorate. Quakers, of all people, say homosexuality is no more deplorable than left-handedness. We have homosexuals among the Episcopalians and a bishop in the Episcopalian church who is openly engaged in homosexual behavior. One pastor of a Methodist church near here said, I quote, "A homosexual is welcome in this congregation and will have all rights and privileges." In the emergent church, kind of the new wave of the church, doesn't take a position on this. They're not sure about anything in the Bible and they're sure they're not sure about this. In fact there are amazingly, there is an effort on the part of some theologians to prove that Paul was a repressed homosexual, struggling with his sexual yearnings which were never resolved and so he became a self-hating repressed homosexual. There's even a group of churches for Christian homosexuals, the Metropolitan Community churches, founded by a man named Troy Perry(?), you may have heard of that name. I had dubious opportunity to debate him on an occasion and just to be sure, because I know these people can be violent, I took the starting right guard from, at the time, the Los Angeles Rams with me. I didn't know exactly what was going to happen. Troy Perry, along with another gentleman came to argue the case for Christian homosexual behavior and they tried to glorify it. And Troy Perry was saying, "I'm monogamous, and so forth and so on, and this is a loving relationship," and on and on and on. And I just happened to be given by the Los Angeles Police Department a complete rap sheet on all his arrests for sex in the back alleys of Hollywood. That's why I had that guy sitting beside me. Needless to say, I pointed that out, it was the end of the debate, he was infuriated, stormed out of the room. This Metropolitan church, Metropolitan Community Church, is still around, teaches that homosexuality is a gift from God. That Jesus was not hostile to lesbians and homosexuals. David and Jonathan were homosexuals, so were Ruth and Naomi lesbians. And Sodom was destroyed for a lack of hospitality. Exactly what they say. To the pure, all things are pure. And to the vile, all things are vile. So, there are within the framework of Christianity all kinds of tolerances for this sin and it's tragic. Not because...not because we want to damn these people, but because we want them to wake up to the fact that they are shut out of the Kingdom of God until they come to a realization of their sin and seek forgiveness and deliverance. Paul had to face it because it was everywhere in his culture. There's the list of the kind of people who went to the church, ex-homosexuals, Socrates was a homosexual, we are told, a very active one as were many of the Greek leaders and philosophers. Plato penned an entire section in his famous symposium exalting homosexual love, We are told by some historians that even Alexander the Great had both male and female lovers. Some have said the Greek soldiers were believed to have fought valiantly to protect their fellow soldier lovers. Julius Caesar, history says, had his own lover. Tiberius Caesar adopted young boys and abused them cruelly, apparently a pedophile. Both Gibbon and no less than Toynbee, Arnold Toynbee, great historians, write that this was one of the major contributors to the decline of the Roman Empire and the fall of Rome. Some say nearly all the Caesars were engaged in homosexual behavior, it was so rampant, at least 14 out of the first 15, according to some historians. Nero, the current Caesar at the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, had taken a boy named Sporus(?) and had him castrated and then married him in a full wedding and lived with him as his wife. So Paul's world was not very much different than our world. Homosexual behavior, like all the other sins that are listed there, was everywhere. He confronted it for what it is, it is a sinful behavior. It is a sinful act. He was not homophobic, he was not overreacting because he was a repressed homosexual himself, he was true to divine Scripture and he was true to the sinner to tell him his sin for the sake of repentance. Paul knew what Scripture taught. Let's find out, Deuteronomy 22. Deuteronomy 22, now we're going to run fast through these, the detailed study of these texts we will leave for another occasion or for your own study. There are some extensive notes in the MacArthur Study Bible that you might find helpful. You might want to wait and read those later. In the twenty-second chapter of Deuteronomy and verse 5, "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God." This is what we call today a transsexual, or a transvestite, or perhaps even another name that I'm not aware of. A person who exchanges his dress for that of the other sex because it brings on some certain kind of lustful thrill. Literally in the Hebrew it rings this way, A man shall not...a woman shall not wear that which appertains to a man, that which pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on what pertains to a woman...clothes, implements, weapons, tools, anything that robs one of clear female identity or male identity. And we're not talking about the fact that some of the Bible bangers in the past have said, that's why women can't wear pants because pants belong on men. Well come on, in the Old Testament everybody wore skirts. That's not what we're talking about but men had robes that looked like men's robes and women had robes that looked like women's robes. Men were to be men, women were to be women. God made us male and female and Satan, of course, seeks to obliterate that throughout the history of false religions, that is obliterated. The ancient writer, Maimonides, whom I mentioned this morning, also says that a man dressed in fancy women's clothes would often come and worship Venus and Ashtaroth, and by the way, typically the Greek gods were either male or female. So a man dressed in fancy women's clothes would often come and worship Venus, says Maimonides, and Astaroth and women dressed in men's armor would come to honor the god of war, Mars. Very typical in ancient religions, the satanic success in causing people to blur the male and female distinction, there's nothing new about drag queens...nothing new about female impersonators, nothing new about women dressing to look like men and men dressing to look like women, sometimes in public and perhaps more often in private. It is a perversion, it is an abomination even to wear clothes that belong to or implements that belong to the opposite sex. Go to the next chapter, chapter 23 of Deuteronomy, verse 1. "No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord." This is a true transsexual, someone who in the very primitive way had his maleness destroyed. Now this was a kind of ancient surgery. It's enough to say that the word in the Hebrew translated emasculated is the basic root word for being crushed. I will say no more. There are people who claim that they are somehow women trapped in men's bodies and go to a doctor to have a surgery. Someone who does that will not enter the assembly of the Lord. In the ancient times people would have this done for the gods to become a eunuch and go serve the gods and go to a temple and become a male prostitute. Parents would do it to boys as young as ten years of age. To give their children to the gods, to serve the gods, to gain some merit from the gods they believed in. Someone who was so deeply into paganism as to do this was restricted from the privileges and rites of citizenship within the nation because they had defiled the image of God and shown disregard for God's Word and God's design and God's will. No place in the assembly of the Lord. Was this permanent? You mean to say in the Old Testament if you did this, if you became a eunuch you could never be saved, you could never be forgiven? Let me help you with that. Isaiah 56, and go over to Isaiah 56 and it's important, verse 3, Isaiah 56:3, "Thus says the Lord," by the way, the Lord's talking here, "let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, the Lord will surely separate me from His people." Here we have a window of hope. Let not the foreigner outside the covenant of Israel, outside the race of Jews descended from Abraham, let him not say the Lord will surely separate me from His people. Let not that foreigner who comes and says I want to be a part of this nation, I want to be a part of what God is doing here, I want to worship your God in your way, let him not say the Lord will surely separate me from His people, neither let the eunuch say, 'Behold, I am a dry tree, it's over for me. I have no future. I have no hope. I have no part in God's people,.' For thus says the Lord...verse 4, "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbath and choose what pleases Me and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.'" Now there's a play on words. Is there forgiveness for them? Is there salvation for them? Even in the Old Testament there is forgiveness and there is salvation. "Let not the eunuch say there's no hope for me." Don't let that pagan, even the castrated pagan think he can never have forgiveness from God and never have life from God. God will give him a place in his house within his walls and the name better than that of sons and daughters, an everlasting name. And this is exactly what God does in Acts 8. You remember in Acts don't have to look it up...Philip joins himself to a chariot and in the chariot is a eunuch who was serving Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. Here is one, maybe from a child, had been given by his parents and castrated and given to this...this woman, this monarch to serve and he's reading...what?...Isaiah and he's instructed concerning the Messiah at salvation. And he asks if he can be baptized and he is baptized and he is saved and the Spirit of God comes upon him. And so, an unrepentant, unbelieving eunuch is shut out and God doesn't want them anywhere near His assembly because He doesn't want them having any of their evil influence. But salvation is open to them. In a sense, we invite all those people who live in this kind of simple perversion to embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and be forgiven and receive a new life and a new name and complete salvation and eternal heaven. But we do not welcome you to come here and propagate that perversion. We have to protect ourselves from that. Let's go back then to Leviticus 18 as we continue to see how Scripture speaks of this sin. Pretty clear, Leviticus 18:22...Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination. Like you shall not have intercourse with an animal, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it, it's perversion." It's perversion like bestiality. And then he goes on to say, verse 24, "Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all these the nations which I'm casting out before you have become defiled." That's the reason that you're going to go into the promised land and the nations that are there are going to be thrown out because this is how they conduct themselves in homosexual perversion and perversion with animals. "As for you, you are to keep My commandments, My judgments. You shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native nor the alien who sojourns among you." Don't allow it in the land among anybody. How could you allow it in the church? "For the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations and the land has become defiled so that the land may not spew you out should you defile it as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you." You open the church to homosexuals and may find God spewing the whole church out of His mouth. Verse 29, "Whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off, executed from among their people. Thus you are to keep My charge, or commandment, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you so as not to defile yourselves with's the reason...I am the Lord your God and I say so." There's absolutely no mistaking. Homosexual perversion and behavior is defiling. It produces God's judgment. God hasn't changed His opinion. God isn't any different now than He was then. He views it the very same way. Chapter 20 of Leviticus and verse 13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act, they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them." The penalty is death, execution on the spot as it was for adultery. Now there are some people who say, "Well, Jesus said I am the end of the Law." No, He said I am the fulfillment of the Law. He said, "Not one jot or tittle shall from this Law be removed." God's moral law is unchanging and absolutely unchangeable. First Timothy 1:10, "And immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching." At the beginning of the Bible it is classified as a sin, at the end of the Bible it is still classified as a sin. Let's go to Genesis 19. Genesis 19 is the most dramatic illustration of this sin in Scripture. Of course, Genesis 1:27 God made man and made woman, made them male, zakar, female, neqebah, they were to complete each other, making one flesh, producing offspring. This is God's unalterable design, a man and a woman. Satan immediately wants to corrupt that, right? You have that and then in chapter 3 you have the Fall, then what comes? Chapter 12, you have adultery. Chapter 19 you have incest. Chapter 34 you have rape. Chapter 38 you have prostitution. Part of the history of Genesis is the patriarchs, another part of the history of Genesis is the development of sexual perversion. And here in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis, homosexuality is featured. Sodom is the city. And by the way, according to Ezekiel 16, Sodom was filled with all kinds of wickedness, but none more shocking than this, surely there was adultery, fornication, polygamy, incest, rape, prostitution, you name it. But notice this, two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the Gate of Sodom. Angels who had taken on bodily form. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, "Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servants house and spend the night, wash your feet that you may rise early and go on your way. They said, however, No, we will spend the night in the square." Not a good idea. Two magnificent, heavenly angels in beautiful form, the likes of which people had never seen. Verse 3, he urged them strongly. So they turned aside to him and entered his house and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread and they ate. He was protecting them. And he expressed kindness to them as heavenly visitors, as Abraham and Sarah had done in the seventeenth chapter when they were also visited. Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. The word got out that these two magnificent creatures were in town and in Lot's house and the men of the city, the men of Sodom surround the house, young and old men. And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them," literally have intercourse with them. That's how perverse they were. But Lot went out to them in the doorway and shut the door behind him. Went outside and shut the door behind him and said, "Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Please. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man, please let me bring them out to you and do to them whatever you like, only do nothing to these men inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof." What in the world kind of bizarre plan is that? You say, "Well maybe he just thought that because they were so lustful in the category of homosexual sin, the girls would have had no appeal to them. Maybe. Probably a more faithful exposition would be to say that Lot would sacrifice his own daughters before he would allow the angels of God to be molested. By the way, at this point a man named Bailey wrote a book, in which he says, "The sin of Sodom was a lack of hospitality." People weren't very hospitable to these angels. Yeah, that's true but it was a lot more than that. The people said, here's their response outside, verse 9, they said, "Stand aside, out of the way, Lot." Furthermore they said, "This one came in as an alien and already he's acting like a judge," speaking of Lot. "Now we will treat you worse than them. So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door." Now this is really out of control...out of control. They want the two strangers, their passion is so strong they storm the door driven by lust, but the men, the angels, verse 10, reached out their hands, brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door and they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both the small and the great, the important and the unimportant. They were old and young and small and great. But look at this, "So that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway." Even though they had just been made blind, they were still trying to get in. You say that lust was out of control? Amazing. You would think if you had been made blind you'd get out of there. Lust is so compelling, as this kind of perversion is, they kept trying to get to the door and God eventually burned the whole city to a crisp. And born out of that was the name that has been through the years used to describe this kind of behavior, sodomy. Sodomy which appears in 1 Kings 14:24 and Deuteronomy 23:17 and 18 had its origin here. Sodomite was one who engaged in homosexual perversion. The sin of Sodom was homosexuality, not a lack of hospitality. It's reiterated, by the way, in Jude verses 6 and 7. It's really the best term. We should use it. Gay is preposterous as a term describing them. They're anything but gay. Massive guilt, loneliness, no future, no hope, trying to bury their guilt under some self-justifying campaign, they're anything but gay. Homosexuality is clinical, sodomite is biblical. That shows it for what it really is, the passion and a lust that is out of control. There's another Old Testament text, however, that must be addressed. Turn to Isaiah chapter 3...Isaiah chapter 3 and verse...well pick it up at verse 9. "There are certain people who rebel against God, here they are, the expression of their faces bears witness against them and they display their sin like Sodom. They do not even conceal it. Woe to them for they have brought evil on themselves." That's how it is. "Sodomites display their sin openly and publicly, they don't conceal it and they bring down greater evil on themselves. You say to the righteous that it will go well with them, for they will eat the fruit of their actions. Woe to the wicked, it will go badly with them, or with him, for what he deserves will be done to him. O My people, their oppressors are children and women rule over them. O My people, those who guide you, lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths." Here is a picture of sodomy going on in Isaiah's time which was part of God's judgment of falling. The prophet said Jerusalem is ruined, Judah is fallen. They have rebelled against the Lord. They provoke the Lord. They don't hide their sin like those in Sodom didn't hide it. They may well have been engaging in the same kinds of sin but they were parading their sin like the sodomites openly paraded their sin. This is flagrant rebellion toward God, it is blatant. And in verse 12 where it says their oppressors are children and women rule over them. Interesting statements. The term women there can be a woman-like man, or an effeminate person. Some lexicons have it a man-like woman. It could be that even in Isaiah's time there were sodomites in government, positions of power and positions of authority. If they can, they like to get into those positions. The Gay Invasion by William Rogers reports that there has been at least one homosexual in every presidential cabinet since Franklin Roosevelt and there are more now than ever. Isaiah likely knew that sodomy was all around and even in high places, it was part of the life of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. And some historians say the Pharaohs were engaged in homosexuality. We expect that from the unregenerate world. It took 150 years but finally this sin coupled with the rest destroyed Israel in divine judgment. What destroyed Sodom destroyed Israel, it would later destroy Greece, it would destroy Rome and it may destroy America. It is sin. It is deadly. It is destructive. And God hasn't changed His view. Our society refuses to see it that way because we've bought in to a lot of lies. There was born a man named Sigmund Freud who among many human behaviors became interested in dealing with sodomites. He determined that it was the psychological disorder related to a domineering mother. In 1930's there came a man named Ellis, who published a manual, a sexual book bringing sodomy into the open and pointing out some famous sodomites. He concluded that sodomites tend to be great men because they have a special genius attached to their sodomy. He wrote about Erasmus, the Dutch humanist, sixteenth century, Christopher Marlowe, the English poet, Michelangelo, the Italian genius who was not a homosexual, Lord Byron who was, Francis Bacon, Oscar Wilde who was, Walt Whitman. He put together this list of formidable folks to prove the genius of being a sodomite. Freud said, some kind of a quirky reaction to a domineering mother, Ellis said quite the contrary it is in fact a kind of genius. Then came a real fraud, Albert Kinsey in the forties and the fifties, publishing the famous Kinsey Report which was a whole pack of lies which tried to normalize sodomy by saying one out of ten people does this. The American Psychiatric Association declassified sodomy as a sickness, removing it from its standard diagnostic manual, determining that it is hereditary. All this has led to the epidemic today. There is no evidence that it is anything other than a deviant perverted kind of behavior. Are some people drawn to it? Yes. Why are they drawn to it? There could be a lot of reasons why they're drawn to it. Why is anybody drawn to any kind of sin? I'm not drawn to it. There are some sins I can't comprehend. I can't comprehend that sin. I can't comprehend a lot of sin. I can't comprehend murder. In early America do you know that they used to give people shock therapy to try to blast blank spots into their brain hoping to hit the homosexual lust zone? Do you know that once they did radical lobotomies on people who did this? None of that is going to work because this isn't something in the flesh of the brain, the tissue of the brain. This is a choice. Why do people choose it? Maybe they had an experience, some kind of molestation when they were young, a kind of early homosexual experience and it's easy and it's available, maybe a need for intimacy and an inability to connect with the opposite sex. The developing sub-culture certainly makes it acceptable and sucks in many. I don't know all the reasons. Why do people get drawn into adultery? Why do people get drawn into pornography? Choices, not just one but many. A final passage that we have to go to. God is going to judge this sin as He always has judged it. Romans 1, and this really should have its own study, but in order not to belabor this pressing theme, let me just give you a little bit of an insight, Romans 1:18, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." God's wrath is revealed from heaven continually, all the time against those who suppress the truth. They suppress the truth of God which is known, evident within them. God made it evident to them through the creation. You know, you're familiar with this text. Even though they knew God by conscious and creation, reason, they didn't honor Him as God or give thanks. They're futile in their speculations. Their foolish heart was darkened, professing to be wise they became fools, exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man, birds, four-footed animals, crawling creatures. Let's just give that one title. Rejection of the true God and idolatry, okay? Idolatry. God's wrath is revealed against those who make an exchange. They exchange, verse 23, they exchange the glory of the incorruptible God. Verse 25, "They exchange the truth of God for a lie." And then they exchange, verse 26, "The natural function for that which is unnatural and in the same way men abandon the natural function of the woman, burn in their desire toward one another, men with men, committing indecent acts and receiving in their own person the due penalty of their error." Reject God, reject the true God, become an idolater, worshiping a God of your own fashion, and you have exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for some other God and idolatry will always result in immorality. It is a built-in judgment. So God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity that their bodies might be dishonored among them. Idolatry leads to immorality. You can pair the two up throughout all of history. Idolatry leads to immorality. God gives them up to their lusts. And where do their lusts take them? To homosexual behavior, women exchanging because they've exchanged the glory of the true God and the truth of God for a lie, they also exchanged the natural function for what is unnatural. Men do the very same. And what do they get out of it? The end of verse 27. "In their own persons the due penalty of their error." I think that primarily prefers to physical death as well as divine judgment. They get sexually transmitted diseases of all kinds, some that I wouldn't even mention. They get a shortened life span. They have no hope and no future and they are living under massive guilt. Tragic life, sad tragic life. Reject God, exchange the true God for an idol, exchange the truth of God for a lie and you'll exchange natural behavior for what is unnatural. Verse 27, the little phrase, "Burned in their desire." Burned in their desire. I just have to say this and I'm done. This literally, ekkaio, means to burn out, consumed by desire, raging desire. They engage in things that are painful. Many mass murderers were homosexuals. One illustration. Dr. Milton Helpburn(?), former chief medical examiner of New York City, the New York Times said the man who knows more about violent death than anyone else in America, he wrote a biography called Where Death Delights, did Helpburn, not a Christian. This is what he said, "It's not my role to condemn homosexuality as such and I leave it to the psychiatrists and psychologists to try to figure out why people practice homosexuality, but having performed sixty thousand autopsies, he said, it is high time that those who deviate from the norms should understand the risks. I don't know why it is so, but it seems that the violent explosions of jealousy among homosexuals far exceed those of the jealousy of a man for a woman, or a woman for a man. The pent-up charges and energy of the homosexual relationship simply can not be contained when the explosive point is reached, the result is brutally violent. But this is the normal pattern of these homosexual attacks," he writes, "the multiple stabbings, the senseless beatings that obviously much continue long after the victim dies, when we see these brutal multiple wound cases in a single victim, we automatically assume that we are dealing with a homosexual victim and a homosexual attacker," end quote. Consumed with this lust. Well you say this sounds like bad news. This is really good news. Good news for the perverse cause if you will recognize this as sin, see it for what it is, quit trying to defend it and sanctify it, and justify it, confess it as the sin that it is, cry out to God, He'll forgive you and wash you and sanctify you and justify you. And dear ones, this is the message we have to give to these people, there isn't any other message. I remember one night on the Larry King program, talking to Chad Allen, the actor, about this very thing. And I started in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 that someone engaged in this kind of life, as he is, would not enter the Kingdom of God. And then I went back to that same passage at the end and said, "But such were some of you, but you're washed and sanctified and justified." And I told him that God would forgive him and wash him and justify him and sanctify him. That's the message. That's the only message we have. I close with a story. Sorry to keep you long, but that will mean I don't have to talk about this again. Psalm 107...Psalm 107, one Sunday morning in this very auditorium I stood up and read Psalm 107 as I often read a Psalm. And I came to verse 10, "There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor, they stumbled, there was none to help, then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble. He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loving kindness and for His wonders to the sons of men, for He has shattered gates of bronze and cut bars of iron asunder." And I went on to read a further portion of the Psalm. But one verse stood out. Verse 6, "They cried out to the Lord in their trouble. He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way." Now if you're living in a homosexual world, the word straight has significant meaning. Sitting right back there was a young man named Robert Lagerstrom (sp?). He was one of the leaders in the Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles. He was dying of AIDS, he said to one of his friends, "I'm dying, I'm afraid to die. I'm not ready to die. Where can I go to get help?" One of his fellow sinners said, "There's a church in the valley called Grace Community Church, go there." He came here. I read that Psalm. He was a man crying to the Lord in trouble. He was a prisoner in misery and chains. He was in the darkness and the shadow of death and I read that Psalm. Later that day he said to me, "You read that and I knew I was in the right place. You read that and I kept saying to myself, how do I get delivered, how do I get delivered? Where do I go? What do I do?" And then he said, "You got up and you preached this really long, long sermon and the more you talked, the more irritated I became because I wanted to be delivered and you kept talking and talking, I didn't hear a word you said." So he came at the end of the service, came to the prayer room, fell on his face before God, repented, embraced Jesus Christ as Lord, was wonderfully saved and I baptized him right here in these waters. Before I did that, he gave testimony to everyone he knew and his...when the Gay Pride Parade came, all the leaders of the parade, when it came by because he lived on the route came to his house to wish him well cause he was dying. Gave them all the gospel, went to heaven. We speak the truth about the sin in order that we might speak the truth about the Savior who forgives, right? Father, we thank You again for Your Word. It opens up so much to us, so current, so pertinent. Thank You for the clarity with which it speaks to these matters. May we be faithful to call these people who are caught in this vicious sin to repentance, not accepting the sin but loving the sinner enough to give the hope of the gospel and would You continue to save and wash and sanctify and justify sinners in this church of all kinds and may we live lives that please You and honor You as those who are forgiven. We thank You in Christ's name. Amen.


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;[6] 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,[7] it is disputed whether this is best understood as a sexual act at all.[8] 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.[9][10] 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).[11]

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." [1]
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 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%
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%

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.

vte Worldwide laws regarding same-sex intercourse and freedom of expression and association  Same-sex intercourse legal    Marriage1    Marriage recognized but not performed1    Civil unions1    Limited legal recognition1    Same-sex unions not recognized    Laws restricting freedom of expression and association Same-sex intercourse illegal    Unenforced penalty2    Imprisonment    Life imprisonment    Death penalty Rings indicate areas where local judges have granted or denied marriages or imposed the death penalty in a jurisdiction where that is not otherwise the law or areas with a case-by-case application. 1Some jurisdictions in this category may currently have other types of partnerships. 2No arrests in the past three years or moratorium on law.
Worldwide laws regarding same-sex intercourse and freedom of expression and association
Same-sex intercourse legal
Marriage recognized but not performed1
Civil unions1
Limited legal recognition1
Same-sex unions not recognized
Laws restricting freedom of expression and association
Same-sex intercourse illegal
Unenforced penalty2
Life imprisonment
Death penalty
Rings indicate areas where local judges have granted or denied marriages or imposed the death penalty in a jurisdiction where that is not otherwise the law or areas with a case-by-case application.
1Some jurisdictions in this category may currently have other types of partnerships.
2No arrests in the past three years or moratorium on 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), Ireland (2015), the United States (2015), Colombia (2016), Finland (2017), Germany (2017), and Australia (2017). Austria and Taiwan will legalise same-sex marriage in 2019, and Costa Rica in 2020. Same-sex marriage is also recognized in 12 Mexican states and the Mexican federal district of Mexico City. England, Wales and Scotland, constituent countries of the United Kingdom, also legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, but it remains illegal in Northern Ireland. Armenia, Israel, and Estonia recognise but do not perform such marriages. 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 and northern Nigeria.[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 whipping – as alternatives, unless it feels that homosexuals are challenging state authority by engaging in LGBT social movements.[31][better source needed]

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,[30] Yemen,[33] and Afghanistan[34]) is it punishable by death. Of the countries where homosexuality is illegal, only Lebanon has an internal effort to legalize it.[35] 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,[36] the Old Testament[37] and the New Testament[38] 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.[39] 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 intersex identities. However, this third sex is usually negatively valued as a pariah class in ancient texts.[40] Ancient Hindu law books, from the first century onward, categorize non-vaginal sex (ayoni) as impure.[41] 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.[42]

Corporate attitudes

In some capitalist countries, large private sector firms often lead the way in the equal treatment of gay men and lesbians. For instance, more than half of the Fortune 500 offer domestic partnership benefits and 49 of the Fortune 50 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies (only ExxonMobil does not).[43][44] At the same time, studies show that many private firms engage in significant employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In one study, for example, two fictitious but realistic resumes were sent to roughly 1,700 entry-level job openings. The two resumes were very similar in terms of the applicant's qualifications, but one resume for each opening mentioned that the applicant had been part of a gay organization in college. The results showed that applicants without the gay signal had an 11.5 percent chance of being called for an interview; openly gay applicants had only a 7.2 percent chance. The callback gap varied widely according to the location of the job. Most of the overall gap detected in the study was driven by the Southern and Midwestern states in the sample—Texas, Florida, and Ohio. The Western and Northeastern states in the sample (California, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and New York) had only small and statistically insignificant callback gaps.[45]

In the Western world, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom, the corporatisation of LGBT pride parades has been criticised by some.[46][47]

Anti-homosexual attitudes

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


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

While conservatism includes people of many views, a significant proportion of its adherents 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".[48]

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.

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

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[49]

and that:

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."[50]

An example of conservative views can also be found in the discussion of what conservatives call "homosexual recruitment", within a document released by the conservative Christian organization Alliance Defense Fund states:

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.[51]

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.

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.

Psychology and attempts at modification of sexual orientation

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.[52] The current DSM contains a diagnosis of "persistent and marked distress about one's sexual orientation". The decision was supported by a majority of the membership. Though some criticized this as a political decision, the social and political impetus for change was supported by scientific evidence.[53] In fact, the research of Evelyn Hooker and other psychologists and psychiatrists helped to end the notion that homosexuality was in and of itself a mental illness. The World Health Organization currently lists ego-dystonic sexual orientation in the ICD-10.

Many religious groups and other advocates, like National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), believe that they can "heal" or "cure" homosexuality through conversion therapy or other methods to change sexual orientation. In a survey of 882 people who were undergoing conversion therapy, attending "ex-gay" groups or "ex-gay" conferences, 22. 9% reported they had not undergone any changes, 42.7% reported some changes, and 34.3% reported much change in sexual orientation.[54] Many Western health and mental health professional organizations believe sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime,[55] 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. Robert Spitzer, but he later realized that his research was flawed and apologized for the damage it may have done.[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.[57]

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.[58]


Blame for plagues and disasters

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as takes place in the Bible is sometimes attributed to attempted homosexual rape, but this is disputed[59] and differs from earlier beliefs. Early Jewish belief (and some Jews today)[60] variously attributed the destruction to turning a blind eye to social injustice or lack of hospitality.[60]

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.[citation needed]

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.[61] In the years since, the epidemic has spread and now has many more heterosexual victims than homosexual.[62]

Other contemporary American examples:

  • 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.)[63]
  • Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps blamed homosexuals for the September 11th attacks and his church blames the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 on American, Swedish, and Thai homosexuals.[64]

Association with child abuse and pedophilia

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.[65] 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.

Some people fear exposing their children to homosexuals in unsupervised settings, because they believe the children might be molested, raped, or "recruited" to be homosexuals themselves.[66][67][68] The publicity surrounding the Roman Catholic sex abuse cases has heightened these concerns.[69] Many organizations focus on these concerns, drawing connections between homosexuality and pedophilia. According to a 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]

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][self-published source] Phallometric testing on community males shows that men with a preference for adult males (often called "androphiles" in these studies) are no more attracted to adolescent or younger boys than are men with a preference for adult females (or "gynephiles").[79][80][81] Conversely, sex offenders targeting boys—especially prepubescent boys—may be heterosexual, while others lack attraction to adults of either sex.[82] Dr. Kurt Freund, analyzing sex offender samples, concluded that only rarely does a sex offender against male children have a preference for adult males;[80] Frenzel and Lang (1989) also noticed a lack of androphiles in their phallometric analysis of 144 child sex offenders, which included 25 men who offended against underage boys.[83] A study involving 21 adult sex offenders against boys found that two thirds of them had a sexual preference for women over men, as measured by the penile plethysmograph, with the larger, "heterosexual" subgroup targeting younger boys than the "homosexual" group.[84] A more recent survey, which asked self-identified pedophiles in online communities to rate their sexual attraction to males and females from age 1 to age 18, found that those men disclosed very low levels of attraction towards more mature males, with the authors concluding that, "[i]ntense sexual attraction to male children is distinct from, and not generally compatible with, intense sexual attraction to men."[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.[86] 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.[87]

The empirical research shows that sexual orientation does not affect the likelihood that people will abuse children.[88][89][90] Many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.[88]

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,[91] particularly in light of the lack of a marital relationship between the sexual partners.[92] 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.[93]

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Opposition to "promotion of homosexuality"

"Promotion of homosexuality"[94] is a group of behaviors believed by some gay rights opponents to be carried out in the mass media,[95] public places[96] etc. The term gay propaganda may be used by others to allege similar behaviors, especially in relation to false accusations of homosexual recruitment and an alleged gay agenda.

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.[97][98] This "promotion" is opposed by Morocco.[99] 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 in Uganda for similar such proscriptions.[100][101]

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.[102] 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.[103] 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".[104][105]

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'".[106]


Gay people have been the target of violence for their sexuality in various cultures throughout history. During the Holocaust, 100,000 gay men were arrested, and between 5,000–15,000 gay men perished in Nazi concentration camps.[107] Violence against LGBT people continues to occur today, fueled by anti-gay rhetoric,[108] usually by teenage boys and young men who are very hostile to LGBT people and men who do not conform to traditional gender roles.""

Anti-gay rhetoric

Regions and historical periods

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.[109] As with heterosexual behaviour, different sets of prescriptions and proscriptions may be given to individuals according to their gender, age, social status or 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.[110]

Ancient Greece

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

In Ancient Greece homoerotic practices were widely present, and integrated into the religion, education, philosophy and military culture.[111] 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.[112]

Athens and Sparta[113] 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.

Ancient Rome

"Homosexual" and "heterosexual" were not categories of Roman sexuality, and Latin lacks words that would translate these concepts exactly.[114] 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.[115] 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;[116] for the male citizen to use his body to give pleasure was considered servile and subversive of the social hierarchy.[117]

It was considered natural for a man to be attracted to a beautiful young male,[118] but the bodies of citizen youths were strictly off-limits.[119] 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.[120] 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.[121] Threats of anal or oral rape against another man were forms of masculine braggadocio.[122]

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.[123] 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.[124] 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.[125] 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.

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.[126] Confining one's sexual activities to women was considered unusual among the Romans.[127] 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.[128] 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.[129]

Same-sex relations among women are infrequently documented during the Republic and Principate, but better attested during the Empire.[130] 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."[131] 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.[132] The poet Martial describes lesbians as having outsized sexual appetites and performing penetrative sex on both women and boys.[133] 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.[134]

Ancient China

Like the cultures of many ancient civilizations, the Chinese had no concept of homosexuality and heterosexuality,[135] 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.[136] 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."[137] 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.[citation needed]

Opposition to homosexuality in China originates in the medieval Tang Dynasty, attributed to the rising influence of Christian and Islamic values,[138] but did not become fully established until the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China.[139] The Chinese Psychiatrists' Association removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in April 2001.[140][141] However, as openly gay scriptwriter and teacher Cui Zi'en points out, "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".[142]

Ancient Israel

According to the Priestly author of the book of Leviticus, intercourse between males was condemned as an “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, 22:13), and required the death penalty for those men who "lie with a man as with a woman".[143] No other authors in the Hebrew Bible condemn homosexuality.

The relationship described between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18 - 2 Samuel 1 has been of late interpreted by some people as a romantic one, however this view is not what the early church held.

Early Christianity

Many contend that from its earliest days, Christianity followed the Hebrew tradition of condemnation of male sexual intercourse and certain forms of sexual relations between men and women, labeling both as sodomy. Some contemporary Christian scholars dispute this however. The teachings of Jesus Christ encouraged a turning away from and forgiveness of sin, including those sins of sexual impurity, although Jesus never referred to homosexuality specifically. Jesus was known as a defender of those whose sexual sins were condemned by the Pharisees. At the same time, Jesus strongly upheld the Ten Commandments and urged those whose sexual sins were forgiven to, "go, and sin no more".[144]

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."[145] 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 gay men.

Christian Roman Empire/Byzantine Empire

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.[146]

Medieval Europe

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.[147] 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".[148]

New Guinea

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.[149]


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.

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).

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".[150]

Arab world

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."[151] 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".[151]


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",[152] and that Dutch people, according to cross-national survey research, exhibit more acceptance of homosexuality than "most other European peoples".[153] They also stated that Dutch people exhibit support for equal rights for and non-discrimination of homosexuals.[153] 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."[153] 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.[154]

They argued that "antigay violence is a remarkably grave problem" in that country.[152] 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".[155] They also stated that the culture in the Armed Forces of the Netherlands "is notoriously masculine and intolerant towards homosexuality".[155] 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.[152]

United States

McCarthy era

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[156] as well, and appears in contemporary politics to this day.[63][157]

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."[158]

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."[159]

The film Boys Beware (1961)

There were other perceived connections between homosexuality and Communism. Wherry publicized fears that Joseph Stalin had obtained a list of closeted homosexuals in positions of power from Adolf Hitler, which he believed Stalin intended to use to blackmail these men into working against the U.S. for the Soviet regime.[160] In the 1950 report produced by a Senate subcommittee titled "Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government" said that "the pervert is easy prey to the blackmailer.... It is an accepted fact among intelligence agencies that espionage organizations the world over consider sex perverts who are in possession of or have access to confidential material to be prime targets where pressure can be exerted." Along with that security-based concern, the report found homosexuals unsuitable for government employment because "those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons. In addition there is an abundance of evidence to sustain the conclusion that indulgence in acts of sex perversion weakens the moral fiber of an individual to a degree that he is not suitable for a position of responsibility."[161] McCarthy and Roy Cohn more often used the secrets of closeted gay American politicians as tools for blackmail than did foreign powers.[162]

LGBT civil rights movement

Beginning in the 20th century, LGBT rights movements have led to changes in social acceptance and in the media portrayal of same-gender relationships. The legalization of same-sex marriage and non-gender-specific civil unions is one of the major goals of gay rights supporters. (See also LGBT rights organization.)

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.

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,"[163] 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.[164]

On the other, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a leading organization during the civil rights movement in the United States, and many anti-apartheid leaders in South Africa, such as Desmond Tutu, have made clear their support for LGBT rights and equate it with other human rights and civil rights movements.[165][166][167]


73% of the general public in the United States in 2001 stated that they knew someone who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.[168] 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.[169] Males and people over 65 years old are more likely to think it is wrong. Among people who do not 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%.[170]

In terms of support of public policies, according to the same 2001 study, 76% of the general public thought 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% supported social security benefits, and 56% supported GL people openly serving in the military. 73% favored sexual orientation being included in the hate crimes statutes. 39% supported same-sex marriage, while 47% supported civil unions, and 46% supported adoption rights. A poll conducted in 2013 showed a record high of 58% of the American people supporting legal recognition for same-sex marriage.[171][172]

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.[173] 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[174] while an attempt to restrict same-sex marriage was rejected. In 2016, 55% of U.S. citizens supported same sex marriage and 37% opposed.[175]

See also


  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. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  4. ^ Adamczyk, Amy (2017). Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality: Examining Attitudes across the Globe. University of California Press. pp. 3–7. ISBN 9780520963597.
  5. ^ "The Global Divide on Homosexuality" (PDF). Pew Research Center. 4 June 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  6. ^ Graham, Sharyn, Sulawesi's fifth gender Archived 18 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Inside Indonesia, April–June 2001.
  7. ^ Herdt G., Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea. New York: Rinehart and Winston, 1987
  8. ^ Leila J. Rupp, "Toward a Global History of Same-Sex Sexuality", Journal of the History of Sexuality 10 (April 2001): 287–302.
  9. ^ Katz, Jonathan Ned, The Invention of Heterosexuality Plume, 1996
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Ford, C. S. & Beach, F. A. (1951). Patterns of Sexual Behavior. New York: Harper and Row.
  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. doi:10.1300/j082v10n01_05. PMID 6394648.
    • Morin, S.; Garfinkle, E. (1978). "Male homophobia". Journal of Social Issues. 34 (1): 29–47. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1978.tb02539.x.
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    • Larson; et al. (1980). "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Homosexuality". The Journal of Sex Research. 16 (3): 245–257. doi:10.1080/00224498009551081.
    • Herek, G (1988). "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men". The Journal of Sex Research. 25 (4): 451–477. doi:10.1080/00224498809551476.
    • Kite, M. E.; Deaux, K. (1986). "Attitudes toward homosexuality: Assessment and behavioral consequences". Basic and Applied Social Psychology. 7 (2): 137–162. doi:10.1207/s15324834basp0702_4.
    • 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 (6): 1105–1118. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.65.6.1105.
    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
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  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)
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