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About Homesexuality in General


The Cases of Sexual Orientation.

Attitudes Toward Homosexuality.

Fay and Lesbian Families.

Fay and Lesbian Parents.

How Many Are Out There?

Relevant Issues.

Divorced Lesbian Mothers and Fay Fathers.

Lesbian and Fay Men Choosing Parent-hood.

The Children of Fay and Lesbian Parents.

Tender and Sexual Orientation.

Personal Development.

Social Relationships.

Children Born to Lesbian Mothers.

Implications for Counselors.

I. About Homesexuality in General.


Homosexuality is sexual activity between individuals of the same sex.
Both men and women may be considered homosexual. Female homosexuals
often call themselves lesbians. Male homosexuals sometimes refer to
themselves as gay. Scientists estimate that 1 to 10 percent of men and
women in the United States feel sexually attracted primarily to members
of their own sex.

Some people are not entirely homosexual or entirely heterosexual
(sexually attracted only to the opposite sex). Some people with
homosexual experiences or tendencies marry individuals of the opposite
sex and have children. Many people who identify themselves as
heterosexuals have participated in some kind of homosexual activity at
some time in their lives. People who are strongly attracted to members
of both sexes are called bisexuals.

It is fairly common for young boys — and, less frequently, for young
girls — to masturbate (handle or rub their sex organs). Boys may
stimulate each other in this way, and so may girls. Such activity rarely
indicates or develops into a homosexual orientation. In most cases, the
young people are simply exploring their own sexual development. See Sex

Some homosexual behavior results from the unavailability of partners of
the opposite sex and may not reflect a homosexual interest that
continues once partners of the opposite sex become available. Thus, a
person who spends long periods separated from the opposite sex may turn
to members of his or her own sex for sexual partners. For example, such
a situation may occur in prison.

Many homosexuals hide their homosexuality. Others are more open about
it. Many join gay or lesbian groups. Sometimes two homosexuals establish
a long-term relationship that is similar to marriage.

2. The causes of sexual orientation are not fully understood. Some
experts believe all people are born with a bisexual potential. But for a
majority of people, either homosexuality or heterosexuality becomes
their sexual orientation.

Most experts feel that a number of different factors can influence the
direction of one’s sexual orientation. Some researchers have suggested
that sexual orientation results chiefly from biological factors. These
may include a specific gene inherited from a parent or the effect of
hormones in the mother’s womb on the developing brain of a fetus. Other
researchers believe a person’s sexual orientation is associated
primarily with social and psychological factors. For example, according
to one theory, children can learn through pleasurable sexual experiences
to become increasingly attracted to either of the sexes or to both

Homosexuality is more comfortable than heterosexuality for many men and
women. Some people try to change their sexual orientation through
psychiatric treatment. However, learning to manage and appreciate one’s
feelings and life style may be a more realistic goal for people.

3. Attitudes toward homosexuality.

Throughout history, homosexuality has existed in most societies. Various
cultures have differed in their attitudes toward it. For example, some
ancient Greeks not only accepted homosexuality but considered it to be
an ideal relationship —perhaps because ancient Greek men believed that
only men could fulfill the role of true friend and lover. Other cultures
have permitted homosexuality but have not encouraged it. Still others
have forbidden it, and some have punished homosexuals.

Today, many people in most Western countries consider homosexuality
immoral or unnatural. Many states of the United States prohibit
homosexual acts.

Many social scientists oppose laws that prohibit homosexuality and
provide punishment for it. These scientists believe that homosexuals are
treated unfairly for ways of life that do not directly affect others.
Many nations, including Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the
United Kingdom, have no laws against homosexual actions between
consenting adults.

In 1961, Illinois became the first U.S. state to abolish its laws
against homosexual acts. Since the 1960’s, homosexual groups — sometimes
called gay activist groups — have urged society to adopt more tolerant
attitudes. As a result of the movement, since 1970, several U.S. states
and a number of U.S. and Canadian cities have passed laws banning
discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing, and in other

During the 1980’s, however, the gay rights movement suffered a setback
as an epidemic of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) swept the
United States, Canada, and many other nations. This disease, which was
first identified in 1981 in the United States, cripples the body’s
immune system and is usually fatal. In the United States and Canada, the
disease first occurred mainly among homosexual men. Although AIDS also
occurs among — and is transmitted by — heterosexual men and women, many
people blamed homosexuals for the spread of the disease. Many
homosexuals have feared more discrimination as a result of the AIDS
crisis. See AIDS.

In 1986, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that private acts
of homosexuality are not protected under the Constitution. This ruling
upheld the constitutionality of state laws that make private acts of
homosexuality criminal offenses. Such laws are rarely enforced by
officials, but gay leaders believe that the laws express society’s
disapproval of homosexuality.

II. Fey and Lesbian Families.

1. Fay and Lesbian Parents

a) How Many Are Out There?

Unfortunately, accurate statistics regarding the numbers of families
headed by gay man and lesbian in our culture are difficult to determine.
Due to fear of discrimination in one or more aspects of their lives,
many gay men and lesbians have their own children in some cases
(Heggins, 1989). Patterson (2000) noted that it is especially difficult
to locate gay and lesbian parents due to fears that they would lose
custody and/or visitation rights by disclosing their sex orientation.
Regardless of these difficulties, some board

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