(In the interest of full disclosure, your not so humble columnist is a heterosexual man and therefore is less than qualified to write on this subject, but I am the only one here, so somebody has to do it.)
In researching for these columns, I came across a staggering array of statistics, many at odds with one another. In just merely looking for a base number of the percentage of homosexuals within the population, I found a range of two percent to six percent, with claims that from twenty to forty-five percent of people have had homosexual experiences. Recent polling in the United States (2004 and 2008) indicates a gay population of about four percent.
It is no wonder that the subject has so many varying points of view if researchers cannot even agree on how many people are actually homosexual.
Numbers aside, homosexuality has had a varied history, as well. Until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a disorder. In Ancient Rome, however, all the emperors, save one, took male lovers. In some societies, male relationships with adolescent youths were encouraged and even celebrated. Artwork, throughout history, depicts both gays and lesbians in a positive light. Even in the Middle East, Persians had “wine boys” serve them in the taverns of the day.
So, how is a homosexual “born?”
Well, even that question is debated among professionals.
While the general consensus among most is that homosexuals are “born that way,” the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004 stated:
“Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.”
Interesting. What “environmental influences” would cause someone to “choose” or “become” gay?
(Since I am trying to treat a serious subject with respect, I will refrain from any jokes about Tele Tubbies, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood or Bert and Ernie.)
The Religious Right and even some moderates and liberals claim that homosexuality is a choice. There are varying reasons behind their claims, but in my view, those claims are just a feeble attempt at justifying that last acceptable form of bigotry.
(Part II of III tomorrow.)
William Stephenson Clark