Religious terms / Homosexuality / The LGBT community
Two definitions & six interpretations
about homosexuality and bisexuality
Question: To a lesbian from a woman grieving over the death of her husband: "Do your people feel sad when your
Response: "You see me as a little less human, and for me to realize it, breaks my heart."
Some visitors have objected to the above quotation. They suggest that nobody
could be so lacking in knowledge about homosexual relationships as to believe
that a death of one partner would not trigger a grieving process. We believe
that the conversation actually occurred.
The following group of essays describes six views that people have towards
homosexuality. The most conservative view believes that gays and lesbians are
incapable of love; they are driven only by lust. A person holding this opinion
might well be puzzled about a homosexual's reaction to the death of a partner.
They might wonder if the surviving partner experiences actual grief, or merely
an inconvenience while searching for a substitute partner.
Two definitions of "homosexuality:"
Religious conservatives, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or of
another religion, often define homosexuality in terms of behavior.
Homosexuality and heterosexuality are what a person does. A homosexual
is a person who engages in some same-gender sexual behavior; a heterosexual
is one who engages only in opposite-gender sexual behavior. They generally
refer to a person who has
sex with both males and females as a homosexual; bisexuality, as an orientation, is rarely
acknowledged. A person who is
sexually inactive, is considered a heterosexual regardness of their actual orientation.
They believe that behaviors can be changed by
an act of will:
Bisexuals -- persons who are sexually attracted to both men and women -- can choose
to confine their activity to opposite-sex relationships. They are often
described as "having left the homosexual lifestyle" or as being "ex-gays."
Persons with a homosexual orientation who are sexually attracted only to members of the same sex
can decide to remain celibate. They are also described as "having left
the homosexual lifestyle" and as being "ex-gays."
The religiously conservative stance generally considers homosexuality to
be an abomination -- a serious, immoral, changeable, abnormal, and unnatural addiction that is hated by God and
is destructive to the individuals who choose to follow the lifestyle. It is
generally chosen after puberty.
The other, more liberal position, views homosexuality to be one of three
unchosen, fixed, and morally neutral sexual orientations which
is normal and natural for a minority of adults. Children who will grow up to be
gay can generally be detected before the age of
Although these viewpoints are certainly the most vocal in the media, there
are other voices that hold intermediate positions. This section will describe,
contrast and compare six discrete perspectives. They can be called
Writing this series of essays has been a major learning experience for me. Active involvement in a religious forum on homosexuality
has also been educational. I
sensed the profound gulf that exists among individuals and groups who hold these
different, contrasting belief systems. Many tenaciously hold beliefs that are
contrary to observable facts. It would seem that beliefs about homosexuality are
formed early in life and are rarely changeable.
Dialogue appears to be rare and getting more so. People often have little
contact with others who hold different opinions. My impression is that real
progress could be made if the various sides looked upon each other as
individuals and not as an enemy force pushing an agenda. But I don't have the
foggiest idea how this can be encouraged.
Another problem that we are faced with is the gradual shift in the meanings of terms. For example, the word "homosexual" simply referred to a person with a homosexual orientation; they were sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. But as of 2014, it is transitioning to become a snarl word within some groups. The preferred term now is LGBT or LGBT community. LGBT is an acronym for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual.