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Introduction to homosexuality & bisexuality

How this website discusses
topics about sexual orientation

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The term "LGBT" is an acronym for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
 Transgender/Transsexual. Sometimes, additional letters are
added: "Q" for Queer or questioning, "I" for Intersexual.

The meaning of the term "Sexual orientation"
is defined in a separate section

How we discuss these topics on this website:

The goals of most religious websites on the Internet is to spread their particular interpretation of their holy book (Torah, Bible, Qur'an, etc), and to convert non-believers to their faith. They often describe only the beliefs of the webmaster or sponsoring organization.

This website is different. On the topic of homosexuality, we explain the full range of beliefs about GLBT persons and groups:

We explain the six common viewpoints that people have about:
bulletThe nature of homosexual orientation,

bulletThe behavior of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, and

bullet Whether lesbians, gays, and bisexuals should receive equal civil rights, including the right to marry the person that they love and to whom they are committed.

We recommend that you read that series of essays in order to understand the full diversity of beliefs in North America.

As in most of the topics covered in this web site, we compare and contrast the most common conservative and liberal religious viewpoints. Since sexual orientation is one aspect of sexuality, we also include the findings of human sexuality researchers and other professionals:
 
bullet A common belief among the most religious and social conservatives is that homosexuality is a sexual behavior -- something that one does. It is a chosen, sinful lifestyle which is abnormal and unnatural. With extensive and long-term effort they believe that motivated gays can become ex-gays; their behavior can be changed through reparative therapy and/or prayer.

bullet A common belief among most religious liberals, as well as the LGBT community, essentially all mental health professionals, human sexuality researchers and others, is that homosexuality is a sexual orientation -- something that one is. It is an unchosen, morally neutral orientation which is normal and natural for a small minority of adults. It is defined by the gender to whom the individual is sexually attracted. It is always -- or almost always -- fixed in adulthood.

Obviously, some of these beliefs are wrong. They do not correspond to reality. Properly designed studies could determine which beliefs are true and which are invalid. Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen in the immediate future. There are strong forces preventing such resolution. Beliefs have hardened over the years. Various groups have invested in the status quo.

A problem with terminology:

Terminology also differs among the main groups.

For example, the very common term "homosexual" is considered:

bulletA neutral term by most sexologists,

bulletA preferred term by many religious and social conservatives, and

bulletA denigrating term by many in the LGBT community.

Since it is impossible for us to discuss topics related to sexual orientations without using descriptive terms, we have generally adopted the terminology used by human sexuality researchers and professional mental health associations. This is similar to our position on abortion access. The pro-life, anti-abortion and pro-choice groups use very different terms. So, we generally use medical terminology. We hope that any LGBTs will accept that our use of the term "homosexual" is not in any way derogatory.

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Reactions of visitors to this site:

Our website is in a lose-lose situation. Our essays on sexual orientation have generated a great deal of animosity:

We have been criticized by gays, lesbians, and bisexuals Their main complaint is that we treat religious and social conservatives in an excessively sympathetic manner and help publicize their beliefs and give them credibility by simply explaining them. Many GLBT individuals are angry at our website simply because it is a religious site and they have experienced a great deal of animosity and abuse from religious groups.
 
bulletWe are often criticized by religious and social conservatives. Their main concern is that we explain all sides to each topic, including beliefs by the GLBT community, sexologists, therapists, religious liberals and human rights advocates that promote equal protection and opportunities for sexual minorities, including the right to marry. Conservatives generally feel that these beliefs are a threat to traditional (opposite sex) marriage, to the mental and physical health of homosexuals, to God's treatment of GLBT persons in the afterlife, and to society as a whole.

One common complaint among religious conservatives is our coverage of what are often called the Bible's six "clobber passages that some interpret as being anti-gay and anti-lesbian. Their specific concern is that we give the liberal interpretations of these passages greater coverage than the conservative interpretations. This does not reflect bias on our part. Religious liberals, tend to interpret the same passages in diverse ways, incorporate biblical themes from elsewhere in the Bible in their analysis, and reach a variety of opinions about what the passages actually mean. Their range of conclusions requires much longer explanations to cover fully.
 

bulletWe have been criticized by some in the GLBT community for using medical and mental health terminology in place of their own preferred terms. We have also been criticized for our extensive coverage of the beliefs and activities of religious and social conservatives.

Because we are criticized from all sides, we suspect that we may be doing a reasonable job covering these topics.

Geographical scope:

The essays in this section relate mainly to the American scene. However, we have included many essays about homosexual rights in Canada for two reasons:

bulletAbout 5% of our website's visitors are from that country, and
 
bullet Events in Canada may indicate the direction towards which U.S. society is headed.

Eligibility for marriage is defined by the federal government in Canada, and by the individual states in the U.S. This means that when the Canadian Parliament's bill C-38 was proclaimed on 2005-JUL-19, same-sex marriage (SSM) became available to Canadians in all 10 provinces and three territories. In contrast, SSM has had to be fought on a state-by-state basis in the U.S.

We have are occasional references to countries outside of North America, like Holland and Belgium, which were the first jurisdictions to legalize same-sex marriages.


Site navigation:

Home page > homosexual menu > here

Home page > "Hot" religious topics > homosexual menu > here

Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2011-APR-23

Author: B. A Robinson

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