FAQ

What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation?

How a particular sexual orientation develops in any individual is not well understood by scientists. Various theories have proposed differing sources for sexual orientation, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors and life experiences during early childhood. However, many scientists share … Continue reading

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Is sexual orientation a choice?

No. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. And some people report trying very hard over many years to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual with no success. For these reasons, … Continue reading

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Is homosexuality a mental illness or emotional problem?

No. Psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or emotional problem. Much objective scientific research over the past 35 years shows us that homosexual orientation, in and of itself, is not … Continue reading

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Can lesbians and gay men be good parents?

Yes. Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual and by heterosexual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role identity or … Continue reading

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Why do some gay men and lesbians tell people about their sexual orientation?

Because sharing that aspect of themselves with others is important to their mental health. In fact, the process of identity development for lesbians and gay men, usually called ‘coming out’, has been found to be strongly related to psychological adjustment … Continue reading

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Why is the ‘coming out’ process difficult for some gays and lesbians?

Because of false stereotypes and unwarranted prejudice towards them, the process of ‘coming out’ for lesbians and gay men can be a very challenging process which may cause emotional pain. Lesbian and gay people often feel ‘different’ and alone when … Continue reading

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What can be done to help lesbians and gay men overcome prejudice and discrimination against them?

The people who have the most positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians are those who say they know one or more gay person well. For this reason, psychologists believe negative attitudes toward gays as a group are prejudices that … Continue reading

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Can therapy change sexual orientation?

No. Even though homosexual orientation is not a mental illness and there is no scientific reason to attempt conversion of lesbians or gays to heterosexual orientation, some individuals may seek to change their own sexual orientation or that of another … Continue reading

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What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is one of the four components of sexuality and is distinguished by an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectionate attraction to individuals of a particular gender. The three other components of sexuality are biological sex, gender identity (the … Continue reading

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Homosexuality and Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors.

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Why is it important for society to be better educated about homosexuality?

Educating all people about sexual orientation and homosexuality is likely to diminish anti-gay prejudice. Accurate information about homosexuality is especially important to young people struggling with their own sexual identity. Fears that access to such information will affect one’s sexual … Continue reading

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