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From dKosopedia

Legal and moral issues regarding homosexuality are frequently clouded both by conceptual unclarity and by the subjective reactions of judges, legislators, and the general public. For a responsible treatment of the subject, see Anne Fausto-Sterling's Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men, 2nd edition (with two new chapters). Basic Books, New York.1992.

One issue that is frequently raised is that of causation, i.e., why some people are homosexuals and others are not. Even that question is problematical since it is the rare individual who is sexually responsive either only to members of the opposite sex or members of the same sex. If this were not the case, then there would be no more social problem with it than there is because some small small portion of the human population enjoys the smell of diethyl ether (the substance once widely used for surgical anesthesia). Social problems frequently errupt when individuals are aroused by members of the same sex, find the arousal unwelcome, and seek to repress all manifestations of that phenomenon by use of religion, ideology, and the law.

A second source of concern is the question of what causes homosexuality. The answer is not simple. The development of a homosexual identity (status) depends on the interactions of factors on several different levels: genetic (as far as is currently known, genetic factors relevant to degrees of sensitivity to sex-related hormones), pre-natal (especially the levels of hormones present during critical states of fetal development), early post-natal, childhood, adolescent, and even adult. The post-natal factors are thought to be primarily learning experiences such as attitudes toward self and others.

Legal responses toward homosexuality have been discordant across jurisdictions. Those who have the widom to legally dictate the proper behavior for other humans in one state may disagree completely with those in another state who have the same wisdom and prerogative to make laws.

If the two partners engaging in homosexual intercourse are not deemed equally guilty, then either the so-called "active partner" may be guilty and the "passive partner" may be innocent -- or vice-versa. If distinctions are made between chromosomal sex and apparent sex based on the appearance of external genitalis, then things become even more complicated.

If differences in chromosomal sex are taken into account, then there are several sexes corresponding to chromosomal combinations that go beyond the most commonly sees XX and XY to include combinations such as X, XXY, XYY, etc. Since those combinations are not visible from the outside they rarely are involved in legal dispositions. In the case of indivuals in which an XY cell and an XX cell have fused soon after conception and go on to form a single individual possessing roughly 50% XX and 50% XY cells, the result may be an individual with mixed sexual characteristics. Existing laws would not seem to apply to what is legal for those individuals to do, even in the case of such prosaic matters as marriage.

In the case of, e.g., an XX individual whose body was androgenized in the womb because of a medical abnormality in the maternal blood supply (usually caused by an active androgen-producing tumor), that individual will well have the external appearance and behavior of a normal XY individual. The law would seem to have nothing to say about the marriage of such an individual to another XX individual who had the ordinary expected female genitalia. In fact it appears that the law favors the appearance of sexual normalcy in a marriage relationship.

Were two males to seek marriage in most jurisdictions they would be refused. However, if one of them became a transexual female, then their union would be permitted. If an XY male and an XX female were to seek marriage, but either of them had becomes a transexual, then the appearance would be that of two people of the same sex getting married, and that marriage might well be refused.

Generally the issue behind much negative social reaction to homosexuality has been the implicit question, "Why would that person choose to act in such a perverse way?" The assumption is that the person who is not adhering to social norms actually has the same feelings as everyone else but simply chooses to carry out a contrary course of action. Understanding that one can choose to carry out an action or to put that action in abeyance, but that one cannot ordinarily choose whether to feel one or another kind of sexual desire will clear away much of the conceptual deadwood surrounding this topic. Understand further how characteristics such as sexual preference are formed over the course of months and years, much as is the case withthe potential for and acquisition of language, will help many people who would otherwise be fence-sitters to have a compassionate attitude toward people who exhibit homosexual behaviors.

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This page was last modified 01:20, 19 May 2009 by dKosopedia user Jbet777. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) Kurgan and Patrick0Moran. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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