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close this bookMezzo: For Young People by Young People (IPPF, 1997, 52 p.)
close this folderHEALTH
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View the documentHe loves him, she loves her. Get your facts right about sexuality
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He loves him, she loves her. Get your facts right about sexuality

Personal style

It is not known why someone is heterosexual or homosexual. During puberty and adolescence, it is common for someone to have homosexual feelings. Homosexuality refers to same-sex attraction which extends beyond adolescence and into adulthood.

It can be a confusing time - having homosexual feelings which are arousing and pleasurable, knowing at the same time that society is usually not tolerant of homosexuals.

Homosexuality means sexual attraction to members of the same sex. It is not always expressed through physical sexual activity and may be expressed through sexual fantasies and feelings of love. Homosexual men are called gay and homosexual women are called lesbian. Bisexuality means sexual attraction to members of both sexes.

It is now believed that sexual orientation is a continuous scale from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality, with most people somewhere in between. However, it is not a choice. People do not choose their sexual orientation.

Homosexuality occurs in all societies and cultures, and in every ethnic and racial group. It is poorly understood and often feared. Many consider it to be evil and repulsive. Most societies are intolerant of homosexuality. In many countries, physical homosexual activity is illegal. Even in countries where it is permitted, the age of consent is usually higher than for heterosexual sex. Intolerance of homosexuality is called homophobia. This is an irrational fear of homosexuals based on myths and ignorance. It can lead to harassment and even violence towards homosexuals. Being openly gay can lead to rejection by family and friends and may threaten job opportunities. As a result, many homosexuals choose not to "come out". Indeed some homosexuals marry and have children despite strong sexual feelings for members of the same sex.

He loves him

She loves her

If my friend was gay I would feel weird, but at the same time she's my friend, so I wouldn't feet uncomfortable."

13, F, USA

"I would be happy for a friend if he found out he was gay, since he would have discovered his passion and learnt a lot about himself, which can't be a bad thing."

17, F, UK

"I have friend who is gay. He respects my sexuality and I respect his. I believe that is normal with all gay."

19, M, Mexico

"He will be my friend forever, for everything not related to sex."

21, M, Albania


"To me, homosexuality is sick and abnormal."

16, M, South Africa

"Homosexuals are possessed by Satan."

19, H, Zambia

"I would stay away from such a person (gay, lesbian, bisexual)... these things are not natural. Even animals do not behave in such a way."

21, F, Sri Lanka


Homosexuals are always easily identifiable from heterosexuals.

Not true. Homosexuals usually differ only in sexual preference.

Homosexuals desire to be one of the opposite sex.

Not true. Homosexuals are usually happy with their gender. They just prefer same-sex sexual relationships.

Homosexuals are sick people.

Not true. Homosexuality is not a mental illness.

Homosexuals seduce and abuse children.

Not true. Homosexuals are no more likely to abuse children than heterosexuals.

Homosexual are always recruiting.

Not true. Homosexuals try and find out if someone is interested in them in the same way that heterosexuals do.

Homosexuality can be cured or changed.

Not true. Homosexuality is not a choice.