Homosexuality is when someone refers to themselves as homosexual and describes themselves as homosexual to other people. Homosexuality is their sexual identity.
This often means that a person also:
- feels romantically and/or sexually attracted to people of the same sex (feelings)
- has sex with people of the same sex (behaviour).
A person‘s feelings, behaviour and identity are not always the same. For example: a man who does not consider himself to be homosexual (identity) may feel attracted to another man (feelings) but not do anything about it (behaviour).
Both men and women can be homosexual. Men who feel attracted to other men are called homosexual or gay; women who feel attracted to other women are called homosexual or lesbian. Some people feel attracted to both men and women. They are called bisexual.
Sometimes people have homosexual feelings at a particular stage in their lives.
Why people are homosexual
We do not know why people are heterosexual or homosexual, but what is certain is that:
- Being homosexual is not a conscious decision. It happens naturally.
- Homosexuality is not hereditary like other characteristics, such as eye or hair colour.
- Homosexuality occurs in all countries and cultures. In Europe, discrimination against homosexual people is forbidden by law. According to the law, no one is permitted to treat people differently, to exclude or to discriminate against them because of their homosexuality.
Telling other people you are homosexual
A person should decide for themselves whether they want to be acknowledged by other people as homosexual or bisexual.
Telling another person that you are homosexual or bisexual:
- Is often not easy and requires a lot of courage.
- Can be a great relief. You do not have to hide anymore. First, tell people whom you trust and who you think will accept you as you are. However, some people can find it difficult to accept homosexuality or bisexuality. Be aware that the first reaction may not always be positive.
- You do not have to tell people that you are homosexual or bisexual. If you think it is not safe to talk about it, then you do not have to do so.
In many European countries, people in a homosexual (same-sex) relationship can get married. Germany is one of these countries.