What's the meaning of "homosexual"? And "heterosexual"?

2,049 Views Updated: 03 Oct 2016
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What's the meaning of "homosexual"? And "heterosexual"?

To answer this question we must first ask ourselves: what is sexuality or what is human sexuality?

Human sexuality is the ability to encounter a sexual or ‘erotic’ incident, respond to it according to his or her sexual preference, thereby gaining knowledge of his own needs. An individual’s sexual orientation will more often than not, be the deciding factor whilst choosing a partner. It is not necessary that every individual chooses in the same manner and on that basis forms the varied distinctions of sexuality.

Some of them are:

* Heterosexuality

* Homosexuality

* Bisexuality

* Asexuality

* Polysexuality

* Pansexuality

* Transsexuality

Considering that human behavior is a developing phenomenon, the above is an open-ended list. However, we will only deal with the traits of Heterosexuality and Homosexuality within the boundaries of this article. 

Heterosexuality, derived from the Greek word ‘héteros’ meaning “other party” or “another” is the act of being romantically inclined towards individuals of the opposite sex. For instance, when a boy is attracted to a girl and vice-versa. Simply, they are also referred to as heterosexuals or ‘straight’. It is easily the most accepted amongst the other sexual orientations and was for a very long time considered to be the only kind that there was. Usually, in a heterosexual relationship, the male partner performs his masculine role and the female partner performs her feminine role. The two roles are pretty defined and distinctive from each other. 

Homosexuality, on the other hand, is a word derived from a Greek and Latin hybrid ‘homos’ meaning “same” referring to individuals who are attracted to members of their own sex. So here, a girl is attracted to another girl and a boy to another boy. Though collectively termed homosexuals, two girls engaging in a ‘same-sex’ relationship are called ‘lesbians’ and two boys are called ‘gays’. In such relationships, the clear lines of identification are blurred. It is difficult simply by sight, to determine who plays the role of the man and who, the woman. Gender being fluid and performative allows both the participants to behave in a non-restrictive manner in the confines of their consensual relationship. 

One of the primary concerns in a homosexual relationship is that of reproduction. Biologically it is still impossible to give birth without the presence of the female egg and the male sperm: a problem that usually does not arise within heterosexual partners. But with the advancement of science, reproductive technologies, and adoption policies, many couples have achieved the impossible. Celebrity duo Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka are parents to two children with the help of a surrogate mother. 

Designated as the Father of Modern Psychology, Sigmund Freud, is of the opinion that all humans are ‘innately bisexual’ (people who are attracted to both the male and female sexes) and can only fully develop into having a specific orientation once they've grown up and met with other sexual encounters. Though many have attacked Freud’s theory, most have denied any relationship of one’s choice of sexuality with their mental condition. The popular belief that heterosexuality is a sign of normality and the other of abnormality is a highly misconstrued allegation. In the same way, to consider that therapy, counseling or extreme physical torture could bring a shift in one’s sexuality is absolutely unjustified and just another incorrect notion to harbor. 

In today’s date, an individual's sexual preference often doubles up as his secondary identity, indicating towards how he will be treated by his peers and immediate social circle. Many people are compelled to live in loveless relationships and marriages, struggling to keep their sexual orientation a secret for the fear of social boycott and ostracization. In recent times various incidents, such as the Orlando shooting of June 2016 where a terrorist committed a hate crime, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others in a gay nightclub in Florida, only going on to show the deep-rooted intolerance and hostility. 

It is quite interesting to see the number of people who have chosen to come clean about their sexuality. Completely denied a voice earlier, homosexuals chose to keep their sexual identity under wraps. But with the recent upsurge in political and social support, many have removed the veil and come forward. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was one of the most prominent faces in the gay pride festival in Toronto, waving the rainbow flag and showing his support towards the LGBT community

It is important to understand that like everything else, one must have the minimum freedom to choose who he or she loves, without being afraid. The amount of disregard that's thrown in the way of homosexuals is unacceptable. Even though we call ourselves progressive, we cannot seem to wrap our heads around the fact that like several other things out there in the world, there are same-sex relationships. Maybe because of the earlier rarity, social stigma or our lack of understanding them we kept neglecting and denying them their rights. In the wake of such worldly intolerance and personal hatred, we must take it upon ourselves to remember as always that ‘love is love’

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