| This article about lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender issues|
Also see the article on Sexual orientation
Homosexuality refers to sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex. In modern use, the adjective homosexual is used for intimate relationships and/or sexual relations between people of the same sex, who may or may not identify themselves as gay or lesbian. Homosexuality, as an identifier, is usually contrasted with heterosexuality and bisexuality. The term gay is used predominantly to refer to self-identified homosexual people of either sex. Lesbian is a gender-specific term that is only used for self-identified homosexual females.
Erotic love and sexual expression between individuals of the same sex has been a feature of most known cultures since earliest history (see Homosexual relations through history below). However, it was not until the 19th Century that such acts and relationships were seen as indicative of a type of person with a defined and relatively stable sexual orientation. The first recorded use of the word Homosexual was in 1869 by Karl-Maria Kertbeny, with Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing's 1886 book Psychopathia Sexualis popularising the concept.
In the years since Krafft-Ebing, homosexuality has become a subject of considerable study and debate. Originally viewed as a pathology to be cured, it is now more often investigated as part of a larger project to understand the biology, psychology, politics, genetics, history and cultural variations of sexual practice and identity. The legal and social status of people who perform homosexual acts or identify as gay or lesbian varies enormously across the world and remains hotly contested.
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Homosexuality ]
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