"Homosexuality" means having sex and companionship with people of the same sex: between two women or between two men. ("Homo" means "same".) It can mean either having sex with a person of one's own sex, or it can mean a deep, loving relationship with a person of one's own sex.
Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As an orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectionate, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex. "It also refers to an individual's sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."
Along with bisexuality and heterosexuality, homosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual–homosexual continuum. There is no consensus among scientists about the causes of why a person develops a particular sexual orientation;however, biologically-based theories for the cause of sexual orientation are favored by experts,which point to genetic factors, the early uterine environment, or both combinations.Moreover, there is "no substantive evidence" which suggests parenting or early childhood experiences play a role when it comes to sexual orientation;when it comes to same-sex sexual behavior, shared or familial environment plays no role for men and minor role for women.While there are those who still hold the view that homosexual activity is "unnatural" or "dysfunctional",research has shown that homosexuality is an example of a normal and natural variation in human sexuality and is not in and of itself a source of negative psychological effects.Furthermore, most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientationand there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation. and discrimination against homosexual and bisexual people (homophobia) have, however, been shown to cause significant psychological harm, and are especially damaging to children who are homosexual or bisexual.
The most common terms for homosexual people are lesbian for females and gay for males, though gay is also used to refer generally to both homosexual males and females. The number of people who identify as gay or lesbian and the proportion of people who have same-sex sexual experiences are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons, including many gay people not openly identifying as such due to homophobia and heterosexist discrimination. Homosexual behavior has also been documented and is observed in many non-human animal species.
Many gay and lesbian people are in committed same-sex relationships, though only recently have census forms and political conditions facilitated their visibility and enumeration.These relationships are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential psychological respects. Homosexual relationships and acts have been admired, as well as condemned, throughout recorded history, depending on the form they took and the culture in which they occurred.Since the end of the 19th century, there has been a global movement towards increased visibility, recognition, and legal rights for homosexual people, including the rights to marriage and civil unions, adoption and parenting, employment, military service, equal access to health care, and the introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect gay minors.