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Homosexuality- Being Gay or a Lesbian

Q- What is homosexuality? 
Ans - Sexual Orientation refers to the preference for the  gender of a person  to whom one is  sexually attracted . - if preference is for the people of opposite gender- it is Heterosexuality ; If it is for the same gender people - It is homosexuality and if to people of both genders- it is bisexuality Suppose a male prefers a male or a female prefers a female - These are called homosexuality. Male to Male preference people are also called Gay and female to female preferring individuals are Lesbians . 

Q- How common is homosexuality? 
Ans- We don’t know the exact answer because homosexuality has always been associated with a massive social stigma . So people either lie or don’t reveal their true preference . Some estimates tell that homosexuality in Males may be found in around 4- 5 percent and females may be in 2-3 percent of population. This is unlikely to be true figures so the actual number may be higher . Remember  it was a crime under IPC section 377 which was recently struck down by the Supreme Court . 

Q- Is it a choice to be a homosexual? 

Ans- No, being homosexual or heterosexual is not chosen by a person . They are born like this . Their sexual preference only get clear by the time they reach adolescence . 

Q- How is it decided that a particular individual will develop as a homosexual or heterosexual? 

Ans- There is found to be some genetic predisposition for being a homosexual or heterosexual . Prevalence amongst brothers of a male homosexual is 9% and sisters of a male homosexual is 5% . Prevalence amongst sisters of a homosexual female is 6-25% . Prevalence in brothers of homosexual females is around 10% . Though environmental factors are as important as genetic . Finally it is unclear what are the definitive factors influencing homosexual development . 

Q- Should one attempt to change the  sexual orientation of a person? 

Ans- Homosexuality has attracted disgust since centuries. When family members discover that their child is homosexual , it may be very shocking, unbelievable and shameful . The secret may need  to be kept hidden from the  society otherwise they may be socially ostracised so this event is very stressful for the family . Under so much pressure, some individuals contact healthcare professionals to change their orientation . 
There has been a wrong perception  in medical professionals that homosexuality is a medical disorder .Hence Psychotherapy ,  medicines and even ECT was unsuccessfully tried to change the orientation . Now we know that it is not a disease . ICD  -10 (latest compilation of all the medical disease) now states- homosexuality by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder. But there is an exception . If the person is greatly distressed by his/her gender identity or sexual preference associated with psychological or behavioural disorders , it is called Ego Dystonic Sexual Orientation, is a disorder . So normally a homosexual person is happy with his preference and therefore may not come for any intervention. 
To sum up , sexual orientation is a normal aspect of sexuality which should not produce any distress in the individual. They may or may not manifest homosexual behaviour but if it produces marked distress, it could be egodystonic homosexuality which can be helped in some cases with treatment

Q-  Can it change over a period of time ? 

Ans - It is believed that sexual orientation identity is a fluid state . It can change over a period of time but chances of change are maximum in bisexual individuals followed by change in female homosexuals . Male homosexuals change very little but heterosexuals are most stable .

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