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Homosexuality (from grc ὁμός, meaning "same", and lat sexus, meaning "sex") is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."<ref name="apahelp">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=amici>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Along with bisexuality and heterosexuality, homosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual–homosexual continuum.<ref name="apahelp"/> There is no consensus among scientists about why a person develops a particular sexual orientation.<ref name="apahelp"/> Many scientists think that nature and nurture – a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences – factor into the cause of sexual orientation.<ref name="apahelp"/><ref name="Frankowski">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> They favor biologically-based theories,<ref name="Frankowski"/> which point to genetic factors, the early uterine environment, both, or the inclusion of genetic and social factors.<ref name="rcp2007">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="Långström2010">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> There is no substantive evidence which suggests parenting or early childhood experiences play a role when it comes to sexual orientation;<ref name="rcp2007"/> when it comes to same-sex sexual behavior, shared or familial environment plays no role for men and minor role for women.<ref name="Långström2010"/> While some people believe that homosexual activity is unnatural,<ref name="religioustolerance">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> scientific 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.<ref name="apahelp"/><ref name=PAHO>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }} archived here [1].</ref> Most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation,<ref name="apahelp"/> and there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation.<ref name="apa2009">American Psychological Association: Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts</ref>

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 or lesbian people not openly identifying as such due to homophobia and heterosexist discrimination.<ref name="levay">LeVay, Simon (1996). Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality. Cambridge: The MIT Press ISBN 0-262-12199-9</ref> Homosexual behavior has also been documented and is observed in many non-human animal species.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref>1,500 animal species practice homosexuality. The Medical News, 23 October 2006</ref><ref>Sommer, Volker & Paul L. Vasey (2006), Homosexual Behaviour in Animals, An Evolutionary Perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-86446-1</ref><ref name=Bagemihl></ref><ref name="Biological Exuberance: Animal"/>

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.<ref name="Committed">


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