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LLCC Alliance - Frequently Asked Questions Page

Frequently Asked Questions

How many gay and 
lesbian people are there?

Social scientists suggest that at least ten percent of the population has a homosexual orientation. Gay and lesbian persons are found in rural, suburban and urban areas, within all religious traditions, social and economic classes and all ethnic and racial backgrounds. Add families and friends and we have a significant population dealing with gay and lesbian issues.

What do we mean by 
"sexual orientation"?

Sexual orientation refers to the status of an individual as to his or her actual or supposed heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.  Lesbian women and gay men are primarily attracted to members of their own gender; they develop their deepest and most intimate relationships with people of their own gender.  Orientation is not determined by engaging in any particular sexual act.  Just as heterosexuals are aware of their orientation even if they are virgins or not currently involved with a lover or spouse, many gay and lesbian persons know themselves to be homosexual long before any sexual relationship.  Like ethnic groups gay and lesbian persons have a culture, history, and their own sense of worth and pride from identification with their peers and community.

Are gay and lesbian persons made
"that way" or do they choose their sexual orientation?

Studies indicate that a person's sexual orientation is determined before he or she reaches the age of four. New studies lean heavily toward the theory that some persons are born with a homosexual orientation. Regardless of how one's sexual orientation is developed we have a significant segment of the population which is gay and lesbian. The only "choice" gay and lesbian persons have is whether they will accept their sexual orientation and integrate it into their lives or whether they will deny who they are and lead lives of fear and dishonesty.

If there are so many gay and lesbian people why don't we see more of them?

Because of past social stigma and the lack of legal protections for their basic civil rights, many gay and lesbian persons, to protect themselves, have remained hidden or "in the closet".  In many jurisdictions within the state, employers legally can fire gay and lesbian persons, landlords can refuse to rent to gay and lesbian persons, and business owners can refuse to provide services to gay and lesbian persons solely on the basis of the person's sexual orientation.  To protect themselves gay and lesbian persons have remained hidden.