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Before you leap up and scream about how I'm lying to you and tell me all these ancient cultures in which people engaged in EXACTLY what I'm saying.

The identity of homosexuals is a relatively limited concept.

Homosexuality itself exists in plenty of cultures--and animal kingdoms. But the idea of pigeon-holing sexuality is not so universal. Homosexuality used to be considered a behavior--and in many cultures, it still is. Instead of being part of who the person is, it's a behaviour sie engages in.

In many cultures, people aren't labeled for their behavior. It's intrinsic in the language even. In many cultures, there is no literal translation for 'doctor' or 'homosexual'...instead, they describe the person. "He practices medicine," or "She sleeps with women." In fact, this is a point we discussed in my justice department ethics this society, we treat the offender as the crime, and punish hir instead of punishing the behavior. But, that's a tangent.

It wasn't until around the 19th century that it became common to label the people engaging in same-sex sex as homosexuals. Prior to that, homosexual behavior was a sin, and perceived as wrong, but it was a sin, it was not the person. An adulterer, for instance, may be labeled and stigmatized, but it's not nearly as interlaced with the personal identity as homosexuality has become.

Hell, the word homosexual didn't even exist until Kerbeny coined the term sometime in the mid 1800s (and yeah, I know, concepts can exist before they're named--not presenting this as ultimate proof).

We are a society that likes to label. We like things in nice neat little boxes. It's comfortable to us. So we as a society create and impose labels, because to name something is to know it. Not all societies, now or historically, have such an innate need to pigeon hole its people--to many of them, behavior is how a person acts, not what a person is.


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