Re: Homosexuality: male & female

Susan (
12 Sep 1996 14:23:34 GMT (Yousuf Khan) wrote:
>Now I don't mean this to turn into some debate about right and wrong, all
>I'm asking for below are numbers.

Gee, on this newsgroup-- you think that could happen...?

>Is it just my imagination or do male homosexuals tend to outnumber female
>homosexuals? Or is it just that males are more open and vocal about it?

I don't know anything more concrete about the numbers, so I snipped that
part. I too have heard the 10% figure, but don't know much about the
reality of it (I suspect the same is true of those who generate
the numebrs). But I do have a couple of thoughts to offer (in addition
to MaryBeth's observations in another post about the general bias towards
studying males, with which I tend to agree). First, it might be
difficult to make such an estimate. While there is a strong belief in
U.S. culture that homosexuality is both intrinsic (perhaps bilogically)
and permanent, there is some cross-cultural evidence that it is not so
fixed as we might think. Gilbert Herdt is probably the most well-known
author to discuss this, in his case for New Guinea. In U.S.
culture, some support for this is provided by people who both behave
and self-identify as bisexual. This might be taken to suggest that there
is a range of behavior classifiable as homosexual, which a given person
may or may not be engaging in at a given time. Which in turn means it
would be hard to "count" homosexuals, except in the sense of who's
behaving in a homosexual manner at the given moment. Some people have
suggested a more extreme view, that everyone has "homosexual potential",
but that it is culture which defines whether and how it is acted upon.
This, as you can imagine, is controversial, but it is an interesting

I also have a theory that, at least in U.S. culture (and I suspect in
some others), there may be more latitude in the female role, or that
males are more threatened by the possibility of homosexuality. This
means that it might be harder to "recognize" female homosexuals than
males, assuming they are not telling you themselves what their sexual
preference is. Or, if the latter case, that at least some subgroups of
males homosexuals are more visible in the population because we are more
attuned to any variation in the stereotypical male role, because it is so
easy to threaten it (and it therefore tightly controlled).

I don't know, just a theory, with little more than observation and
contemplation to back it up!

Any thoughts?



"Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps."
-- Emo Phillips