Societal attitudes toward Homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods, as do attitudes toward sexual desire, activity and relationships in general. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality, while others may disapprove of such activities in part. As with heterosexual behaviour, different sets of prescriptions and proscriptions may be given to individuals according to their gender, age, social status and/or class.
Many of the world's cultures have, in the past, considered procreative sex within a recognized relationship to be a sexual norm — sometimes exclusively so, and sometimes alongside norms of same-sex love, whether passionate, intimate or sexual. Some right-wing sects within some religions, especially those influenced by the Abrahamic tradition, have censured homosexual acts and relationships at various times, in some cases implementing severe punishments. Many countries have also seen rising support for LGBT rights in modern times (including the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, and other such rights).
Since the 1970s, much of the world has become more accepting of same-sex sexuality between partners of legal age. The Pew Research Center's 2013 Global Attitudes Survey "finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia." The survey also finds that "acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society. Age is also a factor in several countries, with younger respondents offering far more tolerant views than older ones. And while gender differences are not prevalent, in those countries where they are, women are consistently more accepting of homosexuality than men."
- Murray, Stephen O., Homosexualities, University of Chicago 2000
- Crompton, Louis, Homosexuality and Civilization, Harvard University, 2003
- Seth Faison, "Tolerance Grows for Homosexuals in China", The New York Times, New York, NY, 1997-SEP-2
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