Homosexuality and Evidence from Social Anthropology

Abundant evidence exists that same – sex relationships and erotic behaviours occur and have occured in all human societies, and in all periods of history, What varies between these occurrences, has been the particular form they take, and the responses of the wider society in which they occur.

Academics studying these relationships identify three broad forms they can take:

transgender relationships, in which one of the partners adopts the dress and lifestyle usually associated with the opposite biological sex. These are particularly a feature of many native American societies, especially in the pre-Columbian period, but were also observed by early explorers and social anthropologists across all regions of Africa;

transgenerational relationships, between an older and a younger partner. These are familiar to many from the Classical period of European history, especially in  Greece, but are also known from Japan, and from some societies of New Guinea;

differing status relationships, such as in ancient Rome, where persons of high social status

exercised sexual rights over lower status people under their control – citizens, for example, and their slaves. Similar patterns were observed in some African kingdoms – such as Buganda, remembered in Christian hagiography for the Ugandan martyrs.

In the modern (mostly Western) world, we know observe egalitarian relationships (which were largely unkown in Biblical times).



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