Sexuality

Task: Watch the video.

Sexuality has to do with the way you identify, how you experience sexual and romantic attraction (if you do), and your interest in and preferences around sexual and romantic relationships and behavior.

Task: Summarise the following definitions.

  • Heterosexual. People who are heterosexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex: Heterosexual males are attracted to females, and heterosexual females are attracted to males. Heterosexuals are sometimes called “straight.”
  • Homosexual. People who are homosexual are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex: Females who are attracted to other females are lesbian; males who are attracted to other males are often known as gay. (The term gay is sometimes used to describe homosexual individuals of either sex.)
  • Bisexual. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes.
  • Asexual. People who are asexual may not be interested in sex, but they still feel emotionally close to other people.

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 made changes so that homosexual men over age 21 could have sexual relationships, in private. In 1994 a further change saw it reduced to those aged over 18. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 made the ages of legal consent for heterosexuals and homosexuals equal and the legal age of consent for homosexual people was changed to 16. This change came to effect in Northern Ireland when the Sexual Offences Order was passed in 2008.

Sex is important to all Christians, as it is a way to continue the human race and express love. The Christian Church believes that one of the purposes of sex is to procreate. The Catholic Church teaches that the act of sex is a way of showing true love and it is through this expression of love that God works to create new life.

Task: What does this quote teach us about sex?

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman”, for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 2:21-24

Task: The Catholic belief is that when a man and woman connect to each other in a sexual way, it is the most intimate physical expression of their total union. For this reason, the Catholic Church teaches in Familiaris Consortio (a document on marriage issued by the Pope) that this union is sacred and is a key element in marriage. How is this used by Catholics to dispute homosexuality?

Muslims believe that sexuality is a part of begin human. They agree that sex is for pleasure and not just for reproduction. Humans have a natural sexual instincts that should be nurtured and not suppressed. The human body was created by God and all parts have a useful purpose. Islam teaches that celibacy (choosing not to marry and have sexual relations) is wrong. For Muslims, heterosexual relationships between men and women are the normal pattern of behaviour. It is expected that Muslims will marry and have a family. The sexual relationships between a husband and wife is considered a blessing from God. This is the only permitted sexual relationship in Islam.

Can you be gay and Muslim? – read Ferhan Khan’s account below.

“Every human being deserves to be loved. When you have a secret within you, that makes you feel you are unworthy of love. That’s a powerful way to silence someone.

“Growing up, I was very religious, but I was taught to fear Allah. When I came out at 15 it was a very difficult time. My parents thought it was a phase. They had an arranged marriage and met on their wedding day, so for them marrying someone you desire was not important. To them, you suppress desire to make things work societally.

“After I came out, I told myself I wasn’t Muslim. I went to university and avoided Muslims. But in the white middle-class crowd I fell into I felt constantly invalidated for being Pakistani, and that I had to minimise that part of my identity. This drove me back to Islam and the discovery that there was a place for me. I allowed myself to be Muslim – now I will not allow anyone to take that from me. The only one who can do that is Allah.

“We need to give queer Muslims a voice. Let us go into the schools and talk to the children. Give us the brief, the resources and the platform – if you really care.”

Task: Do you believe that you can be religious and gay?

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