Sexuality and Gender

Is Homosexuality Just as Normal as Heterosexuality?

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 03/22/2012

People who engage in homosexual behavior are normal in many ways. Like anyone else, they have friends and family, they work and play, they love and hate, and have fears and dreams. But it seems strange to admit that everything about homosexuality is normal. Indeed, it’s hard to say any class of people is normal in every way.

For example, I’m Assyrian. My people are normal in many ways, but there are also many things about us that are abnormal (or just downright weird). We have genetic differences – we are a Semitic people. Our language is extremely uncommon. We have an over-active hair hormone (much to the chagrin of female Assyrians). Our food is strange to my friends and when people see my relatives talk, they think we’re shouting at each other (which we are, but that’s how we talk). We’re not normal in every way.

The same is true of homosexuals. They are normal in many ways, but there are also things about them that are not. They just occur in different categories than those of Assyrians or other groups of people.

At the outset I want to make it clear that by saying that homosexuals are not normal in every way, I’m not saying that they are deranged or inferior. I believe that men and women who identify themselves as gay are, like other people, intrinsically valuable. As fellow human beings, they are the pinnacle of God’s creation, deserving of dignity and respect. Nothing they or anyone can say or do can diminish their value – not even in principle. And we should treat them as such.

But the question of whether homosexuality is normal hinges on what is meant by the term. If normal refers to the frequency or rate at which it occurs in the population, then homosexuality is not normal in that sense. As I’ve mentioned before, homosexuals represent approximately 1 – 3% of the population. Clearly, the number of people who have sex with the same gender are far fewer than those who do it with the opposite gender.

Perhaps the term “normal” refers to homosexual behavior. But whether you think God made humans or believe they evolved, our bodies are made to function in a heterosexual way. A basic course in anatomy and physiology reveals that male and female sex organs not only fit together, they also function together (in multiple ways). In fact, they work in concert with one another to such a degree that they can produce another human being. This is unmistakable evidence of the complementarity of male and female bodies and their ability to work together towards a common end.

Homosexuals can’t use their body parts in this (reproductive) way. Though their sexual organs are designed to function with the opposite sex, they have a proclivity to use them with the same sex. This prevents them from using those parts for that purpose. They are never able to use the full function of their sexual anatomy.

Not only that, they use some body parts in a way that violates their intended design. The recipient of male homosexual sex uses part of his anatomy in a way that mimics the female reproductive organ. This becomes a problem because it lacks certain anatomical features that make it well-suited for sexual acts. So homosexual sex eschews the intended function of human anatomy and replaces it with a behavior that violates the design of other parts. That is not normal.

And when parts are used in a way that they’re not designed, this leads to damage. It’s like riding a bicycle without tires on the rims. You might get somewhere, but you’ll damage the wheel rims and are more likely to crash. That’s because you’re using the parts of a bike in a way they’re not designed to be used.

The same is true with homosexual sex. Because body parts are being used in a manner inconsistent with their design, homosexual behavior leads to a disproportionate danger of getting a life-threatening disease. The chances of acquiring HIV are increased because of the damage that occurs to body parts that aren’t designed for sex.

Dr. Amy Lansky, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that men who have sex with men get AIDS at a rate of more than 50 times than that of non-gay men and women.[1] To give a comparison, the CDC warns that men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who don’t. But they’re 50 times more likely to get HIV/AIDS if they have sex with another man. This is a staggering statistic and hardly a normal health risk.

But does this higher risk result in increased infections? Unfortunately, it does. The CDC published an analysis of gay men in 21 cities and found that 1 in 5 of them had HIV. And nearly half of them were unaware of it.[2] This is just sad news.

Look, people are free to live how they want. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to behave in their bedroom. But we have to be honest about homosexuality. It’s uncommon, goes against the design of the body, and carries with it serious health risks. That’s not normal.

So should our response to homosexuality be hostile? No. Even though we’re often tempted to get angry with attempts to normalize homosexual behavior in our culture, we should resist that urge. Knowing these truths about homosexuality should not lead us to contempt, but rather to compassion. When we find out the potential harm that homosexuals face (and the many other hardships that come in their lives), it should drive us to care for them more than the culture does.



[1] Retrieved February 20, 2012, from

[2] “1 in 5 Men Who Have Sex with Men in 21 U.S. Cities Has HIV; Nearly Half Unaware,” Press Release by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 23, 2010, retrieved February  20, 2012, from