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Culturally invariable properties of male homosexuality: Tentative conclusions from cross-cultural research

Abstract

While the behavior of homosexuals in some aspects is subject to cultural variability, this analysis explores the equally important question of cultural invariability. Based on several years of field work in homosexual communities in the United States, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Philippines, six tentative conclusions about cultural invariability are offered: (1) homosexual persons appear in all societies; (2) the percentage of homosexuals in all societies seems to be about the same and remains stable over time; (3) social norms do not impede or facilitate the emergence of homosexual orientation; (4) homosexual subcultures appear in all societies, given sufficient aggregates of people; (5) homosexuals in different societies tend to resemble each other with respect to certain behavioral interests and occupational choices; and (6) all societies produce similar continua from overtly masculine to overtly feminine homosexuals. Implications for this interpretation of homosexuality include the notion that homosexuality is not created by social structural arrangements but is rather a fundamental form of human sexuality acted out in different cultural settings.

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Whitam, F.L. Culturally invariable properties of male homosexuality: Tentative conclusions from cross-cultural research. Arch Sex Behav 12, 207–226 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01542072

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Key words

  • homosexuality
  • cross-cultural
  • sexual orientation
  • cultural invariability