Like every other group of people, the GLBT community works together as a group to ensure that their rights are protected and that their dignity is preserved.
Plenty citizens from the GLBT community have made great contributions in our society, and it is refreshing to see that althletes, politicians, servicemembers, and artists who are homosexual are proud to admit to it, opening the doors for us to understand their culture better and avoid labeling.
My own friends who are gay are unidentifiable, because in our daily lives their sexual orientation becomes second nature and not a taboo. In fact, I have more fun with them than I do with some of my other friends.
I think that most of us do not have enough information about what "gay" is to make a judgment. The more we learn about the brain, the more we learn that hormones, in-utero exposure to those hormones, etc., can change who a person is. We do not know enough about what may make a person feel attracted to one gender or another. Until we have a better handle on the science behind sexual inclination, I think it's a topic best left without judgment.
The previous posters all make great points. A person's sexual orintation should not be any more of an issue than the color of their hair or eyes. Sexual orientation soes not make a difference in a person's ability to perform their job or to learn.
A gay friend of mine, trying to explain his perspective on life so that I could explain it to others too, once asked me when I knew that I was heterosexual. It took me off guard. I responded that I always knew, and had never felt any other way from the time I was young enough to know anything.
He responded that he felt exactly the same way about being gay. He always knew, and there was never any question. While this is not true for everyone, and there is some evidence to suggest that sexuality is a continuum, a spectrum with very few absolute heterosexuals or homosexuals, I believe those who are gay were born that way.
And a person's identity is never something to be feared, or even merely tolerated. It should be accepted.
As the above editors say, it is a question best answered by the response that there is no common characteristic to people who are gay, other than their sexual orientation. It is like asking what we think of blue-eyed people. From the way you ask your question, it seems that you are struggling with that. Please realize that you do not really know which of your friends and acquaintances are gay...not everyone feels comfortable sharing that information because of the bigotry that still exists. One sign of a truly mature person, IMHO, is the ability to evaluate people as individuals.
If we all truly lived the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr.--that man (and woman) would be judged by the content of their character, then our society would be truly blessed. A person’s sexual orientation should no more be a basis for making judgment than should his or her religion, race, ethnicity, or education. That these issues continue to come up for discussion indicate that we still have a ways to go as a society.
The gay lifestyle has been mainstreamed into our culture significantly during the past three decades, and their roots are now solid and their numbers strong. As a younger man, I was approached by gay men quite a few times, and I was not too happy about it at the time. But maturity and tolerance comes with age, and I really don't look at gay men or women as being much different than anybody else these days. I have several gay/lesbian acquaintances, as does my fiance, and they are all good, friendly people who lead their own lives and keep their sexual lives relatively private (as do most heterosexuals). Of course, there are many men who are still repulsed by the thought of the gay lifestyle, but this mentality is slowly dwindling around the world, IMO.
In my opinion, sexual orientation is something that is innate to human beings. This means, to me, that people are gay or straight or something in between largely based on factors that are outside their control. Therefore, to me, gay people are like tall people or white people or whatever -- they are people who were born with some particular traits.
Why is this question on a law forum?
Gays are different and unfortunately this difference puts them in some kind of minority. Frankly speaking I have no interest in sexual inclination of anyone unless they affect me or my near or dear ones. So far, I did not have the misfortune of being troubled by any gay person.
To me a gay person is somewhat like a person who is left handed. A left handed person may, perhaps, find it more convenient to write letters from right to left rather than from left to right as most of the people writing in English do. But as long as I am not forced to write letters written from right to left, I am not bothered about how left handed people write letters. As a matter I am not bothered by how the left handed do anything unless it affects me.
Thus for me there is no difference in gay people and other as long as, I don't need to deviate from the more common ways of behaving which I find more convenient.