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The History of Homosexuality: A Look at How Society's View Has Evolved

July 1, 2022



It's hard to believe that just a few decades ago, homosexual behavior was considered a criminal offense in many countries around the world. In some places, it could even lead to the death penalty. Though some areas of the world are slowly catching up, society's view of homosexuality has come a long way. We are now beginning to understand that it is a natural part of human sexuality. Let's explore the history of homosexuality and how society's perception of it has changed over time.

The first recorded instance of homosexuality dates back to ancient Greece, where it was considered normal and even expected in certain social circles. The famous philosopher Plato even wrote about love between men in his works. However, this tolerant attitude began to change during the rise of Christianity. Homosexuality was condemned by the Church and was seen as a sin. This belief led to centuries of persecution and discrimination against homosexuals.

It wasn't until the late 19th century that society began to view homosexuality in a more positive light. This change was largely due to the work of sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who published a groundbreaking study on sexuality in 1886. In His book, Krafft-Ebing argued that homosexuality was not a choice, but rather an innate part of human sexuality. This view began to slowly change the way society thought about homosexuals.

By the mid-20th century, homosexual behavior was still considered taboo by many. However, there were some who were beginning to fight for the rights of homosexuals. In 1950, the first gay rights organization was founded in the United States. This group, known as the Mattachine Society, fought for homosexual rights through education and activism. In the following years, other gay rights groups would be formed and the fight for equality continued.

It wasn't until 2003 that homosexual behavior was finally decriminalized in all fifty states. This change came about due to a landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down a law barring homosexual relations. Since then, society has continued to become more accepting of homosexuality. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. This event was a major victory for the gay rights movement and helped to further acceptance of homosexuality in society.

Today, homosexuality is no longer considered taboo or abnormal. In many countries around the world, homosexuals are now able to live openly and without fear of persecution. While there is still work to be done in terms of equality and acceptance, society has come a long way in its view of homosexuality. It is clear that the history of homosexuality is one of progress and acceptance.


- history.com staff. "Gay Rights Movement." History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, history.com/topics/gay-rights/history-of-gay-rights.

- "The decriminalisation of homosexuality." BBC News, 2003, news

Written By: 

Kollyn Conrad


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March 20th 2023

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