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A homosexual, sometimes abbreviated homo, is someone who is sexually attracted exclusively to members of the same sex. It may apply to males or females, though the term Lesbian is usually used for females.

Use of the term is complicated by the transgendered, whose sexual orientation does not fit the ordinary categories, and by those who are transitioning or have completed their transition to the opposite sex physically.

Homosexuals often find less adverse reaction in the alternative sex community than in most conventional society. In part this is because they are a substantial portion of the alternative sex community, but it is also in part because the homosexual rights movement of the last two or three decades has pioneered public acceptance of alternative sex orientations and practices. The gay male "leathermen" of the 1960s and 1970s (now known as Old Guard leather) were one of the first well-organized and partially-public subcultures based around what would now be called BDSM.

The prefix "homo" comes not from the Latin homo (a man or human being) but the Greek homos (the same), so it does not mean someone who has sex with a man, but someone who has sex with someone of the same sex. In the Latin language, the stem of homo (as it appears in longer words) is homin-, as in "hominid" etc.

Prevalence of homosexuality

It is often claimed that 10% of people are homosexual. This figure is based on the Kinsey Report, but it seems to be a large overestimate. Official surveys in England and Wales in 2013-2017 found that 2% of people claimed to be homosexual, gay or Lesbian, 0.6% claimed to be bisexual and 0.4% claimed to be "other" so only 3% were not heterosexual. The 2021 Census in England and Wales, the first census there to ask about sexual orientation, recorded 3.3% of people as lesbian, gay or bisexual. However, it is likely that the figures may vary between countries or between areas in the same country. Also, it may be that some people who claim to be heterosexual have had or will have an occasional same-sex experience.

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