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The LGBT rainbow flag

Homosexuality is a sexual orientation in which people of the same sex are attracted to or fall in love with each other. Homosexual men are referred to as being "gay" and homosexual ladies are "lesbian". Some people find that they fall in love with men and women; they are Bisexual. There are places in the world where it is illegal to be homosexual. People can be punished very severely for it; this ranges from being beaten or put in prison, to being killed.

Homosexual people in some countries, like the United Kingdom, America and Australia, have the right to get married or be recognised as if they were married (a Civil Partnership).

The word Homosexual comes from Greek. Homo means "same", so Homosexual means "same sex".

There are also people who dislike homosexual people and will attack them or bully them because they are homosexual; this is called "Homophobia". Those who are homophobic are called "homophobes". A lot of words exist which are used sometimes to describe gay and lesbian people, other than the words homosexual, gay and lesbian. Most of these words are rude and not very pleasant to use.

Homosexuality used to be treated as if the person had mental health problems. Treatments were often carried out without any real proof that they worked and they usually caused a lot of damage to people. Sometimes homosexuals were given electric shock therapy which left them with brain damage or even killed them.