LGBT

Homosexuality is generally agreed to mean a physical attraction and/or romantic interest in a member of the same sex. Some people think that homosexuality are opposite, mutually exclusive categories; some see them as opposite ends on a continuum of sexualities; others understand them as overlapping identities. Bisexual individuals, for example, may be attracted to both women and men.

The Terms gay and straight are often used to describe cultural attitudes and the behaviors of individuals as homosexual or heterosexual respectively. Since the changes brought about by the civil rights and women's movements in the 1960's, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals have increasingly reclaimed their identities as healthy and redefined what it is to be gay in a straight world.

"In keeping with its mission statement, Bucknell has constantly striven to foster an intellectual and social atmosphere where people are encouraged to rise above parochial ideas, models of knowledge, and beliefs that justify discriminating against or silencing those perceived to be "different." A challenge remains to extend these concerns more fully to gay, lesbian, and bisexual students, faculty and staff."
 

Carol Wayne White, Associate Professor of Religion  

Gay has emerged as one of the most common self-descriptive terms for homosexual men and women in recent years. Gay liberation and the gay civil rights movement suggest an affirmative understanding of homosexuality that challenges stereotyped and negative views of homosexuals. Although educators, health professionals, and theorists now acknowledge that specific definitions of homosexuality may vary, the following terms are commonly understood: gay men, also referred to simply as gays, are men who love and are attracted to men, lesbians are women who love and are attracted to women, bisexuals are men or women who love and are attracted to men and women, and transgender individuals are people whose gender identification (woman or man) in not congruent with their biological sex (male or female).

 "Bucknell aspires to foster a strong sense of community that is welcoming of diversity and difference. But our interest in diversity must go beyond mere tolerance. As an educational community, we are committed to the goals of genuine and deep recognition and understanding. Where such recognition and understanding is present, we must take notice and celebrate; where it is lacking, we must redouble our efforts."  

William D. Adams, President of Bucknell University 

Still, individuals or those in gay communities often contest the particulars of these categories; for instance, is someone in a heterosexual marriage who nonetheless feels attracted to members of the same sex really a bisexual? Are people who never had a sexual relationship, but are drawn to members of their own sex, gay? Does one same-sex experience make a woman a lesbian? The wealth and complexity of debates about language and sexual identification are indicated by these questions. Witness, also, the recent reclaiming of the word "queer" as a positive description for homosexuals as well as the current academic study of lesbian, gay and bisexual history, literature, and theory. Today, an array of intellectual, emotional, and physical experiences are identified as homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual.

"Bucknell aspires to foster a strong sense of community that is welcoming of diversity and difference. But our interest in diversity must go beyond mere tolerance. As an educational community, we are committed to the goals of genuine and deep recognition and understanding. Where such recognition and understanding is present, we must take notice and celebrate; where it is lacking, we must redouble our efforts."  

Fran McDaniel, LSW
Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Concerns Advisor
 

Despite the myth that most gay people have lots of sexual partners, some have only one, few, or no homosexual experiences in their lifetime; others recognize an enduring interest in long-lasting monogamous relationships.

There is no specific age at which a person knows if s/he is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or tranxgender. Some say they realized their sexual orientation during childhood, while others find themselves in love with a same sex partner later, after having thought of themselves as heterosexual for much of their lies. A significant number of people identify their sexual orientation in the late high school or college years. Many Bucknell students fell that university life has offered them a first opportunity to explore issues of sexual identity. Confidential support groups are available on campus to men an women who may be questioning their sexual identities. See the Bucknell Resources web page for more information.

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