I found this in my notes for my English class... I figured I'd share them with you here.
In Classical times, heterosexuality, or the love of a man for a woman, was considered to be "an animalistic urge to be slaked quickly only for the purpose of reproduction" (Henry Staten, English 202 instructor) while "platonic love" or the love of a man for another man, was considered idealistic and "above the beasts."
Such close friends were in fact called "lovers," like Hercules and Hylas. To fall in love with a man was the "proper" thing to do at the time, and signified a wonderous thing.
This "homosociality" as it has come to be known, is not exactly the same as homosexuality. Men touched, even kissed, but were not necessarily sexual with one another, or at least they didn't consider it to be sex. They were at ease, would hold hands, and trusted men more than they trusted their female counterparts.
However, as the Renaissance rolled about, and women's status was elevated to that of muses and Goddesses (Dante's Beatrice and Petrarch's Laura), the love between a man and woman was no longer considered that of a bestial urge, but indeed on par with the love shared between men.
Even in the Renaissance, however, the line between heterosexuality and homosexuality was still blurred with the homosocial concept, and everyone became, in a sense, bisexuals. William Shakespeare, one of the world's most famous Renaissance poets, is infamous for his ambiguous sexuality, embodied particularly in sonnet # 20 ("A man in hue all hues in his controlling/Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth... But since she pricked thee out for women's pleasure/Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasure"). Not to mention his blatant commentary on the ambiguity of sexuality in general in his plays "Twelfth Night" and "As You Like It."
As the Renaissance wound down, however, and we entered the Age of Enlightenment, Christianity regained its stance on the topic of homosexuality and it became one of the cardinal sins for a long time, up until the twentieth century. The homosocial culture of Classical Times and the Renaissance was dashed, and men became afraid of touching each other even in the most casual of ways. Where they would have comfortably held hands walking down a road, or kissed one's cheek as a thank you, they became isolated, and aggressive, for women were once again considered beneath them and untrustworthy, and they lost their platonic lovers, and thus became malcontented, and we lost much of the art and beauty produced by the Renaissance.
Even now, through Pride Parades and media representation, homosexuality is still considered by many to be "evil" or "sinful" based on certain passages of the Bible (specifically the book of Leviticus) or the Koran or other Holy Books and scriptures. My only purpose in writing this is basically to ask this question.
We consider many things from the Classical and Renaissance eras to be beautiful and intellectual achievements of man. Meanwhile, in modern times, we consider ourselves to be lazy and belligerent, defensive and close-minded. When there were no "rules" on who one could or couldn't love, and when no one was trying to infringe upon everyone else (politically, religiously, and artistically), mankind made some of his best achievements. Mankind was also sexually ambiguous. And now in a world full of labels and judgment, we consider it our responsibility to tell others when they're wrong according to our own values. Why do you think this is?
Mellow out, people. Lighten up, and stop being so judgmental. "Straight" people were once considered unusual and heterosexuality was considered to be "less than human."
So are we progressing or are we regressing?
I'll just sum it up.
Heterosexuality was once considered vulgar and necessary only for reproduction all the way through the Renaissance Era. "True love" was thought to exist between two people of the same sex, not between a man and a woman. It was only in the Age of Enlightenment when Christianity regained its foothold on Europe that homosexuality once again became a sin.
All I'm saying is, our perspectives change with the time. Why tell someone else that they're wrong based on your set of values?
"You should show courtesy and be cordial with each other, so that no one should consider himself superior to another, nor do him harm."
-The Prophet Muhammed
"Love Thy neighbor as you would yourself"
"Whatever you so wish that men would do to you, do so to them, for this is the law..."