Difference Between Homosexual and Gay

Key difference: Gay is a term commonly used to refer to homosexuals. The term 'homosexual' was first used by Victorian scientists who regarded same-sex attraction and sexual behavior as symptoms of mental disorders or moral deficiency. This is the reason that many LGBT prefer to be referred to as ‘gay’, instead of ‘homosexual’; in an attempt to distance themselves from being labeled as somehow abnormal or mentally ill.

Gay is a term commonly used to refer to homosexuals. Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. It is when a person, whether male or female is attracted to a person of the same sex. According to the American Psychological Association, homosexuality ‘also refers to an individual's sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them.’

Homosexuality, along with bisexuality and heterosexuality, is the three main categories of sexual orientation. Asexuality is sometimes considered as a fourth category. According to prevalent scientific and medical understanding, sexual orientation is not a choice. It is in fact a complex interplay of biological and environmental factors. Many believe that homosexuality is unnatural; however, research has shown that homosexuality is an example of a normal and natural variation in human sexuality. In fact, homosexual behavior has also been noted in many other animal species. So, in fact it is quite a ordinary and normal occurrence in nature.

Homosexuals are commonly termed as lesbian for females and gay for males; however, gay is now generally used to refer to both males and females, e.g. the gay community, gay rights, gay pride, etc.

Still, many of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community prefer to be referred to as gay instead of homosexual. The reason for this is that the term homosexuality is more so a clinical term, with a negative connotation. The term ‘homosexuality’ is used to refer to the sexual orientation which at a time was considered a mental illness diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The term 'homosexual' was first used by Victorian scientists who regarded same-sex attraction and sexual behavior as symptoms of mental disorders or moral deficiency. This is the reason that many LGBT prefer to be referred to as ‘gay’, instead of ‘homosexual’; in an attempt to distance themselves from being labeled as somehow abnormal or mentally ill.

‘Gay’ has a less negative connotation than ‘homosexual.’ ‘Gay’ was originally used to refer to feelings of being ‘carefree’, ‘happy’, or ‘bright and showy’. By the end of the 20th century, the term then was carried over to mean "homosexual", as an extension of the word's sexualized connotation of "carefree and uninhibited". This implied a willingness to disregard conventional or respectable sexual mores.

Since the end of the 19th century, there has been a global movement towards increased visibility, recognition and legal rights for homosexual people, including the rights to marriage and civil unions, adoption and parenting, employment, military service, equal access to health care, and the introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT minors. The LGBT community has also since promoted the term ‘gay’ to refer to themselves as a community. This was due to its more positive connotation, than the more negative connotation of homosexual. A number of gays might even get offended if they are referred to as homosexuals.

However, like all words, ‘gay’ has also picked up other meanings over the years. In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and as a noun, referring to the people, especially to men, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality. In modern slang, the term ‘gay’ has also come to denote something that is awkward, stupid, bad or lame. It has also been often used as a derogatory term, aimed as homosexuals; however, this is mainly in the way it is used, like a slur. Still, as many homosexuals have accepted the term ‘gay’, it has came to represent a word with no negative connotations but associated with a positive and proud sense of identity.

However, not all homosexuals think of or classify themselves as “gay”. This is because ‘gay’ is a with decidedly sociopolitical overtones, one that is as much about identifying oneself as a member of a community than identifying oneself by sexual orientation. Some men and women who experience homoerotic desires, fantasies, and attractions are sometimes likely to identify themselves just as homosexual, not as gays, i.e. part of the community. According to Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, some men “experience conflict between their values and their sexual orientation.” These individuals would never be comfortable claiming a gay identity.

Still, many modern style guides recommend against using homosexual as a noun, instead using gay or lesbian, as homosexual has a negative, clinical history and because the word only refers to one's sexual behavior (as opposed to romantic feelings).

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Comments

I identify as homosexual and not as gay. The term "gay" has subcultural connotations that go beyond sexual orientation and that are not broadly shared among homosexual people such as personal preferences like diva-pop music, interest in fashion, etc. "Homosexual" doesn't imply a subcultural identity and only refers to sexual orientation, that is, my sexual, emotional and romantic attraction to the same sex. No other arbitrary and personal characteristics attached as you find in the term "gay". I don't have a problem with people who identify as gay, I just don't feel identified by that word, it was always alien to me and I think I have the right to identify with the word that best suits me and speaks about my sexual orientation without having to trade my individuality.

Gay+gay=>'O' result,Men+women=>A new HUMAN.which is the better result,"0" or "Human"✔

Life is life, live it, bt remember that it is not the years in your life that counts but the life in your years....LGBT?....gilbrish.

Hey Bill, you've made it to the number one homophobic commenter on this thread. I'm seriously wondering how many homoerotic fantasies you must be having if you go to that much trouble to distance yourself from the gay world.

I love listening to the jerks on here. Your religious OPINION does not make it a FACT.

This jumble of words about homosexual or gay as the same is a myth. The difference is this gay like each other, a high percentage are bi-sexual, have numerous partners, generally, not committed to any long term arrangement with another.
The homosexual, is judged by never having sex with a woman, is totally attracted to one man, does not really believe in what is termed "gay marriage". Their commitment does not require marriage, but equality as people. Regards, Rubin.

Yes it's a choice because even though I've only had spontaneous erections for other guys who caught my attention since puberty and prefer intimacy with them for some reason I don't control, I choose to go with women because that's the majority rule and theocracy agrees. People should stop thinking and just do what others say and do. God didn't give you a brain to think for yourself to figure what's best for you personaly, but to learn to read the bible and go along to get along for peace and security.

I agree with this writer and just want to add a little. He confessed that he does have some feeling towards some men but he knew its wrong and not ending up controling himself but makes a choice. Who doesnt agree with that? Then will that person go sleep with an animal just because he or she is attracted to them? Or could one say i fancy guns so had to become the police, soldier or even the robber just to get access in using guns? Unfortunately if the bible happens to be the only long written history and teaching book of real people who once lived. Why dont we dedicate our time in reading it to know and learn from their ways and how they overcome such problems for a better life choice. In fact there are many examples to state, Wouldnt the scientist have terms for the thieves, liars, evil, bad and good doers as all these are some sorts of life's time developed habits? With all those being said then why give ourselves all those excuses to allow and accept granting rights to all those? Wouldnt that mean we will be granting rights to anyone coming out with a new way of life style?

Well i am gay and married. People say that i am the ugliest guy on earth and i shud sleep wid a dog. But i like men.

I love it when a heterosexual person states that it is a fact homosexuality is a choice. You have no clue, so continue to fester in your ignorance. When science catches up, I'll have the last laugh.

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