What is Gay? - Am I Gay

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What is Gay?

Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual.


The term was originally used to refer to feelings of being "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy". The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century. In modern English, "gay" has come to be used as an adjective, and as a noun, referring to the people, especially to males, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality.

By the end of the 20th century, the word "gay" was recommended by major LGBT groups and style guides to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world. In the Anglosphere, this connotation, among younger speakers, has a derisive meaning equivalent to rubbish or stupid (as in "That's so gay."). In this use, the word does not mean "homosexual", so it can be used, for example, to refer to an inanimate object or abstract concept of which one disapproves. This usage can also refer to weakness or unmanliness. When used in these ways, the extent to which it still retains connotations of homosexuality has been debated and harshly criticized

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As an orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectionate, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex. "It 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.

Along with bisexuality and heterosexuality, homosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual–homosexual continuum. There is no consensus among scientists about the causes of why a person develops a particular sexual orientation; however, biologically-based theories for the cause of sexual orientation are favored by experts, which point to genetic factors, the early uterine environment, or both combinations. Moreover, there is "no substantive evidence" which suggests parenting or early childhood experiences play a role.

While there are those who still hold the view that homosexual activity is "unnatural" or "dysfunctional", research has shown that homosexuality is an example of a normal and natural variation in human sexuality and is not in and of itself a source of negative psychological effects. Furthermore, most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation and there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation. Prejudice and discrimination against homosexual and bisexual people (homophobia) have, however, been shown to cause significant psychological harm, and are especially damaging to children who are homosexual or bisexual.

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