Defining words is such a touchy topic, especially when it comes to controversial topics like being gay, or homosexual. When looking at words that can be seen as controversial, we need to take a step back so that we can truly understand the word without adding our own preconceived notions and feelings to the word. This is why the gay community fights so hard, to dispell the myths and stereotypes associated with who they are and how they are defined.
Homosexuals, by definition are persons who practice homosexuality; to be attracted to and have romantic relations with a person of the same sex. Notice the term gender was not used. Gender and sexual orientation are two separate topics, and for ease of clarity, I will stick to only defining homosexual in a sexual manner (sexual orientation) and not one on biology (gender).
The noun (homosexual) was first seem in writing in the early 1900’s (1912’ish) in English literature, and about 1907 in French literature. The slang version of homosexual, homo, was first seen roughly about 1930.
The term homosexual can and is used for either gender, male or female. However, it is mainly used to define a male of the homosexual persuasion. The slang term, homo, is usually referring to a homosexual male as well.
Other derivatives of the word homosexual include: Homophile (1960), Homo-erotic (1916), Homophobe (1970’s), Homophobia (1969), and Homos (1930’s).
The word homosexual is a noun that is often disliked in the gay community because it refers to and focuses on the sexual aspect of the term and person, and not on the whole person. The term when used as an adjective, like homosexual studies, is not as objectionable, and is more widely accepted. Just as word meanings change, the societal acceptation of words comes and goes depending on the community affected by the word being used.
Other terms referring to (although not always correct) homosexuals: