Some definitions and terms existing in language can be ambiguous and poorly defined so that it is difficult for a recipient of the text to comprehend the meaning. Such a situation could be observed in the case with the terminology pertaining to lesbians, gay men, and bisexual persons (American Psychological Association [APA], 1991). However, it is possible to say that the LGBTQ definitions have evolved over time and obtained some greater precision.
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When speaking of gay people, they were often referred to as homosexual in the past. As noted by the APA (1991), the word “homosexuality” was historically associated with “deviance, mental illness, and criminal behavior, and these negative stereotypes may be perpetuated by biased language [even today]” (p. 973). Nowadays, gay males prefer to be called gays rather than homosexuals not only because of the negative historical associations related to the latter term but also because of its vagueness (APA, 1991). Overall, “gay” is probably the only identity label that gay individuals reclaimed and continue to use extensively these days.
As for the current issues that gay men are facing, there are many. Even though all fifty US states have legalized same-sex marriage, the fight for gay rights is still ongoing as all members of the LGBTQ community may often encounter hostility and discrimination. For instance, recent statistics provided by Catalyst indicate that “one-fifth (20%) of LGBTQ Americans have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity when applying for job” (“Quick take,” 2019, para. 5). It is valid to say that, like in the case with racism, this hostility is primarily defined by the cultural heritage. The general misunderstanding of reasons why sexual orientations in people may differ can contribute to prejudice as well.
American Psychological Association. (1991). Avoiding heterosexual bias in language. American Psychologist, 46(9), 973-974.