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Sexual orientation Sexual orientation, behavior, and self-identification are not necessarily aligned in a clear-cut fashion for a given individual. Most people consider gay and homosexual to be synonyms. However, some consider gay to be a matter of self-identification, while homosexual refers to sexual orientation. Indeed, the British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has argued that the term gay is merely a cultural expression which reflects the current status of homosexuality within a given society, and claiming that "Queer, gay, homosexual ... in the long view, they are all just temporary identities. One day, we won't need them at all." If a person engages in same-sex sexual encounters but does not self-identify as gay, terms such as 'closeted', 'discreet', or 'bi-curious' may be applied. Conversely, a person may identify as gay without engaging in homosexual sex. Possible choices include identifying as gay socially while choosing to be celibate or while anticipating a first homosexual experience. Further, a bisexual person can also identify as " gay " but others might consider gay and bisexual to be mutually exclusive. There are some who are drawn to the same-sex and may not have sex and also not identify as gay, these could have the term 'asexual' applied even though an 'asexual' generally can mean no attraction and includes heterosexual attraction that is not sufficient to engage in sex or where the sex act is not desirable even though titillation may occur. In contemporary usage, the adjective gay usually describes a person's sexual orientation, being the standard term for homosexual. In earlier usage, the word meant "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy", though this usage is infrequent today. Gay sometimes also refers to commonalities shared by homosexual people, as in "gay history", the ideological concept of gay culture as in "gay music" or "gay sensibility" which is neither definable or accurate. The word gay is sometimes used to refer to same-sex relationships more generally, as in "gay marriage", although this usage is discouraged by some LGBT supporters: the rationale is that this usage is exclusive of not only bisexual and transgender people but also lesbians who generally reject labels of being a subset of men, even gay men. While gay applies in some contexts to all homosexual people, the term lesbian is sex-specific: it is used exclusively to describe gay women. Sometimes gay is used to refer only to men. Tags: Gay community , gay chat , gay dating service , gay life .
Source: wikipedia