homosexual



Many people now avoid using homosexual because of the emphasis this term places on sexuality, and indeed gay and lesbian, which stress cultural and social matters over sex, are frequently better choices. But you need not conclude that homosexual is always or even usually offensive. It is most objectionable when used as a noun in referring to a particular person or persons; here gay man (or men) and gay woman (or women) are called for. However, when used adjectivally, as in homosexual issues or a homosexual legislator, or collectively, as in the rights of homosexuals to marry, it is usually deemed unobjectionable.    1
  Historically, the homo- of homosexual derives from the Greek word meaning ?same,? as in homonym or homophone, rather than from the Latin word meaning ?man,? as in Homo sapiens. However, a popular reanalysis of the prefix has led many to assume that the literal meaning of homosexual is something akin to ?man-sex? as opposed to its true meaning of ?same-sex,? causing some people to erroneously conclude that the word applies only to men.    2




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