To the editor:
A letter in your December 2005 issue said: “Gays are homosexuals actively involved in living the lifestyle; however not all homosexuals are gay.” In fact, most people with a homosexual orientation prefer the term “gay” to denote that they have an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction toward a person of the same sex rather than a person of the opposite sex. One reason they prefer “gay” is because of the clinical history of the term “homosexual” which, prior to 1973, was inaccurately listed as a mental disorder. Just as we respect African-American, or Black, or Latino, or Hispanic people’s preference for self-identification, we should likewise respect “gay” as the preferred self-identification of people with a homosexual orientation. One last point: If the letter writer was equating “lifestyle” to sexual behavior, it should be noted that not all persons express their sexual orientation — homosexual or heterosexual — in their behaviors, and that gay people live as many different lifestyles as heterosexual people.
Mary Ellen & Casey Lopata