Homosexual Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

You’ve likely heard the term homosexual, but what does it mean? We’ll tell you. Read on as we explore what homosexual means, its synonyms, and more.

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If you’ve heard the word homosexual and not known what it meant, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re talking about the meaning of homosexual and whether it’s appropriate to use this word in modern conversation. Let’s get started!

What Does Homosexual Mean?

Homosexual is an adjective as well as a noun. Either way, it has to do with individuals who are attracted to members of the same sex. 

Homosexual as an Adjective

As an adjective, homosexual can be defined as relating to or characterized by sexual attraction to people of someone’s own sex. For example, a man who is attracted to men or a woman who is attracted to women.

Synonyms include: 

  • Gay
  • Queer
  • Lesbian
  • Homoerotic

Antonyms include:

  • Heterosexual
  • Straight

Homosexual in a Sentence

Here are a few examples of the adjective homosexual used in a sentence:

“He has decided to tell his family that he is homosexual.”

“She has been facing harassment since coming out as a homosexual.”

“My sister is in a homosexual relationship with a girl in her class.”

“There are a lot of homosexual people in the United States and around the globe.”

“Her twins are homosexual.”

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with homosexual behavior.”

The use of the adjective homosexual has decreased immensely since the late 20th century and is now sometimes considered offensive. The term can be seen as evoking negative stereotypes and outdated clinical understandings of homosexuality as a psychiatric condition.

Homosexual as a Noun 

Used as a noun, homosexual refers to someone who practices homosexuality, having a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex, or a homosexual person. 

Synonyms include:

  • Gay
  • Lesbian

Antonyms include:

  • Heterosexual
  • Straight person

Like the adjective homosexual, the noun homosexual has seen a major decrease in use and is often regarded as offensive. In fact, the word homosexual used both as an adjective and noun have mostly been replaced by “gay,” except in medical contexts. 

Those who still use homosexual as a part of their vocabulary are usually unaware that it’s a sensitive term, although some do use it with the intent to offend. 

What Is Homosexuality?

Simply put, homosexuality refers to the attraction between two individuals of the same sex. The term is derived from the Greek word homos, which means “the same.

Not to get confused with gender identity such as male, female, and non-binary, homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Individuals who are homosexual could refer to themselves as gay, lesbian, queer, LGBTQ, or several other terms.

What Does It Mean To Be Homosexual?

People usually describe themselves as “homosexual” or “gay” when they discover that they are sexually or emotionally attracted exclusively to people of their gender. Some women who are gay prefer the label “lesbian,” while those who are attracted to two or more genders often describe themselves as “bi,” “bisexual,” “pan,” or “pansexual.”

Related Terms That You Should Know

You are likely to come across many terms and concepts as you learn about homosexuality. To help prevent any confusion, we’ve listed some basic terminology below:

  • Sex is defined as the classification of people as female or male. At birth, newborns are assigned a sex based on a combination of characteristics, such as chromosomes, hormones, genitals, and reproductive organs. 
  • Sexual orientation is a person’s physical, romantic, or emotional attraction to members of the opposite and/or same sex, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and heterosexual orientations.
  • Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of being a man/male, woman/female, both, neither, or another gender. 
  • Gender expression describes the external appearance of an individual’s gender identity, usually expressed through clothing, behaviors, or body characteristics. These may or may not conform to socially defined characteristics and behaviors typically associated with being feminine or masculine. 
  • Sexual behavior refers to a person’s sexual activities or actions. Though a person’s sexual orientation is often in line with their sexual behavior, this is not always the case.
  • Gender is defined as a social and cultural expression of sex; not the biological sex people are assigned at birth.
  • LGBT is a popular acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. 
  • Transgender is an umbrella term used for people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from cultural expectations based on their birth sex.
  • Cisgender is a term used to describe people who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. 
  • Queer is an umbrella term often used to express a wide spectrum of identities and orientations outside of cisgender heterosexuality. 

To Recap

So, what does homosexual mean?

Simply put, homosexual can be used as an adjective or noun and has to do with people who are attracted to members of the same sex.

Over the years, the use of the word homosexual has decreased greatly and has been mostly replaced by “gay man,” “gay woman,” or “gay people,” except in medical or other formal contexts. 

That said, unfortunately, there is a lot of homophobia and discrimination that still exists today. In many countries, it’s even illegal to be gay. Those who are anti-gay have spread many harmful lies demonizing homosexuality, such as the incorrect idea that being gay is a choice and can be changed. 

Here’s the truth: being gay is not a choice or something that can be changed or altered. In fact, according to most scientists, sexuality is the result of several factors, including environment and biology. In other words, homosexuality is not a sin or mental illness and deserves the same acceptance as those who are heterosexual or of a different sexual orientation.


  1. homosexuality | Meaning, History, & Facts | Britannica 
  2. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male | NCBI
  3. Views of Homosexuality Around the World | Pew Research Center