A new term is emerging that may have some people confused.
It could refer to people of a sexual orientation, or someone who identifies as gay or lesbian.
It’s not a new phenomenon, according to Dr Matthew Czerny, a lecturer in sociology at Deakin University.
“Gay people, I think, are still used in some of our terminology as being homosexual or bisexual,” he said.
“But the term itself is not very clear and in my view it’s a little bit problematic.”
Dr Czenys views the term as problematic.
“I think the idea that we should refer to those who are gay or bisexual as gay people and gay people as gay is, I would say, problematic,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“If you’ve got a person that you’re saying you’re attracted to, I don’t think you should use the word ‘gay’.”
Dr Czenys, who has researched the issue, said the term could be problematic because it could be used to discriminate against people who are not gay or straight.
“There’s a whole range of other people that have a different experience, but if you’re talking about gay people it can be a little misleading,” he explained.
“The word gay itself can be used in a way that is not appropriate or even offensive.”
Dr Jodi Hulsey from the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce also said the issue was not unique to Australia.
“In the UK, it’s actually been used for a while,” she said.”[The word] gay was used in the United States as a derogatory term and as an insult to a group of people, including African Americans.”
She said the use of the word “gay” in the US meant the group was a “special class of people” and was treated differently.
Dr Czedys said the word could be confusing to some.
“It’s also a bit of a misnomer,” he admitted.
“So it’s not really that it’s the only person who’s gay or it’s exclusively the gay people, but it’s definitely a special group of groups.”
Dr Hulys said people often referred to those with a sexual preference as gay and bisexual.
“When we use the term gay people we’re talking to those that identify as gay, not necessarily in the sense that they’re straight, but those who identify as lesbian, bisexual or transgender,” she explained.
She said it was important to remember that while the term was commonly used, people could be gay or bi.
“People are really sensitive to being used in this way,” she suggested.
“We’re talking here about people who identify differently and it’s important that we don’t get caught up in this particular, this ‘gay identity’.”
The term ‘LGBT’ is used in many different ways, and it really is a very broad term and it has nothing to do with homosexuality.