I was interested in the line “...most Americans use the word 'gay' now instead of 'homosexual'” in Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Happily Never After?” in today’s (April 2) New York Times:
I’m worried about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don’t even seem to realize that most Americans use the word "gay" now instead of "homosexual"; when Chief Justice John Roberts thinks gays are merely concerned with marriage as a desirable "label," and when Justice Samuel Alito compares gay marriage to cellphones.
When you say “instead of,” it gives me an impression that they are different things, for examples, “I use margarine instead of butter,” “They use acrylic panels instead of plate glass for windows” and "The new car uses aluminum instead of steel plate for the body."
However, when I checked Oxford English Dictionary, it renders “gay” as:
a.1 (of a person, especially a man) homosexual.
- relating to or used by homosexuals:
n. a homosexual, especially a man.
Also OALD defines Gay as:
a. (of people, especially men) sexually attracted to people of the same sex. [Syn.] HOMOSEXUAL
Aren’t “gay” and “homosexual” the same thing except “gay” being applied to men? What’s the difference between “gay” and “homosexual” other than gender attributes?