There are many terms describing a person who has a sexual preference for members of the same gender. The most clinical of these is homosexual. Other terms include queer and gay, but all of these terms are applied to both men and women indiscriminately.

Lesbian, as far as I can tell, is the only term that is used to describe a person of a gender having a sexual preference for a member of the same gender used exclusively for the female gender.

I have searched around and the closest I have come to an answer is “male gay” or “gay man,” neither of which is sufficient in my mind.

Is there a male equivalent word describing having a same-gender sexual preference, such as lesbian is for women?


2 Answers 2


Gay can be inclusive of males and females, or it can apply to males only. (If the word gay always included both sexes, then there would be no need for the L in LGBT.)

However, unlike lesbian, you normally would use gay as an adjective and not as a noun. If you are only talking about men, you might specify gay men to be specific about meaning. If you also discuss women using the word lesbian, it would probably be clear from context that the adjective gay refers only to men. But since you would generally need a noun to go with gay, you might default to gay men anyway and the problem is solved.

But you might want to use a more specific noun, for example to discuss gay men in Canada. If it's clear that gay refers only to males since lesbians are mentioned separately then gay Canadians should suffice. If lesbians aren't mentioned at all and you want specifically to refer to males, then you'd have to say something like gay Canadian men.


Uuh...the simplest answer is: There isn't one. A woman can say: "I am a lesbian". A man cannot say: "I am a gay". Both may be a "gay" person, but it seems only women have a gender specific name/noun for them.

  • A man might not apply this epithet to himself, but "a gay" is known as a pejorative term for a male homosexual and far rarer for women.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 9:21

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