GayIn addition to meaning "joyous" or "glad," gay also means homosexual.
The word gay has had a sexual meaning since at least the nineteenth century (and probably before) -- in Victorian England, female and male prostitutes were called "gay" (because they dressed gaily). Eventually, "gay boys" (renters) became used as a term for any male homosexual.
The term can be used inclusively or exclusively. The inclusive meaning refers to both men and women who prefer sexual or romantic relationships with their own sex (see homosexuality). The exclusive meaning refers only to men who prefer sexual or romantic relationships with other men. Whether bisexuals are included in either of those meanings is a matter of debate (see bisexuality).
It has been claimed that "gay" was derived as an acronym for "Good As You," but this is a folk etymology.
The word "gay" is also used in a non-sexual context by some in a general sense to express derision or mockery. For example, "My computer is acting gay," or "This is a gay hat." Some people object to this usage, deeming that it necessarily implies a claim about the relative merits of different sexualities. See also: fag.
See also: gay village, gay rights, gay pride, gay marriage, gay movies, gay television shows, rainbow flag, political correctness, homophobia, Famous gay lesbian or bisexual people, Queer culture, Wikipedians/Queer, fag, lesbian, lesbigay, List of gay-related topics.