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[–]TransspeciesUnicornI sexually identify as a mythical sparkly equine 12 insightful - 1 fun12 insightful - 0 fun13 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't really think it's a big mystery... it's probably because the original meanings of those words were also used as a noun and an adjective, respectively. I'm sure we're all aware that the words "lesbian" and "gay" didn't originally refer to homosexuals. Lesbian originally meant a citizen of Lesbos, so it would have been primarily used as a noun, at least when referring to the people. So it makes sense that the adapted meaning of the word that happened over time would also be a noun. Same for gay... it originally described a happy or carefree feeling, and would have been primarily used as an adjective, so the adapted meaning was as well.

(And yeah I know they still technically retain the original meanings, but no one uses it that way anymore because they know they'd get snickered at. I know people, for example, who chuckle at the scene in Cinderella when Fairy Godmother tells her to "dance, be gay!")

[–]SickOfThisShit 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think because gay doesn't mean homosexual male. It just means homosexual, which is also an adjective. Although it can be used as a noun, as can gay but it sounds wierd. Being a lesbian is specifically being a homosexual female.

Maybe I'm wrong and it does actually mean homosexual male, and it's just been used otherwise. But to my understanding it is mostly used to refer to men, but does not have to be.

[–]Three_oneFourWanted for thought crimes in countless ideologies 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Well, in my experience, lesbian and bisexual can both be used as both nouns or adjectives. Gay is the only term that is usually only used as an adjective. It may have some to do with the fact that "gay woman" is a term that can be used in place of lesbian, so gay as a noun isn't descriptive on its own to refer to men specifically, however I think there's another reason. When christian religious homophobes prootest against our existence and rights, they tend to say, "the gays" to refer to us. While they may mean LGB in general, they're probably sexist and bi-ersasure-ish enough to not really care about LGB other than gay men. As such, the term as a noun has gained a very stained connotation and so it is now only used as an adjective

[–]ChunkeeguyTeam T*RF Fuck Yeah 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

They have different origins. Some people do refer to lesbian women though. In the dark past of LGB life it was not uncommon for newspapers to refer to “homosexuals and lesbians” as though the latter were not the former.

[–]fuck_reddit 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Probably cause “lesbian women” is redundant. Idk if it’s 100% true, but didn’t “gay” used to be reserved exclusively for men? I think there was debate around calling women “gay” right around the time I was realizing I was gay.

[–]PatsyStoneMaverique 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Gay means homosexual in general, not specifically men. There's no specific noun for gay men.

[–]Q-Continuum-kin 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think part of it is rooted in old school sexism honestly. It's the othering of women from society. It's like the way "actor" is gender neutral. Men and women can be actors but it used to be assumed that men worked while women were back home barefoot and pregnant. So there's the special delineation to call out a female actor as an actress.

If you think about how society treated gays it was always negativity aimed at men who were failing at their gender. Go all the way back to biblical stories and you have teachings about how not to act with other men and about how the desires of women were completely ignored. They were expected to give men sex whenever the man wanted. It would have been a joke to ask what the woman wanted.

Marital rape wasn't even recognized until very recently in history.

So in terms of gays, at some point society had to recognize that gay women also existed and so they got perceived as some other thing.