Turns out, quite a lot.
If the word is homosexual, and not gay.
See, when the word homosexual is used, it conjures up all kinds of ideas about, well, sex. And I think that's what troubles many straig....many heterosexuals. They cannot imagine themselves having any sort of homosexual relations, and they may even view such relations as, well, disgusting [don't knock it, if you haven't tried it] so they condemn anything to do with homosex.
A new poll out last week shows American support for ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military depends on the words used. It seems that 57% of Americans approve of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military, but if you change the wording to allowing gays to serve openly, support for ending DADT jumps to 70%.
For many people, using the word homosexual, or even heterosexual for that matter, puts the emphasis on sex rather than sexuality or sexual orientation. And being homosexual, isn't just about sex; it's about with whom you identify. It's about love and commitment and attraction and, yes, sex. But so is heterosexuality.
See, they're actually the same things, only the object of the attraction is different. It isn't Female-attracted males, or Male-attracted-females, it's Male-attracted males and Female-attracted females.
If you you the sex out of the equation, it's easier for many straig....heterosexual people to understand. I see it like this: years ago, after I'd met Carlos but before I moved to Miami, he came to California to see me. We took a trip up to my parent's house so Carlos could meet them, and we'd planned on staying a day or two. I mentioned to Carlos that my parents might want us to sleep in separate rooms, but was pleasantly surprised when my Mom directed us to one bedroom.
We had a lovely trip and visit, and a few weeks later, while talking to my Mom, she mentioned that my Dad was a little uncomfortable about having Carlos and I share a room because he wondered what we might be doing up there. My mother asked if he ever wondered what my sister and her husband did up there, or my brother and his wife, and my Dad said he never thought about it.
He realized that Carlos and I didn't deserve a second thought about it either.
Homosexuality isn't just about sex; it's about everything.