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As such, the current use of the term has its roots in the broader 19th-century tradition of personality taxonomy. Similarly, some recommend completely avoiding usage of homosexual as it has a negative, clinical history and because the word only refers to one's sexual behavior (as opposed to romantic feelings) and thus it has a negative connotation. The first letters are frequently combined to create the initialism LGBT (sometimes written as GLBT), in which B and T refer to bisexual and transgender people.Gay especially refers to male homosexuality, but may be used in a broader sense to refer to all LGBT people.

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Although early writers also used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-sex context (such as an all-girls school), today the term is used exclusively in reference to sexual attraction, activity, and orientation.

The term homosocial is now used to describe single-sex contexts that are not specifically sexual.

There is also a word referring to same-sex love, homophilia.

Homosexuality (from ancient Greek ὁμός, meaning "same", and Latin sexus, meaning "sex") is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender.

As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex.

It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions." The most common terms for homosexual people are lesbian for females and gay for males, though gay is also used to refer generally to both homosexual males and females.

The number of people who identify as gay or lesbian and the proportion of people who have same-sex sexual experiences are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons, including many gay or lesbian people not openly identifying as such due to homophobia and heterosexist discrimination.

Since the end of the 19th century, there has been a global movement towards increased visibility, recognition, and legal rights for homosexual people, including the rights to marriage and civil unions, adoption and parenting, employment, military service, equal access to health care, and the introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect gay minors.

The word homosexual is a Greek and Latin hybrid, with the first element derived from Greek ὁμός homos, "same" (not related to the Latin homo, "man", as in Homo sapiens), thus connoting sexual acts and affections between members of the same sex, including lesbianism.

In 1886, Richard von Krafft-Ebing used the terms homosexual and heterosexual in his book Psychopathia Sexualis.

Krafft-Ebing's book was so popular among both laymen and doctors that the terms "heterosexual" and "homosexual" became the most widely accepted terms for sexual orientation. recommend against using homosexual as a noun, instead using gay man or lesbian.