"I am a gay." Is this wrong sentence?

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mylancuocy

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"I am a gay."
Someone said that it is not right to let the "a" before the "gay in this sentence but I can't understand why it is wrong.
 

probus

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"I am gay" is more natural and better than "I am a gay."

"I am a gay" is not strictly wrong, and it wouldn't be very hard to dream up some cases in which it might be used. Gay began as an adjective but has now become a substantive noun too. The noun however, is pretty well always used in the plural. We hear "Gays do this" or "Gays think that." In the singular we would normally use man, woman or person along with the adjective gay. "I am a gay man" and "As a gay person ..." sound fine.
 

Kiwi watcher

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"I am a gay."
Someone said that it is not right to let the "a" before the "gay in this sentence but I can't understand why it is wrong.

Where I live Gay has come to mean a Homosexual person . Homosexual can be used as a adjective or a noun , if it is used as a noun then saying "I am a gay would be correct.. If you do not mean to say you are a homosexual then maybe another choice word might be less ambiquous ..
 

probus

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@kiwi watcher. My reply assumed that all readers would know that gay means homosexual. Perhaps I was wrong in that, given that this forum is read by so many beginning students of English, but the questioner's use of "I am a gay" leaves no doubt that he or she knows what gay means. My father used to regret that the original meaning of gay has been lost, but lost it is.

@everyone else: hilarious fragment of dialogue I once heard:

"Is he gay?"

"My dear, he's positively festive."
 
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emsr2d2

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There is nothing grammatically wrong with using "a gay" as a noun but only when being used by someone to speak about themselves. In BrE, saying "He's/She's a gay" can sound as if it is being used as an insult. We have had discussions on this usage before and I don't think any of us successfully managed to explain this nuance.

He's/She's a gay - can be taken as insulting.
He's/She's gay - fine.

To add to the confusion, "She's a lesbian" is perfectly acceptable.

The potential offensive nuance is the same with "He's a Jew" (unacceptable) versus "He's Jewish" (acceptable).
 

mylancuocy

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Thanks a lot! I did not know the slight difference before but important.
 

Barb_D

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I have to disagree with the comparison to "Jew." It's when "Jew" is used as an adjective that it's offensive. "He got himself some Jew lawyer" -- THAT is offensive.


I cannot imagine any gay person in the US saying "I'm a gay."

I understand regional usage can vary significantly.
 

5jj

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In BrE, 'He's a Jew' seems to me to be less acceptable than 'He's Jewish'.
 

Tdol

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emsr2d2

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I agree that it's unlikely but it would be much more acceptable for someone to utter "I'm a gay" if that's how they want to describe themselves, but unacceptable to describe someone else by saying "He's/She's a gay".
 
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