It can feel like a big deal to reveal one’s sexual orientation. It can also be confusing. But it’s a tractable sort of confusion, like the sort you might feel when approaching a four-way stop that’s become a roundabout since your last visit or attempting to assemble an Ikea coffee table from instructions written in Chinglish. The important thing is that your acquaintance feels comfortable with their new identity and doesn’t need to be reminded of the complexities that came with it.
One of the most common ways to confuse a gay person is to assume that their sexual orientation is something other than heterosexual and not be willing to listen to what they say or allow them space to explain. This can cause them to doubt or question their own sexuality and is based on damaging stereotypes of LGBTQA+ people.
Other ways to confuse a gay person include telling them that it’s just a phase - this dismisses and undermines their experiences and feelings about their own sexuality and can be upsetting. It’s also a way of devaluing the importance of same-sex relationships in many people’s lives and the families that they create.
Some people also reject the term homosexual as an identity label because it feels clinical and reminds them of a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness, or because they dislike the slang terms that have been attached to it. Instead, they may choose to use the term queer, a reclaimed word of pride that refers to all identities outside of heterosexuality or cisgender gender, or they might simply not use a term at all and prefer to be called by their given name.