When it comes to sexual orientations, we have the proper terminology, and then we have slang.
But not everyone agrees on which slang terms are acceptable.
While most people are comfortable using the term gay, words like queer, or dyke can be a different story. That’s because both those terms were originally used as insults.
As a reader named Bob says:
I am gay but I am not “queer,” nor do I ever use the word. The majority-dominant culture will never afford greater acceptance to a population segment that diminishes their own worth by trying to make a social-political statement. The word “queer” signifies something that is strange, odd, or unusually different. It is not a term that accords respectability or promotes acceptance.
Yet there are other people who proudly call themselves queer or dyke as a way of reclaiming the terms and taking the negative meanings away from them.
Then there is the word straight used to mean heterosexual. This is a term that most people don’t give a second thought to. Yet if you think about it, the opposite of straight is crooked or bent. Neither of those words are inherently bad. But there is the underlying assumption that something “straight” is more normal that something bent. For that reason some people choose to write the word as str8. Others just stick to saying hetero or heterosexual.
Of course, plenty of people don’t have problems with any of these terms see those who criticize their use as being overly sensitive or overly analytical.