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ex-gay (comparative more ex-gay, superlative most ex-gay)

  1. (of a person, potentially offensive) Having formerly been gay (homosexual), but no longer being so.
  2. (of a person) Having formerly identified as gay, but no longer identifying as so.
  3. Of or pertaining to (purportedly) ex-gay people.

Usage notesEdit

  • This term is controversial, because it is controversial whether a person can cease to be gay. This controversy hinges partly on whether there exists a psychological attribute of sexual orientation, or only homosexual behavior (since if “gay” means only “engaging in sex with same-sex partners”, then certainly a person can stop doing so); it also hinges, if there does exist such a psychological attribute, on whether it can change. In either case, use of the term ex-gay frequently implies a belief that a person can cease to be gay, and perhaps that gay people should cease to be gay; it therefore risks offending gay people who do not share that belief.


ex-gay (plural ex-gays)

  1. (especially in plural) An ex-gay person.

Usage notesEdit

  • See the usage notes for the adjective (above).

Derived termsEdit