It was not until the 19th century that a term for homosexual was coined to describe people that are attracted to forming relationships with others of their own gender. The Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969 are often seen as an important part of the origins of a modern gay rights movement. In the 1970s, male and female homosexuals were less united in a political sense than is the case today. The advent of modern feminism appealed to some women more than the gay rights movement did, and this led to a form of separate community development between lesbians and gay men in many countries. In the 1980s, an emerging sense of crisis around issues related to the emergence of the AIDS disease - which in some countries affected predominantly gay men and injecting drug users - saw many lesbians support gay men in a fight against the impacts of the disease.
This gave rise to a new term: the 'gay and lesbian community' - and the interchangeable 'lesbian and gay community' - emerging as a new descriptive term for homosexuals in society. Many gay community organizations renamed themselves 'gay and lesbian' at this time. During the 1990s, there was a push from within the broader gay community for a more inclusive term to describe people whose sexuality or gender identity was outside the norm.
As a result of the broadening during the 1990s of those concerned with what had previously been described as 'gay community' issues, the terms LGBT and GLBT have now gained currency as a general descriptor to describe people who are either gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender. Sometimes for ease of naming, the various terms discussed in this article are used interchangeably to refer to members of the various sub-groups contained within the GLBT term, and sometimes the original 'gay community' is used as an inclusive synonym for the broader GLBT community.