I think it's a mistake to use the terms "gay" and "homosexual" synonymously.
Homosexual is a psychological term that refers to someone who experiences predominately same-sex attractions and may or may not find them desirable. Consequently, they may or may not affirm them as part of their identity.
Gay is a social term. It refers to a person who experiences same-sex attractions and affirms those attractions as a normal part of their identity. In other words, someone who is gay thinks, I’m attracted to the same sex and this condition is desirable to me and is part of who I am.
So, while all gay people are also homosexual, not all homosexuals are gay.
This distinction is important so that we don’t exclude a significant subpopulation of people who experience same-sex attractions but find them undesirable and do not identify with them or affirm them to be a part of who they are. This includes many Christians and non-Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction and do not seek out gay relationships, participate in pro-gay advocacy, or affirm a gay identity.
To lump the two terms together also blinds us to the genuine needs of those who struggle with homosexuality. If we view those who are gay as the same as those who struggle with same-sex attractions, then we fail to recognize the need to reach out and help the latter who are looking for a friend they can trust through their struggle.
And this is precisely what the church needs to do. We need to recognize the distinction so we won’t stereotype our friends or family members. Instead, we need to take the time to learn where their needs lie. Only then can we respond appropriately.