It is precisely because of this that I often refuse to be a slave to existing social paradigms in the self-application of labels. If I use a label for myself, it becomes mine, and it makes me no less an individual or beholden to some one-dimensional mass. Rather than assimilating wholly into the label, I add context and facets to it. Perhaps I'm naive in thinking so, since most people will not see it this way. Most will see the label and ascribe various traits and beliefs to me without even realizing they've done it or questioning whether it is just to do so. Fortunately, I'm generally not afraid of that. Those who prefer ignorance will persist in it regardless of what I bring to the table. Those who recognize their own ignorance will learn and will add me to their conglomeration of who comprises a given label. But the perception of the label will never change if those whom it describes don't speak up for themselves.
Merriam-Webster's definition of gay:
Main Entry: gay
1 a: happily excited: merry
b: keenly alive and exuberant: having or inducing high spirits
2 a: bright, lively
b: brilliant in color
3: given to social pleasures; also: licentious
4 a: homosexual
b: of, relating to, or used by homosexuals
Main Entry: ho·mo·sex·u·al
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex
2 : of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex
Some are uncomfortable referring to themselves as "gay" because "gay" is associated, as you can see, with "licentious". And "homosexual" implies purely "sexual" desire. And we, in Mormon culture, know that sexual appetite is evil, right? Some argue that same-sex attraction is about much more than sexual desire--intimacy, sexuality, romance, etc--so to use "-sexual" undercuts those nuances. Generally speaking, people so acutely aware of the problems with such labels don't apply the same stringent requirements to other self descriptions, but perhaps social stigmas make us understandably more defensive about certain pet peeves.
Maybe it's fair for people to say "I don't consider myself 'gay', so I don't care about changing the perception of that label." I, however, would prefer it if, one day, people could hear "gay" without thinking only of Will & Grace, anti-prop-8 protesters carrying "Mormon scum" signs and vandalizing temple grounds, or gay pride parades replete with all kinds of whoredom. I know gay people who are quietly living productive lives, giving to their communities, maintaining committed relationships, living every bit as "morally" as their straight counterparts, just not following the Proclamation on the Family. Are they less "gay" because they don't subscribe to licentiousness? Am I less "gay" because I'm not looking for a same-sex partner? I guess we all draw our lines somewhere.
Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refuse to ever call themselves "Mormon" because they are "latter-day saints" or "LDS" or "members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". Many of us will use "Mormon" casually when it's convenient. Heck, I've even known one or two members of the Church who would not refer to themselves as Christians because that carried a connotation that they were part of the larger, apostate Christian community, and they were more comfortable staying separate and distinct from that. Again, I guess we all draw our lines somewhere.