To truly understand something you either have to be it or live it. It's like asking white people if they can truly understand black culture without being black. So, no, you can't truly know without having lived it. I think the best way to understand is to simply listen to them.
I recently heard a lesbian screaming at a gay man that he was homophobic because he disagreed with her about some triviality
If gays don't even understand it properly, then no one can and the question is meaningless
Understanding the concept of sexual preference isn't tough - but the real question should be "is there really a gay 'culture' to understand?"
It seems that more often than not, when the term is used it implies less about "culture" and more about seeking to shove a particular socio-political viewpoint down everyone else's throat and/or vilifying those who may have an opinion that disagrees with that viewpoint.
Gay culture is the same as any other culture. The only difference is that there are many laws and prejudice in place. It's the same as racism. Just like blacks and whites couldn't go to school together, gays and straights can't either. People need to realize this and treat everyone the same.
No, I don't believe so. I think that someone has to be gay to truly understand our struggle and the discrimination we face, just like I can't truly understand the struggle of an African American. I have friends who are not gay though and love gay culture. I think that they have a pretty decent understanding of what it is.
I do not think that person has to necessarily be gay to understand the gay culture. I think that while a straight person will never truly know what a gay person has to deal with, I think that they can learn enough of the culture to significantly understand all of it.
I think those who are friends with a gay person or are around people who are gay on daily basis learn enough about the culture where they could comfortably say that they understand it, I think those who put the effort in can understand it without having to be gay themselves.