"They" are not "the gays."
Nor are "they" "the poor."
these are people we're talking about...people who are gay, people who are poor, people who are homeless, people who are hungry, people who are straight, people who are rich, people who are in debt, etc.
Unless I'm going to start hearing about "the straights" on NPR, I don't want to hear about "the gays" either. (can you tell I was listening to a story about DADT on the radio this afternoon?)
Ditto for "the poor" or "the needy" or "the homeless." Those are not descriptors of WHO they are, they are descriptors of the situation they are in. That is not the same thing.
Please, people, use language in a way that does not devalue human beings. Because that is what we all are, regardless of any other way we might find ourselves described--we are people, children of God, part of a community, and worth the extra effort to avoid de-humanising.