When I was a teenager, homosexuality existed, but no actual gay people except Ricky Kramer (not his real name) who was the neighborhood scapegoat and unclean person. God had disppeared them all (except for Ricky) to Gitmo in the sky, or something. There were furtive whispers about Librace but that's about it.
Even though there were no gay people, we knew what it was, and that it was the worst thing in the world a person could possibly be. Better to be a communist or a leper, or even a leprous communist, than to "turn queer."
For there not being any gayness about, it certainly came up in conversations enough, although the conversations were usually of the "Hey, give it back, ya homo" variety.
Everything is different now -- and better, for everybody. Things have changed in the good old US of A, but there are a few who seem not to notice.