There is never a right time to use the word homosexual. Ever. This week’s post comes from a conversation I was having where we were talking about a person who is not so pleasant to deal with. In the middle of the conversation the person I am sitting with says “Well he may not be a [insert your own word here] to you because I think he’s a closeted homosexual.” Now, let me back up briefly and say – in no way did she mean anything bad by this. She is a very close colleague of mine and someone I respect and adore. She simply doesn’t know that the word homosexual has many negative connotations associated with it. So here I am to educate you on a few reasons why you should strip the word homosexual from your vocabulary.
The GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) website has a great media reference guide that outlines offensive terms you should avoid. Low and behold homosexual is at the top of the list. Click here to check out the guide for yourself.
1.) The word homosexual has a clinical history to it. Homosexuality was once considered a form of mental disorder and was included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). However, in 1973 it was removed from the DSM. Even though it was removed many years ago, those with an anti-gay agenda still use it as if it were true today.
2.) Without getting too political here we lead into the second theme that pops up with the word homosexual and that’s the bible. There is a passage in Corinthians that uses the word homosexual. This is the passage that the anti-gay, right wing-nuts, grab a hold of to make their case against LGBT rights. Which leads us to number 3.
3.) The gay marriage debate. If you listen to anyone who is opposed to LGBT people getting married you will inevitably here them they say “homosexual marriage is harmful, bad for your health, bad for society” etc. etc. etc. It’s all a bunch of bull but it is the word of choice when defending their position on anti-gay marriage.
So now let me ask you this… Knowing what you know now. If you saw an advertisement or marketing piece that was targeting the LGBT community and it said “We serve the needs of all homosexual families.” What would your reaction be? Would you take a second look and think did they really just say homosexual?
The proper sentence would be “We serve the needs of all LGBT families.” There’s nothing wrong with marketing to or trying to do business with LGBT community. This is why I am here. To help teach you how to do it right. So if you are going to do it – do it right. Make a mental note and a conscious effort to remove homosexual from your vocabulary. That is if you haven’t already.
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