3 reasons you should never say homosexual. ever. Skip to the content

3 reasons you should never say homosexual. ever.

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.

Don't ever say homosexual. ever.If you Google the word homosexual three common themes pop up – clinical association, the bible and marriage. All three of these themes blend together with one conclusion: don’t utter the word. Ever.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 6.11.24 PM2.) 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.

gaymarriage3.) 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.

Do you know someone who could use this advice? If you liked what you read here, I encourage you to Like it on Facebook, Tweet it to your followers or post it on LinkedIn. All can be done with a simple click above. Thanks!


About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

16 comments to " 3 reasons you should never say homosexual. ever. "

  • Joseph Mack

    My only problem with this mindset is the fact that you have forgotten where the word “Homosexual” orginiated. Biology. In Biology, we use the term “homosexual” to talk about 2 same-sex members of the same species mating and, in some species, life-pairing. I can see where you are coming from in your opinion; the fact that the word homosexual has such a negative stigma attached to it because of those reasons you mentioned. But you have to understand that the word has legitimate uses as well and that we can’t just stop using the word because of the social stigma; instead, we need to teach the proper usage of the word and when it is appropriate to use it.

    • Hi Joseph – you bring up a valid point of view. My stand point was more from a business setting but you are absolutely right there are appropriate times when using the word homosexual is okay and makes sense. Perhaps I’ll do some research and do another post in the future about the correct usage of the word for further education. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I do appreciate it. – Jenn

      • It is simply not true that the word ‘homosexual’ owes its origin in Biology. Biology may have adopted or borrowed the term, to denote what Joseph Mack says it does in that field. No mattere what the field, the term ‘homosexual’ remains unacceptable to those it is used to designate. It is a clinical term emphasizing negative connotations of some people’s sexuality.

  • Jessie

    I didn’t even know why I didn’t say it, or why it made me feel generally icky to hear it.
    Now I know!

    Thanks Jenn!

  • […] The conversation really did seemingly get worse over the 90 minutes we spent together. They were both using the term ‘homosexual’ as if it were no big deal. If you are unfamiliar with why using the word homosexual, in any context, is a major faux pas, read this blog post. […]

  • […] subcommittee approved the “Don’t say gay” bill which aimed to stop the discussion of ‘homosexuality‘ in elementary and middle schools. Here is a quote from an article in USA Today. “Opponents […]

  • […] approved the “Don’t say gay” bill which aimed to stop the discussion of ‘homosexuality‘ in elementary and middle schools. Here is a quote from an article in USA Today. […]

  • […] from the gay lifestyle? Oh yeah, being gay is NOT a choice. When I wrote my blog post titled “3 reasons you should never say homosexual. ever,” I pissed off a handful of people. And it is probably those same people who will be pissed […]

  • CaiSan

    Just a thought: I also take issue with “homosexual” because of its concentration on the “sexual”. Being gay to me is so much more than sex: it’s not just sex with women that I crave but a loving relationship. Nowhere does “homosexual” have connotations of loyalty, friendship, romantic interest. It’s just… sex.

    • Jenn T. Grace

      That’s a really great point! Yes, the ‘sexual’ part does not convey all that being LGBT is. It’s not just about sex and unfortunately it is all too often that the community is lumped together as such. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • […] By Jenn T. Grace, repost from http://jenntgrace.com/homosexual/ […]

  • Robert Spiegel

    Joseph Mack is correct.

    Homosexual is frequently employed by homophile scientists and social scientists depending on the context and that includes homophile members of the American Psychiatric Association, past and present. There is a difference between employing terms, whatever they may be, in a clinical setting, a research context, a business exchange or in casual conversation with whomever.

    For example, Peter Jackson is the world’s leading authority on Gays in Thailand. His most famous work is not called Gays in Thailand, Queer in Thailand, or Non-heteronormative in Thailand. Its called Homosexuality in Thailand. Furthermore, many social scientists are moving away from employing what are currently identity terms as nouns and instead using them as verbs.

    Many homophile scientists and social scientists question the validity of the analogies to human homosexuality which are often made to the animal kingdom by Gay scientists and social scientists. But even among those who subscribe to them, I don’t know too many who refer to Gay or same gender loving animals. Instead they talk about homosexual behavior among those nonhuman species.

    Many sexual minority activists as well as most sexuality studies academics — whatever may be their sexuality — believe that the term “Gay” implies a level of consciousness which is not generally considered to be possessed by closeted persons. One might even argue that “closeted gay” and “homosexual” are one and the same. There are also times when it is actually helpful to employ the term.

    Then there is the question of how to characterize historical figures. A good argument can be made that figures, such as Socrates, were not even other than straight. But even for those who think Socrates was OTS, there is a debate about what term to apply. Major sexual minority academics, such as the late John Boswell and the living David Halperin have disagreed on this point.

    Adversaries and allies alike (especially liberals), know when it is politically correct or personally acceptable to employ terms as Blacks and Negroes, Asians and Orientals, Jews and Jewish, women and girls, senior and elder, handicapped and disabled, etc. I would advise against determining who is or who is not one’s friend based upon the words they use such as “that’s so gay.”

    Finally, LGBT is not all inclusive. I know people, including friends of various generations, who refer to themselves as “homos” regardless of the audience. Most of my fellow Stonewallers are not only uncomfortable with the word queer, they object to its employment by others regardless of generation.

    It never hurts to look at intent as well as context and presume the best rather than the worst. If one corrects another, as well one might, I highly recommend against blaming, shaming, putting the “offender” on the defensive or presuming that he or she is a homophobe. As one who has been a social movement activist for more than half a century, I can tell you that’s no way to make an ally.

    • Jenn T. Grace

      Robert, thank you so much for taking the time to provide such a lengthy, details and thought out response. Would you mind if we used this as a guest post? Thanks!

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