Prominent LGBTQ organization lists ‘homosexual’ as ‘term to avoid’

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) glossary of LGBTQ-related terms refers to the word “homosexual” as “outdated,” “derogatory,” and “offensive.”

GLAAD, which promotes representation of LGBTQ individuals in Hollywood and the wider entertainment industry, advised people to opt for other terms like “gay man” or “gay people.” It is unclear when it updated its glossary to reflect its guidance on the word “homosexual,” which was spotted by social media users this month.

The entry was included in the 11th edition of GLAAD’s “Glossary of Terms: LGBTQ,” which the lobbying group noted was compiled “in collaboration with other U.S.-based LGBTQ community organizations and leaders.”


Hollywood gay lobby GLAAD made headlines this week after social media users noticed it officially classified “homosexuality” as a term “to avoid” in its glossary of LGBTQ words. (FatCamera via Getty Images)

“This Guide is intended to be used by journalists reporting for mainstream media outlets and media creators who want to tell the stories of LGBTQ people fairly and accurately,” the organization said.

The glossary mentioned the word “homosexual” twice. In the first instance, it stated, “(see Terms to Avoid) Outdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive. The Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post restrict usage of the term.”

In the “Terms To Avoid” portion of the glossary, GLAAD provided a fuller description of the term homosexual and why it deems it inappropriate.

It stated, “Because of the clinical history of the word ‘homosexual,’ it is aggressively used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that people attracted to the same sex are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered – notions discredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s.”

It advised readers, “Please avoid using ‘homosexual’ except in direct quotes,” and instructed, “Please also avoid using ‘homosexual’ as a style variation simply to avoid repeated use of the word ‘gay.’”

“Many mainstream news outlets’ style guides restrict use of the term “homosexual,’” the entry added.


GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis speaks onstage during “A Night of Pride” with GLAAD and the NFL in February. (Daniel Boczarski / Stringer)

GLAAD followed with proper alternative terms to use instead of “homosexual,” stating, “Use gay, lesbian, or when appropriate, bisexual, pansexual, or queer to describe people attracted to people of the same gender or more than one gender.”

It also advised individuals to “Ask people how they describe themselves before labeling their sexual orientation.”

Various social media users noticed the change this week. Conservative journalist Andy Ngo commented, “Liberal group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation @glaad has issued guidance instructing media and entertainment to not use the term homosexual because it is clinical and ‘derogatory.’ The same group argues in support of trans ideology.”

Gay rights activist Fred Sargeant accused GLAAD of homophobia on the topic, posting, “I’m old enough to remember a time when @glaad wasn’t a homophobic organization which now claims that Homosexual is an ‘outdated and offensive’ term.That was back when they were proud to have Gay and Lesbian as a part of their acronym name.It was before the time when they were colonized by some of the worst people on the planet.”

GLAAD didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Gabriel Hays is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. 

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