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Homosexual Is a Dirty Word

Posted by V the K at 9:32 am - March 17, 2017.
Filed under: Political Correctness

The Speech Police at Emerson College in Boston ($59,728 per year)  have decided the word “homosexual” is offensive.

“Use gay or lesbian when describing people who are attracted to members of the same sex,” school officials instruct in the guide. “Avoid the use of homosexual and homosexual relationship.”

I am assuming the word “Queer” still flies there, which makes this whole exercise akin to banning the word “African-American” but “rhymes-with-bigger” is still okay.

I wonder if ‘Sodomites’ is still okay. How about “Butt Pirate?”



  1. Oh Emerson College still trying to stay relevant

    Comment by Pawfurbehr — March 17, 2017 @ 9:34 am - March 17, 2017

  2. I always preferred “poofter” anyway.

    Comment by Mike M. — March 17, 2017 @ 9:46 am - March 17, 2017

  3. “Homosexual” is pretty archaic. I cringe whenever I hear it and always found it offensive, personally. One might as well say sodomite. It’s one of those terms that begs asking: what century are we in?

    I *hated* queer when I was younger, but I don’t mind it as much now. It covers a lot of different groups and “simplifies” things a bit. I suppose “gay” does too, and perhaps that’s the direction we’re headed. I used to think it was weird to refer to a female as “gay” rather than “lesbian.” But, it is short/easier, and I have gotten used to this use as well. But, it still leaves out trans, etc (not that GP would care), as far as an “all-encompassing” term (though a lot would like to draw clear lines and create separation).

    Comment by CrayCrayPatriot — March 17, 2017 @ 9:53 am - March 17, 2017

  4. I have never met any gay lesbians. They all seem pretty cranky to me.

    Comment by Juan — March 17, 2017 @ 9:56 am - March 17, 2017

  5. I’ve been accused of being an “educational snob” in the past, but any of these stories that keep coming out lately, Middlebury, Emerson, others I can’t even find links to, I’ve literally never heard of these schools before. Are these all real places? Were they founded last week?

    Comment by Sathar — March 17, 2017 @ 9:58 am - March 17, 2017

  6. @CCP: “Homosexual” is actually a pretty new word (1891 according to Merriam-Webster). I’ve seen this sort of advice / guidance elsewhere and as a part of researching why I found out it was developed as a word that would make people uncomfortable with homosexuality more comfortable with it due to its clinical sound. I can somewhat see the point to this guidance from the offensiveness given its favored use by those who tend to deride people for being gay. However, I also think it’s stupid to give this from the perspective that someone using “homosexual” tends to give you a pretty decent clue about their thoughts on the subject and that it may just shut them up entirely. I would rather engage with someone in-person rather than have them put off simply because they get draconian-sounding “guidance” that’s enforced as de facto law by the school (which I can guarantee will happen in at least one lecture hall).

    Regarding “Queer”, I have to agree it doesn’t bother me as much anymore given that it’s been co-opted to mean “not enough people that we care to make a special category for it”. Or it’s a handy way to say “it’s complicated”. But, as you & V pointed out, it’s also got a bad history (personally I prefer “Other”, but that’s a battle for further down the road – we need to get independent thinkers first!)

    At the end of it all with these words, what we always miss is intonation and other contextual clues – the things we can only pick up from actually talking to each other. As a good friend has reminded me of often, there’s only two tones of voice in email and social media – pissed off and REALLY PISSED OFF. Only when you get to know a person do you start to pick up on their personality beyond all that.

    Comment by Crispy — March 17, 2017 @ 10:26 am - March 17, 2017

  7. I’m partial to ‘turd burglar.’

    Comment by Niall — March 17, 2017 @ 10:47 am - March 17, 2017

  8. But, it still leaves out trans, etc (not that GP would care), as far as an “all-encompassing” term (though a lot would like to draw clear lines and create separation).

    T for Trans should be left out, it’s not an orientation nor an affectional description, and there should be a separation. Underlying are entirely different political and medical issues and controversies. For many in the G/L community it’s “not my monkeys, not my circus.”

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — March 17, 2017 @ 11:05 am - March 17, 2017

  9. In French, we use “homos” for short, just like we use “heteros”.

    I wonder if the Emerson Pool of Linguistic Geniuses have thought about these short versions, too?

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 11:12 am - March 17, 2017

  10. I don’t find the term offensive. Sexually I am a homo. I am tired of people while have nothing to do with a certain group of people deciding by what those people should be offended. When I was going through my teacher education courses I had to take a multicultural education class. In that class I was told that because I am Caucasian and we all need to be sensitive to our ethnic designations I should want to be called a European American. I’ve never even been to Europe and my family has had nothing to do with Europe since they came over here in the 1600s. I feel like I’m just an American although apparently that’s due to my white privilege

    Comment by TAD — March 17, 2017 @ 11:15 am - March 17, 2017

  11. @2 I would love to see their speech code rules:

    “Rule Number one: NO POOFTER!!!”

    Comment by Craig E Smith — March 17, 2017 @ 11:18 am - March 17, 2017

  12. @9 (and, as is often the case in spoken french, the ending “s” is silent, btw)

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 11:21 am - March 17, 2017

  13. Wasn’t it just last week that ‘gay’ was offensive? Oy, can’t keep up.

    Comment by BigJ — March 17, 2017 @ 11:25 am - March 17, 2017

  14. The problem (maybe “a” is more appropriate than “the”) with constantly shifting word-usage fads is that well-meaning people who bear no ill will end up being called homophobes simply because they didn’t get the memo.

    Similar arguments apply to various racially-sensitive words.

    Comment by Marc W — March 17, 2017 @ 11:38 am - March 17, 2017

  15. Words, like all else in life, follow fashionable seasons. Currently, homosexual is a no-no because they who decide all things want it to be a no-no.

    That’s all it is, kids. If it were deemed fashionable, it would be so.

    BTW, the word fashionable is no longer fashionable. I realize that. But I’m old and I also don’t give a shit what anybody thinks…

    Comment by RGB — March 17, 2017 @ 11:42 am - March 17, 2017

  16. Not sure why homosexual is offensive but heterosexual isn’t.

    Comment by CH — March 17, 2017 @ 11:44 am - March 17, 2017

  17. “Homosexual” began as a pseudoscientific classification which came along in the discovery days of social Darwinism, eugenics, psychology, sociology and cultural anthropology. It was the highbrow way of saying sexual deviant. There were countless slang terms.

    I “stumbled” into contact with the word when I did proofreading for a publisher in the late 1950’s. Until that time, “queer” was an all inclusive word for people whose private lives were suspected to be other than usual. I never, ever encountered anyone who spoke of himself or herself as same-sex oriented until the mid to late 1970’s. And it was well after that when “gay” and “lesbian” identity became recognized on the college campus as a form of “diversity”.

    I suspect the media and academia dug out “homosexual” as a way to speak on a topic which had been largely left out of general speech except for slang.

    However, way back in the 1880’s, a British explorer and rogue named Richard Burton translated the “Arabian Nights” in all of their fullness. The Boston Daily Advertiser said the 16 volume work was “offensive and not only offensive, but grossly and needlessly offensive”. In the service of the British army, Burton had explored three brothels in Karachi “in which not women but boys and eunuchs… lay for hire”. He was explicit about homosexuality, pornography, lesbianism in harems and other such “unmentionables” in the Victorian Western culture. When he died, his wife burned all of his notes, letters, manuscripts, etc. to keep them from becoming popular for pornographic, rather than academic reasons.

    As the power of the church and the general decay of moral propriety began to decay in the late 1960’s, Hollywood, in particular, discovered the titillation power of bringing sexuality to the screen. And it so it goes. From the closet to exhibitionism, we still don’t quite know how to handle an important difference among us.

    So ban away, Emerson College. You have come full circle from the Boston Daily Advertiser more than a century ago. Emerson College is finding the use of the word “homosexual” to be “offensive and not only offensive, but grossly and needlessly offensive”. It is to laugh. Another form of Victorian prudery “that struts and frets (its) hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

    Comment by Heliotrope — March 17, 2017 @ 11:49 am - March 17, 2017

  18. #4 @Juan under that definition there are no gay (happy) Leftists either. However all Leftists seem butt hurt after the 2016 election.

    Identity politics constantly changing and dividing…

    Comment by Sandra — March 17, 2017 @ 11:53 am - March 17, 2017

  19. @17: and yet another great point by Heliotrope, once again

    It is to laugh. Another form of Victorian prudery “that struts and frets (its) hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

    Our today’s intelligentsia of benevolent do-gooders in social justice-fairness-affordability-diversity-all inclusiveness-blah blah blah, in the New Misinformation Age of Regulated Newspeak for a Better One Big Village World have become the very thing they once prided (do they, still?) themselves to denounce, reject, hate…

    … and they’re seemingly totally incapable of keeping a milligram of introspective skills to ever notice it.

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 12:03 pm - March 17, 2017

  20. Indeed.

    It really is.

    To laugh.

    At the new useful idiots — 21st century edition.

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 12:07 pm - March 17, 2017

  21. The ‘no homo’ suffix to bro affability will no doubt soldier on, hopefully in defiance. That is, among homo sapiens, et homo factus est.

    Comment by Ignatius — March 17, 2017 @ 12:53 pm - March 17, 2017

  22. What’s worse than courts forcing people to bake cakes?

    What are you in jail for esse? I made sweet rolls and croissants

    Comment by Steve — March 17, 2017 @ 1:26 pm - March 17, 2017

  23. Juan:4.I have never met any gay lesbians. They all seem pretty cranky to me.


    Comment by Ilíon — March 17, 2017 @ 1:43 pm - March 17, 2017

  24. @22: glad you noticed, too.

    Indeed, anything is possible, with free-stuff-onomics “para el pueblo” !

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 1:51 pm - March 17, 2017

  25. Gunshots fired at gay funeral #HBD

    Comment by Steve — March 17, 2017 @ 1:53 pm - March 17, 2017

  26. political correctness is Marxist speak for totalitarian.

    Comment by salg — March 17, 2017 @ 2:07 pm - March 17, 2017

  27. Apparently, even the students at the school aren’t too crazy about Emerson.

    Comment by Pawfurbehr — March 17, 2017 @ 2:26 pm - March 17, 2017

  28. I’m homosexual. “Gay”, to me, sounds like someone is some lisping think with pink triangle stickers on his imported convertible.

    Comment by The Gentle Grizzly — March 17, 2017 @ 4:24 pm - March 17, 2017

  29. ^ twink.

    Comment by The Gentle Grizzly — March 17, 2017 @ 4:25 pm - March 17, 2017

  30. What, then, are we supposed to use to refer to those whose eros is oriented to their own biological sex? Same-sex attracted? Ah, but that’s what the Catholic Church uses as part of its program to enforce celibacy in its homosexual same-sex attracted see what I mean?

    If we can’t use “homosexual,” what are we supposed to use? “Gay” and “lesbian”? Too imprecise. “Gay” is basically a double entendre and “lesbian” gets unfortunate if you’re from Lesbos. “Men who have sex with men” is better, but it simply refers to any men who have sexual contact with other men; good in a medical context, but it doesn’t distinguish between situational and habitual contact, and it doesn’t speak to orientation.

    This sounds like people with way too much time on their hands and unimportant jobs trying to make themselves feel better about themselves. That or would-be tyrants who can’t stomach the sight of blood and have content themselves with dictating what people can and cannot say in the bounds of their academic fiefdoms.

    Comment by Sean L — March 17, 2017 @ 4:29 pm - March 17, 2017

  31. @3, you’re pretty hypersensitive to a singular word that accurately describes one’s behavior or biological sex. Heterosexual/homosexual/bisexual/GIDed, not “cis-normative/gay/straight/transgendered”.

    Comment by rjligier — March 17, 2017 @ 4:57 pm - March 17, 2017

  32. The only trouble I can see with “sodomites” is that it runs afoul of Ezekiel 16:49-50, in which the prophet enumerates the sins of Sodom without ever making a clear and direct reference to sexual offenses in general, let alone homosexual offenses in particular, let alone the very specific offense of driving up the Hershey Highway. (It just says “abominations,” but that covers a lot of stuff, and it’s listed after the other misdeeds of the people of Sodom.)

    Comment by Throbert McGee — March 17, 2017 @ 5:31 pm - March 17, 2017

  33. I prefer to be called “f@g”.. “Gay” and “lesbian” refer to gender. I thought we weren’t supposed to do that???

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — March 17, 2017 @ 5:56 pm - March 17, 2017

  34. @33: lol

    I know! That’s becoming “complicated”, isn’t it?!

    There ought to be a dedicated, specialized search engine + associated Newspeak thesaurus for us to bookmark, so that the left enables us to look up in real-time to their daily update in Social Justice-Regulated vernacular.

    I cannot help but wonder why it is taking so much time for them to get that (most needed) website up and running.

    Are they using the same contractors for the Obamacare marketplace portal, or what?

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 7:06 pm - March 17, 2017

  35. New p.c. speech: there are breeders and non-breeders. Transgendered boys are simply undocumented boys since their birth certificate says they’re a girl, illegal aliens are simply alien americans, so-called muslem bans are just americans being pro-choice and islamophbia is just righteous anti-fascism.

    Comment by antiphobe — March 17, 2017 @ 7:34 pm - March 17, 2017

  36. Bunch o’ HOMO secks u ELLs

    I don’t mind ‘HoMo’ or jus ‘Mo,

    FAG gets tossed around.

    But for the most part my fave is Gaggle of Gays
    When socializing.

    Belated Happy Anniversary to the Pi guy and his hubby
    Two years wedded bliss?

    Comment by rusty — March 17, 2017 @ 8:20 pm - March 17, 2017

  37. Speaking of dirty…

    I’m tellin’ ya, folks.

    We live in the strangest times :

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 9:20 pm - March 17, 2017

  38. (The words, “confusion”, or “being confused” comes to mind. No wonder how it is possible some English teachers are by now able to teach more of Karl Marx than they teach of English.)

    Comment by Cyril — March 17, 2017 @ 9:27 pm - March 17, 2017

  39. Not sure why homosexual is offensive but heterosexual isn’t.

    It essentially boils down to prevalence of use and contextual usage. In many instances in modern history, the usage of a descriptive term was used exclusively to single out a particular group, even if unintentional. So that police blotters for a long time would have entries like “An arrest in the case was made; John Washington, a Negro, was charged with burglary.” Quite often there would be no corresponding descriptor for other groups (ie, Caucasians). [Now we’ve gotten to the point where race is omitted entirely from crime stats in many instances, but that’s a topic for another discussion.]

    So it was the same for much of the 20th Century in relation to same-gender-oriented individuals. Newspaper stories would regularly use phrasing like “Stephen Brown, a homosexual, was charged with public indecency and solicitation for sexual favors.” Later on phrasing such as “admitted homosexual” was used. Yet there was almost never used “heterosexual” or “admitted heterosexual”. Thus the very word became less of a descriptor and more of a pejorative used to shame individuals. In more recent times, the word has been often used by antigay individuals and groups, usually for the same effect—to shame rather than describe. (This is occasionally replaced today by the use of “gay” in scare quotes, so perhaps some progress is being made.) Another comparison can be made in the usage of “right-wing” as a descriptor when “left-wing” is almost never used so that Breitbart News is almost always described as “right-wing” while Mother Jones and The Nation are almost never described as “left-wing”. Thus ‘right-wing’ becomes a pejorative via the sin of omission.

    Comment by RSG — March 18, 2017 @ 12:31 am - March 18, 2017

  40. @39: speaking of omission…

    Filed Under: Leftism is a *Dangerous* Mental Disorder

    On / by / for the left, lying and cheating is perfectly fine; as for feeling sorry, you’re supposed to do so, if and only if / when you get caught.

    Donna Brazile Admits She Did Give Debate Questions to Clinton Campaign, And Has (Only) One Regret

    Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile admitted Friday in an op-ed for Time magazine that she did give Hillary Clinton’s campaign debate questions despite her repeated denials. She is not sorry.

    Although she told ex-Fox News star Megyn Kelly on Oct. 19 that Wikileaks dealt in “doctored” emails, the former DNC head said Friday that the emails were “a mistake I will forever regret.”

    In summary:

    the only thing she was sorry about was sending the emails and getting caught.

    The lying and cheating were fine…

    Comment by Cyril — March 18, 2017 @ 12:33 am - March 18, 2017

  41. What, then, are we supposed to use to refer to those whose eros is oriented to their own biological sex?

    Personally, I use the term “same-gender oriented”. Wordy? Yes. Descriptive? Yes. It takes the ‘S-Word’ out of the equation (since one can legitimately be ho-mo-sect-u-al and never have intimate physical contact with another person) and also stresses an innate condition rather than someone who reacts based on improper–or immoral–impulses. It’s not perfect and I don’t expect it to catch on in mainstream culture, but it works for me.

    As for the umbrella, headline-worthy term, I agree with a friend who was a member of Log Cabin DC who remarked in the 90s about the time the whole LGBTQWERTYXYZ insanity was just getting started, “How about ‘gay’?” It has been indeed used within The Community since the 1920s and was often used as a catch-all long before “queer”. [Sidebar: I once knew a female barber in the Pacific Northwest who was adamant about referring to herself as a “gay woman” with the explanation “I’m not a Lesbian. I didn’t grow up on Lesbos!”] The unfortunate reality is that as long as there is a culture of victimization and an almost obsessive desire to demand continuous validation, there will be more descriptive terms instead of less and the alphabet soup crowd will continue to demand unwieldy descriptive terms to assuage their insecurity. The silver lining might be that an average Joe or Jane who has an otherwise boring attraction to someone of the same [biological] sex won’t be seen as abnormal by the average person any longer.

    Comment by RSG — March 18, 2017 @ 12:56 am - March 18, 2017

  42. Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile admitted Friday in an op-ed for Time magazine that she did give Hillary Clinton’s campaign debate questions despite her repeated denials

    I found this story just a little eye-opening when I saw it earlier today. As recently as the DNC officer election weekend she was claiming that the story that she showed favoritism towards one side in the 2016 primaries via the debate question scandal as “Fake News”. As is the case in most instances of self-revelation, the question becomes “Why now?” My theory is usually that someone is about to write an exposé on the matter and the guilty party decides to head them off at the pass by finally coming clean in order to prevent publication of even more unflattering details.

    Comment by RSG — March 18, 2017 @ 1:08 am - March 18, 2017

  43. @43:

    that’s called, with the correct spelling, “konsistency”.

    Comment by Cyril — March 18, 2017 @ 1:55 am - March 18, 2017

  44. @ RSG: That’s a fair point about “homosexual” being used as a pejorative, I hadn’t considered that.

    Honestly, whenever people ask, I just say, “I like men” or some variant there-of. Utterly unambiguous. And when pressed on whether I’m really gay, I just reiterate, “I like men.”

    Comment by Sean L — March 18, 2017 @ 8:32 am - March 18, 2017

  45. Sean L this is an interesting TED talk

    Comment by rusty — March 18, 2017 @ 10:58 am - March 18, 2017

  46. @45: lol 🙂

    You just inspired me,

    “I don’t dislike women.”

    just for the pum.

    Comment by Cyril — March 18, 2017 @ 1:54 pm - March 18, 2017

  47. *the pun

    Comment by Cyril — March 18, 2017 @ 1:55 pm - March 18, 2017

  48. I’m not homosexual; I just admire the male form. With the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — March 18, 2017 @ 6:11 pm - March 18, 2017

  49. […] Homosexual Is a Dirty Word […]

    Pingback by The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing – Br Andrew's Muses — March 20, 2017 @ 8:08 am - March 20, 2017

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