The Associated Press is discouraging the use of the word “homophobia” by its staffers and writers.

From writer Rev. Irene Monroe at

AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn shared with Politico his opinion that the word “homophobia” is “just off the mark.” He explained, “It’s ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case.” It is my opinion that keeping the word “homophobia” narrowly used and confined within a medical context is controlling. It’s also absurd for the AP to think that it could discourage the use of the word with absolutely no consultation with the LGBTQ community; this demonstrates hubris and insensitivity, and it raises questions about the political and social motives behind this decision.

Monroe goes on to delve into the history of the word and her thoughts on why it is most appropriate.

Personally, I’ve always preferred the use of “heterosexism” over “homophobia.” Persons called homophobic aren’t necessarily “afraid” of LGBT people, they simply believe, as white supremacists do about non-white people and some men do about women, that heterosexuality is superior and other sexualities are inferier. Heterosexism and, perhaps, “hetero-supremacy” (though I’ve never personally used this variant) seem more appropriate.

What do you think?

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

2 replies on “What do you think? AP discouraging use of ‘homophobia’”

  1. I think “heterosexist” and “anti-gay” are more accurate than “homophobic” most of the time.

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