Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

Scottish civil servants banned from saying ‘homosexual’

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. It’s not April 1 today, is it?

    1. Ha, now you lot get to know how we people of transsexual history feel when activists move around the language we use. According to the self-appointed and unaccountable Trans Media Watch in the UK, “sex change” is unacceptable, and “Sex Reassignment Surgery” heading the same way. Meanwhile groups promoting the term “transgender” don’t even list “woman” as an acceptable identity for someone corralled under that heading.
      ~
      It would all be as laughable as some of you find this (inaccurate) report, but the huge harm it all does – for you too – is by making people who are well-meaning, and basically sympathetic, afraid to talk about things at all. It adds fear of using the wrong language, and causing offence, to what discomfort they might already have about discussing intimate matters. We do not need that.
      ~
      Unfortunately it might be that some activists do it because they seek “difference”.

  2. I find this bizarre. Although I rarely use the phrase homosexual in verbal exchanges (I usually describe myself as gay), I regularly use the word homosexual in written form.

    I vaguely get that homosexual was a word used in negative and incorrect law in the past and incorrect medical science – but it is also a dictionary word to describe someone attracted to the same sex, which I am, ergo I am homosexual.

    If you look for “gay” in a dictionary, one of the definitions will include the word homosexual.

    I’m all for a living and evolving language and even for the claiming back of some words (although I am less of a fan of this generally). This however, is extreme rampant PC nonsense.

    Other words in the dictionary have been used negatively towards groups of people but have conventional uses and are not banned. I am amazed that Stonewall Scotland support this so readily – particularly given their hesitant response to equal marriage.

    1. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:02pm

      But even the way you have used ‘homosexual’ in your comment there is in keeping with the guidelines.
      “the Daily Telegraph states that ‘homosexual’ is an adjective, not a noun.”
      I actually really hate the word ‘gays’ just in the same way I hate the word ‘blacks’ or ‘whites’. These words are adjectives not nouns – and they all have something of the offensive about them when used a noun – its lazy writing to use them as a noun.

      1. Spanner1960 29 Jun 2011, 8:18am

        Stephen Fry pointed out that language is a fluid thing. Usage changes. Just because it doesn’t follow Eric Partridge’s “Usage and Abusage” does not mean it is necessarily wrong, or poor English. We have one of the greatest languages in the world and it is under constant change as words fall out of use and others appear, not to mention their use. Or is that being a bit gay innit? ;)

        1. I do like the fact that we have a living language and that usage does change (and then have overlapping and separate meanings or connotations for the same words).

          It can cause confusion on some occasions – but we are usually grown up enough to deal with it with good humour, apologies or rewording if necesssary.

    2. Actually Stonewall seem to have been the first to respond to the forthcoming marriage equality consultation in July (this may be a mock reply – but it’s on their website)

      http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/extension_of_marriage_stonewall_response_1.pdf

      Actually I hate being referred to as civil partners when in fact I’m actually married….I personally never refer myself as CPed, it’s discrimintory and offensive when everyone that I know including my family see me as married….when are we going to sort out that problematic phrase!

      1. If that is the final response from Stonewall to the marriage consultation that I and I am sure many others will welcome it.
        I think it will take much more action by Stonewall to recover from their initial arrogance to refuse to support equal marriage and their PR and private communication disasters since.
        Their support (at last) is welcome. Hopefully this consultation will result in equal marriage.

    3. “I’m all for a living and evolving language and even for the claiming back of some words”
      I seriously hope words your claiming are ones which help peoples elocution and literary skills, on the flip side of this I hope it’s not talking of reclaiming words previously used pejoratively against the LGBT community. Words which previous generations and the Stonewall (USA) highlighted as derogatory and demeaning.
      I see a divide happening between different generations who on one hand were happy to see insulting words used to abuse gay people disappear or become almost obsolete, As words slowly faded from use some people from an older generation felt more self esteem. Reclaiming those words or taking ownership as many younger gay people say they are doing is offensive to many older LGBT people. By reclaiming many words the younger generation are undoing the history of making these words disappear, on one hand they see it as OK! to use the words but not if used against them.

      1. I think some of what you describe, Steve can be the drawbacks of a living language – but equally they can be positives because they (for some) remove the negativity that may be associated with some words.

        I am all for (and I know I am far from perfect) improvement in vocabulary and grammar. Equally, there is an element of the grammar side which is also part of an evolution of language.

        Whilst I would always urge people to choose their words with care and consider their audience (perhaps the old phrase think before you speak) – sometimes if a word is perceived in a particular way by one person, but the audience perceive it in an entirely opposing manner there is simply a breakdown in communication. I don’t find the word homosexual offensive, uncomfortable for some reason and quite business like in a sense – but not offensive. If I used the word in a setting which was formal but the person I was speaking to associated it with negative connotations can I as the user of that word …

        1. … be blamed for not having a crystal ball with which to understand that the other person perceives that word differently?

    4. Jock S. Trap 30 Jun 2011, 8:35am

      Yes Stu.
      The word Homosexual tends only to be used by Heterosexuals and usually to show their disapproval.
      -
      I agree that it is another word given to us not adopted by us and too often when used is to slate or used to show something dirty.
      -
      I feel those that use it, do so to put us on the second class stand to make themselves more superior.
      -
      Meanwhile, as far as I’m concerned, those that frequently use this word just show how pathetically uneducated they are.

  3. Graeme Robertson 28 Jun 2011, 1:46pm

    Your headline is factually wrong – not all Scottish civil servants work for the Scottish Government – and some civil servants who do are not Scottish. Plus as a homosexual Scottish Civil servant I guess I have just defied the ban – what will they do to me and should I appeal to the Supreme Court?

  4. To be honest I really dislike this word, but to ban people from saying it? Ridic.

    1. I agree. I think it’s dehumnising and this article is right in that it is used by our opponents more than us.

    2. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:04pm

      While the article does say its been ‘banned’ there is a toe from the first paragraph which seems to be saying that they have in fact issued guidelines about it to point out they would prefer people not to use it.
      ‘Banned’ may be a bit strong – but perhaps I’m wrong?

      1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 2:44am

        that should say ‘tone’
        (it would be good if we could edit our own comments)

    3. Has anyone told The Campaign for Homosexual Equality?

    4. Jock S. Trap 30 Jun 2011, 8:36am

      I don’t think you can ban it but you can make it as unacceptable as others in the past against others in society.

  5. Personally I detest the word. It reminds me of medical oppression and subjugation.
    However I will use it, written or spoken, when I refer to someone who is in the closet or anyone who is not happy with there sexuality.
    I’m of the (possibly) old school where the word gay (when referring to a person’s sexuality) is reserved for people who are out and comfortable with themselves.

    1. I feel completely differently. While I am homosexually oriented, I detest being called gay and in all honesty I find it very offensive. I feel that “gay” is more of an identity than an orientation. Many self-described gays lead unidimensional lives, going out only in the gay village, visiting gay bars, reading mostly the gay press. I want nothing to do with it. I hate being called but don’t mind that people refer to me as a homosexual. In fact I wish we could turn back time to the era when we didn’t even need a word for what gender someone sleeps with. It’s stupid and unnecessary.

      1. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:06pm

        When you say ‘turn back time to the era when we didn’t need a word for what gender someone sleeps with’ – which era are you talking about? lol
        Certainly not any time in the last 1000 years or so in the UK and Europe at least!

      2. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:08pm

        PS did I say how much I hate the word ‘gays’?
        (Its an adjective – not a noun – therefore it should be ‘gay people’ or ‘gay men’ or ‘gay women’ etc etc…)
        PPS the only exception to this is the ironic comedy use a la Little Britain: “the gays” lol – which is funny

        1. @Staircase

          I guess that the guidance says “it is not acceptable” to use the word means that people will regard it as unacceptable and risk of disciplinary if they do use it.

          I think, quite frankly, thats ridiculous.

        2. The concept of a “homosexual” has only been around for about 150 years. It is difficult for us to understand in the current era, but it is a well documented fact.

          This certainly doesn’t mean that homosexual behaviour didn’t exist. It just means that it wasn’t embodied as an identity, i.e. “gay.” Exclusive homosexuals were less common, however homosexual acts were probably just as common as they are today.

          What I find fascinating is that back in that day and age, committing a homosexual act, while considered a bad thing, did not confine you to being forever labelled as a homosexual. There simply wasn’t the word for it. Homosexual behaviour in exclusively male spaces (which the feminist movement has now rid the world of, quite rightly as they are sexist) was not uncommon at all, and didn’t not make you “gay.”

          1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 2:53am

            Thats called ‘in the closet’…..
            The movement to define a word (ie gay) to describe ‘who/how we are’ is a political attempt to deal with the prejudice which gay people have historically suffered.
            I’m not a gay historian but I don’t for a minute buy the notion that gay people magically conjured themselves up 150 years ago after someone cleverly devised a word for it.
            History is littered with horrific examples of homophobia – to be honest the only one that springs to mind right now is King Edward II’s treatment.
            To pretend these didnt start happening until gay men started calling themselves ‘gay’ is a nonsense.
            This is the same argument used in various (deeply closeted) cultures around the world to claim that gay men & women don’t exist naturally in their culture and are a product of Western debauchery.

          2. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 2:55am

            The problem with invisibility for reasons of self-protection is that mainstream society will always publicly use that very invisibility as further proof that we don’t exist – while simultaneously oppressing us at every turn.
            Visibility is the key to equality. Without visibility how can anyone ‘ask for equality’ – because to all intents and purposes we don’t exist….

  6. So has the word “heterosexual” been dropped too? This is ridiculous – the terms are just scientific ones used to denote differing orientations. Any associated discrimination previously enshrined in law or society is down to attitiudes and opinions which should (and in some cases, have been changed). In this time of economic crisis where our taxes really used to pay for a debate and then a ruling over this “issue”?

  7. Mumbo Jumbo 28 Jun 2011, 2:21pm

    You would not call a black person a “negro”. And, as I have just done, you would refer to black people and not “blacks”. Applying the same reasons, you would not call a gay person “homosexual” and you would refer to gay people and not “gays”.

    1. I totally agree with your comments regarding descriptors for black people. I do not see the correlation to homosexual. As others have said above, its not my favourite word in terms of LGBT descriptors – but nonetheless it is a term (long established) that predates the idiocy of homosexuality being a medical issue or criminalisation of homosexuality. It is used purely as a descriptive term of people attracted to the same sex and any sense of it being a pejorative word is down to the attitude or opinion of the person who has a problem with that word and not necessarily the author.
      When I write clinical notes, if sexuality is relevant to the patient and if the patient discloses their sexuality to me – I record it as they say, gay, homosexual, lesbian or whatever. Saying homosexual is offensive is like suggesting disabled, blind or elderly is offensive – they clearly are not.

    2. I don’t think it’s a good analogy – ‘homosexual’ is still a technical term and, while it may seem a little clinical, it’s not exactly a term of abuse. (Yes, you could argue that ‘negro’ just means ‘black’, but language seldom develops consistently!)

      1. I agree, there is an issue of the term “homosexual” still being used as a clinical term in psychiatry and psychology, so any attempts to use it whiting or unwitting, ultimately only serves to dehumanise people.
        .
        In contrast straights are infrequently referred to by their clinical term “heterosexuals”.
        .
        One might argue that there are some interesting psychodynamics being played out here, whenever dehumanisation is the power dynamic attempting to be enacted. Moreover, are we not looking at annihilation fantasies in the unconscious mind of the person who use’s such a term?

        1. @JohnK

          As much as the psychology is very interesting and the clearly is a psychodynamic in terms of vocabulary and dehumanisation; if someone wanted to dehumanise there are much more dehumanising words that could be used than homosexual.

          Homosexual is a word used in psychology and psychiatry that is true – but not to denote a psychological or psychiatric illness (thats long gone). Homosexual is also a word used in law, social work, the media, business, and many other arenas of life without there being an intention of being offensive.

          I wonder if we are banning words because some people may potentially be offended – should legitimate words to describe something be withdrawn from the dictionary?

          If we can’t use homosexual, then what descriptor do we use for people who find the word gay uncomfortable?

          1. “Homosexual is a word used in psychology and psychiatry that is true – but not to denote a psychological or psychiatric illness (thats long gone)”
            .
            Are you sure about that?

          2. Well, as far as the WHO, Dept of Health, Royal College of Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and many more (including surprisingly prominently on a search engine I checked the Qatar Health Board) accept that homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor disorder.

            Yes, there are investigations on a psychological basis into some areas of sexual orientation. Equally, there are psychological investigations into aging, disability, violence, control, crime, drug abuse, religion, and many other areas.

            Whilst there may be some clinicians who individually believe that homosexuality is an illness – that is not the accepted view and could (and has) lead to a clinician being struck off.

          3. One stark piece of evidence that homosexuality is still being discussed in psychology and psychiatry as a psychological or psychiatric illness in the UK, can be seen in an important new book published for the first time this year called “The New Dictionary of Kleinian Thought”. In this book homosexuality is referred to as a sexual perversion, and that only heterosexuality should be seen as normal development. The book was written by senior clinicians at the Tavisock clinic. The Tavistock Clinic is a major provider of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and training in the NHS in the UK. The Tavistock Clinic’s adult department is run predominately on Kleinian lines. The Tavistock Clinic is known world wide as a centre of Kleinian excellence.
            .
            http://www.karnacbooks.com/Product.asp?PID=30496
            .
            Moreover, although homosexuality is not listed as a disorder in DSM-IV, revised V, or ICD-10, many clinicians in the UK still see homosexuality as a disorder which can be treated. Research by Professor Michael King based at UCL highlights this, and also shows how it is still possible to get reparative therapy on the NHS. Although referring GP’s are now some what covert about openly psychopathologising LGBT people, euphemisms are now rife, and terms such as “Anxiety and depression” are routinely being used instead of the person’s sexuality as a reason for a referral to a psychotherapy unit.

          4. The British Psychological Society, the major regualtory body for psychologists in the UK, has yet to make a statement about homosexuality. Unlike the APA, to date the BPS has not made its views public.
            .
            When the RCP decided recenlty to vote on the issue of homosexulaity, a third of its voters wanted to retain the view that homosexualtiy is a psychpathology or that is can be cured.
            .
            Although, one could say that it is good news that two thirds of senior psychiatrists in the UK, do not want to view homosexuality as a psychopathology, or endorse reparative therapies to treat it.

          5. @JohnK

            Clearly there is still a further road to go down to ensure things effectively improve in the UK. I do see it as good news regarding APA, WHO, DH, RCPsych and others. There may be a larger number of intolerant physicians and psychologists and psychiatrists than I presumed but we are in a better place than we were back in the 1960s and 1970s when homosexuality was readily seen as a mental illness by many. This is neither a regular societal view nor the view of the predominant number of clinicians.

            As a health professional but neither a doctor or other mental health specialist – I do sometimes think some doctors can be a law unto themselves … but thats a general observation.

          6. “I do sometimes think some doctors can be a law unto themselves … but thats a general observation.”
            .
            I agree, and thank goodness we do not live in the 1950s, 60s or 1970s any more.
            .
            Interestingly, aversion therapy for homosexualtiy (Electric shocks and anti-emetics) were still being practiced in the earlier 1970s.
            .
            Evidence for these treatments are still documented in the “Journal of behaviour therapy and research” from the 1960s/70s

          7. “androphilic” and “gynephilic” are being promoted. How do they sit with you?

          8. @oatc

            They are even more cold and clinical than homosexual in my personal opinion

          9. Gentlemen, as you congratulate yourselves, rightly, that you are no longer listed as mentally ill, could I interest you in assisting in the removal of people like me from the same listings, please?
            .
            Proposed DSM revisions are open for comments ( http://tinyurl.com/6hptenf ), and would list, for another decade, what they would re-title as Gender Dysphoria, with only slightly changed criteria.
            .
            We ned all GD, including of Childhood, removing clearly and publicly, for exactly the reasons you are no longer listed.
            .
            The criteria for children in any case bear no relation to what distinguishes transsexual children, and mainly stigmatises hundreds of lesbian and gay children. In places they are subjected to harmful reparative therapy to “prevent transsexuality”.
            .
            Transsexuality does not need listing to access treatment, which produces people mentally healthier, on average, than the general population.
            .
            Your interest would be much appreciated.

          10. Stupid, broken, comments interface. How embarrassing.

            Still, I found a way to make an entire comment red, in future.

            That was http://tinyurl.com/6hptenf

          11. @Oatc

            I would endorse your comments, and hope there is movement soon.

            I sadly suspect it will take a much longer time for that change to become a reality for the whole range of gender issues to be seen appropriately and fairly responded to by society including health care professionals. I think there is increasing acceptance of gender issues (purely from personal observation of comments in conversations) but given that there are still some clinicians who perceive homosexuality as “a condition” and the societal acceptance of gender issues is not as evolved as gay issues – I fear there is a way to go.

          12. “androphilic” and “gynephilic”
            .
            Sound very clinical
            .
            Oatc, I know that the goverment have given theTavistock Clinic a major role in trying to treat Transexualism. I was wondering if you know of any “hard” evidence to suggest as you point out, that they might be treating homosexulaity in children based on an assumption that they are preventing a child from changing gender in the future.
            .
            Since issues of gender are often ignored, perhaps the issue of reparative therapy in children (If it is routinely going on at the Tavistock clinic), might be a way into awareness raising of the neglect and suffering that trans-people are facing as children.

          13. To answer. The hard proof – in their own outcome audit – is that children go on to be gay or lesbian, having never expressed the one clear indication found in other clinics: a consistent desire to have the body of the other sex. That should be in the diagnostic criteria, but it isn’t.
            .
            The Tavistock doesn’t do proper reparative therapy; mostly just stigmatises and messes whole families around for years, for which the blame is placed on the diagnosed child to focus disapproval. With TS kids they try to make them give up through frightening mis-facts and hoping delay produces pubertal changes that make them feel transition is impossible.
            .
            The key place for reparative therapy, up to age 11, is Toronto (a WHO centre of excellence), under the man the APA have chairing the DSM sub-committee on gender, Ken Zucker, editor of the powerful ‘Archives of Sexual Behavior’. Seeking such a cure is his life’s work. Which explains why we cannot get out of the DSM. See http://tinyurl.com/46mjxxd

          14. JohnK: “Interestingly, aversion therapy for homosexualtiy (Electric shocks and anti-emetics) were still being practiced in the earlier 1970s.”

            And were still being used on trans people much later – into the 1990s in some places.

            It is documented in Phyllis Burke’s ‘Gender Shock’, which also tells how the infamous George Rekers spent the first decades of his career developing reparative therapy “curing” “pre-transsexuality”, on over $2 million of US government money at 1970s rates. In reality he was torturing gay children (its where the wrong diagnostic criteria started), some of whom later committed suicide, as recently documented by CNN – see more by me on that, and the video and other links on the page at http://tinyurl.com/6dyljqb

            A friend caught it at 17 in 1963. She recently blogged her experience (with evident difficulty) at http://tinyurl.com/5skqmj9 and http://tinyurl.com/62mxjsk

          15. TrollFromDamascus 30 Jun 2011, 3:44am

            @Stu…”as a health professional”. Nurse Stu eh…

          16. @TrollFromDamascus
            .
            Nurses are highly skilled, multi-skilled Health professionals
            .
            I am not sure what you are getting at with the comment
            .
            “…as a health professional”. Nurse Stu eh…”

          17. @Troll

            Nope. Guess again.

            Not a nurse – although I trained with some nurse practitioners.

        2. JohnK: “’The New Dictionary of Kleinian Thought’… written by senior clinicians at the Tavisock clinic… a major provider of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and training in the NHS in the UK.”
          .
          They train most of the child and family therapists in the UK.
          .
          “The Tavistock Clinic’s adult department is run predominately on Kleinian lines.”
          .
          The children’s clinic too, since Melanie Klein’s speciality was children.
          .
          The Tavistock holds the exclusive national NHS commission for all treatment of children with “Gender Identity Disorder”, which diagnosis is so badly formulated that most of the children “diagnosed” are gay and lesbian.
          .
          Reading that Dictionary’s authors’ brief biographies, its more accurate to locate them now at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. Searching “homosexual” there produced this gem. Why is the NHS training people in this insanity? :- http://www.psychoanalysis.org.uk/aubry.htm

    3. Jock S. Trap 30 Jun 2011, 8:42am

      I agree and this has more to do with changing times and attitudes.
      -
      How are those complaining, the likes of John Midgely really any different from the 90 year old using the arguement they can’t keep up with the times.
      -
      The only difference is the 90 year old will not mean it to be offensive and usually apologises and is willing to learn.
      -
      We clearly have some in society who just want to stay the same, never changing and unwilling to accept all that changes around them.
      =
      Now, how sad is that?

  8. Well, I’m definitely a homosexual (adj.) man who is still “practicing” and hope to be until the day I die. But I’m also gay. :)

    1. I’m not a practicing homosexual. I’m a past master in the subject.

    2. I hope the Welsh councils won’t have to re-do all the Welsh translations and find another Wlesh word for homosexual if this nonsense gets to Wales…don’t the Scots have their onw national language …scrap the Engish vers homosexual and use the Scottosh equivalent ……

  9. I have no objection to the use of the word as such, but it is true that describing someone as a homosexual carries a lot of cultural baggage from the bad old days of criminality and pathologising gayness.
    It’s a useful term to guage whether the straight person you’re speaking to is homophobic or not, as they tend to opt for the cold clinical term rather than the friendlier “gay” which they will often point out we appropriated from way back when it meant “happy and carefree” (something it hasn’t been common vernacular for since Enid Blyton stopped writing Noddy books).
    I wouldn’t ban it, but it’s indicative of low level homophobia.

    1. @Flapjack

      Yeah, sometimes it can be used by some who may exercise low level homophobia. In some people, particularly those who have little contact with LGBT people (and there are still some) it can be clumsily used in a manner that is intended to be inoffensive, belying a sense of insecurity of what language to use so opting for a more clinical and “safe” term. The intention not offend can then cause offence. I have no objection to the word either – but its not my favoured term.

  10. Andrew Wells 28 Jun 2011, 2:38pm

    Personally I find the word “straight” more offensive than “heterosexual”, because it implies normality and correctness (going along the “straight path” etc). I wish people would just use “heterosexual”, or if it’s too long, just “hetero”.

    1. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:12pm

      ….lol Personally I find the word ‘normal’ far more offensive than ALL the rest! lol
      A singer I used to work with used to call regular 9-5ing non-creatives ‘Normaloids’ (which is quite apt in a Gary Numanesque kind of a way…. :o)

  11. martyn notman 28 Jun 2011, 2:41pm

    maybe its because in a scottish accent the word sounds more threatening-” ar ju a humoosechual?!” – as ifs its about to be followed by a glasgow kiss! Never had a problem with the word, just with the type of people who tend to use it- right wing god squad/”christians”/daily mail etc..

    1. ” ar ju a humoosechual?!”

      what on earth? I can’t even pronounce that in a Scottish accent!!

  12. I don’t have a proble with being referred to as an homosexual, I know some people think they are being clever saying it but I don’t feel amn-ny shame implied, don’t mind homosexualist nor gay, call me bastard if you want, I don’t care.
    Actually I don’t care to be called faggot or queer or nancy-boy but homosexual is okay, depends on the tone used but you can use almost any word in a perjorastive way if that’s your ntention.

    1. @Pavlos

      I have to say Nancy boy is probably the one I dislike the most.

      How did this ever get to be official conduct from the Scottish Government – surely, someone had the guts to say this was PC madness before it went out?

    2. martyn notman 28 Jun 2011, 2:59pm

      well with the word gay being flung around as an insult by kids everywhere all words have their downsides. I tend to pick the one i feel most like- if im in a foul mood or talking to a bigot i may well used something extreme just to wind them up. I agree that i dont really care what people call me but i can take care of myself and have a pretty thick skin- not everyone can say the same.

  13. What a load of BS, if you “homosexual” then your Gay if your offended then your a shallow sort of Gay/Homosexual.

  14. HAHA. This is quite ridiculous now? thats like saying you cant call a giraffe ‘Giraffa camelopardalis’ because it make take offence? Homosexual isn’t offensive, its just the truth. what to they propose is said instead? fruit pickers?

    1. Not quite the same thing really now is it? Although there is some debate about the usage of the term ‘homosexual’. Yes it has been applied to repressive laws and medical illness (and to some extent still is….Scots Law still refers to ‘homosexual act’) however it was first used in Germany by a pro-gay author following the introduction of repressive laws in the 19th Century. So it seems a mixed bag of views really.

  15. I don’t like any word that is used to describe us, but homosexual is better than queen. They’ve all been thought up by people who hate us, to make us feel inferior, and put us into boxes that have been defined by people who want to oppress us. I don’t like homosexual as its a medical term, i don’t like gay cause I’m not always h h h happy and I don’t live in a judy garland movie. I don’t like queer cause I’m no stranger, odd, or of questionable character than any straight people I know. I don’t like queen because I’m not a woman. I don’t like faggot cause I’m not a piece of wood to burn. I’ve said it before, homosexual gay queer fagg0t queens need to come up with our own word to describe ourselves. We’re bent, they’re straight. I think SUPERIOR is a good word to describe us. A blanket term for anyone who is not heteronormative.

    1. scallyskin 28 Jun 2011, 3:23pm

      hey eddy two what about Uber? cos our love making is above the purpose of reproduction?

      1. that’s german for superior isn’t it?

        1. scallyskin 28 Jun 2011, 4:25pm

          sort of, I think it’s hard to translate. But Nietszche’s Ubermensch is translated as ‘superman’.

          1. Well I’m not into red and blue lycra, but I am a hero.

          2. It is hard to translate but my recollection of German (might be hazy) but I thought it was either superior as you have said, supreme or outstanding. Either way than might well be a more positive label than many that are used.

        2. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:13pm

          no – ‘above’ or ‘over’

    2. But ‘gay’ has had alternative slangy meanings for nearly a century.
      .
      That’s like objecting to being called Bohemian because your origins don’t lie in the present-day Czech Republic!

      1. No, bohemian isn’t used as an insult. Gay is used as an insult now, and always has been in my lifetime. No one would say, that’s so bohemian, and mean its bad. But people say, that’s so gay, and it means bad.

        1. I think I get where you’re coming from, Eddy

          Interestingly, I have never heard anyone use the term lesbian in a similar way to which some people use the word gay negatively. “Thats, so lesbian …” – just not heard it.

          I have heard Bohemian used negatively on television when referring to Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – but I guess thats the exception that makes the rule.

          When you look at the use of more clinical terms such as homosexual (which many of us do not feel enamoured by) then its clear that some of our discomfort is due to our perception of those words.

          1. Thats because straight men can still get there kicks out of the idea of lesbians so its not seen as bad

        2. No, but eddy two I was referring to your comment “i don’t like gay cause I’m not always h h h happy and I don’t live in a judy garland movie”. (You didn’t mention the newest meaning, though it is of course a fair point.)

          1. Also, I was thinking about what you said. And people don’t get beaten up because they are bohemian, and there are no laws against bohemians. But gay homosexual queens have been treated like shlte for a long time. And those words I listed get used to continue treating us like shlte and making us feel bad about who we are.

          2. @Eddy two

            Its a really difficult one, because clearly you are not the only one who dislikes the word gay – yet (in my experience) most gay/homosexual men are comfortable with that particular descriptor.

            Homosexual is often not intended as anything other than an adjective – yet many have expressed a feeling of discomfort with the word.

            People have tried to reclaim (something I find odd) the word queer, and whilst I dont find it alarming its not something I like – and I know others don’t.

            You, me and others aren’t particularly keen on the word queen.

            Yet there are many that are comfortable with all of these words and others including poof, faggot, shirt lifter etc.

            Its partly a case of someone communicating something in a way that may or may not be intended as offensive but being received as such – so a potential for a breakdown in communication. Also its partly we need a better word.

          3. @ eddy two: “And people don’t get beaten up because they are bohemian” – I can’t be entirely sure of that, I think in the past “artistic” types may well have been beaten up; but the point is that they were beaten up for being different, not for the term that was used to describe them. I can well imagine that men were being beaten up for being ‘gay’ or a ‘queen’ long before those terms had been coined. (And now I think I’ve lost sight of what the original point was … !)

        3. “Gay is used as an insult now, and always has been in my lifetime.”
          .
          Interestingly and disturbingly, Gay has begun to be used routinely in the playground by school children to represent anything that is lame, weak and ineffectual

          1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:05am

            But thats exactly what ‘naff’ came to mean….and originally meant ‘str8′
            its the same thing in reverse.
            If anything ‘gay’ in the way that children have been using it in the playground effectively means ‘naff’ (which originally meant ‘str8′!)

        4. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:16pm

          Actually they do use that in that sense – it depends on where they’re coming from themselves. My dad used to regularly use the word ‘way-out’ to deride anyone he thought was a bit hippy or left-field (which of course is only an insult to him because of where HE is coming from Bless him!)

          1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:03am

            That was @Eddytwo
            re his bohemian comment…

  16. Don Harrison 28 Jun 2011, 3:26pm

    That is Political Correctness gone mad in Scotland. What is the PC term now?
    I am gay and a homosexual. What the f??K do I call myself if I am north of the border?

    1. Staircase2 28 Jun 2011, 6:16pm

      Doris

  17. Paddyswurds 28 Jun 2011, 3:50pm

    Like they don’t have enough to worry about in Scotland, the land that time forgot. What an utter load of ….well ……haggis!

    1. Say’s mister Irish

      1. Paddyswurds 28 Jun 2011, 6:54pm

        @….
        ….Och aye th noo jock……

        1. as renton said in trainspotting ‘it’s sh@te being scottish”

  18. Victoria Manning 28 Jun 2011, 4:09pm

    Is is possible for someone to “disagree with homosexuality” (see article)? It’s like ‘disagreeing with’ someone’s ethnicity or gender. Perhaps some guidance on this phrase and the term “lifestyle” might be more appropriate.

  19. I feel uncomfortable using the word homosexual just sounds a bit odd but I wouldn’t ban people from using it I just prefer gay.

  20. So the Scottish government now decide for us what we find offensive?!
    I have never found the word homosexual offensive.
    A quick poll of a few gay friends and not one thinks it is offensive, just more official sounding. Maybe the Scotts are a more sensitive breed of homo. Unlike me and my friends, we are all happy homos.

  21. ‘Homosexual’ has negative connotations – that why pollsters use ‘gay’ instead. Why would we want the government to use a word which has negative connotations?
    .
    The parallel with ‘negro’ is a good one. As the article mentions, ‘homosexual’ was popularised as a clinical diagnosis, and is best used only in scientific contexts. Almost everything that politicians and journalists had to say about ‘homosexuals’ was pernicious nonsense, based on the theory that homosexuality is a disease. Just look at this Life article from 1964: http://bit.ly/kCGF53
    .
    It was people calling themselves ‘gay’ who refused to accept a medical diagnosis and explained that we were as good and healthy as anyone else.
    .
    Also, most people think ‘sex’ when they hear ‘homosexual’ (wrongly – the word is referring to gender/sex). The sexual element is just one aspect of same-sex attraction and romance, often not helpful for understanding our lives, whereas ‘gay’ is a much broader concept.

    1. @Atalanta

      Well if we can reclaim the word queer, then I certainly think we can reclaim the word homosexual (if it needs reclaiming!)

      1. Assuming that reclamation can faciliate lingusitic renovation of the term.
        .
        I agree, Queer is certianly an interesting point in question.
        .

  22. For pity’s sake,when are people going to be allowed to make up their minds about how to be addressed?! I’m not known as Mr Dixon the homosexual/gay/queer/shirt-lifter,whatever! I don’t care what I’m called so long as it’s not in an offensive manner! Can we all just get a grip,please?!

    1. I wish there was a like button on here sometimes, Paul!

    2. Paddyswurds 28 Jun 2011, 6:59pm

      @Paul…
      … the most sensible and least pretentious comment so far!!

  23. Richard P/ 28 Jun 2011, 7:00pm

    I agree. The great gay writer Marguerite Yourcenar once asked an interviewer not to use the word ‘homosexual’ because she said it was ‘dangerous’ – and it is, in that it is a scientific term that catgeories sexuality in a very back and white way. A cold and demeaning term – like describing Romeo and Juliet as two ‘heterosexuals’ …

    1. Or like describing Rose and Fred West as two heterosexuals.

  24. Bill (Scotland) 28 Jun 2011, 7:02pm

    I’ve always thought of the ‘Scottish Government’ (more accurately known as the ‘Scottish Executive’) as a complete waste of space.

    This impertinent decision merely confirm that this is an accurate assessment of these idiots.

    As a Scot resident in Scotland, also ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’, I find it embarrassing we are lumbered with such nonentities in charge of our civic affairs. Have they got nothing better to occupy their time.

  25. Tim Hopkins 28 Jun 2011, 7:08pm

    This story is incorrect.

    Scottish civil servants have not in fact been banned from using the term “homosexual” (although I don’t think they should use it).
    .
    The quote in the article is from Govt guidance that is specifically about the recommended question for surveys that collect equality information about sexual orientation.

    The intention is that if everyone doing relevant surveys uses the same question, we will get usefully comparable statistics. It is also true, as we (the Equality Network) and Stonewall Scotland told the Scottish Govt, that a significant number of lesbian and gay people find “homosexual ” offensive, and many people wrongly think it applies only to men. For all those reasons it is an inapproprate term to use in a survey question.

    1. That’s a very useful clarification. Can you tell me though what the same guidance says about the use of “gay” for all LGBT people, or for both lesbians and gay men, as used in this site, and quite widely? It would seem to bring many of the same problems.
      ~
      How, when seeking data, does it recommend wording questions on bisexuality, especially when someone is in a committed relationship, or married, so only expressing one side of their bisexuality, and may be committed to do so for life? Or people who identify as straight, or gay, or lesbian, but seek sex with partners in a way that might indicate bisexuality?
      ~
      And does the guidance also cover confusion and inaccuracy of data likely to result from the misuse of “transgender” for such quite different people as post-transsexual men and women, intersex people with no gender discomfort, and even short-haired women and long-haired men?

  26. Tom Stoppard 28 Jun 2011, 7:09pm

    Personally, I prefer “gay”, and I agree that “homosexual” has negative connotations. This survey shows it in action http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?
    p=2114

    With that said, people HATE being told what words they can and can’t say, and these sorts of things can result in a contrarian backlash. It’s one of those areas where well-meaning liberals can come across as “PC” bullies. The comments on this thread show this – when it comes to language, we’re all “users” and we all have lots of opinions.

    So I think it’s best to just let “homosexual” die a natural death (it is dying out), rather than try to hurry it along.

  27. de Villiers 28 Jun 2011, 7:27pm

    Is there no English equivalent to the Académie française to decide such things?

    1. Now that would be interesting!!!

      1. It certainly would be interesting … and there would be lots of debate – including whether the language was living or staying traditional to its roots or somewhere midway … who would be on the panel – eminence, experience or youth … etc etc

    2. Oh come now, de Villiers, you must know very well there’s no such thing here – and a good thing too, can you imagine how it’d have coped (or rather, not) with the internet? You just have amateurs (in every sense) like me, who start hyperventilating at misplaced apostrophes, and that’s more than enough.

  28. WTF?!?!

  29. Mumbo Jumbo hit the nail on the head with the very apt comparison with the word Negro which is scientifically correct but offensive – as is the word queer to many – I find it the latter a hideous word particularly as it means ill in middle class english speech. Homosexual is usually said by bigots prounced with a sneer.

    I wrote to the Telegraph on this issue just last week as they love the term ho-mo[sexual, though even they are using it less and gay more so, times really are a-changing!

  30. I am homosexually-inclined godammit!! I never describe myself as gay because I do not subscribe to the “gay” lifestyle. The word “gay” was borrowed/stolen by the political homosexuals several decades ago to push for rights for homosexuals, and many homosexually-inclined people have since bought into it and claimed it as their own, as defined by the many various aspects of gay culture that exist today. “Gay” is an identity of the loud “I’m here, I’m queer” variety that I, and I suspect many other homosexual/homosexually-oriented people do not buy into or even find downright offensive. I sleep with men but I do not define who I am by a word I do not identify with, sorry. Good to see many similarly outraged homosexuals postings their responses here also.

    1. ““Gay” is an identity of the loud “I’m here, I’m queer” variety that I, and I suspect many other homosexual/homosexually-oriented people do not buy into or even find downright offensive.”

      I disagree, as will many gay men. There is much more to being gay/homosexual than who you sleep with, at least for most people. Calling one-self gay is not “buying into the stereotype”, no more than calling yourself straight means you share everything in common with every other straight person. Gay people fall in love with people of the same sex, perhaps you chose not to, but the reality is that is the core nature of homosexuality, not just who we sleep with. Its that “I’m not gay, I only sleep with men” attitude that lends itself to “married” men who cruise parks at 2am and fooling themselves to thinking they are straight.

      1. @Will

        I agree with you. I’m far from screaming and am on the gay scene fairly infrequently, I describe myself as a man who happens to be gay as opposed to a gay man. My sexual life (although important to me) is not the singular identifying facet of my personality or being. I don’t buy into the stereotype – I prefer to be me.

        1. I agree with Stu, I do not buy stereotypes either.
          .
          I am human being first
          .
          I am a man second
          .
          My sexual orientation is some where in a list of who I am, but I am much more than my sexuality.

      2. Will, many men who cruise parks at 2am are not “gay” but partially or predominantly homosexually inclined. That means that the aspect of their sexually that is not homosexually inclined is heterosexually-inclined. Sexuality is a fluid thing, neither black nor white, which is why “gay” is such a narrow and limited confine for most people to choose to be labelled as such. Just because a man sleeps with men does not mean he is necessarily gay, no matter how much the gay lobby demands he declare himself as such. I have sex with men who desire physical intercourse with men occsionally but who are exclusively emotionally drawn to women, who they also enjoy sex with. The “gay” lobby needs to accept that by labeling itself as such it has created a fortress inhabited by a particular type of person who chooses not to live a conventional lifestyle and tends to stand out from the crowd. Nothing wrong with that, but just stop trying to recruit all and sundry who choose not to label themselves “gay”

        1. @Samuel B

          Maybe I perceived you wrongly, I thought you were saying you were homosexual because you did not like the label gay as you saw that as representing someone who is camp, on the scene regularly and a stereotype of homosexulaity.
          I was trying to say that I choose gay as a label but not a principle label because its more comfortable to me – despite not subscribing to the stereotype and feeling that my identity is not dominated by my sexual activity

        2. “Will, many men who cruise parks at 2am are not “gay” but partially or predominantly homosexually inclined. ”

          This is nonsense. Sorry, but it is. Its actually delusion on their part – a refusal to accept their sexuality, whether gay or bi-sexual.

          “but just stop trying to recruit all and sundry who choose not to label themselves “gay””

          You clearly have issues if you are using “recruitment” terminology. My guess is you have not accepted who you are, and dislike being associated with “gay men”, and you like to convince yourself that you only sleep with me, because its “something you do”. Well, sorry to bust your bubble, but not all of us are as weak minded or in a state of denial. That’s your prerogative, of course, but do not dismiss the majority of the rest of us who have come to terms with pour sexuality. I’m quite happy with he “label” gay – Occam’s Razor, as its what I am.

          1. But Will, the point I am trying to make is that human sexuality cannot be conveniently labelled into gay, straight or bi. For perhaps 90 per cent-plus of the human population it is a fluid thing, and the more that people escape the guilt of religious indoctrination and the diminishing social shame of same-sex relations, the more people are referring to themselves merely as sexual beings who accept that given a particular situation at a particular time they are open to all possibilities. I would wager that most of us on these forums are 95+ per cent homosexually inclined and so from personal experience it is impossible to conjecture sex as fluid. Witness the amount of Eastern European “gay” porn featuring sexual males, many of whom clearly enjoy the sex but go home to their girlfriends after the shoot. They don’t look gay or fit the gay stereotype and you would never see them at a gay pride march, yet they’re clearly enjoying themselves even if they are just thinking of the pay cheque.

          2. The fact that most people have latent homosexual tendencies to whatever degree is proven by what occurs quite openly in all-male environments when the latency comes to the service and becomes the normal expression of sexual behaviour out of necessity. Out in the general population it is not necessary for most men with latent homosexual tendencies to seek out other men for sex due to the plentiful supply of women. The fact is that homosexuality is rife within all make institutions, from boarding schools, prisons and military bases. Are you seriously telling me that all those guys are secretly gay, because if you are then you are seriously deluded.

          3. @SamuelB

            I am a simple soul and dont quite get how there are more options than being:

            Male and attracted to Women
            Male and attracted to Men
            Male and attracted to Men and Women
            Female and attracted to Men
            Female and attracted to Women
            Female and attracted to Men and Women

            … unless you are transgender perhaps … or asexual

            I don’t think you are referring to trans issues or not being sexual.

            So surely you are either attracted to one sex, the other or both? There are no other options – if I am wrong please educate me …

          4. “Witness the amount of Eastern European “gay” porn featuring sexual males, many of whom clearly enjoy the sex but go home to their girlfriends after the shoot.”

            Its a case of the simplest rational probably bring the correct one:- these men are ashamed, or guilty, hence they chose to lock themselves into a socially acceptable relationship with a woman. They fact they see out gay sex, shows the power of sexuality over ones own delusions/choices.

          5. Hi Stu, yes, but for many people at different stages in their lives there can be varying degrees to any of the straightforward male/female straightforward combinations which you list. There are also a good number of people who look beyond gender where sexuality is concerned, and value the power of a person’s spirit more than the size of their genitalia when it comes to making decisions over who to settle down with. As I say, gay-identified people have a hard time accepting this because they have boxed themselves into a narrow sexual confine by buying into a label, and in doing so do not allow themselves to experience the fluidity of sexuality which is innate in all of us – and which, incidentally, I perrsonally regard as one of the great tragedies of the gay lifestyle.

          6. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a tragedy, but I do think it extremely disappointing that people, specially clearly well-meaning ones, still speak of ‘the gay lifestyle’. Even if it falls into the category of lifestyle (which I don’t believe it does), then it would be more than one – certainly in my experience of the widely-divergent tastes, attitudes, values, opinions and beliefs among my gay and (historically) bisexual friends, anyway.

          7. “As I say, gay-identified people have a hard time accepting this because they have boxed themselves into a narrow sexual confine by buying into a label”

            Precisely: as you say. Have you any proof of this? Any statistics? A survey perhaps? I think not.

            This is nothing but your own prejudice again those who actually have overcome the bigotry of those who use “gay lifestyle” – point in case, you.

          8. Will, you are so funny, always demanding scientific proof, focus study groups and statistics as an easy cop-out to denounce all theories that do not fit in with your own, relatively narrow if I may say, worldview. The best evidence of all is from intuition and personal experience (ie. anecdotal), not studies by anal academics of scientifically-accumulated “lies, damn statistics and lies”. But as I say, you are so caught up in the whole shebang of the gay identity that such a thing would be anathema to you it seems. It is like those who subscribe to the cult of political correctness or refuse to think outside of the box: if you are told black is white and left is right then that it that. There is no room for discussion or consideration. All I can say is I pity you for restricting and limiting yourself and being so rigid and close-minded in your worldview and your insistence that everything begins and ends with your labeling of yourself as “gay”, period.

          9. “Will, you are so funny, always demanding scientific proof, focus study groups and statistics as an easy cop-out to denounce all theories that do not fit in with your own, relatively narrow if I may say, worldview.”

            My dear boy,if you think a request for facts is funny, you must find life so difficult indeed. If you cannot provide fact, please do not offend those with university level of study by presenting such wild “opinions” as somehow a certainly, simple because you say it is. I’m, sure you’ll agree, its the mark of the delusional and the foolish to do so. You “anecdotal evidence”, I’m afraid, is quite worthless in any debate.

            It is I who pity you for having such a negative view of gay people, I would go so far as to say almost religious in nature.

            Perhaps starting off on GCSE’s might help you understand the need for fact and proof when one makes silly statements. There’s a good chap. In the mean time, I will carry on being comfortably the person I am born to be: i.e. gay.

        3. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:17am

          @samuelB That would all make sense if it weren’t for the fact that most of those men cruising around at 2 in the morning are IN THE CLOSET.
          Just because someone has a girlfriend or wife does not mean in itself that they are ‘heterosexual’. Many of those people are deeply uncomfortable with the label ‘gay’ not because they object to its power to limit them in terms of their sexual identity but simply because they are sh*t scared OF their sexuality and in deep denial of its far reaching impact upon their very being.

          1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:18am

            The notion of ‘recruit’ing is a reactionary right-wing notion, well versed by the tabloid press to oppress gay rights over the years.
            If we lived in a perfect world then, yes, who we choose to sleep with would be a non-issue (both for the outside world AND ourselves) and we would therefore not need a word to define ourselves. But we don’t live in a perfect world and as such society seeks to suppress the expression of our sexuality; and it does that by firstly denying our natural existence.
            Only be defining ourselves can we stand up to this and demand equality – because otherwise, to be invisible, is to be without a platform or a voice.
            Naming ourselves is the first step in standing up and being counted….

  31. What a non-story! People should treat claims that words have been “banned” with a pinch of salt. This is guidance that “gay” is more appropriate than “homosexual” in many contexts. Which is … right surely? We don’t talk about the homosexual community, or homosexual rights, or homosexual pride. It sounds stilted in many contexts at best, and has offensive connotations at worst.

    The Telegraph style guide says we should use “homosexual” rather than “gay”. I think that says it all really.

    1. Tim Hopkins 28 Jun 2011, 8:52pm

      Quite right and this story needs a ton of salt. The guidance
      is specifically about the wording of a survey question for
      equality statistics. There is no ban. Although in my view
      civil servants should steer clear of the word “homosexual” in
      their work.

      What people choose to call themselves is of course up to them.
      to them.

  32. This is bad English Homosexual is the word to describe a man that’s likes other men. Gay is a word invented by our friends across the pond in San Francisco it was an organisation set up in l960 with the initials G.A.Y. meaning Gender Alternative something? over the years we have all become used to the term Gay but its not correct for example a woman cant be called Gay she is Lesbian and a man as I am Homosexual and proud of it. I’m also Scottish and this is Bizarre since I am quite proud to be refered to as a Homosexual I’m certainly not Gay

    1. Tim Hopkins 28 Jun 2011, 8:58pm

      The word “homosexual” is not about men. It’s from the Greek “homos” meaning “same” not the Latin “homo” meaning “man”. It can apply to men or women. Another good reason for the Scottish Govt to discourage its use in survey questions – too many people misunderstand it.

    2. Paddyswurds 29 Jun 2011, 12:29am

      @rowetree….
      ………..the word gay was in use in the mid to late 19th century in London and other large European cities. As homosexuality was illegal or at least scorned, the word Gay became a sort of code word to describe men who were “that way” or Homo. Certain clubs and Pubs were described as “very gay” to indicate that they were friendly to Homosexual men. The word was resurrected in the 1960s SF Gender Alternative Youth and became a common way to describe the Castro Area of San Francisco and Lower East (Christopher St area) Side in New York.

  33. Deeside Will 28 Jun 2011, 8:48pm

    There’s nothing wrong with the word homosexual. The only valid objection to it is that it’s a hybrid word, because it uses roots from two different languages, Greek and Latin. But on those grounds we would have to object equally to the word “television”. It’s just cumbersome and inappropriate for everyday colloquial usage. What I DO object to are phrases like “homosexual tendencies” and “homosexually inclined”. Ever heard anyone speak of “heterosexual tendencies” or of being “heterosexually inclined”?

    1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:22am

      When I was in my early 20s a good bisexual friend of mine used to say that he believed I was a ‘closet heterosexual’ lol

  34. Tim Hopkins 28 Jun 2011, 9:23pm

    If you want to know the real facts behind this, you can read the Scottish Govt guidance, “Collecting Equality Information: Guidance on Asking Questions on Sexual Orientation”, here:
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/06/20105614/1

    Quoting out of context to create a stushie over an LGBT issue is a Daily Mail style tactic, and I’m disappointed that the Herald, usually a high quality paper, reportedly did it with this story.

    1. Isn’t it more to the point that PinkNews did too, since you are commenting here, and a high proportion of the people here are affected? Don’t they have the phone number for the press office at Stonewall any more?
      ~
      Thanks for the link. Answers to the questions I posted higher up might still be of help in getting your message out, though.

      1. Tim Hopkins 29 Jun 2011, 1:06pm

        Sorry I didn’t reply before. The recommended question is about “self-identified sexual orientation” – the UK Govt calls it “sexual identity”. It is definitely not about sexual behaviour or sexual attraction, in part because it’s less acceptable to ask about those things in surveys.

        The standard question is “Which of the following options best describes how you think of yourself? Heterosexual / Straight ; Gay / Lesbian; Bisexual; Other”. The question was tested quite extensively by the Office for National Statistics in England. No question on this will be perfect of course, by quite a long way, but using a consistent question is important.

        1. Ah. Thank you indeed. Does it always go along with another which allows them to distinguish the lesbians from the gay men too? If so, could you say how that is worded?
          .
          Do you know if they tested any other variations upon that question, and if so, what comparisons there were? For example: Heterosexual/Straight; Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual; Other/Don’t Know ?
          .
          It strikes me there must be quite a lot of people with little or no sexual experience to go by, and, for myself, whose lifelong partners record is exclusively lesbian, but know I could be bisexual too, if the circumstances were right, I find it very difficult to decide which to say, so usually say both, and so would find that question very difficult. I imagine there must be many people who might feel the same about Straight versus LGB. And I’m not clear why the government would need to distinguish them anyway. I mean, could they really allocate, say, grants, differently, L-v-G-v-B according to the survey results?

          1. Tim Hopkins 30 Jun 2011, 7:21am

            Yes there’s also a question on gender. To answer an earlier question of yours, the Scottish Govt is not at present recommending that public bodies as standard ask a question on gender identity, including transgender identies, because “At the moment there is no fully tested question for use on social surveys to collect this information”.

          2. Tim Hopkins 30 Jun 2011, 7:25am

            The answer to why is that some of the aspects of the services that people need relate to their sexual orientation – civil partnerships are an obvious one. The needs don’t match up completely of course to the answers to the survey question – people in CPs may define as L, G or B or Other or, probably in a very few cases, straight. but the figures give a ball park idea and so are useful, and certainly a lot better than no information.

          3. Tim Hopkins 30 Jun 2011, 7:34am

            Variations on the question were tested by the UK Office for National Statistics. I don’t have time right now to find the web link to their reports on this, but email me at tim at equality-network dot org if you’re interested.

          4. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:30am

            @ oatc – The Government needs that Data (as accurately as possible within the frameworks as described by Tim) in order to simply know (officially) that we exist.
            Until 5 years or so ago Gay people were not even talked about in the media in any positive terms. There is still a way to go but there is now a growing public acceptance of LGBT people.
            These stats put that Data into a form more concrete.
            Aside from anything else, funding and services are all set up and justified by Census stats – up til now we were officially invisible/unreadable/unaccountable/without an official presence or voice. That has now changed with the current Census, which, while obviously not 100% accurate for all the reasons you gave, is more hard data than has every been gathered on LGBT people in the UK if not the world.

  35. Er, WTF?

  36. Gay man or men sounds better. But anything that annoys the Christian Institute and the like is okay by me.

  37. I feel ashamed. Are we really that “precious” as a community. People mention the negative but “homosexual” for me is history, struggle, the fight of others to where we are today, about unity, about community, about hope. Going down this path of PC stupidity will give another stick for us to beat ourselfs. If it looks like a rock and feels like a rock CALL it a rock not a large pebble!

  38. I use ‘homosexual’ not gay! To me it is a very political, ‘in their face’ type of word’, so I love it! Will be fun before long to answer when asked ” are you married?” I will say “yes’ I am and I am ‘homosexual’ May the revolution continue!

    1. Paddyswurds 29 Jun 2011, 6:58am

      @….
      ……..When Hetties are asked are they married and they answer in the affirmative they don’t feel the need to preface their answer that they are hetrosexual so I fail to see why we should. However personally I always take pleasure in making sure I mention my partners name asap and take great glee in watching the reaction to the “he” or “his” part .
      This silly debate about the word “homosexual” is such a waste of time, especially given that the whole thing emanates from Scotland ffs. They need to do a lot more than ban a historical word up there before the attitude to us changes up there.
      Anyone been to a Scottish football match lately or one where a Scots team is playing? ….exactly

      1. Paddyswurds 29 Jun 2011, 7:01am

        errata..
        ….”They need to do a lot more than ban a historical word, before the attitude to GLBs change up there”.

        Thats better I think.

      2. @Paddyswurds

        No but then I havent been to an Irish football game recently either …

        1. Paddyswurds 29 Jun 2011, 9:21pm

          @Stu…
          ….neither have i, but i am aware that the level of homophobic bullying and taunting at Scottish matches or matches where one of the teams is Scots is horrendous.
          Homophobic taunts or chanting is rare at Irish footbal matches as Soccer is rarely played in Ireland generally. There is a national soccer team which is quite successful but the popular code in Ireland is Gaelic from which Ozzie Rules is derived. Homophobic chanting or taunting at a GAA game will get you a lifetime ban and a day in court.

        2. @Paddyswurds

          I didnt like to assume you were referring to sectarian issues

          Whilst there are crowd issues just about everywhere these days (even in Ireland!), the recent Old Firm issues and the threats to people linked to Celtic are insidious and probably some of the worst things I have seen in football for a long time.

  39. james baxter 29 Jun 2011, 7:20am

    Saying gay and straight implies that being straight is better. The word “straight” associates with things that are “normal” or “correct”. All they have done here is made backwards progress.

    1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:37am

      Yeah – all good reasons why ‘normal’ is not a good lifestyle choice to start with! lol
      Actually there is no implication that ‘straight’ is better than ‘gay’ at all.
      ‘Straight’ means ‘simple’ in that context – whereas ‘gay’ means ‘happy’ – which is a political concept negating years of ‘the unhappy twilight homosexual’…..
      ‘gay’ is just the modern way to define ourselves – what’s really going on here largely I suspect is a fight between people who are happier with ‘gay’ and those (generally older men) who are happier with ‘homosexual’ (and are defensive about a change/threat to their preferred adopted historical identity)

  40. I have noticed the Christian Institute and religious organisations such as the Church of England over emphasising the word homosexual in many cases; for example, the Christian Institute refers to the civil partners in the Cornish hotel case as “the homosexual pair”. The word was also used frequently during the recent Church of Scotland debate on gay ministers, but, thankfully, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish police force, and now the Scottish civil service are treating equality and diversity very seriously indeed.

    The Catholic Church hierarchy will be watching – and hopefully holding their tongues (when they’re not pulling on something else!).

  41. Spanner1960 29 Jun 2011, 8:27am

    So if people dislike “Homosexual”, how about Chutney ferret, Knob jockey, Pansy, Shirt lifter, Turd burglar, Uphill gardener, Light in the loafers, Bum boy, Back door bandit or simply poof, fairy, faggot, queen, mary or a friend of Dorothy?
    .
    You got plenty to choose from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminology_of_homosexuality

  42. Spanner1960 29 Jun 2011, 8:34am

    Using the term “homosexual” is technically correct, in as much as it is acceptable to call a black person a “negro”. Both are essentially scientific terms, but are not used socially. However I see no reason why either cannot be used in the right situations, but they are rather clinical.

    My personal bugbear is this LGBTQI (and whatever other oddballs we can stick on the end). For me, Gay says it all.

    1. I think the technical/scientific term would have been ‘negroid’, not ‘negro’. But I agree with you about the growing length of the inclusive abbreviation.

      1. Spanner1960 30 Jun 2011, 1:50am

        The term “Negroid” was applied in the 19th century to those of a negro physiognomy, in much the same way as “Mongoloid” was used for Asiatic peoples. “Negro” is latin for black, and was used long before most Europeans had even seen a black person.

        1. I only meant as a scientific term. Actually ‘negro’ is Spanish/Portuguese, the Latin is ‘niger’. (The earliest recorded instance of ‘negro’ in English – an isolated one – is 1555 and, interestingly, as a variant to ‘Ethiopian’.)

          1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:40am

            Like all ‘scientific terms’ ‘negro’ was a made up.
            We seem to be forgetting that Scientists make up words just like the rest of us do – there’s nothing any more inherently important or ‘right’ about the words they use.
            If we object to the words they use (especially about US) then we have a right to say so and request that they stop.

  43. burningworm 29 Jun 2011, 10:47am

    Who would say heterosexual at work?

    1. I must admit when I see a patient and there is a relationship issue or a sexual issue to discuss. My questions are usually along the lines of – Do you have a partner? Are the male or female?

      1. error – they

      2. And that neat pair of questions may give a few of the patients problems in answering. Those who are not sure if they really have a relationship, those with several partners of different sexes, and those with certain situations or types of trans partners.
        .
        Reminds me of every GCE and A Level exam I took, too, where the first question was always “Male or Female?”, and it made me stop, and want to leave it as too difficult, and move on to the next, because I knew what I was supposed to answer, but it wasn’t how i saw myself at all. And I wondered what they did with the answers, whether I could leave it unanswered, whether they would assess the rest of the paper more fairly, given my round, neat, careful, feminine writing, and un-masculine perspective on subjects, if I put “female”, despite the examination being sat at a boys’ school…, etc..
        .
        I can imagine some people just bursting into tears at the difficulty.

        1. I take your point, but by the time I have initially spoken to the patient and established that sexual issues or relationship issues were part of the scenario – I would expect to have allowed the patient to express some of their reasons for wanting advice, support or whatever … Usually that would have given me some insight as to whether those questions (which are generally acceptable to most) are an appropriate approach or not

        2. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:45am

          Multi choice is especially difficult for intelligent people for exaclty the reasons you described.
          Normaloids expect us to fit into neat boxes which, in real life, we don’t.
          However I see nothing inherently ‘neat’ about the word ‘gay’ – its a very broad church! lol (originally accepted as a word defining a far broader church than Queer academics currently allow).
          Its just a word – and in order to demand equality we need a word to define who we are.
          Just like noone can set up a petition without saying who the petition is signed by and who is presenting it.

  44. Neil Smith 29 Jun 2011, 2:50pm

    I am not “gay” you might as well call us “poofs” “queers” fairies” nancy-boys” “benders” I am homosexual ergo I am attracted to the same sex. I’m a “homo” and proud!!! Censorship doesn’t do anything for anyone, everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, political correctness IS the new fascism.

    1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:50am

      lol
      no – it most certainly isn’t
      but thats what the fascist press and media would have you believe.
      In essence ‘PC’ (political correctness) comes from a place of compassion – wanting to ensure that the words we choose to use are as accurate as we can make them for a given situation while causing as little harm, hurt or upset as possible to the people we use them on/with/for.
      In essence ‘PC’ is Politicians taking control of words and language for political reasons.
      On the other hand you have Journalists (like those who work for The Sun Newspaper who have trained for many years in the art of language – who believe themselves to be the guardians of language and words and therefore object strongly to the idea that anyone other than themselves could dare to control language.
      This is more about a battle of who owns and controls words than it is about whether there are any merits to the particular advice coming from a PC perspective.

  45. Bouncerman 29 Jun 2011, 4:45pm

    In my younger days we were frequently asked by the police if we were ‘practising homosexuals’?

    Most replied with:

    “Oh no Officer, we are fully qualified”!

    1. rightcharlie 29 Jun 2011, 6:32pm

      Reminds me of the joke in the lift, “going down?”

      “no just conversing..”

  46. It is still a step in the right direction and appreciated by many I would imagine.

    1. It may be appreciated by some, may even be well intentioned … step in the right direction? – Not convinced

  47. rightcharlie 29 Jun 2011, 6:26pm

    I find the word “straight” even more offensive; it implies that bent is broken and I’m not broke – well, I’m potless but you know what i mean, More demo’s more action we’re HUMAN an we want some respect! come on peter let’s have some demo’s in london!!!!

  48. rightcharlie 29 Jun 2011, 6:30pm

    T-shirts for the march:

    “content being bent!”
    “Happily Homosexual”
    “Queer with a Career”

  49. This is hardly news, the TUC’s Diversity in Diction booklet published a few years ago also advised against the use of the word “homosexual”.

    The aim of this sort of guidance is to ensure people who don’t have an close knowledge of the community or demographic in question, or their issues, can still make themselves understood in an unambiguous way without causing offence.

    The only reason “political correctness” comes into it, is because the people so described have been consulted as to whether the wording is acceptable. If the Campaign against Political Correctness think such consultation is a waste of time, they would presumably have no objection to me calling them a bunch of raving right-wing cranks. After all, in my own opinion, it describes the CAPC perfectly and would be understood by everyone with similar opinions to me.

    1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:51am

      well put :o)

  50. Jock S. Trap 30 Jun 2011, 8:31am

    Times change and so do attitudes.
    -
    It’s been a long time since homosexual was used as a ‘dirty’ words by them heterosexual folk but in reality they still use it and they only tend to use it to describe their disapproval.
    -
    As for John Midgely, of course he objects. It means people like him have to think before they speak rather than use the language of disapproval they champion.
    -
    I mean stuff anyone elses feeling right, just so long as people like of religion and political correctness groups can have their own ways and never change…

  51. Gay Daily Mail Reader 30 Jun 2011, 6:54pm

    I am a homosexual and also an English man. I do not see why my language should be re-written to suit people like myself. Does the ban also extend to the Gaelic word for homosexual: co-sheòrsach? I think that Holyrood should deal with other forms of discrimination such as why English students studying in Scotland have to pay up to £9000 tuition fees while Scottish students and those from other EU countries don’t have to pay!

  52. PumpkinPie 30 Jun 2011, 9:00pm

    Makes sense. You wouldn’t call a South East Asian a Mongoloid, now would you?
    .
    I don’t get what all the fuss is about. This isn’t some sort of fascist oppression of language – you can all call yourselves whatever you want. It’s just part of a code of conduct for civil servants. All institutions, private or public, have codes of conduct and standardised language. This is but a drop in the ocean.
    .
    And that Campaign Against Political Correctness group sounds like the most pointless, self-serving interest group I’ve ever heard of. There are quangos more useful than groups like this.

    1. @PumpkinPie

      Having worked for or with about 20 organisations and studied at 4 – public and private sector and volunteering in public and third sector – I have yet to have been given a code of appropriate words …

      Code of conduct yes – but no list or guidance on acceptable vocabulary – this is bizarre

      1. Staircase2 3 Jul 2011, 3:57am

        If you read the sections written by Tim he is describing the background to this which makes sense.
        To be honest I’m kinda surprised that you of all people, Stu, would have such a problem understanding what this is about.
        The only reason why people are given acceptable words to use is because their job entails it.
        In this case this was a questionnaire and it was important that all those surveyed were asked the same questions (ie using the same words) in order to ensure that the statistics gathered were as accurate as possible.

        1. @Staircase

          I was responding to Pumpkin Pies comment that there were standardised language forms in many organisations and saying that I have never been guided in any organisation on appropriate language or vocabulary. There have been accepted norms but I have NEVER seen anything in writing.

          I also feel that from many of the comments on here, many find it both unnecessary and wrong to choose homosexual as a word that is not acceptable.

          Personally, it is not my favourite descriptive term. However, there are situations in life where it is necessary to use a word for someone attracted to the same sex. When I have used the word homosexual, I have personally not been thinking that it related to former cultural perspectives relating to clinical or legal scenarios – merely been thinking it is a word that means someone attracted to the same sex that can be used in formal situations.

    2. Just as ideas change, so do words. Perhaps at the end of the day all we can do it be open to change, but I agree it is difficult to establish an over arching benchmark, and presumably the standard will always be provisional and contingent.

  53. Dan Filson 2 Jul 2011, 11:14pm

    I have little problem with homosexual and none at all with gay. Both are indeed strictly adjectives so ‘homosexuals’ and ‘gays’ are inappropriate as much as fats or thins would be for fat people or thin people. The downside of homosexual which sounds a little clinical is that the ‘sex’ part of it makes it appear that same-gender orientation is all about sex; which is only partly true as you can have – ask any would-be bishop – a relatively chaste same-gender relationship.

    What I do dislike is the revival of queer and faggot. Queer, quite apart from the hardness of the opening consonant making it easily used as a perjorative insult, implies that heterosexuals are normal or straight and homosexuals are abnormal or bent or, well, queer. So I don’t like queer and I don’t like LGBTQ where the Q is for queer (I understand it can also represent Questioning, but cannot see why the ambivalent or undecided fall in with us any more than with the heterosexuals).

    Faggot apparently derives (Cont.)

  54. Dan Filson 2 Jul 2011, 11:17pm

    Faggot apparently derives from the middle ages when gay people were burned at the stake and the wood beneath them were faggots. So faggot was a way of reminding gay people that being burned to death was their fate. It has the quality of an epithet and its use by gay people is clearly an example of self-oppression.

  55. seriously the fact time and money is being spent on this is bloody stupidwearegay, homos, poofs whateveri feel itsnot the word but how you say it that counts my mum called me a poof everyday but she doesntsay it in a derogatory or hateful way sso im not bothered haha x

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews.co.uk. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all