In Why is there a need to prevent a racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted vendor from discriminating who they sell to? I received an edit suggestion that I was a little confused on: enter image description here

I know I am out of touch socially sometimes, but I have never seen anyone of any political leaning assert that the word "homophobic" is inaccurate, inciting, or misused when referring to a person or a law that treats someone negatively because they are homosexual. I need some clarification on this.

For reference, the question has since been edited, this question on meta is about the specific use of the term "homophobic" and related words.


Why is "homophobic" a negatively subjective term describing discrimination against people that are homosexual?

  • 2
    Eh, that's not a great edit. Shouldn't have been approved. You should roll it back.
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 14:34
  • @yannis So I'm of two minds: 1. I agree, I really did not want to edit for that specific reason 2. At the same time, using the word bigoted encapsulates the intention I wanted to do: just list off examples of discrimination regardless of what they were.
    – isakbob
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 14:36
  • Isn't racism also a form of bigotery? If you use bigotery as a catch-all term for any form of unjustifiable discrimination, then there is no reason to still point out racism specifically.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 14:48
  • @Philipp exactly, thats why I worded the edit as "or otherwise biogted" to encapsulate examples I did not list.
    – isakbob
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 14:54
  • 1
    The quote in the question listing protected characteristics doesn't include sexual orientation. I don't know for certain if that's because it's an incomplete list or if legally homophobic discrimination is allowed. So, one reason to remove it from the question could be because it's inaccurate in terms of the legislation being queried.
    – Jontia
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 9:59

3 Answers 3


It's not. It's a perfectly valid word, the adjective of homophobia, and I don't think it was originally misused in your question. To support this with a few sources:

Encyclopedia Britannica:

Homophobia, culturally produced fear of or prejudice against homosexuals that sometimes manifests itself in legal restrictions or, in extreme cases, bullying or even violence against homosexuals (sometimes called “gay bashing”). The term homophobia was coined in the late 1960s and was used prominently by George Weinberg, an American clinical psychologist, in his book Society and the Healthy Homosexual (1972). Although the suffix phobia generally designates an irrational fear, in the case of homophobia the word instead refers to an attitudinal disposition ranging from mild dislike to abhorrence of people who are sexually or romantically attracted to individuals of the same sex. Homophobia is a culturally conditioned response to homosexuality, and attitudes toward homosexuals vary widely across cultures and over time.

Merriam Webster Dictionary (on the noun):

irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

Collins Dictionary:

Homophobic means involving or related to a strong and unreasonable dislike of homosexual people, especially homosexual men.


Generally speaking, any adjective which can apply to a person and is commonly considered to be a bad thing can be inciteful to someone. People generally don't like to be accused of being bad.

Even if you don't accuse people of being the thing, people might still get a bit worked up over it if they're use to being accused of being the thing(either rightly or wrongly).

I personally wouldn't consider the word homophobic to be too incitement, and if someone flagged a post because of that word, I would decline that flag. I'm not the one who edited the question. Some other user edited it. It doesn't take a lot of reputation to edit a question, so most people can.

I honestly wouldn't bother changing it back. The word "bigoted" seems to work just as well, and an edit war not fought is an edit war won.


I know I am out of touch socially sometimes, but I have never seen anyone of any political leaning assert that the word "homophobic" is inaccurate, inciting, or misused when referring to a person or a law that treats someone negatively because they are homosexual.

Many of these “public accommodation” type arguments are coming up in the context of highly religious people who provide services not wanting to create works that celebrate gay marriage. These people are often described as “homophobic” even though they would say that they are not; they don’t have an “irrational fear or aversion to homosexuality or homosexuals”, they simply don’t think that the living arrangements they want to pursue are either moral or practical, and thus would prefer not to participate in them.

If you believe this sort of thing about yourself, e.g. that your objection to whatever a particular policy is a carefully considered opinion that you’ve thought about and is informed by moral principles and/or facts, then being described as “homophobic” is going to appear to be an extremely lazy way to skip past discussing the merit of that opinion and the principles and facts that were used to form it and instead attack you for holding that opinion in the first place. It may even be an actual argument ad hominem, depending on how the exchange unfolds.

Your mileage may vary on whether or not you would or should agree with this hypothetical person I’ve constructed who would object to being called homophobic. I personally avoid using the term to describe other people’s ideas or laws whenever I find myself debating someone who is opposed to gay marriage, because I find that doing so makes it harder to persuade someone that they should change their view. Calling someone a bigot is somewhat insulting, and nobody was ever insulted into changing their opinion, but lots of people have changed their view on gay marriage over the past two decades.

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