AP violates own ban on using word “homophobia”

The Associated Press just violated its own recent ban of the word “homophobia.”

The AP used the word “homophobia” in the very first sentence of its new story on Ricky Martin going to the United Nations to speak at a conference on – wait for it – homophobia.

ap violates on ban on word homophobiaThat’s gonna leave a mark.

You might recall that we reported two weeks ago that the Associated Press had banned use of the word “homophobia,” arguing that the word suggested people who are anti-gay have a “mental disability.”

A number of us took issue with the AP’s oddly psychological interpretation of the word. Here’s my take:

A mental disability?

I don’t know anyone who uses the term “homophobia” to mean that someone is clinically insane, or mentally unstable, or whatever other pretzel AP would like to tie itself into over this word.  Having said that, even the law requires a “rational basis” for anti-gay political actors, so to call the fear of gays and our civil rights “irrational,” and based on an “uncontrollable fear,” strikes me as spot on.

It is funny that the AP violated its own ban a little more than two weeks after instituting it.

At a time when Russia, the UkraineUganda and other are instituting bans on everything gay, maybe this is a sign that the AP should give up while it’s behind.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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21 Responses to “AP violates own ban on using word “homophobia””

  1. Moderator3 says:

    You really don’t need to point out Spam unless you enjoy it. We’ll find it. Personally I don’t live in front of the computer, so it may take awhile.

  2. Papa Bear says:

    a phobia is an unreasoning fear, often leading to an extreme reaction…in the case of spiders, no response is too extreme…

  3. Papa Bear says:

    That’s ’cause breedin’ prooves ima MAN!

  4. A reader in Colorado says:


  5. The slightest sorrow for sin is sufficient if it
    produce amendment, and the greatest insufficient if it do not.

  6. A reader in Colorado says:

    Let’s try a different thought experiment, brainiac.

    There’s only one island. That island is called “The Earth”.

    This island earth has 7 billion people. who are breeding like bunnies, consuming every available resource, and are going to choke this planet.

    Of that, statistically, 350 million would be homosexual, based on a modest “5%” number.

    Now, let’s say we have a magical machine that will duplicate the planet exactly as it is right now, including houses and everything.

    One one of the Earths, we will leave the remaining 6.65 billion heterosexuals. No homosexuals left at all. No other changes.

    And on the other Earth, we will leave the 350 million homosexuals, of every culture, nationality and belief. Complete with the abandoned housing and virtually empty cities, everything. Just like that show “Life After People” – except for leaving the homosexuals. No heterosexuals at all. Only homosexuals.

    Now, after having done that separation, we will let the situation move forward with no other interference. For 50 years.

    After 50 years, which planet would have no people left on it at all, choking in industrial filth and most species destroyed? And which duplicated planet Earth would have a healthy, happy population, with a stable poopulation of mostly heterosexuals and a renewed, breathing, wonderful Planet Earth?

    I bet the answer would surprise you since you are, after all, a brainiac.

    Heterosexuals are superior? Love your contrived, nonsensical example, by the way. Hope you liked my equally unrealistic one.

  7. A reader in Colorado says:

    By the way, I’m an arachnophobe.

    My first response to seeing a single spider in my house is to obsessively hunt it down and kill it. I will even overturn a bookcase to get at a spider in order to kill it. My reaction to seeing more than 2 spiders in the same general area a the same time is to freak the hell out.

    Similarly, the response of a homophobe to seeing one or two homosexuals is often to hunt them down and kill them, or get them attacked verbally or to have them harassed.

    The response of a homophobe to seeing more than two homosexuals is often to freak the hell out.

    Does that mean the word arachnophobe is misapplied where it concerns me? Of course not. I am no less an arachnophobe because I hunt down and kill spiders that I don’t want near me than I would be if I did not.

    This is a moronic, ridiculous argument on the part of AP, and it isn’t even honest, IMO.

  8. A reader in Colorado says:

    One thing I’ve found a lot of people doing over the years is trying to erase a reality by erasing words for the reality they don’t want to have to deal with.

    That is what is happening here. The AP is simply protecting homophobes by trying to get rid of the word homophobia.

    The clean and simple reason they’re doing this is that homophobes are increasingly unpopular, and the AP evidently loves them some homophobes. The reason they state is a justification for their conscious effort to protect bigots and nothing more.

    They wish to protect homophobes because they are homophobes. And, yes, the only reason to do this is to protect homophobes.

    Instead of arguing about their nonsensical made up reasoning, the AP needs to be asked why they are trying to erase the language to protect homophobes. When they point back to their twisted reasoning, simply state their reasoning is trying to erase a well defined word in the English language, that they know what it means, and why are they trying to protect homophobes?

    Moreover, this very reasoning is the reasoning OF homophobes that has been used in the PAST.

    Why is the AP using the defenses of homophobes?

    “I ain’t afraid,” the homophobe will sneer “Homophobes aren’t afraid,” the AP sneers.

  9. Michael in Cambridge says:

    Dear Geezwitz

    Your thought experiment is not only beside the point, it demonstrates a deeper disorder. Men who would want to live on an island with no women are not gay. They’re mysognists. And overwhelmingly straight. Most gay men have lots of women friends. We hear from them all about you guys — in great detail – all the time. Oh, and sometimes we have sex with them, too.

  10. Bugs Bunny says:

    What a maroon

  11. Butch1 says:

    So what’s their big fear about the word homophobia?

  12. jomicur says:

    AP is trying to close the barn door YEARS after the horse has escaped. “Homophobia” is a commonly accepted word now. Trying to eradicate it (the word, not the thing it represents) is kind of like trying to persuade society to call black people “Negroes” and white people “Caucasians.” It’s the same idiotic mindset that argues, as we hear all the time, that using “gay” to describe us should be obliterated because what we “really” are is “homosexual.” Language grows and changes with society. If AP can’t grasp that, they’re a damn feeble news organization.

  13. PeteWa says:

    some incredibly smart guy doesn’t know how to use the “reply” tab.

  14. nicho says:

    Well, you’ve just made a brilliant argument (albeit using a stupid example) for not creating barriers between gays and straights.l

  15. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Would island #4 contain only adult heterosexual men and island #5 contain only adult heterosexual women? Well hon, those islands aren’t going to be producing any offspring either. How about an island #6 that would contain 1000 gay men and women? In 200 years, that island will have a population. Your thesis shows that you know nothing about human behavior, or you really aren’t a deep thinker.

  16. GemenonTraveler says:

    Because that’s exactly how society works – by segregating the population into mutually exclusive groups with no interaction between them. More like a “keinegedankenexperiment.”

  17. geezwiiz says:

    “Heterosexism is the unscientific belief in heterosexual superiority”.

    Okay, genius, let’s perform a simple experiment.

    Island #1 has 1000 adult heterosexual men and women,
    Island #2 has 1000 adult gay men.
    Island #3 has 1000 adult gay women.

    Come back in 200 years and tell me the population of each island.

    In other words, homosexuality is by its very nature inferior because it does not (can not!) create offspring.

  18. Naja pallida says:

    Not to distract from your point, which I agree with. I do a lot of research that requires me to look through old newspapers, and I find it interesting how the lexicon changes over time on these kind of things. “Negrophobia” was a term used regularly from Civil War time until the turn of the century, in the way we use the term “racism” today. It even lasted well into the civil rights movement of the 1960s, though the meaning altered slightly to a more literal interpretation – but the connotation was the same. It changed when we stopped using the word to automatically demonize the subject. I’m not sure if heterosexism will ever catch on, but I think it is well beyond the time that we should have a more accurate description of the particular form of bigotry in question.

  19. Sweetie says:

    The AP’s convenient excuse for ignoring heterosexism. It’s more of the false neutrality thing that American media loves to hide behind. Ignore the problem by pretending that addressing it is terribly unfair.

  20. Sweetie says:

    The term that should be used is heterosexism.




    Why is it so difficult?

    Heterosexism is the unscientific belief in heterosexual superiority.

    Racism is the unscientific belief in racial superiority.

    Sexism is the unscientific belief in a sex’s superiority over the other.


    We don’t call racism black-o-phobia, for good reason. Fear is an aspect of racism, but it is hardly the entirety. Given the exploitation of the generally ridiculous gay panic defense, we should really try to get rid of the term homophobia as much as possible. And, really, it is suggest that someone has a mental problem. I believe phobias are considered neuroses, not psychoses:

    neurosis — relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress (depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, hypochondria) but not a radical loss of touch with reality. Compare with psychosis .

    Now, we do know some heterosexists who are out of touch with reality, but most of them are that way because they think it’s going to bring them power/money/prestige. In other words, most of them are doing it, not because they suffer from an uncontrollable fear of gay people, but because they see it as personally expedient.

  21. karmanot says:

    “the word suggested people who are anti-gay have a “mental disability.”” True enough.

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