The "homosexuality" tag is not only outdated and borderline-offensive but it is incorrect. It is often being applied to questions about gender-identity, for example, which is unrelated to sexual orientation. "LGBT" or "LGBTQ" would be better alternatives,




I do not want this to devolve into a conversation as to whether you think the term is offensive or not. It is offensive to me, and others, and that is not up for debate. You can disagree or not care, but that does not change the reality. Either way, the term is inaccurate--it erases bisexual people and has been repeatedly erroneously applied to transgender children. I am aware that "LGBT" still omits some populations and am certainly open to suggestions of a better term.

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    It's in the dictionary and until it comes out of there I will continue to use it for how it's intended. The word homo is offensive, homosexual isn't unless you're just soft.
    – Bugs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:09
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    @Bugs - I don't know that for sure. Is "soft" a derogatory word? If it is, please don't use it in a comment. Be nice. Jun 1, 2017 at 16:10
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    @anongoodnurse I wasn't being rude when I say that and I didn't mean it to be directed towards the OP. I meant generally. I've friends that are gay who do not deem this word to be offensive. Maybe it's a culture thing I don't know but I myself wouldn't find this offensive. Then again I don't find much offensive, especially terms, so maybe I am biased.
    – Bugs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:14
  • @Bugs - Apparently in the UK, the term is not offensive, but in the US, it is. I did not know that until the OP educated me about it, and I'll be doing some reading! In any case, as an American, I don't know the connotations of "soft", as we don't use it except in a full phrase ("soft in the head"). Just a hopefully kind reminder to remember to follow be nice policy. Thanks. :) Jun 1, 2017 at 16:19
  • @anongoodnurse of course. I do my best to follow the policy and I mean no disrespect to you thumbtackthief. FWIW I think the tag change is a good accommodation. I did however reject an edit earlier because I took the opinion that it wasn't offensive. Maybe that could be reviewed.
    – Bugs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:23
  • @bugs Probably my edit. That post was dripping with subtle anti-gay prejudice. These are things you don't notice until you've had to deal with them every day of your life. Sorry you think that makes me "soft" and if you think that does not convey disrespect.
    – user6589
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:53
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    I honestly don't think it was intentional. If anything they are using the term correctly and they aren't directly insulting someone so I did reject because I felt the edit was over the top and I could sense that a nerve was touched. I'm sorry if I've come across disrespectful in any way. It's not like they were saying my wife wants a son and wants them to be a gayboy. In which case yes that would be offensive as gayboy is offensive. I'll take a step back anyway as although I don't agree with you I also don't want to cause further aggro.
    – Bugs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:58
  • I appreciate that, but for the life of me I will never understand why people think they should tell populations that they're not a part of what is and isn't offensive.
    – user6589
    Jun 1, 2017 at 20:32
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    I think this was a good suggestion and I certainly was not aware, though amongst my own LGBT friends, the term rarely comes up as we have no need to label each other. My comment is that as long as a person is trying to be respectful, we should be understanding. Sure -- teach us the newest terms. Respectfully let a poster know that the term is considered derogatory by some people while letting them know we understand they were not trying to be disrespectful. We are trying to include everyone -- even those of us that may not be as savvy as others with the terms people want to be called.
    – WRX
    Jun 1, 2017 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


First, I need to acknowledge that you know much more about this than I do. I had no idea that the term "homosexual" was offensive. Thanks for bringing this issue up.

After discussing this, we've decided to create the tag as the master tag, and anyone searching for (which will become a less-than-perfect synonym, but functions as a synonym tag) or such will be redirected to the tag. We will also be keeping and tags. It's not perfect, but I think the rest of the world (myself included) needs to catch up with you, and as you know, that takes time.

If this doesn't resolve the issue, please comment.

  • @Bugs - would you mind capitalizing LGBTQ? Thanks. Jun 1, 2017 at 16:21
  • Sorry, I can't. It takes the tags name. If you want I could remove. Two seconds, let me have a look. Edit - hm no it's the way the tag formulates. Feel free to remove, I just thought it would look better with the tags (something we do on Stack Overflow where possible).
    – Bugs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:22
  • @Bugs - You are talking to the wrong dinosaur! I'll let Rory or someone do it. :) (Someone showed me a pie chart of mods on SE over 60. I could barely find the tiny sliver that I included me! Or, for that matter, 51-60! I am nearly a fossil. Jun 1, 2017 at 16:28
  • haha, have a look at my edit. It basically creates a link and gives the look and feel of a tag rather than something like this which is a standard hyperlink. The downside though is that tags are all lowercase and may break your formatting flow :( which in this case it has done. There may be a way to change that and I'm sure some whiz kid knows but I don't. I wouldn't be offended if you wanted to revert (minus the typo of course :))
    – Bugs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:29
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    More stuff I didn't know. But thanks! It's the thought that counts! Jun 1, 2017 at 16:32
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    Thank you @anongoodnurse. The term is very analogous to "colored" (in the US. There's nothing inherently disrespectful about it, but when it is used primarily by bigots--as it has in the US--it ends up getting all that hatred associated with it, and well-meaning people who would have no way of knowing that can unintentionally offend. I appreciate the change, and if the biggest issue is the capitalization I certainly can live with that. Thank you.
    – user6589
    Jun 1, 2017 at 16:55
  • @thumbtackthief Thanks for bringing it up as the last thing we want is to be offensive in any way. It's one of the best things about SE -- everyone is welcome and included.
    – WRX
    Jun 1, 2017 at 21:47
  • @Willow Thank you, and certainly I have seen that some people agree with you, but many do not and I have been left with a very bad taste in my mouth, and once the notifications die down I don't plan on returning to this community.
    – user6589
    Jun 2, 2017 at 13:46
  • @thumbtackthief I sincerely hope you'll reconsider. We are just human. Some of us are more informed, some less. We all do the human thing of 'knee-jerk reacting'. Help us to do better. I am certain that you do not want to be 'defender of the cause' -- I've spent 40 years trying to get people not to use words like 'retard' in a derogatory way. The battle continues. Even an occasional-- "hey, that terminology might offend some of us" helps. If the only thing you manage is to make one or two people change and try to do better (you did with me) then it's worth it. You make us THINK.
    – WRX
    Jun 2, 2017 at 13:53
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    I've tried, but now that @roryaslop, a moderator, has it in for me, all my comments and answers are just being deleted or edited away. It's just hard to continue having the same conversation over and over again, as I'm sure you know. "I didn't mean retard like that! I just meant he's stupid! I'm not mocking disabled people!" Yeah. Whatever. I do appreciate your kind words.
    – user6589
    Jun 2, 2017 at 13:56
  • @thumbtackthief I called my friends last evening and it lead to them coming over for dinner and a long discussion. They agreed with you and said that here in Texas, they hear 'gay' and 'homosexual' as the polite terms. The usual nasty ones are still heard most days. Their teen daughter who is straight, gets called horrible names at school because she has two dads, she's Asian and the dads are a mixed race couple. I'm ashamed to admit that I had no idea that still was happening.
    – WRX
    Jun 2, 2017 at 13:58
  • I know "homosexual" is often used by well-meaning people (my father, for example), but so was "colored" for a long time. The problem is two-fold: One, it's used primarily by bigots who want us to die, so it's acquired a very negative connotation, and two, just having the "sex" part in the word encourages people to think of being gay as solely a sexual act.
    – user6589
    Jun 2, 2017 at 13:59
  • @thumbtackthief - Rory is not doing the deleting; I am. I've asked you to keep it topical. One of your comments was an impolite demand for the OP to provide the information already requested. The next was a comment about that comment's removal. One was OT and promoting your (legitimate) agenda, which is already explored here. I moved a thread to a chat room. Those are the only comments I've interfered with that I can recall. Please do what you've requested of others: treat them as you want to be treated. Don't judge Rory without sufficient evidence. Jun 2, 2017 at 14:03
  • @thumbtackthief When I am labelled, I am a heterosexual, or straight. I did not follow this entire conversation. I don't speak for anyone else and definitely not the mods. However, the term is not meant to be derogatory when used by most of us. I think that is why mods want to keep the tag. Once we help them find the conversation, we can help educate them. If we don't get them here, we can't talk to them at all.
    – WRX
    Jun 2, 2017 at 14:04
  • @thumbtackthief - BTW, the OP has bowed out of the thread completely because of the embarrassment from all the rude comments, many of which you cannot see, even to the point of deleting his account. He will not be responding to requests for clarification. So, you're not the only one leaving us. Sad but true: people rarely treat others as they want to be treated, people rarely give people the benefit of the doubt ("I don't think this question is real" "Run away from that [very unkind word]") and often don't restrain themselves from saying/writing the first thing that pops into their heads. Jun 2, 2017 at 14:04

I think you may be confused as to the purpose of tags. Tags are a method we have of finding and searching for questions and for allowing people to follow topics they are interested in. It isn't meant to pigeonhole an entire community of diverse people into one heading.

After a very brief look at questions tagged "homosexuality" I can see some evidence that what you say it true. I can also see some questions that are specifically about homosexuality (in the literal sense of being attracted to someone of the same sex, not referencing any specific community of people) and not about any LGBTQ community.

And this is where it gets tricky. Since the "homosexuality" tag doesn't have a wiki, there isn't really any guidance on how it should be used and if it is being used correctly on questions. Thus, without reading every question, I can't know whether someone is asking about same-sex attraction or referring to an LGBTQ community. And it can be hard to determine what the original author meant as well. So given this along with the (brief) research cited above, a blanket change may not be appropriate, as it might ascribe an incorrect meaning to questions the original authors never intended.

So what can we do? Well, I would suggest starting with doing some research. Right now, there are 14 questions tagged with "homosexuality". (There also may be more that aren't tagged with that, which you may want to look for.) We need to figure out which ones are talking about communities (or where such a tag would be beneficial) and which ones are strictly about same-sex attraction. If you can do that, that will go a long way to helping us pick an appropriate plan of action.

For example, if most of those questions are really about same-sex attraction, we can add that to the tag wiki, making it known that that tag is only about that and not any LGBTQ community. We also might consider renaming the tag to "same-sex attraction" or creating synonyms, etc. We could then just drop the tag on any question where it is inappropriate.

If we find enough questions that are actually talking about those communities, then maybe it makes sense to create an "LGBTQ" tag and add that where appropriate.

In either case, we may want to rename "homosexuality" to "same-sex attraction". How and when we go about this depends a lot on what your research turns up.

I'm using LGBTQ here to represent all the communities you've referenced. I can't remember the full alphabet soup acronym for them all.


I agree we should have synonyms, would LGBT or LGBTQ cover the broadest group of search terms? Possibly more if there are ones with sufficiently widespread usage.

But no, I don't think there is any case for getting rid of the term homosexuality. We should not decide to remove a common term simply because it offends a small population - and It is still in common usage, by various sectors of the population including those who use it to refer to themselves, and the meaning of it is accurate according to many dictionaries.

The main use for tags is to find questions and answers here, or to follow a particular interest topic. While the use of "homosexual" is dropping, ngram shows us it is still many times more likely to be used as a search term, and we want to make sure people wanting to ask parenting questions in this area can come here for answers.


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