Homophobic Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Ready for another batch of useful word facts? Let’s learn more about the word homophobic. 

This word has an interesting history and is full of surprising facts — don’t believe us? Keep reading to see for yourself. 

What Does Homophobic Mean?

We have another word for you to add to your word list. Today, we’re talking about the word homophobic. While we’re sure you’ve heard the word homophobic before, we’re here to explain it’s origin and why it may not be the best word to describe homophobic attitudes afterall. 

Homophobia is essentially prejudice or an (irrational fear) against people that don’t identify as heterosexual — this includes gay people, transgender people, and bisexual people. It can also be described as a “fear” of homosexuals. 

Members of the LGBT community have to deal with homophobia every day — sometimes from their co-workers, family members, and many other groups of people. While sexism is seriously frowned upon in many cultures, workplaces, and countries, that’s not to say lesbians and gay men don’t still face discrimination. 

No matter your sexual orientation, if you’re not a straight heterosexual antigay and homophobic people will be prejudiced towards you, according to the English dictionary’s definition of homophobic. While homophobic people disaprove all members of the LGBTQ people, (according to Collins dictionary), they especially dislike gay men. 

What Is The Origin of Homophobic? 

A psychologist coined the term homophobic in the 1960s. Dr. George Weinberg was the first to use this term in a public speech. 

The first use of this word in text was in a pornography magazine called Screw. Here, homophobic was used to explain an irrational fear of straight men thinking others may percieve them as gay. 

Speaking out about gay rights and the abuse lesbians and gay men faced during these times was not uncommon. The next magazine to print homophobic was time magazine, which talked about negative attitudes toward non-heterosexual people or “homophobic attitudes” and explained it as homophobia. 

Many magazines, authors, and human rights activists began speaking out about gender identity, transphobia, sexual orientation, sex attraction, and sexual identity to give young people a chance to feel safe and accepted.

It’s not uncommon for LGBTQ people to face different forms of homophobic bullying. It can be verbal, mental, or physical. When a crime is committed against someone due to prejudice, this is called a hate crime, and hate crimes are not uncommon in the gay community. Homophobic bullying can severely affect someone’s mental health.

Homophobic in Pop Culture Today

The word homophobic was once a way to describe someone who has a disliking or hatred towards lesbians and gay men. As time progressed, the same homophobic behaviors towards other members of the LGBTQ community continued. As of recent, English connoisseurs are claiming that homophobic is a term that shouldn’t be used anymore —- and here’s why.  

The term phobia is a way to describe something that is an irrational or legitimate fear. While the  fear may be irrational, it’s engraved in their psyche, making it valid. Whereas homophobia is simply a disliking or disapproval of a certain group. 

Of course, some people may claim to be legitimately “scared” of gay people, but it is all a result of societal issues and teachings. Most irrational fears or phobias are developed from trauma.

As we read earlier, the original meaning of homophobic meant something completely different than what it means now. Of course, all words develop and change over time, but many believe there should be a new word for homophobic —- one that better represents what it means to be homophobic. 

When to Use Homophobic? 

Yes, some believe people shouldn’t use homophobic in the context it’s commonly used today and that we should coin a new word or phrase. For now, the word homophobic has the same meaning it did in the late 1960s. That said, homophobic should be used when explaining homophobic behavior or stating that someone is being homophobic.

Here are a few examples of when you can use the word homophobic and what it looks like in a sentence:

Socialists should condemn the homophobic bigotry of these performers.

Kelly Ripa was called “homophobic” by O’Donnell for Ripa’s comments to a singer.

A Buju’s show was canceled due to his homophobic lyrics.

Every teacher in each school should undergo training, including tackling homophobic bullying.

This group aims to fight homophobic attitudes while providing teens with the helpful information to help them understand their sexual identity.

Isaiah Washington made headlines fall of 2006 when it was stated that an argument between him and Grey’s co-star Patrick Dempsey after Washington used a homophobic slur about T.R.

In some areas of the world, especially those influenced by homophobic religions, homosexuality is considered a perversion and has been outlawed. 

Synonyms and Antonyms for Homophobic 

The only synonym for homophobic is discriminatory, and its antonyms are objective and favorable. 

The Takeaway

Homophobia is a fear of gay men and lesbians. While the word itself makes it sound like it’s an irrational fear, usually homophobia is caused by certain teachings or indoctrinations. Homophobic should be used when describing or referring to someone who has an issue with someone due to their sexual orentiation or sexual identity. 

Homophobic is a sensitive word that shouldn’t be used or thrown around lightly. The repercussions of calling someone homophobic that, in fact, isn’t could be detrimental to their reputation.


Specific phobias – Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic.

Homophobic definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

Homophobia Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com