GLAAD Media Reference Guide - Defamatory Language
GLAAD's Media Reference Guide: A Resource for Journalists, Updated May 2010
"fag," "faggot," "dyke," "homo," "sodomite," "she-male," "he-she," "it," "shim," "tranny" and similar epithets
The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, "The person used a derogatory word for a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person."
"deviant," "disordered," "dysfunctional," "diseased," "perverted," "destructive" and similar descriptions
The notion that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is a psychological disorder was discredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s. Today, words such as "deviant," "diseased" and "disordered" often are used to portray gay people as less than human, mentally ill, or as a danger to society. Words such as these should be avoided in stories about the gay community. If they must be used, they should be quoted directly in a way that clearly reveals the bias of the person being quoted.
Associating gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people or relationships with pedophilia, child abuse, sexual abuse, bestiality, bigamy, polygamy, adultery and/or incest
Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is neither synonymous with nor indicative of any tendency toward pedophilia, child abuse, sexual abuse, bestiality, bigamy, polygamy, adultery and/or incest. Such claims, innuendoes and associations often are used to insinuate that lesbians and gay men pose a threat to society, to families, and to children in particular. Such assertions and insinuations are defamatory and should be avoided, except in direct quotes that clearly reveal the bias of the person quoted.
Media Reference Guide Home | Introduction: Fair, Accurate & Inclusive | Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual | Transgender | Offensive Terms To Avoid | Defamatory Language | AP, New York Times & Washington Post Style | Marriage | Civil Unions & Domestic Partnerships Adoption & Parenting | Public Opinion & Polls | Religion & Faith | Covering Crime Stories | Hate Crimes | HIV, AIDS & The LGBT Community | "Ex-Gays" & "Conversion Therapy" | Sports & Homophobia | Directory Of Community Resources | Appendix | GLAAD Contacts