Preferred terminology to use in media reporting

Gay: An umbrella term for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It is best to avoid using this word to cover all LGB people as it can render lesbians and bisexual people excluded.
Use: Lesbian, gay or bisexual, or the acronym LGB.

Gay/homosexual agenda: A homophobic term used to denigrate the LGB equality movement. It suggests a sinister conspiracy to promote 'homosexuality' while threatening the 'norm' of heterosexual society.
Use: Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) equality movement.

Gay/homosexual lifestyle: a term used to denigrate the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It ignores diversity in the LGB community, and defines LGB people only by their sexuality.
Use: lesbian, gay and bisexual people/community, or use the acronym LGB.

Gay sex: A derogatory term used to define gay men only by the sex they have, and ignores the emotional aspects of being gay. Often used in the media to imply a certain sleaziness to a story.
Use: sex, but only if it is essential to the story.

Homosexual: Considered by some in the LGB community to be a derogatory and offensive term. It originates from a medical definition when same-sex attraction/relationships were construed as mental illness.
Use: gay, lesbian, gay man/woman, bisexual, bisexual man/woman or the acronym LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual).

Sexual preference: This phrase has been used to infer that being lesbian, gay or bisexual is a choice that LGB people should 'unchoose'.
Use: sexual orientation

Special rights: Often used by those with a lack of understanding of equality issues to imply preferential treatment for groups disadvantaged by the organisation of society and economy.
Use: equal rights, equal treatment, equal protection or equality for lesbian, gay or bisexual people (LGB).

There is much diversity of opinion and experience within the LGB community. LookOut can provide you with contact details for a variety of LGB people and organisations. Contact

An extensive dictionary of equality terminology and be found here.

(not displayed)

(will appear on this page)

(will appear on this page)

E-newsletter signup

Info bank