5 Common Expressions You Had No Idea Were Homophobic

1. Bugger

People often call a small child or bothersome animal a “little bugger.” But what they don’t know is that term comes from the English word “buggery” which means sodomy.

In England, the Buggery Act of 1533 defined the practice as a crime.

The word was first used as a nasty term for a Bulgarian heretical sect of the Bogomils who were said by the church to practice sodomy.

2. On the Down Low

This term originated in the Black community as a lifestyle practiced by men who have sex with women publicly, and men in secret. Being on the “DL” is different from being closeted, because people in the lifestyle do not identify as gay or bisexual.

It is also seen as a hyper-masculine rebellion against the white-dominated mainstream LGBT culture.

So next time you have a secret and tell someone to “keep it on the down low,” you’re referencing a cultural movement that’s about a lot more than just being secretive.

3. Sucks

To most people, saying something “sucks” means its low quality or inferior. Saying someone “sucks” means they are terrible at something, most likely sports or playing music.

It’s such a part of our everyday language that even children are known to use the term without seeming offensive.

But the term originated as gay slur mocking the practice of oral sex between two men. It assumes that the practice is somehow degrading; therefore, people who “suck” should be ashamed of themselves.

Come to think of it, maybe we should start using the term “sucks” as a compliment?

4. Nervous Nellie

The terms “Nellie,” “Nancy, and “Nancy’s Boy” were often used to describe being gay back in the day. It was usually directed at overly effeminate homosexual men.

So when people use the term “Nervous Nellie” it’s actually a homophobic term referring to an ineffectual, timid, and worrisome gay person. It also assumes that gay people are weak or cowardly.

In reality, to be an out and proud gay person takes courage, so the term is pretty meaningless.

5. Gay

Even though it’s pretty clear using the term “gay” to describe something lame is totally homophobic, you still hear it everywhere.

(Actually, “lame” is ablest, so that’s pretty bad, too.)

So how about next time you hear someone call something “gay” you reply, “Oh, so it’s fabulous?”

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