The widely used word "homophobia" clearly doesn't fit the criteria. For example, "racism" can mean discrimination towards any race, black, white, Asian, etc. Similarly, the word we are looking for should also be able to describe people who have prejudice towards asexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, pansexuals, etc.

Also, phobia means fear, or negative feelings. If someone assumes a black man is a fast runner, loves water melon, and is a great dancer before they have even met him or heard anything about him, simply because he is black, I would argue that that is racist. But those are all positive traits, and therefore there need not be any "phobia" involved.

Similarly, if one assumes a gay man speaks in a feminine voice, is very knowledgable about fashion, interior design, etc. and listens to Village People, I would consider that [insert the word we are looking for here]. But there need not be any "phobia" or negative feelings involved, since those traits can all be seen as positive traits.

Repeating the earlier point, the word we are looking for should also describe prejudice against asexual, or even heterosexual people. Asexuality can also be considered a sexual orientation. Clearly, the word "homophobic" can not be used to describe prejudice against asexual or heterosexual people.

Edit: While the linked question is quite similar, this question is wider and more detailed.

  • 3
    here's a similar question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/254664/…
    – herisson
    Mar 2, 2016 at 19:20
  • 5
    @Hot Licks "Sexism" means discrimination towards people of a certain sex, like prejudice against males or females. That is completely different from prejudice towards people with a certain sexual orientation, such as homosexual, heterosexual, asexual, bisexual or pansexual.
    – Fiksdal
    Mar 2, 2016 at 19:21
  • 3
    @Hot Licks I'm sorry, but I don't get your point. The word "sexism" is definitely not even remotely close to being an answer to this question. If you meant something else by your comment, then please try to articulate it better and more clearly.
    – Fiksdal
    Mar 2, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    @Fiksdal, you may be looking for a neologism such as 'genderism' which, while typically equated with 'sexism' in dictionaries, is now more finely nuanced in use than 'sexism'. I suppose Wikipedia, "genderism" is a start.
    – JEL
    Mar 2, 2016 at 19:33
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    @JEL Yes, that sounds like the kind of word I am looking for. I suspect it might not exist yet, though.
    – Fiksdal
    Mar 2, 2016 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


Heteronormativity will suit.

Per Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO):

Heteronormativity: Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation:

the heteronormative codes of twentieth-century mainstream Western cinema

Per Wikipedia:

Heteronormativity is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes. Consequently, a "heteronormative" view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender roles. Heteronormativity is often linked to heterosexism and homophobia.

A more specific (and more recently-introduced) related term is cisnormativity.

Per Wiktionary, for example:

Cisnormativity ‎(plural not attested):

The assumption that all human beings are cisgender, i.e. have a gender identity which matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

  • I think this is a good answer, and I suspect it might be the closest we shall get. There are a few criteria it doesn't fit, such as being able to describe prejudice against heterosexuals. However, it may very well be the best word in current use. If no better answer has come in a day or two, I will accept this answer.
    – Fiksdal
    Mar 2, 2016 at 20:03
  • “Heteronormativity” is just one kind of homophobia. It is not a synonym for, or replacement for “homophobia.” Mar 2, 2016 at 21:24
  • 1
    @SimonWhite Fiksdal is explicitly not looking for a synonym or replacement for "homophobia", he says so in the first sentence in the second paragraph of his answer, and clarifies further in his comments (under both the question and the other answers).
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 2, 2016 at 21:25
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    @Simon Heteronormativity refers neither to phobia of nor discrimination against non-heteros. I know non-homophobic, hetero-normative homosexuals. Implying that heteronormativity is a kind of homophobia is wrong and whiffs of hetero-phobia.
    – A.S.
    Mar 2, 2016 at 22:28
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    @A.S. Indeed, what an age we live in where any word that is used to describe anything but permissive sexual license is turned into a negative.
    – user10375
    Mar 5, 2016 at 20:41

The word is “homophobia.” Bigotry based on minority sexual orientation. Bigotry against LGBTQ people.

“Heteronormativity” is not right because that is only one kind of homophobia. There are other kinds like stereotyping and gay-bashing.

By rejecting the word “homophobia,” you are actually being heteronormative. You are saying that hetero people can define what is normal and just reject the actual word for bigotry against LGBTQ people because they don’t like it, and then define some other word. This is a very common trap to fall into.

The word “homophobia” is not literally designed in such a way that it will please your grammatical sensibilities. The word was coined by regular people, not by language designers. It started out as slang, like many English words. And English doesn’t have language police that would make sure literary rules are followed anyway. Many words deviate from the Latin rules. It doesn’t have to deconstruct well.

So you can’t literally focus on the “homo” and assume it only applies to homosexuals and not to bisexuals for example. Bisexuals also engage in homosexual love. But even that is too literal. The scope of the word has progressed to be more inclusive in the same way that we keep adding letters to the very-inclusive LGBTQ community. The same as “gay-bashing” applies not only to gay men but to any LGBTQ person who is beaten or killed for who they are.

Yes, many asexuals consider themselves to be part of the very-inclusive LGBTQ community. Again, it is not academic logic or grammatical sense that determines this, it is the fact that the LGBTQ community is welcoming and inclusive and protects asexuals from gay-bashing by heterosexuals. And the fact that asexuals themselves have identified as part of the community.

No, you don’t get to judge whether “phobia” is appropriate. Again, it has roots in slang, so there is no argument to be made against it. But if you want to have that argument, yes, bigotry comes out of fear.

No, it is not positive to stereotype people, even if you yourself judge the characteristics you are assuming someone has to be positive. A stereotype of a gay decorator with great taste says it is maybe OK to be gay if you are a decorator and makes gay soldiers and truckers and politicians invisible.

Understand that for every LGBTQ person who fits your various stereotypes, there are 10 more who “looked straight” to you that you never noticed. And all 11 resented your stereotyping and the detrimental effect it has on everybody — even the person doing the stereotyping.

Make a sentence with “left-handed person” and you can substitute “LGBTQ person” in there. The fact that someone is left-handed or LGBTQ tells you absolutely nothing else about them. Same as the amount of pigment in someone’s skin tells you nothing about them. If you make assumptions about a person based on their handedness or sexual orientation or pigmentation it is always, always negative.

Finally, you can see Nichole’s answer:

Bigotry. The word you are looking for is bigotry.

… and Fiksdal’s comment:

Fair enough, but I guess you would have to add to it, such as “sexual orientation bigotry”

Sexual orientation bigotry: “homophobia.”

  • Very good answer with great points.
    – Fiksdal
    Mar 2, 2016 at 21:25
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    However, "homophobia" can not describe prejudice towards heterosexuals, as rare a phenomena as that may be. Look up the slang term "breeders. " , I do believe homophobia could use a replacement. But your points are very good.
    – Fiksdal
    Mar 2, 2016 at 21:29
  • W.T.F. does T have to do with this question?
    – A.S.
    Mar 3, 2016 at 2:50

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