Saturday, February 22, 2014

"No homo"

I had to take many deep breathes before the anger in me subsided enough to write a post about "no homo", a phrase I became aware of yesterday while checking out photo comments of a vegan athlete on Instagram.

For background here, I follow several athletes on Instagram. Many times I "like" their photos as they inspire me. On Instagram I'm TheGayVegans so it is obvious that a gay guy is "liking" their photo. 

A friend of this person was giving him a compliment about his body and preceded his compliment with "no homo". I didn't know what that meant so asked. Another person answered me telling me it's a way for a guy to give another guy a compliment while making sure the guy knows he isn't being hit on.

Seriously. This really happens. In fact it is common.

The person whose photo I had been looking at also answered my question, saying that his friend was a lifelong friend and meant nothing homophobic about the phrase and in fact was a big supporter of equality.

The guy who answered me first responded to my response in which I said this was offensive, telling me that on some body building sites they even use a term "phaggot" and that "no homo" is common not only in the workout communities but also in many rap songs.

I was honestly blown away.

I thought about asking more questions, like if you and your friend have been friends for years why can't you compliment each other without the concern (as it seems it is indeed a concern) that either of you is gay? Or so what if one of you is gay? Or, what do homos say if they want to compliment you? Or, what do you say to a woman who you are complimenting but not hitting on?

Holy cow what the heck is wrong here?

The guy who wrote "no homo" on his friends comment area told me that in no way did he mean to offend me and he apologized. I believe him. 

I believe that the guys I am writing about do not hate gay men. I take them on their word that they support equality. So what gives? Why do people like that feel like it is completely appropriate to use a phrase like "no homo".

One explanation made to me by the guy whose photo I was looking at was that yes, sometimes politically incorrect language is used.

Politically incorrect?

How about outright offensive. In so many ways.

I am asking you as our readers to spread this story around. I am asking you to stand with us and spread the word that "no homo" is unacceptable.


  1. Couldn't agree more! I feel the same way about the phrase "girl crush"; meant to imply that as a woman, they admire another woman and yet find it necessary to make it clear that it's not in a sexual way. Absolutely offensice and unacceptable.

  2. Ugh!

    Though 'no homo' is actually a complicated term. In no way am I apologizing for homophobia, just objectively pointing out that it has a unique history. It originated in Black American slang and is common in Hip Hop. This article argues that it's actually breaking down homophobic barriers:

    If one takes it in the context of the Kinsey Scale, it's a way for predominantly heterosexual men to express male-male intimacy that they may not have otherwise done. On the other hand, joking about homosexuality is never funny and they should be able to do so without using the term! Anyway, just thinking out loud as I've had many conversations about this exact phrase.

    1. "they should be able to do so without using the term!"

      I mean they should be able to express that intimacy, not make the jokes. Not the best sentence structure there, sorry!

    2. Matthew, thanks so much for the comment. And thanks for reading my post! I am a big fan of yours. This has been a tough one for me as I just find it hugely offensive and the heterosexual men I am friends with do not use language like this.

  3. Ugh, yeah, unfortunately this turn of phrase popped up on my radar around 5 years ago when I was talking to a high school teacher friend of mine about the way kids are communicating with each other. So offensive.

  4. When I first heard the phrase "no homo" it made me want to die in a fire. Good on you for confronting him. I hoped you changed the way he thinks.