Calling out homophobia

Whenever someone is called out for using offensive language, their first line of defence is usually “but it was just a joke”. Being a true LGBTQIA+ ally means showing our support and calling out homophobic behaviour. Here’s more.

What is homophobic behaviour?

Homophobic language refers to terms of abuse that are often used towards people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Phrases such as ‘moffie’ or ‘faggot’ are common derogative terms used in South Africa. Other signs of homophobic behaviours include:

Disrespecting someone else’s gender pronouns.

Believing that correctional rape can correct or cure homosexuality.

Using phrases such as ‘no homo’ to emphasise your own sexuality.

Believing that being gay is contagious, and avoiding being around the LQBTQIA+ community.

Calling out homophobic behaviour

No one has the right to discriminate against or bully another person, or to hurt them emotionally or physically. Here are a few things you can do to help stop homophobia:

Don’t use negative or offensive language to describe LGBTQIA+ people.

Don’t believe stereotypes about LGBTQIA+ people or make assumptions about them.

Be mindful of casual language such as ‘that’s so gay’, ‘no homo’, and the other derogative terms I’ve mentioned above.

Be an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, regardless of your own sexual orientation and identity.

Educate yourself on LGBTQIA+ issues.

Respect LGBTQIA+ people’s decisions about when and how to come out.

Speak up when others around you are being homophobic, such as making offensive jokes, using negative language, or bullying or harassing someone because of their sexual orientation or identity. It’s important for you to use your voice, because people who experience homophobic harassment often feel alone, ashamed and end up feeling afraid to live their authentic lives.


If you or a loved one are experiencing any form of discrimination, you can reach out to OUT Wellbeing South Africa – an organisation that works to eradicate LGBTQIA+ hate crimes and discrimination, while assisting and supporting victims.

I encourage all of us to be allies of the LGBTQIA+ community- this helps us and those around us understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance, and mutual respect.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).