Reuters Jerusalem Editor Jeffrey Heller's use of the word homosexual in coverage of a deadly attack on a gay club in Tel Aviv hints at a bit of homophobia.

In reporting on the attack from Jerusalem, Heller's unnecessary use of the word homosexual in the story's initial paragraph left us waiting for the second shoe to drop.

“Israel's gay community was rocked on Sunday by the killing of two people in a homosexual and lesbian youth center and the possibility they fell victim to a hate crime in the Jewish state's most freewheeling city,” Heller wrote in an article titled Israeli Gays' Safe Haven Turns Deadly.

The article ran in the Washington Post, as well as other publications.

One commenter fretted: “I'm sure the writer is ordinarily very skilled, but in this case he failed to consult a dictionary (and perhaps [he] slipped the copy editor a drink instead of having him/her do their job). Lesbians are homosexual by definition. So 'homosexual and lesbian' is redundant.”

More likely, however, the use of the word homosexual here is a reference to gay men. A choice not approved by most style guides.

The Associated Press style guide suggests writers avoid the use of the word homosexual except “in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity.” Reuters handbook for writers does not limit the use of the word, but would not approve of Heller's writing: “The word [homosexual] applies to both men and women, not just to men. Therefore do not write homosexuals and lesbians, although you can refer to homosexual men and women.”

Heller is a skilled reporter who started his journalism career at the Jerusalem Post in 1980 after completing a degree in English literature and Television and Cinema at Tel Aviv University. He currently lives in Jerusalem.