The International Olympic Committee scrubbed a section of its social media guidelines from its website late Thursday night that said it was acceptable to use "gay" or "that's so gay" as long as it was in the context of "light-hearted 'street talk.'"
After a number of gay advocacy groups – including the newly formed LGBT sport and human rights groups coalition Pride House International – pointed out that the reference was offensive, the committee removed the sentence from its guidelines and replaced it with a new one.
"It is of course acceptable for users to use the word 'gay' in a general way," the new guidelines read.
The kerfuffle comes as Russia has promised to enforce a new anti-gay law during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, sparking fears for gay athletes and visitors alike. The Olympic Committee has said it will work to make sure the games take place without discrimination, though it has given little details about how it plans to do that.
Marc Naimark, vice president of external affairs for the Federation of Gay Games, which runs a gay alternative to the Olympics, says the committee's changed guidelines have added to his concern about what might happen in Sochi.
"The Olympic Committee has said they're opposed to homophobia," he says. "But clearly they aren't there yet."
The original guidelines, he says, encouraged the use of the word gay in a pejorative manner, and he described the new guidelines as confusing. "'You can use the word "gay" in a general way.' What does that even mean?" he says.
According to the Olympic Charter, discrimination based on race, religion or gender is strictly prohibited at the games.
The Olympic Committee did not respond to request for comment.