Thank you both for confirming what I felt--no alternative terms were suggested, and I stand by my choice to call a spade a spade.
Incidentally, the other major criticism of my presentation was that I was sermonizing.
English profs are hard to please, much like cranky 5-year-olds. Wish y'all could have been there. The critics who mattered most, my parents and a dear lesbian friend whom I invited, said I did great.
I'm really thinking about trying to get my independent project published. It's called "The Lessons of Laramie: A Letter to Matthew Shepard." My advisor loved it. We shall see.