Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-06-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINTS The AP discouraging 'homophobia' is discouraging
by Rev. Irene Monroe
2012-12-05

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The editors at the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook have announced that they are "discouraging" use of the word "homophobia." The AP Stylebook is the widely used guide that media use to standardize terms and general usage.

Why should the LGBTQ community be in a kerfuffle about it? Because the editors made their decision without consultation with the nation's leading LGBTQ organizations, leaders, activists and newspapers. That is a problem.

With an estimated 3,400 AP employees in bureaus around the globe, its suggestion could have a tsunami-like effect on how the world comes to understand, be informed about or dismiss discrimination against LGBTQ people.

AP's online stylebook defines "phobia" as "an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness" and therefore should be expunged from political and social contexts, including words such as "Islamophobia" and "homophobia."

Preciseness in language is important, yet language is a representation of culture. How we use it perpetuates ideas and assumptions about race, gender and sexual orientation. We consciously and unconsciously articulate this in our everyday conversations, about ourselves and the rest of the world, and it travels generationally.

What's in the word "homophobia?" A lot. There are the history and culture of not only discrimination, violence and hatred toward LGBTQ people, but also an irrational fear of us. It's this irrational fear that may not need psychiatric or clinical intervention but should nonetheless be aptly labeled as none other than a "phobia."

For example, there's the infamous bogus legal argument called the "gay panic defense." It's simply an excuse for murder in which a heterosexual defendant pleas temporary insanity as self-defense against a purported LGBTQ sexual advance.

Another example is the "ick factor." It's the revulsion some heterosexuals feel toward the way we LGBTQ people engage in sexual intimacy.

Altering the hearts and minds of these folks will take a while, if not a lifetime.

According to Dave Minthorn, the AP deputy standards editor, who shared with POLITICO the word "homophobia ... (is) just off the mark. ... It's ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don't have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case."

It is of my opinion that by keeping the word "homophobia" narrowly used and confined within a medical context is controlling. I feel that only a homophobic word police would utter such absurd advice. Moreover, it's also absurd for AP to think that their discouragement of the use of the word with absolutely no consultation with the LGBTQ community demonstrates hubris and insensitivity. It also raises queries about AP's political and social motives for doing so.

Just ask George Weinberg, the psychologist who coined the word "homophobia" in his 1972 book Society and the Healthy Homosexual.

"It made all the difference to city councils and other people I spoke to," Weinberg told journalist Andy Humm, who shared the quote with The Advocate and other media. "It encapsulates a whole point of view and of feeling. It was a hard-won word, as you can imagine. It even brought me some death threats. Is homophobia always based on fear? I thought so and still think so. ... We have no other word for what we're talking about, and this one is well established. We use 'freelance' for writers who don't throw lances anymore and who want to get paid for their work. ... It seems curious that this word is getting such scrutiny while words like triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) hang around."

The word "homophobia" derives from a particular history and struggle for civil rights of LGBTQ people across the world. And it has become part and parcel of a universal LGBTQ lexicon that speaks truth to our reality.

The word has power and unfortunately deleterious effect. And part of our liberation is in our strength to call acts of homophobia out.

To suggest the press eliminate the word can not only diminish the scope of people understanding homophobia's wide range, but it can also diminish our scope of LGBTQ activists in our continued efforts to effect change.

AP now has control of the word "homophobia" yet it's not theirs. Several mainstream newspapers are pushing back. (Newspapers, and media, are under no order to follow AP guidelines.) John E. McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun wrote in his column, "Sorry, AP, can't go along on 'homophobia,'" adding that the "ruling on this point is reasoned, principled, and wrong-headed." McIntyre points to the 40-year usage of the word "homophobic" and makes a practical point: "If the editors of the AP Stylebook wish to discourage the use of certain words simply because they can be misused or misunderstood, there ought to be a great many in line ahead of homophobia."


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS LGBTQ pride events display disparities 2017-06-21 - June is Pride Month for LGBTQ communities across the country—and parades abound. While we all rev up each June for pride so, too, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT, THE AMAZON TRAIL A 10th anniversary at sea 2017-06-21 - We had every intention of being homebodies this year. No travel at all, just a year to save our pennies and get grounded. ...


Gay News

VIEWS A sadder Pride because of Washington inaction 2017-06-21 - Every June, Pride comes to our cities and towns. We break out the rainbow flags, march in parades, and celebrate our uniqueness and ...


Gay News

Caitlyn Jenner's growing pains 2017-06-14 - When June approaches, I always like to reflect on the pantheon in our LGBTQ community. However, when it comes to Caitlyn Jenner, it ...


Gay News

HRC reviews workplace index at presentation 2017-06-11 - People might like to know whether that job offer you just received is with an LGBT-supportive firm. They may—or may not—also like to ...


Gay News

RELATIONSHIPS & THE LAW TODAY Know your workplace rights after Hively v. Ivy Tech 2017-06-07 - Last month, in what many are calling a landmark ruling for gay rights, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in Kimberly Hively ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN LGBTQ parents: Resistance, persistence, pride 2017-06-07 - This wasn't the Pride Month I was looking forward to. I hoped we would be celebrating gains built on marriage equality, not ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Cambridge mayor's call to action 2017-05-24 - The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts—this writer's hometown—is a stormy hotbed of politics and social issues, and no person has weathered its vicissitudes better ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Congress pulled plug on our friends, co-workers, neighbors, loved ones 2017-05-17 - Seven years ago, I sat with my friend Kali in his Brooklyn apartment and watched, in amazement and a little bit of shock, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Senior moments 2017-05-17 - SI was recently described as being a role model for LGBT youth—nice compliment, but a role model I am not. Neither do I ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.