Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Sat Jan 29 23:55:30 UTC 2011

On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 8:24 AM, David Barnhart <dbarnhart at highlands.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       David Barnhart <dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM>
> Subject:      homosexuality
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In the news this morning I heard that the word _homosexuality_ is to be
> avoided as it carries negative connotations.

Yes, of course.

Or, to put it another way, it's rarely used by anyone comfortable with
the existence of lesbian and gay (or bisexual, let alone transgender)
people. Funnily enough, I was reading "How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract
In Fifteen Easy Steps" at
http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,016.htm today, where he
puts it thus:

"To reinforce this point, anti-gay writers make extensive use of the
term “homosexual” throughout their tracts. By constantly emphasizing
“homosexual” instead of using the terms “gay” or “lesbian”, the sexual
component of gays and lesbians are emphasized above all other aspects
of their lives. And the more you portray gays and lesbians as
sex-obsessed homosexuals, maybe your readers won’t notice the irony of
your tract being obsessed with the sex lives of supposedly
“sex-obsessed” people."

This concept, and the discomfort generally exhibited by people who use
the term "homosexual" (I have a particular tone of voice and
pronunciation to use for the word, something along the lines of
"ho-mo-SECKSSS-you-ell"), are long-familiar (and hashed over long ago)
within the queer community.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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