not an all-star WOTY candidate, perhaps, but...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 15 04:18:11 UTC 2012

…maybe it could be an entry in the least likely to succeed category:  "homosexualist".  It appears in an article in today's NYT,

The last of the senators to fall was Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie, who had served in the Legislature for more than three decades. He lost the support of the Conservative Party because of his vote, and he barely won the Republican primary in September. The challenger who  nearly beat him, Neil A. Di Carlo, stayed in the race as the candidate of the Conservative Party, and ended up winning more than 14 percent of  the vote. Mr. Di Carlo on Thursday said Mr. Saland had been defeated despite receiving financial support from Mr. Bloomberg "and other radical homosexualists."
Di Carlo is not calling Bloomberg gay but rather as promoting what Justice Scalia likes to call "the so-called homosexual agenda", in particular marriage equality.

Googling, I find that some of the other hits use "homosexualist" as a synonym for "homosexual" (noun or adjective), usually with pejorative intent (although earlier it may have been used as a kind of euphemism by writers like Gore Vidal), while others like the ones above use it to mean something like "pro-homosexual (rights)" or perhaps "non-homophobic", again in a pejorative way.  One of the more striking one was a piece from a year ago ( in which an Orthodox Jewish group, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, lambasted Mitt Romney (you remember him, right?) as a dangerous homosexualist, i.e. "one who constantly advances the militant anti-religious, anti-society, immoral homosexual agenda to the detriment of family people."  Evidently Romney was guilty of "support and promotion of the immoral homosexual lifestyle and agenda". I was unaware of this, and now it's too late to change my vote.  (This was back when the rabbis in question would hav!
 e no doubt been plumping for Huckabee or Santorum.)

It's an equal opportunity slur, though--lots of right-wing Catholic groups use it in the same way. And more than a few loonies (cf. on homosexualist extension cords).

A word ambiguous between the two meanings 'gay (and hence immoral)' or 'pro-gay (and hence immoral)' *ought* to be unlikely to succeed on a variety of grounds, and perhaps this one is.


P.S.  Sometimes it really is hard to tell which meaning is intended. An article appearing in the Times Magazine in three years ago profiled a "conservative-Christian big thinker" who exposed the sinister forces who "use our elementary schools to teach pro-sexual-liberationist, pro-homosexualist propaganda".

The American Dialect Society -

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