AP Bans Usage Of “Homophobia”, Creator Of The Word Disagrees
In an update to their style guide for reporters, today the Associated Press officially discouraged the usage of the word “homophobia.” The update reads:
phobiaAn irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness. Examples: acrophobia, a fear of heights, and claustrophobia, a fear of being in small, enclosed spaces. Do not use in political or social contexts: homophobia, Islamophobia.The AP made no suggestion for a replacement term. You have to wonder if our enemies, who detest the word, pressured the AP to take this move.UPDATE:Politicohas interviewed the head of the AP’s standards department, who also mentions their new ban on “ethnic cleansing.”
“Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for pretty violent activities, a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate,” AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told POLITICO. “When you break down ‘ethnic cleansing,’ it’s a cover for terrible violent activities. It’s a term we certainly don’t want to propgate,” Minthorn continued. “Homophobia especially — it’s 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.”
UPDATE II: George Weinberg, who coined the word “homophobia” in his 1972 book, Society and the Healthy Homosexual, does not approve.
“I just want to go on record as disagreeing with the AP’s decision not to use ‘homophobia,’ the word. I am a psychologist and author who coined the word a long time ago. It made all the difference to City Councils and other people I spoke to. It encapsulates a whole point of view and of feeling. It was a hard-won word, as you can imagine. It brought me some death threats. Is homophobia always based on fear? I thought so and still think so. Maybe envy in some cases. But that’s a psychological question. Is every snarling dog afraid? Probably yes. But here it shouldn’t matter. 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. Fowler even allows us to mix what he called dead metaphors. It seems curious that this word is getting such scrutiny while words like triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) hangs around.”
CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield Slams Pastor Curtis Knapp, Clarifies Message On Twitter
On Thursday morning, Early Start co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield felt compelled to weigh in on a story involving New Hope Baptist Church’s Pastor Curtis Knapp, who made headlines for saying that gay individuals should be put to death. After showing a clip of Knapp sharing his point of view and reading a select passage from Leviticus, Banfield appeared upset over the pastor’s comparison of homosexuality with things like pedophilia and incest… but perhaps not for the reasons most often espoused:
Pedophilia is not by choice, last I checked. In his sermon, Pastor Knapp blamed the Bush administration for its tolerance of gay people. Says that he claims that set the stage, in fact, for the Obama administration to endorse same-sex marriage.
Like I said: they can’t make this stuff up. Unbelievable. Speechless, right? […]
Again, we gotta outline here, when he says “they punish incest and pedophilia”… Please. Those things are often not by choice and are crimes. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice by people; it is voluntary.
She quickly clarified her message on Twitter:
Need 2 clarify. Incest and pedophelia are CRIMES & victims have no choice. Being gay is not. Relatnshps r by choice. Way of life not crime.
The new season of ”RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which begins on January 30 on Logo, is “Gaga-esque,” with the competing queens displaying themselves as “crunchy or monstery or moist,” explains the drag icon and entertainer RuPaul himself. “They speak reality TV so fluently. They don’t even have to be produced. They’re ready to roll.” In an interview with SiriusXM OutQ and HuffPost Gay Voices, RuPaul talked all about the popular reality show in which drag queens face off, kicking off its fourth season, and he weighed in on other matters, including the the latest queer controversies, offering comments which are bound to have people talking. Of the ABC sitcom, “Work It,” in which two straight men dress in drag in order to get jobs and whichhas been criticized by gay and transgender activists for mocking transgender women, RuPaul implores the activists: “Don’t take life so seriously… We live in a culture where everyone is offended by everything.” On Lance Bass’s apology for using the word ”tranny,” Rupaul says: “It’s ridiculous! It’s ridiculous!… I love the word “tranny”…And I hate the fact that he’s apologized. I wish he would have said, ‘F-you, you tranny jerk!’” And RuPaul has some observations about presidential politics: “Politicians are really like show people, people in show business — except that they have not as good costumes in politics. You have to appeal to the masses in show business. You appeal to Betty and Joe Beer Can. For someone like Obama to survive — he’s a very smart man — he’s had to do some dumb things because people don’t want the truth. It’s the same thing with drag.”
I’m just quoting the wording The Advocate had for this “incident”. I get it that some might feel insulted by the using of some words, but I just feel we’re getting so paranoid to the point where we are glitter-bombing each other for stuff that obviously we don’t mean. If people like Lance Bass, Dan Savage & Neil Patrick Harris are consider Transphobic for this kind of thing, then I guess we’ve crossed that Paranoia line. I’m just saying.
We can probably expect that Neil Patrick Harris is about to endure a shitstorm from trans activists after his hosting gig on today’s episode of Live With Kelly. Joking about an “anti-helium” gas to lower their voices, Harris said, “Right! So we can sound like trannies all the time.” He added in a gravelly tone, “That would sound hilarious.” Harris better watch out for glitter-bombers.
NOTE: I should add that it’s really not very hard to refrain from using a word that others don’t like, regardless of whether you feel the same way. Dan Savage agrees and no doubt NPH will too, once he’s hipped to the situation. But we do ourselves no favors with internecine attacks on our own people who meant no ill. Educate, don’t eviscerate.
UPDATE: Harris tweeted an apology when the show ended.
I’d first like to make it clear that no one asked me to write this. After reaching out to GLAAD for advice and clarification, I thought it was imperative to explain and amend my wrong. I gained a lot of knowledge, and I now feel the urgency to speak out and teach others. As unfortunate as this incident was, I assure you it was taken out of context, but I cannot deny the words; they did come out of my mouth.
As a lifelong LGBT ally and friend, I feel it is my duty to not only apologize for my wrong but to also correct it. The word “tr*nny” is a derogatory and hurtful word. I was completely ignorant to this and soon came to realize most of my peers and LGBT friends are too. This is a word I will no longer use or allow. It wasn’t until I googled it after speaking with GLAAD that I found out just how unbelievably offensive it was. When friends jokingly called me that in the past, I took it as a compliment or a joke, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. She adds:
Due to the fact that it is Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, I would like to raise awareness to this injustice in society. It is a day to remember those who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence and speak out against the fact that transgender people face disproportionate amounts of discrimination and harassment every day. The lack of knowledge about transgender people contributes to the unparalleled number of violent acts against them every day.
After a bizarre rant that included the declaration that she’s entitled to use the word “fag” because “I’m a gay icon,” Courtney Love bolted for the wings of a Brazil concert and refused to return until the audience chanted “Foo Fighters are gay.”
After the meltdown, Love stormed off the stage. Hole’s guitarist returned to the mic after a few moments, instructing the crowd to yell “Foo Fighters are gay” in order for his boss to reemerge from the shadows. When Courtney finally returned, she menacingly offered – in a thinly veiled dig at Grohl: “I don’t care what you listen to at home, but if a guy takes off money off my kid’s table, fuck him.” Unsatisfied with just the singular cut down, Love went on to claim that Dave Grohl makes “millions” and “steals” from Love and Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain.
Tabloids are more shocked that Love stripped off her clothes and performed part of her set topless.
After snapping back, “Go see the fucking Foo Fighters [ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl’s band] and do that shit,” and threatening to attack the fan, Love retreated offstage. Only after a crew member led the audience in a chant of “Foo Fighters are gay,” did the set — during which Love flashed the crowd
While delivering a speech at UC Irvine, Dan Savage was glitter-bombed by transgender activists for a second time. One of the glitterers was arrested. Via Bilerico:
According to my source at the event, Savage was in the middle of answering a question from a student who was wondering if her boyfriend was a freak because he watched porn featuring trans women. Savage suggested that her boyfriend was a freak, while freely using the terms “shemale” and “freaky tranny porn.” That is when two individuals ran up and threw glitter on him yelling “Transphobe!” Someone from the MTV tech crew muttered “Oh, not again!” Savage laughed it off and said that being gay he loves glitter. Later, when another student was asking him about the incident, Savage answered, “I’m used to it.”
UPDATE: Savage just texted me to clarify that the words being objected to were actually used in a question he read from an audience member. In his response to the question, Savage noted that some folks “have trouble” with the terms. He laughed off the incident, adding that he finds the accusations against him and the act of glitter-bombing to be “ridiculous.”
A study conducted by Ohio State University psychologists found people can often determine the sexual orientation of men by the way they pronounce a, e, i, o, and u. Seven gay and seven straight men were asked to pronounce single-syllable words like “mass,” “food,” and “sell.” Study participants listened to the first letter sounds of the words and often couldn’t determine the man’s orientation — but upon hearing the vowel, the respondents picked the correct orientation 75% of the time. “This is a phenomenon that occurs every day,” Erik Tracy, the study’s lead author, said in a release. “We are constantly speaking with people we don’t know on our phones, and just from this conversation, we might be able to identify personal characteristics about that person, such as their gender, age, race or sexual orientation.” Read more here.
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