"Gay", not "homosexual": AP adopts smarter sexuality & gender identity stylebook
Respectful and accurate pronouns and other such yummy goodness
Back during the horrible and disrespectful coverage of the murder of transgender teen girl Gwen Araujo (see my 2002 cartoon Shallow Grave), many media outlets, including the Associated Press, referred to her as "Eddie 'Gwen' Araujo". Many incorrectly called her a "transvestite", or simply a "boy who dressed as a girl." Transgender rights activists rightly complained about this offensive nonsense, and media outlooks began to reexamine their quaint, disrespectful and outdated stylebook rules.
The mainstream media has also historically stumbled over gay language, frequently referring to gay, lesbian and bisexual people as "homosexuals", which sounds both outdated and vaguely medical and disease-like. It's also the preferred term of anti-gay activists and other such assbackward bigots.
Well, it took them long enough, but the AP has finally retired "homosexual": (from GLAAD, via Pam's House Blend):
In the previous edition of the AP Stylebook (2005), the entry for gay read as follows:However, as Pam notes, conservatives will continue to refer to gay people as "homosexuals" with "sick lifestyles"--when they're not busy calling them "fags."The updated 2006 entry reads:
gay Acceptable as popular synonym for both male and female homosexuals (n. and adj.), although it is generally associated with males, while lesbian is the more common term for female homosexuals. Avoid references to gay, homosexual or alternative "lifestyle."gay Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity. Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to "sexual preference" or to a gay or alternative "lifestyle."The 2006 edition also relocates the sex changes entry under the more accurate and inclusive term transgender. The transsexuals entry, which used to direct readers to the entry for sex changes, now also points to transgender:transgender Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.Another welcome update for 2006 was the deletion of the term "lesbianism" -- another word that has taken on pejorative connotations. Prior to 2006, the AP Stylebook entry for "lesbian, lesbianism" had read, "Lowercase in references to homosexual women, except in names of organizations." GLAAD applauded the deletion of the term "lesbianism" and the removal of the reference to "homosexual women," though the removal of the entire entry was unexpected (currently, the AP's style guideline for "lesbian" is located in the entry for "gay").