Ban the Word: Homosexual!

elph's picture

It's very rare that I make a journal entry...

But, I figured this was a better way than posting on the Forum to draw the attention of all to a matter whose time has come!

The word "homosexual" should be banned from all media...it is encumbered with way too many derogatory connotations.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mind-your-language/2011/nov/18/mind-your...

Agreed?

Comments

radiosilence95's picture

Wha...?

I knew homosexuality was labeled a mental illness in the 70's, but just because the adjective "homosexual" was once used in a very negative way doesn't necessarily mean we should ban the word altogether.

I mean yeah, I'd rather be referred to as gay than homosexual, but only because gay is more concise and modern, I suppose. But not everyone intends to be negative or insulting when they use the term homosexual. And, technically, homosexual IS what we are, so why not say it? Sure, it's a bit science-y and it sounds a bit more unusual when you say it in this decade, but if you wanna say it then say it.

I just don't see how the word homosexual would automatically have a negative connotation, regardless of its history. It entirely depends on the person saying it. Their attitude and the way they say it is what makes the word insulting, not the actual word itself.

MacAvity's picture

Ugh.

I hate political correctness. Wasn't it just recently that 'homosexual' was considered the politically correct term, and gay was possibly-derogatory slang?

elph's picture

Yeah... I guess I feel somewhat the same

I can recall how much I detested the campaign (now, many years ago) to remove all sexist references to commonly-used words referring to careers: chairman, policeman, fireman... etc., etc. To be replaced with chairperson... (Today, we can also hear "chairwoman"... but "chairman" is virtually non-existent!).

How long before we're taken to task for the son that someone might discover in "chairperson"? Clearly ridiculous... But political correctness will soon having us say chairentity!

Sexism has been turned upside down!

I don't know how different I was from others at the time of this onslaught on language... but I never considered such terms to overtly specify sex. These were general terms that could apply to any sex filling the position... the noun specified a position in society... not to dwell on that person's sex!

Similarly "his" as a pronoun that could refer to any previously-mentioned antecedent --- whatever the sex --- was obligatorily retired in favor of either "his" or "her." At this time, "her" was already employed regularly if the sex of the referenced person was known to be female.

Now... if the sex of the antecedent is unknown: to be "politically correct" a "his/her" is de rigueur!

****

Yeah... I'm a bit old-fashioned. But the thought that I was a sexist never entered my mind... but there were forces that said it should be in my mind!

I continue to shudder whenever I hear someone hesitate momentarily to make sure that the new, politically correct, word is uttered!

****

Another language irritant where the "battle" is almost certainly lost:

Pronunciations of some words are undergoing change for no more obvious reason than to advertise, "Hey... I know how it's spelled!" At least, I suspect this to be the original explanation; over time, however, the errant pronunciation (often depending on the importance of the first users) becomes widely copied. Not much different from fashion.

Example: often

This is a very common word in English!

Challenge: View (and listen closely) to any of the many movies (probably pre-1960) and you'll hear no one pronounce the t in this word... the pronunciation of "t" in "often" had disappeared long ago in spoken English for the same phonetic explanation that also described its elimination in such other words as "soften", "listen", "hasten"... etc.

If the "t" were to reappear in one of these examples, why not all?

In the now-quite-common pronunciation of "often"(with a clearly enunciated "t"): it's explained as a spelling pronunciation! It reappeared in today's spoken English for no other reason than some "influential" person wanted to let his audience know: "It's there, so it should be pronounced!" Others were impressed with such knowledge and eloquence (this is sarcasm!)... and copied it... Almost certainly, this battle is now lost --- it's now too pervasive; but it arose from ignorance!

I'd like to blame this on GWB (a quite reasonable suspect)... but I think he came a bit too late :)

jeff's picture

Well...

That is pretty old school. I got my local newspaper to stop using that in the early 90s, same year I got the Scouts kicked out of our newspaper, too.

So, not sure this is a worthy campaign, only a few stragglers left, and of course, right wing writers who are using it intentionally.

---
"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (http://youtu.be/Z0FrcTX6hWI)