Main | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Andrew Sullivan On "Homosexual"

"I like the term 'homo'! I use it all the time – about myself and others, although I also often use 'fag' as well. The gay thought-police would be aghast, but the intent is what matters. Mine is mostly benign. Mostly. But mainly, one great legacy of the gay community has been our love of freedom, especially of speech. For centuries and decades, the right to free speech was our only truly secure constitutional right. We were always about enlarging what was sayable, rather than restricting it. Banning 'homosexual' also reeks of insecurity. We are not so tender we cannot handle a clinical, neutral term, or even a slur or the re-appropriation of a slur. 'Queer' was one such reclamation, although that’s much more pointed than 'homosexual' and certainly doesn’t reflect how I feel about my orientation. There’s nothing queer about being horny and falling in love or lust or getting married. They’re among the most common activities known to humankind. But I sure don’t mind others using it – and more and more heteros want to call themselves 'queer' too. But my main objection to getting rid of 'homosexual' is that we would lose a not-too-easily replaced non-euphemism." - Andrew Sullivan, writing in response to the New York Times article about the "vanishing" usage of "homosexual" by the media thanks to prodding by groups such as GLAAD.

Sullivan and I agree about "homosexual" but not quite for the same reasons (many of you here strongly disagreed with mine). He goes on to express blistering contempt for "LGBT."
God I hate that “word”. It describes no single person; it cannot be spoken easily; it reeks of bullshit. No one started using that word of their own accord as a way to describe herself. It was created by leftists who believe that all oppressed groups are primarilly defined by their oppression and that the very different lives and identities of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender are somehow all one. I know it’s an effort at inclusion. I appreciate the good intent. And if it had any wit or originality, instead of sounding like a town in Croatia, I could live with it. But it doesn’t.
I like LGBT - most of all for its writing utility as an umbrella term. But while I grok why it's done, I do sometimes feel that the ever-growing number of letters sometimes tacked onto the end of LGBT are worthy of the eye-rolling it receives from inside our community and mockery it gets from our enemies. Which takes me back to my appreciation for the catch-all "queer," which to me simply means anybody who isn't heterosexual.

Labels: , , ,

comments powered by Disqus