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Showing posts from December, 2012

The Non-End of Hompophobia

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2012 is ending with the Associated Press publishing a new stylebook for journalists that bans the use of the words “homophobia” and “Islamophobia.” The AP argues that “phobia” describes an illness or mental disability and, thus, isn’t accurate in “political or social” reporting. As Michelangelo Signorile argued, the problem with their decision “is not necessarily the logic of the argument as much as it is how long it took the AP to get to it.” He himself restricts use of the term to discussions of psychological motives and so prefers “anti-gay” where others use “homophobia. The word, however, has been used for 40 years. This change comes at a time when anti-gay forces, feeling they’re on the run culturally, are hunting for any support for their retrograde prejudices. So by banning “homophobia,” Signorile argues, “the AP is in fact playing into a political agenda, erasing a word that came into usage decades ago and has a meaning that is broadly understood. By banning the word, the AP d…