OutQ Radio report today on a new Gallup poll surveying moral attitudes placed onto the lives gay and lesbian Americans. Given that I do not live by other peoples’ moralistic opinion of my life I shall only be discussing one interesting tidbit which concludes the story:

Proving the power of language in the debate, survey responses were nine to 10 percentage points higher when the term “gay and lesbian” was used instead of “homosexual.”

This of course touches on the right of any minority group to self-determine their own descriptive terminology. Only the most backwards members of society continue to refer to black Americans as “negros.” Nonetheless fundamentalists, oh I’m sorry they prefer to be called Evangelicals continue to insist on calling us “homosexuals.” Perhaps some GLAAD Media Reference Guides got lost in the mail; it’s ok though, I found it online: [emphasis not added]

OFFENSIVE: “homosexual” (as a n. or adj.)
PREFERRED: “gay” (adj.); “gay man” or “lesbian” (n.)

Please use “lesbian” or “gay man” to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. Because of the clinical history of the word “homosexual,” it has been adopted by anti-gay extremists to suggest that lesbians and gay men are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered – notions discredited by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s.

Alert reader Michael Ditto found this stylebook excerpt put out by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association:

homosexual: As a noun, a person who is attracted to members of the same sex. As an adjective, of or relating to sexual and affectional attraction to a member of the same sex. Use only if “heterosexual” would be used in parallel constructions, such as in medical contexts. For other usages, see gay and lesbian.

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