The AP is updating its stylebook to do away with theterms “Ethnic cleansing” and “homophobia” and “Islamophobia”
I agree on the ethnic cleansing removal.
But the prejudiced phobias? No-one calling someone a homophobia is accusing them of having a mental illness. Merely having the word “phobia” in there does not mean mentally ill or even fear – as I’ve explained before. Have these people never heard of "xenophobia"? because we've been using that one for a whole long time.
But aside from that, I hate and reject this because there is no adequate replacement word
And this is why I suspect the AP’s motives. This is less about cleaning up reporting and far more about excusing and downplaying the impact and severity of homophobia.
There is no word in the English language that means the same thing as homophobia. What would we use in its stead?
“Anti-gay”. Please “anti-gay” is so mild that most of the hate groups are quite happy to wear that label themselves.
“Heterosexism” is too academic and doesn’t mean the same thing – heterosexism is how the systems of society are set up to favour heterosexuals and assume heterosexuality – heterosexism is the damage that heteronormativity brings and the prejudice that comes with it, not the bigotry of homophobia (though there’s some overlap).
“Bigot” Oh I’d love to. But you know that’s not going to happen. Just look at the extreme squawking over Stonewall’s “Bigot of the year”.
One of the whole points of words like “homophobe” and “racist” and “misogynist” is that they have impact. They are words people don’t want to be associated with. Being these is shameful, is wrong and even the most vehement bigot tries to reject them. We have fought tooth and nail to try and turn homophobia from an accepted norm to something straight people should try to avoid – and ye gods we’ve got a long way to go on that – but part of doing that is the creation and popular usage of the word “homophobia.” Part of this success is the use of a word that means the “hatred and contempt towards gay people” which is a BAD THING.
So, no AP, we need this word. And I doubt very much this is an attempt to “clean up” or “clarify” reporting. It looks like yet another move by straight folks to downplay the importance and severity of homophobia and trying to rob us of another of our weapons against it.
Oh and how many GBLTQ groups did the AP consult about this? Zero of course! Why should our opinion matter to these straight folks?
And the AP joins the list of arrogant, homophobic institutions fighting against us. And yes, I will still be using the word "homophobia"