Monday, 26 November 2012

Associated Press: An End To Homophobia

The Associated Press has nixed "homophobia," "ethnic cleansing," and a number of other terms from its Style Book in recent months.
The online Style Book now says that "-phobia," "an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness" should not be used "in political or social contexts," including "homophobia" and "Islamophobia." It also calls "ethnic cleansing" a "euphemism," and says the AP "does not use 'ethnic cleansing' on its own. It must be enclosed in quotes, attributed and explained."

I sort of agree with this, though words change their meaning, and homophobia is rarely used now to mean a literal fear of homosexuals.
I much prefer anti-gay.
Preferably followed by the word "asshole".
AP farm out stories to all newspapers.
You have to pay to view the AP Style Guide, so I can't verify this.
But I learn from the splendid copy-writer's blog, A Capital Idea, The AP Stylebook updated its gay entry in 2006.

The new guideline:
gay Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity.

Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to "sexual preference" or to a gay or alternative "lifestyle."
Here is how the entry used to read:
gay Acceptable as popular synonym for both male and female homosexuals (n. and adj.), although it is generally associated with males, while lesbian is the more common term for female homosexuals. Avoid references to gay, homosexual or alternative "lifestyle."
Could someone tell the Daily Telegraph?
Oh, and no-one uses "gay" or "gays" as a noun unless they're homophobic or an idiot. 


  1. You may be interested that the equality guidance given to judges also dictates against gay as a noun.

    page 61

    1. Most UK paper's style guides do (apart from the Telegraph which still calls us "homosexuals") - if only their journalists would follow the guidance...