Clarity about ‘the gay thing’

Sometimes, we say what we don’t really mean. ‘You look really tired’, for example, when we mean to be caring rather than disparaging of appearance. ‘I thought you were older than that!’ when we mean
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Sometimes, we say what we don’t really mean. ‘You look really tired’, for example, when we mean to be caring rather than disparaging of appearance. ‘I thought you were older than that!’ when we mean to applaud maturity rather than further disparage appearance. And so it is with the gay thing. The accidental difference between what people are saying or writing, and their intended meaning, is becoming perplexingly polarized. It’s becoming an issue because respected news sources with style guides to guard the objectivity of their reporting are straying away from neutral. And this, in turn, is influencing what we consider to be untainted, unprejudiced language about what I’m technically going to call ‘the gay thing’. The lexicon around neutral language when reporting or writing about lesbian and gay people can lead to misunderstanding. There are several words that sit outside the flagrantly offensive, but in a grey area. It’s not malice, but misunderstanding that causes people to use. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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