Sep 12, 2012

Why do we still have the H-word?

Every semester I tell my students "The proper terms are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQQA, and queer.  The proper terms for same-sex desire or behavior are same-sex, homoerotic, or homoromantic. The H-word is offensive, and may not be used."

Every semester they are shocked.  "Wait...that's offense?  I thought it was what them people liked to be called.  I thought 'gay' was the bad word."

So I ask them:
1. How many gay organizations have "gay" in their title?  Answer: About 5000
2. How many gay organizations have the h-word?  Answer: None.
3. How many festivals and parades are called "Gay Pride."  Answer: Over 300.

4. How many festivals and parades are called h-pride?  Answer: None.
5. In a 2003 survey, The Advocate asked "What should we be called?"  How many said gay, lesbian, LGBT, or queer?  Answer: Over 90%
6. How many suggested the h-word?  Answer: None.

The H word brings a history of oppression.  It was used to label LGBT people criminal psychopaths.  It was used to justify why they should go to prison for 20 years to life.  It was used to justify placing them in mental institutions, where they were subjected to lobotomies, electroshock, castration, and forced sterilization.  It was used to justify the belief that they were not human beings at all, but demons and monsters plotting to destroy civilization.

It's still used that way.  Check  The books with the H word in their titles are mostly written by homophobes to justify a continuing policy of oppression.

In 1969, the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance said "Enough!  That word will no longer be used!  The proper term is Gay!"  The Mattachine Society and E.M. Forster disapproved, but their objections were quickly silenced.

My question is, why don't heterosexuals know it?

In 1966, the Civil Rights Movement said "The word 'Negro' is offensive.  Do not use it.  The proper term is 'Black.'"  Within two years, all books, magazine articles, and tv broadcasts were saying "Black."

Why did it take a sit-in protest to get the "New York Times" to say "gay"?

Why did it take the American Psychological Association until 2003 to say that the proper term was "gay"?

Why do students still walk into my class every semester thinking that "gay" is bad and the H-word, the word denigrated by gay rights groups since before their parents were born, is ok?