The AP Homophobia Thing
This is so, so disturbing/enraging to me., on so many levels. I keep stewing about it more than is reasonable, considering it’s just a word and just the AP.
But, I think it’s the beginning of a slow slide into a “post homophobia America” where it is no longer acceptable to acknowledge that homophobia exists outside tiny rural communities that no one cares about. And to frame people who talk about how homophobia affects their lives as whiners or oppressors, which, obviously, already happens in annoying social justice spaces, where it’s omg ableist to accurately describe your oppression.
Nice Liberal Homophobia is a real fucking problem and has, among other things, given ME some serious mindfucks over the years. And one of the things about Nice Liberal Homophobia is that it’s main mindfuck weapon is denial that it even exists. For me, it was the message that actually living my whole life as a (fat, frumpy) lesbian was just so tacky and pathetic, while assuring me that only close minded people hated the gays. Which made it seem like my self-hatred and denial was just rational.
It seems par for the course to see Nice Liberal Homophobia to want to snatch away a rich word describing how gay people are viewed by the mass of straight society (and how we often view ourselves) and replace it with a collection of watered down terms like “anti-gay”. People who are homophobic are not just “anti-gay”. They are “anti-gay” because they view us as a disgusting contagious disease and they have a terrible fear of us oozing into the world, tainting their marriages and infecting their children. For me, and I can’t think I’m 100% alone in this, my internalized homophobia is very much about being “gross”.
So I think it’s scary that there might be a trend of no longer using the word “homophobia”. I think it could actively hurt gay people and create this cultural narrative where anything other than overt, far right wing political “anti-gayness” isn’t really oppression, isn’t really harmful.
The bolded, omg. Obviously homophobia that impacts people’s lives far greater than Nice Liberal Homophobia is a more serious issue, but Nice Liberals can be seriously damaging as well, to the point that they can perpetuate more insidious homophobia like what most straight people expect from small towns. If you’re a rural queer trying to make it in a city and still have shit to deal with from home (as well as other oppressions, probably), Nice Liberals are going to fuck you over and then act like they were helping you.
For me what really made the AP’s decision awful and homphobic was that they said they wanted a more “neutral” term — as if calling people on their bigotry is biased and the AP is here to be neutral about it, while queers calling anti-gay bigotry what it is are being biased. Because who uses the term homophobia the most? Probably queer activists. And the AP has sent a clear message: Not only that they think “homophobia” is an outdated word, but also that they are going to perpetuate news media’s strange definition of “neutral” that means validating bigoted views while calling those of us fighting for our liberation “biased” and pitting us against each other like both of our opinions are equally valid and noteworthy.