‘Practising homosexuals’? Really, BBC?

Note the BBC’s use of the rather homophobic and outdated phrase “practising homosexuals” to refer to gay people. Now, I realize that the Brits like to think that they speak “real” English, unlike the rest of us American-speaking wannabes. But for the BBC to be using language that is outdated and bigoted is simply astonishing. Not just “homosexuals,” which is archaic and negative in and of itself, but “practicing”? Has the BBC ever referred to the Queen as a practicing heterosexual? Or does the BBC only choose to refer to gay people that way, thus proving our point?

And before the BBC pulls some of that “it’s proper English” crap, I suggest someone point them to this post I wrote a short while back. It shows how support for gay rights plummets when you use the word “homosexual.” That’s why it’s the word of choice of the religious right, anti-gay conservatives, and now the BBC.

Language matters. And it changes. You don’t refer to black people as negroes or colored any more, even if you once did. And you don’t refer to Asians as “orientals.” So don’t refer to gay people as “homosexuals.” (And the entire “practicing” thing is simply abominable.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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