The newspaper that was perhaps the single most targeted for its own use of the word "homosexual" to describe gay and lesbian people is now declaring the word has "never been more loaded" than it is today.
A story in today's Fashion & Style section of The New York Times — "The Decline and Fall of the 'H' Word'" — lets readers know that getting clinical about coupledom is a major faux pas:
"To most ears, it probably sounds inoffensive. A little outdated and clinical, perhaps, but innocuous enough: homosexual.
"But that five-syllable word has never been more loaded, more deliberately used and, to the ears of many gays and lesbians, more pejorative."
The story notes the newspaper's past, in which it was targeted heavily by the likes of GLAAD to stop using the overly clinical term. The Times made a change to its policy way back in 1987, using "gay" instead. So it seems this trend has some pretty long roots.
The paper points out that using the word nowadays means joining the ranks of the few who wield it as part of an agenda — Rush Limbaugh, Antonin Scalia and others.