No really… Can we please stop?
This week I’ve heard three people use the phrase “homosexual lifestyle” and I’m here to let y’all know, that shit is not cute.
For starters, “homosexual” is kind of offensive in itself. While some queer folks may identify as homosexual, the term is frequently used in medical and psychological jargon. It conjures up memories of those really awkward, offensive and criminalizing PSAs from the 1950s like this one!
And you probably remember hearing your GHTH 101 professor use the term, during your human sexuality unit. “The homosexuals”, you know the ones somewhere out in the world (not sitting next to you in class) who have come to embrace a certain lifestyle, likely due to unknown biological or social factors, probably a combination of the two.
“Homosexual” also gets thrown around in right wing religious groups and on conservative talk shows as in “The Homosexual Agenda”, which is true by the way. Mine looks like this:
For these reasons and many others, the word homosexual has become at the very least uncomfortable and at other times wildly offensive.
Combine it with the word “lifestyle” and you’ve opened a whole new can of worms. The phrase insinuates that queer people have all chosen some homogeneous way of life by way of having a partner of the same sex and lurking in the unassuming comment are connotations like sin, darkness, HIV/AIDS, sadness and promiscuity.
So let’s get some things straight.
1. I don’t feel supported when you tell me you approve of my “lifestyle”
2. I’m not trying to be your friend when you claim to understand the “homosexual and their way of life”.
While offense may be unintended, that really doesn’t mean much. When I am sitting in class, fully human one second, and reduced suddenly to a term in a textbook the next, there is not much that can be said to bring back a sense of wholeness.