Monday, March 13, 2006

GLAAD About AP's New Stylebook Entries For GLBT

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is applauding the Associated Press for updating its stylebook entries to reflect accurate and contemporary usage for gay, lesbian, transgender and sexual orientation references.

"For the AP Stylebook to update these entries is a significant milestone," said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano, who praised the AP's decisions to, among other things, encourage use of the term "transgender," restrict usage of the word "homosexual" and prohibit use of the term "sexual preference." "Given the fundamental inaccuracy of terms like 'sexual preference' and the pejorative connotations of words like 'homosexual,' the AP's style guidelines have been updated to reflect contemporary usage that's more fair, more accurate and more inclusive," Giuliano added.

According to the updated usage for the word "gay", the stylebook says it should be "used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. The term "gay" is "preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity" according to the stylebook. Also, "sexual orientation" should only be used when it is pertinent to a story, and references to "sexual preference" or to a gay or alternative "lifestyle" should be avoided.

The word "transgender" is now preferred when discussing sex changes or transsexuals. The term "transgender" should be used as "the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth" according to the stylebook. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly advises the stylebook.

Finally, stop using the term "lesbianism", which has "taken on pejorative connotations" according to the stylebook.

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