Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Homosexuals and Lesbians

The Daily Telegraph @telegraphnews obviously doesn't know its Latin from its Greek. On the front page today it refers to 'homosexuals and lesbians'. As 'homo' in this word comes from the Greek meaning 'same' (think homophone or homonym) not from the Latin meaning 'man' (think 'ecce homo') then it is fairly clear that 'homosexual' means 'of the same sex' and includes both male and female - and what they have written equates to saying 'readers and women'. (Mark you, deep in Charles Moore's empire, they may well think in those terms.)
This does, of course raise the question of what word to use for homosexual men that equates to 'lesbian' for homosexual women. 'Gay men' doesn't really work as one can equally say 'gay women' and I think, trust, hope and pray that we've moved from 'raging queen'. Maybe we have to bow to one of the numerous Daily Telegraph articles about women taking over the world, getting the best jobs and making men into second-class citizens - they won't even let us have a word to describe 10% (allegedly) of the male population!