CBS just found that if you ask Americans how they feel about “gay men and lesbians” serving in the military, a large majority support it. But if you ask people whether “homosexuals” should be allowed to serve in the military, support drops.
Bottom line: Homosexual is a nasty, clinical-sounding word with nasty connotations for far too many Americans. It’s what I’ve argued for years, and have been routinely beaten up by some in the gay community who claim I’m nuts – namely, that no one should use this offensive word and we should correct anyone who does. It now appears I’m not so nuts after all. From CBS:
In the poll, 59 percent say they now support allowing “homosexuals” to serve in the U.S. military, including 34 percent who say they strongly favor that. Ten percent say they somewhat oppose it and 19 percent say they strongly oppose it.
But the numbers differ when the question is changed to whether Americans support “gay men and lesbians” serving in the military. When the question is asked that way, 70 percent of Americans say they support gay men and lesbians serving in the military, including 19 percent who say they somewhat favor it. Seven percent somewhat oppose it, and 12 percent strongly oppose it.
When it comes to whether Americans support allowing gays to serve openly, there is also a difference based on the term used. When referred to as “homosexuals,” 44 percent favor allowing them to serve openly. When referred to as “gay men and lesbians,” the percentage rises to 58 percent.
Let me summarize, because the article is a bit confusing with all the numbers:
Serve in the military
Gay men and lesbians 70%
Serve OPENLY in the military
Gay men and lesbians 58%
So Americans don’t really have a problem with gays in the military or with them being open about it. In fact, the numbers are absurdly good, even when you use the charged word “openly.” People simply don’t like the word homosexual. And that is why the religious right uses the word every chance it gets.
Any time you hear or read someone using the word homosexual, correct them on the spot. If it’s a reporter or a politician or a TV personality, send them an email or a letter. Treat it like it’s a slur. Because it is.