Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Use of “Homosexuals” Not Helping Gay Boy Scouts

I’m fairly certain the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board is not being ironic when it opines:Pittsburgh-Post-Gazette-Logo

In facing up to its own legacy of bias, the Boy Scouts of America is considering a less than all-American remedy. After years of outside criticism and withdrawn financial support, the organization announced Monday that it might allow individual troops and troop sponsors to accept homosexuals as scouts and leaders. The change could come as early as next week.

Although many who believe in equality applauded the news, this incremental improvement is only modest progress for an organization that otherwise espouses laudable values.

This is the proverbial pot calling the kettle “homosexua.l” So let’s review.

The word “homosexual” is not an “All-American remedy” to providing solid coveage of the LGBTQ community – it puts the Post-Gazette squarely in the late 1980’s to early 1990s in terms of accuracy and fairness. And that’s being generous.

The Post-Gazette (rightly) criticizes the Boy Scouts for taking a baby step where a total leap is needed to put the organization on the path of the American way. The PG argues:

  • The policy change reflects “semi-acceptance of gays” at best because it allows the option for ongoing discrimination at the local level.
  • The motivation was not doing the right thing, but “declining enrollment, loss of dollars and widespread scorn”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette insistance on using ‘homosexual” and “gays” to describe human beings impacted by this story is almost as bad.

  • Semi-acceptance of gays seems rather apt for a media outlet that refuses to acknowledge that the term “homosexual” is inaccurate and biased. What is the Post-Gazette policy on language when covering LGBTQ issues? At best, we can say they are inconsistent without the wild ratings gab approaches of the local television stations when face with a too-good-to-resist story involving a biological male, a dress and an outraged member of society. 
  • The Post-Gazette isn’t concerned with doing the right thing. They are well aware of the existence of the GLAAD Media Guide. I suppose declining subscriptions and advertisers coupled with the region’s shift to the red side might be a factor? Am I off base?

The Boy Scouts half-assed policy change is what it is, but a mainstream reputable media outlet refusing to stop using “homosexual” is in no position to cast stones. pot_calling_the_kettle_black_01

Let me explain. The Boy Scouts discriminate against the LGBTQ community – not just homosexuals. Does any rational person believe that bisexual boys and adults feel validated or safe in the Scouts? And the policy change isn’t going to cover trans boys and adults – did you read what our Trish shared about her own experiences in the Scouts? There’s also the fact that the policy impacts girls and women – lesbian den mothers like our own Jen Tyrrell, for example.

So “homosexual” doesn’t suffice in this story.

As for “gays” while less offensive, it is still not what I expect from the Post-Gazette. It is what I expect from a lesbian blog using a deliberately casual tone (ahem) … not a professional journalist.

We are gay people, bisexual people, transgender people. Millions of people read this paper each and every day – milions of people influenced and educated and made aware by what is allegedly a liberally leaning publication using outdated and offensive terminology for some unfathomable reason. The impact of the Post-Gazette (and most of Pittsburgh’s media outlets) language has a much more significant impact on MY life and the lives of LGBTQ youth in this region than a Boy Scout policy.

This incremental improvement in fair and accurate reporting on LGBTQ issues is “only modest progress for an organization that otherwise espouses laudable values.”

’nuff said.

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