Did I really hear Bob Mondello just say “sexual preference” in his on-air review of the new Mary Queen of Scots movie?
This outdated term has gone out of fashion, and is in fact pejorative, as it implies that LGBTQ folks are not dealing with an orientation, but rather with some sort of desire or choice.
As a gay man, my only choice is to be honest with myself and others. My preference is that my orientation is acknowledged as natural and normal, and not a choice over which I have any cognitive control.
Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote a letter about this term and use of phrase to the editor of a mid-sized Kentucky newspaper. That I’m doing so now to NPR, of all places, is truly surprising. But the world changes slowly, and we fight our battles when necessary.
Please educate Bob Mondello? And please check the style book? If it needs to be changed, please change it too.
Dr. Jeffrey Carter
Sustaining member of Saint Louis Public Radio
I wrote this email a week ago. I was listening to All Things Considered on Friday (rather casually listening), and then was jolted to hear this curséd phrase “sexual preference.”
Perhaps in this context it’s the better phrase, knowing that folks in the 1500s probably did not have any concept of sexual orientation, and that being gay or lesbian was not only an aberration, but also a death sentence. Maybe Mary, Queen of Scots thought one of her courtiers preferred intimacy with the same sex…..
But the phrase is still one that is jarring. And wrong. And I’m going to call it out every time I hear it.
By the way, NPR wrote me on Monday and said they had passed along my comment to the newsroom.