Daily Archives: December 14, 2018

A year later

One year ago this morning, I packed my car with two suits and other clothes for a ten-day stay . . . and drove west via I-70 to my hometown.

The hospice nurse had told me the day before that I probably needed to be home sooner rather than later.

I arrived in early afternoon to find my father awake and responsive enough to know me and say “Hi, Son.” Later that day he sipped a bit of Pepsi and remarked on how good it was.

Those couple of days in bed and awake were restless ones for him. By Saturday he was sleeping soundly, no longer speaking, difficult to rouse.

By Sunday night, he was gone.

One year later, I’m headed to Chicago for a holiday weekend of glorious music and even a visit to the ballet. Life is good. The last year has been full indeed.

But Pop is on my mind today.

Dear NPR

Dear NPR:


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This outdated term has gone out of fashion, and is in fact pejorative, as it implies that LGBTQ folks are not dealing with an orientation, but rather with some sort of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.

Kind regards,

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.