“Gay Lifestyle” Myth Op-Ed at CNN

Longtime NLGJA member LZ Granderson is well known for his sports reporting at ESPN, but he also opines on LGBT issues in various op-eds. “Myth of the ‘gay lifestyle’ justifies bias” is the title of the his latest op-ed at CNN.

He starts by detailing his family life with his partner and his 13-year-old son. He then goes on to debunk one of the most central myths about LGBT people.

Here’s an excerpt:

Being gay doesn’t dictate how people live their lives any more than being straight does. There are gay people who go to church every Sunday and straight people who do not believe in God. There are single gay men who believe in the sanctity of marriage and married straight men who apparently do not — such as Gov. Mark Sanford, ex-Sen. John Edwards and Sen. John Ensign, to name a few.

The truth is the only thing all gay people have in common — you know, besides being gay — is that we face continuous rhetorical, social and legal attacks for simply existing, thus potentially making something as mundane as bringing a date to a work function a fight-or-flee situation.

And yet, even in the face of that discrimination, LGBT people all handle it differently.

Some of us live in the closet, some of us do drag every Wednesday night, some of us are Republicans hoping to be change agents within a conservative sect and some of us are apathetic Democrats too dumb to carry on a conversation about anything other than Lady Gaga.

In other words, we’re just as diverse, intolerant, upstanding and tragic as our straight counterparts…

NLGJA is quite aware of the falsehood of the “lifestyle” myth to describe the lives of LGBT people. Our stylebook supplement describes usage of the word “lifestyle” like this:

An inaccurate term sometimes used to describe the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Sexual orientation may be part of a broader lifestyle but is not one in itself, just as there is no “straight” lifestyle. Avoid.

As long as the “lifestyle” myth keeps on ticking in the mainstream press and in the popular culture, op-eds like this one will continue to serve a valuable role.

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