The DMN drops not one but two 'alternative lifestyle' bombs in a Sunday Business piece

Posted on 26 Oct 2009 at 11:53am

The Dallas Morning News ran an interesting piece in this Sunday’s Business section on Stephen Jarchow, a straight Dallas resident who’s chairman of Here Media Inc., which owns Here TV, Out, The Advocate and Gay.com. But as Rafael McDonnell at Resource Center Dallas pointed out to me this morning, someone at The DMN needs to check their Associated Press Stylebook. That’s because the AP Stylebook, which is essentially a bible in this industry, specifically says to avoid the term “alternative lifestyle” when you mean “gay,” and yet the DMN uses “alternative lifestyle” not once but twice in the story about Jarchow. As McDonnell put it, “I know The DMN’s laid off some editors, but what is this, 1970?” Indeed, while I generally try to avoid coming across as the politically correct LGBT police, there’s really no excuse. “Lifestyle” implies choice, and being gay or lesbian is no more a lifestyle than being straight. If someone at The DMN needs additional reference material, they should turn to style guides published by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. As GLAAD puts it, “The phrase ‘gay lifestyle’ is used to denigrate lesbians and gay men, suggesting that their sexual orientation is a choice and therefore can and should be ‘cured.’”

UPDATE: DMN columnist Cheryl Hall, who wrote the piece, has taken responsibility for the mistake in a comment posted at the bottom of the story: “Mea Culpa…I’ve changed the offending phrase which was used unintentionally. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.” Unfortunately, it appears as though Hall has fixed only one of the two offensive references to “alternative lifestyles.” I suppose this would allow her editor to take responsibility for the other one and fix it.

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