When I was born in October 1964, my parents named me “Anthony Gene”. There had been talk of naming me after my father. I am grateful to this day that my name is not “Hollie Gene, Junior”!
Since I have no way of knowing, I’ll just tell myself that my mother stood her ground after seeing the gorgeous Anthony Perkins in 1960’s “Psycho” and wanted her firstborn to be named “Anthony”.
Growing up in Kentucky, most people called me “Anthony” and a few would call me “Tony” and one woman called me “Andy”, which I liked.
I never really had a nickname until 1997 in Lubbock, Texas, when my good friend/co-anchor, Ny Lynn, nicknamed me “Cunanan” because of my resemblance to spree killer Andrew Cunanan. Yes, this is an image capture from our weekend newscast at KLBK.
Now, basically everyone calls me “Peeps” and I’m cool with that. My Texas peeps still call me “Cunanan”.
Nicknames can be funny, but some can derogatory. We’ve all been called names that maybe were more insensitive than hateful.
And, there are words that I’d never use, but others use them more freely. I guess the bottom line is that if you wonder if someone would be offended or hurt by a name, it probably shouldn’t be used.
I know the world has become very “politically correct” and there’s a reason for that, too.
WHAT DO YOU CALL A GAY PERSON?
I hope if you’re referring to me, “Anthony”, “Peeps”, “Cunanan”, “Andy”, or even, “Tony” works for me.
And, yes, I’ve been called the derogatory q-word and f-word.
In some circles in the gay community, especially in the late-1980s and early-1990s, the word “queer” was used by activists to defy and stand up to the government because of its ignorance in the early, dark days of the AIDS pandemic.
I don’t like the words, “queer” or “fag”. And, I especially wouldn’t like to be called either of those.
However, the word that has always bothered me the most is “homosexual”.
The reason is that I see it more as a clinical or medical term, not a word to describe a man or a woman who has a sexual feelings or a loving relationship with someone of the same sex.
And, to stress my point even more, until December 14, 1973, it was still considered a mental illness.
39 years ago today, the American Psychiatric Association removed “homosexuality” from its list of mental disorders.
That was a huge step to show America (and hopefully, the world) that gay people were not “broken” or “sick” people. However, the reality is that there are still many people who see us that way. I know the tide is changing and it will continue to change. But, change is slow.
That’s why there is such a big push to inform people that “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy”, which attempts to change the sexual orientation of LGBT people, does not work. “Ex-gay” is a lie. Here’s a great article about that: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy
I’m not overly sensitive, so I’m not going to cry if someone calls me a name.
So, if you need that one other defining adjective, other than “friend”, “meteorologist”, “happily married”, “nice guy” to describe me to someone who may not know me, I’d prefer “gay” and that you never refer to me as “homosexual”. I’m not sick or broken.
APA, thank you!
P.S. You can even call me “maybe”.