On a Plea to The Times: Please Please Please Stop Using “Longtime Companion”
In which The Gay Recluse is like wtf.
Ok, The Times has been on board with gay marriage for a couple of years now. Great! What’s not so great, however, is their continuing use of the term “longtime companion” to describe long-term gay relationships, e.g., the following quote in an article about Russell T Davies (Torchwood!) that appeared in today’s Arts Section:
He lives partly here and partly in Manchester and has a longtime companion who works as a customs inspector for the British government. (Ital ours.)
OMG! Barf! New York Times, please please please use “partner” or even “relationship partner” but not “longtime companion” with its echoes of bachelor/spinster closet-cases and a type of friendship that really has nothing to do with romantic love (or at least takes a way-back seat to it).
Nor can we advocate the use of “husband” and “wife,” as The Times attempts to do in its rather ridiculous and filled-to-the-brim-with-stereotypes front-page shocker “Gay Couples Find Marriage a Mixed Bag“:
Ms. Bullock, who is dating another woman, is buying a duplex with her former wife so both can see their son daily.
The problem with “husband” and “wife” is that — in case it’s not obvious — the terms will always be gender-specific, which in addition to being very last century constrains the institution of marriage, which (and we’re not debating this) should be between two people without any regard to how they want to define their gender.
So get with the program, New York Times! If you’re really serious about changing attitudes toward gay marriage, stop using “husband” and “wife” in any context and replace these needlessly archaic and restrictive terms with either the gender-neutral “spouse” or “partner” or — if there’s any confusion at all — “relationship partner.” And yes, this goes for all couples, including the heterosexual ones! At a minimum, “longtime companion” needs to go on the garbage heap.
If we’ve learned anything in the history of our country, it’s that separate-but-equal treatment is never fair, and as much as that applies to the laws, copy-editing policies should reflect the same.
Filed under: Drivel, Gay, Language, Sickness, Stereotypes, The Gay Recluse, The Times | 4 Comments
Tags: Longtime Companion, Relationship Partner, Russell T Davies, Spouse, The New York Times, Torchwood