Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Under the Radar

Dr. Bill,

I am doing my thesis research on the differences between student opinions about homosexuality at a liberal college vs the opinions of students at a conservative christian college. Both schools are in South Carolina. Here is my problem. I have very liberal and understanding professors on my thesis board, but the president of student relations and services has to approve my topic. If at all possible can you give me words that involve the gay, lesbian, trans-gender, bisexual and other members of our community that are not too showy. They don't want me to use the word homosexual because they see it as a red flag. I am very passionate about my work and think it is important but do not want small minded conservatives to block my research and my voice. What I found in previous research is that even though our younger generations state that they are religious, they do not have a problem with gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-genders...living their lives with the same rights, liberties, and hassle-free freedoms as everyone else. Could you please help me. I know this is a lot but I am not sure how to word things and what to say so that I may slip under their radar. Thanks,

Hi, thanks for your question. I would suggest that you use the term "marginalized minorities" or "marginalized minority groups." Or perhaps "disaffected Americans." You not only want to avoid the word "homosexual" but "sexual" as well, so sexual minorities won't do. Marginalized minorities can be just about anything, so it may not raise a red flag. I'm not certain how many people these days are really aware of what LGBT means, but it's become fairly commonplace, as has queer. So maybe "marginalized minorities" or "disaffected groups or Americans" will work for you. Let me know. And best of luck with the project.

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