Alix Field Field 1
Mary Anne Lightfoot
QUESTION: In paragraph 7, Sullivan refers to a “euphemism.” What is a euphemism and what examples does he give? In what way do euphemisms “build a wall between gay people and their own families”? Given his argument, do you think Sullivan would consider the term same-sex marriage (which he doesn’t use) a euphemism? Why or why not? Euphemisms Hurt
Creating emotional bonds and forming loving relationships are tough skills to learn for most human beings, but are a necessity for stability and happiness in our lives. Andrew Sullivan reflects in his essay “The M-Word: Why it Matters to Me” on the difficulty of building relationships while growing up in a Catholic, conservative home in a middle-class neighborhood. Sullivan reveals his adolescent years to be isolating - causing depression, neuroticism, and thoughts of suicide. Powerless to share with friends and family members about his homosexuality, Sullivan retreats to his studies, isolating himself even further. Now, an openly gay man, Sullivan continues to divulge his views on civil marriage licenses and the use of euphemisms such as “gay marriage.” Sullivan firmly states that any descriptive term identifying a marriage as a homosexual one is an offensive euphemism that builds walls between gay people and their families. Society has historically ostracized people whose beliefs are unpleasant or seen as embarrassing to the cultural norm. Euphemisms are indirect words or expressions substituted for words that are considered unforgiving, when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. Sullivan refers to several terms used as euphemisms, such as civil unions, domestic partnerships, civil partnerships, and gay marriage as offensive and isolating. These terms silently categorize Field 2
marriages between homosexuals as abnormal or unfit, therefore, defining homosexuals as incapable of love, unity, and family, which is the...
Bibliography: l 1033 Sullivan, Andrew. "The M-Word: Why it Matters to Me." The Writers Presence, A Pool of Readings. Ed. Leasa Burton and Deja Early. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin 's, 2012. 223-225. Print
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