Homophobic Language On Twitter

The Economist has an interesting article about words.  In this case the number of homophobic words used daily on Twitter.

The website is charitable: it doesn’t assume that the tweets are meant to be hurtful. Instead, it aims to spotlight “casual homophobia”—the unknowing, but still harmful, use of derogatory language. “Faggot” and “that’s so gay”, staple taunts in high schools across America, are some of the terms tracked on the site. But the website’s moderators at the University of Alberta are clear about casual homophobia’s impact:

Words and phrases like “faggot,” “dyke,” “no homo,” and “so gay” are used casually in everyday language, despite promoting the continued alienation, isolation and — in some tragic cases — suicide of sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ) youth.

There are some spikes and drops documented by the website—for example, August 13th saw a sharp increase in the instance of “dyke”; August 22nd, “faggot”—but they don’t appear to clearly match real-world events, perhaps underscoring the fickle nature of this sort of language.



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