Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 October 2020
This chapter explores discriminatory language with regard to sexual orientation and sexuality. Starting with the story of playwright Oscar Wilde and his imprisonment, we look at the history of criminalizing same-sex attraction. Ways of talking about same-sex sexuality over time are discussed, both in-group and out-group, and the use of coded language, such as Polari. Slurs are treated, as well as the reclamation of some of these terms, especially queer and gay. We look at historical and contemporary cases of homophobia in language from popular culture and the media.