Introducing the special issue
Keywords:homophobia, hate speech, gay language
Homophobic messages circulate widely in contemporary society. This essay introduces a set of papers that examine the linguistic dimensions of that circulation. These papers build on the idea that messages expressing disdain, disgust or hatred for homosexuals or for persons believed to be homosexual, are often derived from contextual clues or inference, rather than explicitly worded anti-gay commentary. Paraphrasing Eve Sedgwick (1990), any text may convey a homophobic message, and most texts probably do. Following various approaches to critical analysis of discourse and text, these papers examine the conditions under which the formation of homophobic messages is favored or discouraged, and they identify the conditions under which these formation enhance or conflict with racist language, anti-Semitic language, or “hate speech” in other forms?