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Homophobia is bad, says the AP. (Don’t get excited — it’s not what you think.)

The newest edition of the Associated Press Stylebook, a widely used reference for journalists, online now and due to hit the shelves next year, will specifically exclude words including “homophobia” and all other “-phobia” constructions. The online Stylebook defines the suffix “-phobia” as “an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness” that should not be used “in political or social contexts.” Says AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn, homophobia is “just off the mark. It’s ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have. It seems inaccurate. … We want to be precise and accurate and neutral in our phrasing.”

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