Monday, 9 October 2017

A chronic case of androphilia

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a free lance journalist working for BBC Three. He explained he was working on an article about the resurgence of the use of the term "androphile" among right-wing men as a way to distance themselves from the supposed lefty connotations of the word "gay".  Something that was news to me.

The journalist wanted to conduct a phone interview with me because somehow he'd found out that when I first created this blog (in 2004), I used the word "androphile" to describe myself. 

I should have known better, having been interviewed, before but I agreed to talk to him. When you read the result of an interview you find that the gist of what you said is indeed there but because of the need for pithyness and, possibly, a chinese-whispers effect, your words are also stripped of at least some of their nuance and somehow not fully representative of what you meant. Hence this post, I suppose. 

You can read the results of the interview here. This has since then been picked up, retold, and further skewed, with disapproving undertones, by QueertyAttitude, and possibly others. I've had few direct reactions so far and they have been benign, if somehow odd. Some indirect reactions on social media have been... a little less benign, shall we say, so this might change. 


As far as I recall the right-hand side column of this page is the only place I have ever used the term and it hasn't featured there for some time. I have no idea how the journalist managed to track me down, as google doesn't appear to index me in association with the term.  


This was a half-serious, admitedly slightly pompous way of trying to be both neutral and punctiliously precise in that description of myself to a new visitor of this blog. I somehow cobbled the word from my fragmentary knowledge of Greek and probable memories of encountering it somewhere before (I certainly don't claim to have had an original idea). 

I felt "homosexual" often had a clinical connotation, while one possible definition of the word "gay" covers a range of interests that I didn't share: i.e. the stereotyplical, more frivolous side of gay culture of which I wasn't part of. Again it wasn't a rejection of this side of the culture, just a prosaic attempt at acknowledging that this wasn't part of my experience. I am simply, as I often joke, a bad gay. 

As mentioned above, I have never really used the term other than in that profile and for simplicity's sake, I routinely and happily describe myself as "gay", since it's a short-hand that everybody will recognise and understand. And following the discovery that the word is now favoured by all sorts of (to my eyes) unsavoury characters, "gay" will certainly remain my descriptor of choice for the foreseeable future. 

UPDATE: I think the journalist found me via my dormant MySpace (remember that?) accountw, the end of my short biog went: "I am androphile, AKA a big 'mo." I have now removed that bit.