The AP Stylebook, the journalist's Bible, has issued new guidelines for the use of words like 'homophobia' and Islamphobia,' divorcing them from their social and political contexts. And for 'homophobia' founder George Weinberg (who invented and defined the word in 1972), this is a bad thing:
"It made all the difference to City Councils and other people I spoke to. It encapsulates a whole point of view and of feeling. It was a hard-won word, as you can imagine. It even brought me some death threats. Is homophobia always based on fear? I thought so and still think so. Maybe envy in some cases. But that’s a psychological question. Is every snarling dog afraid? Probably yes. But here it shouldn’t matter. We have no other word for what we’re talking about, and this one is well established. We use ‘freelance’ for writers who don’t throw lances anymore and who want to get paid for their work. Fowler even allows us to mix what he called dead metaphors. It seems curious that this word is getting such scrutiny while words like triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) hangs around."
Read more about the brouhaha here.