In 2016, you wouldn’t think that a dictionary would be such a valuable ally for the LGBTQ community on social media ― but one of the most well-known American publishing companies is using their account to be just that.
Thanks to Merriam-Webster, an amazing social media team and a commitment to the evolution of language, this dictionary has become a crucial account to follow.
While labels can be limiting when explaining and understanding the spectrum of identities and experiences in the LGBTQ community, they certainly are politically and socially useful ― and Merriam-Webster is a key player in giving them mainstream legitimacy.
Merriam-Webster told The Huffington Post that their commitment to adding new queer terms and language to the dictionary, and discussing them on social media, follows the evolution of culture.
“The set of terms relating to gender and sexuality that we’ve added in recent years is like any other; as established members of the language ― we have evidence of these terms in published, edited text from a variety of sources and over an extended period of time ― they meet our criteria for entry,” Emily Brewster, Merriam-Webster Associate Editor, told The Huffington Post. “We would be remiss not to define them.”
The best part of it all is that the Merriam-Webster account helping guide the evolution of language is doing it in such a fun and cheeky way.
After tweeting a definition of "sapiosexual," someone responded writing, “better get ready to add the 12,000 other sexualities to the list too then.” The social media genius quoted the tweet and said, “We were born ready.”
"People are encountering terms like genderqueer and transgender in conversation and online, in formal and informal contexts, and it’s our mandate to provide good information about what they mean,” Brewster continued. “We were born ready to define these terms because that’s our job and always has been: to provide accurate information about the words that form our language.”
Follow Merriam-Webster on Twitter and keep up with the new cultural understandings of language yourself.