I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the New York Post’s unconscionable headline, “Evil Lesbian Mom Left Toddler to Die Slow Death.” Now, the New York Daily News picks up the story of the mother and her partner, with the less inflammatory headline, “Mom charged in murder of her baby didn’t know extent of child’s injuries.” Still, when the first line of the article is “A Harlem mother charged with murdering her baby son testified Monday that she didn’t realize the boy had been seriously injured by her live-in lesbian lover,” one wonders how much better this really is. “Lesbian” is understood by anyone who notices the pronouns. There’s no need to use the archaic phrase “lesbian lover” because, as I’ve said before, the horrible things these women did had nothing to do with their being lesbian. It’s also unclear from the coverage whether the partner, who has been charged with murder, was a new girlfriend, a partner who started a relationship with the biological mother after the child was born, or a co-parent who had participated in planning the family. Not that it would make a difference in the seriousness of the crime—but coverage of a heterosexual couple in a similar situation would have specified “boyfriend,” “stepfather,” or “father,” rather than focusing on the fact that the father was, say, of a particular ethnic or religious background. Let’s treat all families equally, in praise or condemnation.
Letters to the Daily News editors should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.