This was originally intended as a comment on the “Seen & Heard” forum function of Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary under the entry for the term “hetero”; but I seem to be personally censored and blocked from posting there. It might also have been a bit too long. I should, therefore, say “as defined there” rather than “as defined here“.
(As defined here) the term “hetero” is used as a slang or abbreviated form of “heterosexual”. I was searching for the original meaning of the prefix in Greek, which I eventually found under the “heter- (combining form)” entry on another page.
“Heterosexual” is a clunky, cobbled, made-up and internally redundant term of very recent coinage. It is a retort in response to the criticism that the term “homosexual” (another badly cobbled term of mid-20th Century origin), is in fact a euphemism and self-justification for being a “a pervert”, “a queer”, “a sodomite”, or “a sex deviate.”
A euphemism (as defined here), is the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt. For example: instead of saying “I’m going to the toilet”, you might say: “I’m going to the bathroom” or “I need to visit Mrs. Murphy.”
Instead of saying:
“there are queers and perverts on the School Board”,
“There are homosexuals on the School Board.”
Then it’s OK.
It is wordplay and sophistry of the basest sort. These terms, homosexual, heterosexual, and homophobe (or homophobic), taken together, although assembled from the Greek prefixes “homo”, “heter”, and the suffix “phobe”, when re-translated back into Greek, become gibberish.
The term “homosexual”, when re-translated back into Greek could mean:
(internal contradictions, as sex implies differentiation)
or even hand-sexual.
The term “heterosexual” re-translated, yields
both internal redundancies.
The term “homophobe” re-translated back into Greek yields
“one who fears men“,
“one who fears hands“, or even
“one who fears sameness“.
Again, “homosexual” is in fact a euphemism and “heterosexual” or “hetero” is an accusative retort, as though one were as bad as the other.
Too often, words fail to describe accurately what you see standing before you:
There is no such thing as a black person.
There is no such thing as a white person.
In general usage, euphemisms are used to ameliorate harsh or embarrassing terms. At other times however, euphemisms are used to obfuscate or hide the truth.
In 2007 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replied to a question about “gays” in the Islamic Republic saying:
“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.”
As surly as they are human, there are sex deviates in Iran. But such things are not swept under a rug euphemistically and are punishable by death under Islamic Law. There is no equivalent term in Persian.
In the United States adultery used to be a crime. Sodomy used to be a crime. Fornication used to be a crime. Cohabitation used to be a crime. That is why many of the older generation consider the United States to be morally lost.
I am not white. I am not “hetero”. I am not heterosexual. I am not (a) heterosexual. I am neither homosexual nor heterosexual. I am sexual – and I don’t need to obfuscate, defend, or justify it euphemistically.
The term “homosexual” is an exculpatory euphemism for sexual perversion.
There is sex and there is perversion. A cluster of obtuse words surround the political, economic and moral issue of sexual perversion. While euphemisms excuse or make light of it, epithets disparage or condemn. Perversion is the core and the essence of the controversy.
Casuistry, Sophistry, Slang, Cant.
To accept being labeled a hetero or allow yourself to be called a heterosexual is to be a victim of a fallacious argumentum ad hominem tu quoque.
(argūmentum ad hämənəm tü-kwō-kwē)
Logically, I’m NOT a heterosexual; and neither are you – nor anybody else.
To loose the argument is to loose the moral high ground; but even if I were to allow you to label me a heterosexual – it’s still not a sin against God or Nature.