Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gay Man Heads American Heritage

Steve Kleinelder, an openly gay man (and JMG reader) has been appointed as executive editor of the American Heritage dictionary. The Advocate notes the value of having one of our own in such a position:
In 2009, Kleinedler’s husband died suddenly, just two months after Kleinedler and fellow editors had revised the definitions of several marriage-related words to reflect the changing culture. The definition of widower, for example, was revised from "a man whose wife has died and who has not remarried" to "a man whose spouse has died and who has not remarried." “In the shattered aftermath of profound loss, an obsolete or incomplete definition of widower would seem an insignificant detail,” Kleinedler wrote, “but all such trivial details viewed together coalesce into a constant reminder of a two-tiered, unequal system. Therefore, having had the ability to revise the definitions that appear in a major American dictionary took on an important resonance for me.”