There is something going on in the politically correct English speaking world that puzzles me. It's the deliberate hiding of one's loved one's sex. Say you're straight and you are married, or you got a girlfriend or boyfriend, or you're in a legally recognized relationship of some sort. Invariably your progressive friends will refer to their other halfs as 'partner'. The good intention behind it seems to be that nobody will know (or inquire) about the sex of the person you're with. So, in case you're gay or bi-sexual nobody will find out. How so? Well, whenever your conversation gets to your other half, you'd sneak in the 'partner', thereby leaving open whether or not your partner is of the same or other sex. From conversation with colleagues and friends, I do know that the ambivalent nature of the 'partner' leads to continuing gossip and speculation about whether he or she is gay or straight or something else altogether.
What troubles me about this matter is this: If you live in a country, like Canada, where homosexuality is decriminalized and where in fact gay relationships have more or less equal legal standing to folks in straight relationships, you're sending a troublesome message about the desirability of hiding your sexual orientation. As I see it, with the exceptions of those who are not in relationships (nothing at all wrong with that!), those who live in relationships will find themselves pretty much invariably with folks of the other or of the same sex. What's the point of pretending that we are in a relationship with a mysterious neutral (aka 'partner'), when REALLY we are not? Would we not be better off if people were encouraged not to hide their sexual orientation away by means of kind of neutralizing us for the purpose of our conversations? Why not say that I live with my wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, male/female significant other, name it?
Basically, I wonder, whether real progress lies in hiding away who we are by being 'partners' (in a sex neutral manner). Interestingly, this strategy won't work in may countries. Both in German and French speaking countries this wouldn't work for simple reasons of grammar. You might have a partner in Germany, but if the partner is female it's a 'Partnerin', and if the partner is male it's 'Partner'. So, no obfuscation there.
Anyhow, I'm not entirely sure that I got this one right. You got any views/arguments to share on this one?