chapter  3
Gay men, straight men and a problem of lexical choice
ByKeith Harvey
Pages 23

I embarked upon the research reported in this chapter for reasons both personal and linguistic. Realising how unstable my own use of terms such as my boyfriend, my lover and my partner was, I sought to explore the issues behind this instability without relying exclusively on my own intuitions. I did not, however, wish to deny that these intuitions played an important role in the research process and in the analysis of the findings. As William Leap (1996) has pointed out in relation to his own extensive explorations into gay men’s English, ‘personal associations with the subject matter unavoidably reach deeply into data gathering and analysis and color the process of interpretation and representation’ (ibid.: xiii). Indeed, where human, social and ideological issues are under consideration, the researcher’s personal associations should, I believe, be taken account of and invoked in the research process.