With everything from the Internet to the September 11 terrorist attacksputting new words in our mouths and on our computer screens — think enemy combatant or emoticon — the 21st century is shaping up to be one of linguistic and cultural change.

In this issue of InTheFray, we consider the state of language in ourcurrent milieu. We begin with a topic that captured media attention inthe run-up to the 2004 election: sexual orientation. ITF contributor Erin Marie DalyLove Won Out,”a Boston conference produced by the Christian powerhouse Focus on theFamily, and discovers that the language of the ex-gay movement(“struggle against temptation”) does not quite triumph in the attemptto “convert” gays to heterosexuality.attends “

Meanwhile, Pam Lee and Beth Beglin jumped at the chance to marry last weekwhen an Iowa judge briefly defied the language of the law to say thatmarriage wasn’t just between a man and a woman. Now their application —and the legalese of love — is pending.

We then journey to Japan where Hauquan Chau teaches the f-word and learns how empowering English can be in this Asian country. Unfortunately for the narrator in Jim Curtiss’ short story Change me, English is not quite as intimidating in Seville, Spain, where high school Spanish classes don’t prepare one to do business.

In Cornerless city, former ITF assistant editor and native New Yorker Michelle Chen tries to make sense of Cairo, a city bereft of straight lines and angles. And poet Pamela Uschuk reflects on life elsewhere in the Middle East, when she considers the deception of the language of liberation in Words on Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Last, but far from least, is a stunning photo essay by award-winning photographer and ITF advisory board member Stephen Shames. In Dads,Shames reconsiders the value of fatherhood and examines the differentways that minority and poor fathers are perceived in society.

Also, we are excited to announce that InTheFray Magazine is beginning its annual Donor Drive. The past year has been an exciting time for InTheFray — we launched a new site at inthefray.org,our writers received national awards for excellence, and we expandedour content with a new section devoted to activist interviews and aneclectic assortment of articles from five continents. While we havemade great strides in 2006-2007, we need your help to continueproviding high-quality writing and photography on topics that matter.In the coming year, we plan to broaden our pool of talent by increasingthe compensation paid to our contributors and staff. We will also raiseawareness of the magazine through targeted marketing and advertising.We hope that you will join us in our mission to inspire conversationsabout identity and community, foster tolerance and unity,and help society come closer to a vision of justice, transparency, andopportunity for all people. Please support our efforts and visit inthefray.org/donate to make a donation.   

Laura Nathan


Buffalo, New York

In The Fray is a nonprofit staffed by volunteers. If you liked this piece, could you please donate $10?