British MP David Lammy insisted this weekend that the word “gay” must not be “bad:” “I passionately believe that whether in school, college, university or the workplace, people have the right to study and work without fear or prejudice… So in the UK we must kick homophobia out of our classrooms and places of work. The use of language for instance where ‘gay’ is becoming the most common synonym for uncool or rubbish must be challenged, not swept under the carpet.” [UK Gay News]
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I’ve not been able to see any association between the use of “gay “as a noun denoting sexuality and “gay” as it is used as an epitate to denote “uncool” or “odd”. Since teenagers who know that I’m queer use it freely with me.
However, that my be because they don’t think of me as being typically gay sexually (?) not sure.
Here in the UK the word “gay” is synomnous almost with things classed as uncool, odd or rubbish.
You very freqeuently hear people say “did you see that thing TV last night… it was so gay.” I.e,- it was so rubbish.
It’s in widespread use.
I’m also, as M Shane points out someone who would be called as “typically gay” – i.e someone who meets the stereotype of a gay guy.
But that makes no difference. The fact is the situation exists on a national level, and needs to be stamped out.
I welcome this MP’s words. Let’s hope they become more than words.
J Blogs: I heard this use right here in middle class U.S.A. with teenage jargon.. Very common in fact. The fact that it’s not in the Media doesn’t mean much. I’m really suprised that it’s common in Britain . Despite the relative illiteracy here, the English language is supposedly growing at an unbelievable rate, so I expect that some things just go in and out of use as fast.
I know that it can seem like a trite complaint to try to stop the particular use of the word gay, but as a college student, I hear it constantly, just as I did in high school.
Those who use it might not think so, or realize it, but words have meaning, especially to those struggling as they grow up.
And keep in mind that the kids who are comfortable saying “gay” at this time will later be the ones that queer kids generations from now will be struggling against.
It has been used as a description of uncool or worse as an epithet. When my daughter was about 8, I took her to play several times with the daughter of a close friend who lived with his partner. One time, my daughter asked me why Bill lived with them. I told her they were gay. She wanted an explanation of what that meant so I told her that in Cinderella’s story that if Prince Charming was gay he would have would have wanted to marry another prince. She thought about it and said ok. About a month later, I overheard her and her younger brother having a spat. He called her gay. She told him he didn’t even know what gay was. He said, so what is it. I was about to intervene and correct his opinions, when I heard her say, “well, if Prince Charming was gay….”. I was very proud of her.
They are grown now and have known for most of their lives that I’m gay. It hasn’t been a problem since that day.
Phoenix (the Nancy, not the Pale one)
When I asked my mother what gay meant (I was in the 1st grade) she said, “Cheerful.”
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