Rarely do I make posts whilst standing on my soapbox, first and foremost because it’s uncomfortable what with there being no table top attachment to rest my computer on, and second because soapboxes are somewhat unsafe as far as platforms go. Anyway, here I am, standing (or rather sitting) tall to discuss the misuse of the word “gay” in it’s common everyday use. Let me start by saying that if you are already thinking up excuses for why I should lighten up and shut up about this topic, I need you to do something for me: if you’re a PC user: look at the top righthand corner of your computer screen, see the “x”? Go ahead and click it, Mac users, refer to your lefthand corner. Okay, now that we’ve gotten rid of them, let’s get back to this super gay post.
According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, the word gay refers to: “being merry, or happily excited, keenly alive and exuberant, brilliant in color,” and finally “of, relating to, or used by homosexuals.” So to be frank, when someone describes any displeasing event or situation as “gay”: 1. you only sound ignorant and 2. you’re clearly in need of a dictionary, thus making you sound, well, like a total idiot. Even if you don’t mean to use this word in a manner in which it is offensive to the gay community, you are still not making sense, because the word “gay” at it’s very core, bears a positive connotation.
As of late, the slang meaning for the word gay really HAS in fact come to mean “something stupid or unfortunate. originating from homophobia,” according to Urban Dictionary. I hear the phrase “that’s so gay” used everyday without fail. Sometimes it is accompanied by a laugh and the follow up, “not your kind of gay though!” While I appreciate the fact that the people around me are consciously aware of their misuse of the word and why it is offensive to me, I appreciate it even more when they take the time to think a bit more carefully about the message they are really trying to convey and when they replace the word with one such as: stupid, lame, or unfortunate. Please bear in mind that the word that should never be used as a substitution is “retarded”, but that is another post in and of itself.
I have to admit (and here is my INCREDIBLY unpopular opinion) I am honestly hard pressed to find people who are not members of the gay community who are not even ever so slightly judgmental of those of us who are. Now, if you’re sitting there saying, “this girl doesn’t know what she is talking about, I am NOT, how dare she make a blanket statement like that.” Ask yourself this: Who are you trying to convince right now? Me? The world? Or yourself? If you honestly hold no judgment your actions and the way you speak or present an argument are the tell tale signs and you have to convince no one. I can not, I repeat NOT, blame anyone for being judgmental as they have no idea what it means to be gay, or live day to day with the knowledge that they are. But you can ask questions, and you can learn about what it means to be gay.
I have found that the misuse of the word gay is incredibly generational, as I rarely, if ever, hear people over the age of 30 using it incorrectly. It begs the questions, “is that approximately the age where we reach a turning point in our lives? Is that when we decide it’s time to expand our vocabularies and grow up a bit?” One could only hope.
As always, I am RJ and if you haven’t already guessed or were never introduced to this fact directly, I am a lesbian.