Using the Word “Gay”

“Gay” used to mean happy, joyous, and blissful, but over the past few decades it has taken new meanings – not merely as a reference to homosexuality – but as a negative thing.  If something is “gay,” that is not a good thing.  I have been thinking about this small word and here are my thoughts to share:

To start out, how bad is this word?  It’s not usually considered to be a swear word and I’ve never seen a kid get in trouble for using it and most people seem to draw the line with “f**” or “f****t.”  The difference seems to be similar to referring to someone as “black,” which is not exactly politically correct, but is much better than using the “N” word.

The definition for “gay” seems to be “not cool,” with whatever “cool” means.  I haven’t checked Urban Dictionary on this one, and I’m a bit afraid to try it.  **checking…** It wasn’t too bad, but I’m guessing there were some bad ones in there that have been removed or voted down.

Now I’ll admit – I have used the word to mean negative things.  As an American male who was once in high school, then in college, it would have been very unlikely for me to have decided to stop or never use the word in that way.  I called things “gay” without thinking about it at all.  It is one of the things most people would not think about.  So, when I stopped to think about it, I ended up deciding to stop using the word in a negative way.

Why I decided to not call anything “gay,” meaning “uncool”:

  1. There are better words.  To restrict yourself to calling something “gay” is rather lazy.  Using a simile or comparison lets you show off your creativity.  “That’s worse than a 24 hour marathon of watching nothing but CSPAN” is much more descriptive than “that’s gay.”  Can’t you feel the laziness pouring out of those two words?
  2. Besides, there’s already a word for “not cool” – and it’s “uncool.”  By choosing a word besides the one with the exact definition you want to convey, you might not be effectively communicating.
  3. I don’t enjoy negative influences.  I generally try to focus on positive things and have found that I am much happier when I can abide by this principal.
  4. To use the word negatively would be hypocritical because I believe homosexuality allows people to live with love and happiness in their lives, which is a positive thing.

I wish I had stopped earlier.  It is my wish that kids will choose to embrace the word as a positive force. Instead of it meaning “uncool,” it will mean “cool.”  Replace “gay” with “cool” in the below statements:

    “I’m gay with that.”

    “That is so gay.”

    “Gay.”

Can you imagine the character a kid would display by turning that word around and embracing it as a positive?  If they did, I would not expect it to catch on where using the word “cool” would be replaced by “gay,” but it might make their peers confused and aware of the statement they make by using the word negatively – which would hopefully stop most people from using the word with negativity.

Do you ever use this word negatively?  How would you react to your child using this word negatively?

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