Tuesday, March 22, 2011

That is so gay...

I cannot count the times I have heard this phrase uttered and each times it grates on my nerves. It is yet another sign of the blatant homophobia our society seems to relish. Yes, things have been slowly getting better for the LGBT community, but the use of the word 'gay' to mean something that is bad is still horrendously pervasive.

Whenever I hear 'gay' uttered in a negative connotation I immediately lose some respect for that person. I associate it with mindless homophobia and pathetically juvenile behavior. I find it even more tragic when people who do not seem outwardly homophobic still use it. As it either means they realize their homophobia is wrong and are trying to hide it or they truly believe there is nothing wrong with those with other sexual orientations but have never actually thought through the implications of using the phrase.

Many people have recently attempted to claim that the term no longer means what it used to or that it is a duel use word. These arguments are both ill thought out and idiotic attempts to keep their precious insult. The Youtuber Zinnia Jones (ZJemptv) has an excellent refutation of these arguments. She not only points out why such views are wrong but also uses the arguments of such apologists against them, something I do love to hear.

In the comments many people brought up the fact that words such as 'lame', 'dumb' and 'idiot' used to refer only to people with various disabilities, but are now only archaically connected to them. It seems many people are swayed by this argument, but it too has its major flaws. I pointed this out in a comment but I would like to elaborate on it here.

One thing these people are not taking into consideration is the fact that when such words began to be co-opted for their now common use, the people that they original were used to describe were seen as sub-human at best. There was no voice for the disabled and it was not uncommon for them to be abandoned to wards where they were experimented upon, left to die and treated like curiosities to be used. Eventually the terms did lose their original meanings, but only after the derogatory meaning became the more common and after disabled people were recognized as individuals deserving of equal treatment. Had this shift in ethics not occurred, then such terms would still be duel use words. If we take this lesson and apply it to the word 'gay' as a derogative, then anyone who uses the a fore mentioned argument must also think that actual gay people are also sub-human and do not deserve the respect others are shown.

If this is in fact the case than users of this term should be granted the same 'respect' by society at large. Amongst thoughtful and intelligent people the negative is already thought of something used only by drunk frat members and 13 year olds who want to try and act tough. Neither of these groups are renowned for their innate intelligence. It is my hope that the negative use of the word 'gay' will fad away, something to be seen by future generations as a stupidity left over from a more bigoted era. And the more people who openly oppose its use and call out those who do so, the more likely that this future will occur.
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Infidel753 said...

It's an odd locution and most likely a deliberate effort to shore up a dwindling prejudice, with plausible deniability.

I wonder if "That's so Republican" could be successfully popularized as a substitute.

(You do know that ZJ is a guy?)

Cyc said...

Hehe, that is certainly a thought.

I am aware that ZJ is physically male, but unless I'm mistaken, she has stated that she prefers the gender reference of female, as such I am using it.