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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
Gay by any other word
What do you think when someone calls something gay? Do you think it's acceptable? Do you admonish them for it? Are you annoyed but let it slide? Do you think less of them?

Last night I was at a co-worker's house hanging out with him, his wife, and some of their friends. One of their friends in particular called things 'gay' several times throughout the evening. After he said it the fourth or so time I called him out on it. I asked him to stop calling things gay because it made no sense, there is nothing in the meaning of the word to support the usage. He quipped back that he had a number of homosexual friends, one closer than most (no idea what that was supposed to mean), who didn't have a problem with it. He also said that people curse and that doesn't make sense but they do it anyway (which seemed like trying to justify his own view as just part of popular view).

It irks me when someone calls something gay. The word has no meaning that supports the usage. They could get away with calling something queer as it has plenty of meanings for what they're referencing (minus the fact that gays have started calling themselves a word that is still used in a negative manner on them, much the same way that blacks do (which I also disagree with)). The only way calling something gay makes sense in the context is if you're also saying that being gay is a bad thing.

Regardless of if you disagree or agree with me I want to hear your opinion on the matter. I want to see what the general consensus is as well as any individual arguments.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: None

10 comments or Leave a comment
ellixis From: ellixis Date: November 2nd, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I call people on it; generally I do it in a joking manner (Oh, really? Your school's homosexual? It likes other schools?), but if they don't get it I'll then make it clearer.

It's not okay. It is equating "gay" with "bad." I think less of people who use it, though if it's unthinking and they stop when called on it that repairs my opinion somewhat.
shadesfox From: shadesfox Date: November 2nd, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll actually do something similar. I've had several students turn in homework with a note along the lines of, "This homework is gay." I write back to them, "Homework does not have a sexual orientation."
zimzat From: zimzat Date: November 3rd, 2008 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
heh, that's how I generally tell jokes. I don't tell them very often since people usually then stare at me blankly and go 'huh?'. Maybe it's just that the thoughts it takes to get from point A to point NSZ are just unique to me. :-P

Thank you for your feedback. :-)
ellixis From: ellixis Date: November 3rd, 2008 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it takes a certain sense of humor.
neo_prodigy From: neo_prodigy Date: November 2nd, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I kinda go back and forth with it myself.

If I'm with friends and they say it, then it doesn't bother me, because they know me and I know they aren't being offensive.

If it's someone I don't know--depending on them and the circumstances--I might raise an eyebrow.

But in my classroom, I don't allow that expression at all because I don't want to be perceived as being homophobic.

One way to deal with it is sort of to roll with it. Like one thing I've done is when someone says that's so gay, I usually reply with yeah and not in the hot male on male action kind of way either. Or I'll say....no that's beyond gay. I think that helps because you're establishing that it's clear that this is a matter about something being stupid and it's not about GLBT culture.

But that's been my experience and it's worked for me.
divaprime From: divaprime Date: November 2nd, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm very direct about my objection to the derogatory use of the word "Gay". Some years ago my nieces and nephew were tossing it about. They tried to make many excuses, but I finally got them to admit it meant bad to them. I explained that lots of people consider me gay and that hearing them use the word that way hurt me, like someone calling them ugly or a monster. Now they were 7, 7, 7 and 10 at the time and have never repeated that behavior in front of me ever again. If elementary kids can get it, so can adults. Try Socratic method. It's a wonderful way to make them see the error of there ways.

PS missed you last night. Think you would have found are gathering more friendly.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: November 3rd, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought about going to both but my co-worker didn't call me until about 3:45pm. That didn't break up until well after 10pm. I started having car trouble on the way there, and then even more on the way back. I'm getting stressed out by my car. I'm going to see about taking it to a shop on Tuesday after I go vote; hopefully it will hold up for a few more trips.

If the topic comes up again in the particular group I was with Saturday I think I will try asking how they would feel if someone said 'That's so Christian' when the subject matter had nothing to do with Christianity. As for work... I dunno. I'm considering posting the first video posted below by leolz in the work developer chat, and perhaps one of its related ones where they start off by saying things like 'That's so Jewish', 'That's so Hispanic', etc.

The problem with getting adults to 'get' it is, well, stubbornness. In general they don't like being proven wrong. I will continue to attempt to correct them if it is flagrant use, though.

I've been thinking about it too much and I'm starting to take it as a personal insult. *takes a deep breath and releases it slowly*
(Deleted comment)
zimzat From: zimzat Date: November 3rd, 2008 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
heh, I was attempting not to use the word, but yeah. I'm guessing that all of this guy's friends don't think about or even care what they're saying really means.
leolz From: leolz Date: November 2nd, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

zimzat From: zimzat Date: November 3rd, 2008 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, those were great, thanks. I especially liked the one with Wanda Sykes. I ended up browsing some of the related videos with her in it. I may turn agenda Monday and post a link to that video on the developer IRC channel.
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