Tuesday, 6 March 2012
That's So Gay
OK eytomology time again, the word gay gets used a lot, mainly to refer to homosexual men & occasionally homosexual women, but in recent years it has meant that something is stupid as well. People get uppity about the usage of this term & in the way that it is ever more increasingly used. But haven't we purloined a word that was used as an insult at the time anyway? Lets look at the ways in what it has been used it originally meant happy or cheery, nothing wrong with that, but just as the word grotesque ended up being a word for an ornament that is a gargoyle without a function a gay became the opposite an ornament which was desirable & a nosegay is a term still used as bouquet although less so nowadays, I'm not sure if you classed me as an ornament I that wouldn't end up being more like a grotesque personally. Another meaning of the word gay meant carefree, which by modern standards is considered a good thing meaning happy, peaceful & free if somewhat naive, but not back then it didn't the happy & free bit probably stuck but the lack of morality in general was also meant. With that in mind the term changed to incorporate another meaning & for the first time a purely negative one, as a prostitute, meaning that they were nothing more than a pretty object to take pleasure out of without thinking of the morals of what they are doing, thankfully that meaning of the word disappeared into obscurity. But then another less welcome interpretation came into use, gay started to mean garish & flamboyant, which is the term gay came from that eventually meaning a homosexual male, yes they were calling us garish not happy or jolly, but we have subsequently taken it as a badge of honour ignoring the fact that way before it got used for us it was starting to be quite a negative term, eventually we took it on renouncing the garish connotation & putting the happy gleam on it. OK I'm proud to be gay myself & it is a badge I wear openly. So why does it seem that I'm supporting the negative use of the word, most people when they say it, do not mean that is so like a homosexual, it has become habitual & people use it without thinking, they just mean something is stupid, soon language will change & something else will mean stupid, though what I'm not sure. Please take things in context. So one of the fall outs of such phraseology has become the Queer being used by gay people about themselves, those who are not comfortable with the term gay any more, my problem with this is that queer has never been a none pejorative, it means weird or not quite right. OK heterosexual people use queer as their status too because as they don't like the stereotypical connotations of the word straight & is also used by Bi people as it may cut out some of the flack they receive & I have no problem with such a status existing, in fact I quite support it, just don't call it queer, it never has meant anything pleasant, call it other, unspecified or none heteronormative or something that is not an insult. I would prefer to be called gay than queer because at least gay does have some good connotations to it. OK people should be a little more aware of the situation that they may cause by using the term gay meaning something rubbish, but then we also need to realise that it isn't a direct attack on us.