This morning, I noticed on Facebook that a friend of mine had liked a status which made my blood boil. It concerned the current status of the word ‘gay’. As I only just decided to write about this I have to recall the status and its reception from memory:
‘I’m pretty tired of people saying it’s wrong to use the phrase “That’s so gay”. The meaning of words evolve over time and this phrase is following the trend. Using such a phrase is evolution, not homophobia’
The first thing wrong with that statement, is that gay was a word created as an acronym for ‘Good As You’ by the earliest waves of the gay rights movement in the 1960s. Secondly, from my own putrid experiences of people using the aforementioned term; it is mostly straight people who use such a slur when describing something bad. The majority of humanity are heterosexual and therefore they have desecrated this phrase to becoming the shadow of its former self.
I’ve touched upon how using this slur is ‘watered down homophobia’ before in my article ‘Why I am a Straight Man for Gay Rights’ which I wrote for Gay Star News. I won’t go into too much detail here on why I think it’s homophobic to use this slur because it’s quite clearly put in the article.
And it is for that sole purpose that I will post this beautiful photo of James Franco, which helped me gain so many hits on GSN. (And because he’s been my most recent obsession with my discovery of the outstanding Freaks and Geeks).
Returning to the reception of this status – another comment concerned how gay is not being recalled in its definition like the terms ‘bitch’ and ‘slut’ are by Third Wave Feminism. I certainly agree that the SlutWalk is making an excellent job on this, but I don’t see anything happening within the gay movement to make a word of pride and self respect into a term for hatred and bigotry. So if you ever see a ‘GayWalk’ marching for you to use this slur, please let me know about it.
But what stood out for me in the reception of this status, is this comment:
‘People obviously can’t think of any new insults to use and therefore must resort to the most commonly offensive words.’
Now this is something I’ve been keen on for many years now. Insults are an excellent way of expressing your anger and help to relieve stress when we need to chill out. But what makes them most surprising and hilarious is not their delivery, but the vocabulary you use when telling someone how disgusted you are.
Using just a few of the phrases deemed ‘most offensive’ by society is just plain lazy. The English language is the most advanced language in the world with thousands of new words coming into use every minute of every day. We have tons upon tons of luscious verbal gems that can be used to express just how truly treacherous life is for us. So next time you’re trolling someone on twitter or thinking of leaving an enemy dumbfounded, consult a dictionary beforehand and amaze them with words they may never had heard in common usage. Be creative for once. People are scared easily by things they don’t understand and that’s the best way to break someone or something if they have made your life utter hell.
With that said, I’ll leave the almighty (and very gay) Stephen Fry to give us a tirade of the finest insults imaginable: