Don't Say Gay?

I think that, right now especially, there's a lot of contention about whether or not it's okay to say certain words in the LGBTQ community, and what context you should (or should not) say them in.

You've most likely heard of the "Don't Say Gay" bills in Missouri and Tennessee. The Tennessee DSG bill has recently been axed, but the one in Missouri hasn't gone away yet. The basic, brilliant idea behind this bill is to prevent schools from teaching or discussing any version of sexuality besides the hetero kind. Wonderful, isn't it?

The "Don't Say Gay" bill, coupled with an interesting debate that took place in the Facebook branch of the LGBTQ Connection has been my inspiration this week. There seems to be a divide over whether it's okay for members of the LGBTQ community to say "gay," as in "what's the gayest thing you did today/this week?" The question has been posed in our group, in a playful, lighthearted manner more than once. Responses range from snake wrangling to the kind of music being listened to. Recently, it was suggested that to ask such a question is insulting and demeaning. Is it?

So far, there are two pretty clear points of view on the issue. The first is that some see it as insulting and offensive. The other POV is that by saying "gay" in a safe space, in a lighthearted manner, we are taking the negative, hateful, discriminatory power away from derogative uses of the word "gay" and other similar words.

What do you think? Where do you stand on this issue? Now, more than ever, this is a serious and critical time to be thinking about matters such as this. The less we talk, and the more we turn to apathy or ambivalence, the more likely we are to watch what we have worked for as a community and as a minority slip just out of our reach.


Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    I think it depends on how one is using the term "gay". I think if your intent is to express something unpleasant it is offensive. For instance I think saying "I had to work today, so gay" is wrong. I think saying "The music I listen to is super gay" isn't. In the first instance you are expressing something undesired and you could change out gay for stupid and get the same meaning across. In the second instance you are using it as a descriptive phrase because the music you listen to is something a lot of gay people enjoy, so its "gay". I do not believe using the term "gay" to express a negative opinion is reclaiming anything and does more harm than good. But to use it light heartedly to describe something that is bright and colorful and happy? Well the original meaning IS happy isn't it?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jimmy Humphries:


  • Why not just boot the word "gay" all together?

    African Americans lost "black" after many years. Now black is just a color again. If the LGBTQ Community adopted another, more modern moniker, then "gay" could go back to simply meaning "light-hearted".

    "Gay" does not really express the varying types of relationships anyway. In Hetro-Land gay is usually thought of as meaning same sex coupling, but even your acronym goes beyond that.

    Even more troubling, when "gay" is mentioned to those of a certain age, they think Fred Flintstone theme. You don't want to be cross-thought with Fred and Barney and Wilma and Betty and Dino, do you?

Leave a comment