"Gay" Is Not an Insult

People are still using the word ‘gay’ as an insult – and it needs to stop.

 

I shouldn’t feel the need to write an article about how using the word ‘gay’ as an insult is wrong in 2019. Yet recently I have witnessed a few people around my age using the term “that’s so gay” to refer to something lame or stupid.  I myself remember using this term when I was around 11 years old, before I understood what it meant. But I quickly learned how homophobic it was to use the word gay with negative insinuations and stopped.

 

The word gay doesn’t mean you are uncool, but by making the word gay synonymous with this, you are insinuating that gay people are uncool. It’s painfully obvious that using this word in a negative way is homophobic – we wouldn’t argue otherwise for words used in racist or sexist ways. This shaming of the word gay is caught up in the toxic perspective that being gay is ‘social suicide,’ that it makes you an outcast. The fact that gay people are expected to have to ‘come out’ is built on the idea that you sexuality defines you as ‘different.’

                                                                                                           

We need to understand that language has power, and just because you don’t ‘mean it’ when you use the word ‘gay’ to insult people, it still affects things. You are still giving people that do mean it support. Also, how on earth are gay people supposed to know that when you insult them you don’t mean it? Its contradictory within itself. Ultimately, by doing this, you are being homophobic, whether you mean it or not. If you are using the word gay as if ‘gayness’ is inferior to you; it’s likely that actually, a small part of you does indeed believe that.

 

You would never describe something as ‘straight’ (in terms of sexuality), because it doesn’t make sense in this society. Heterosexuality has never been prosecuted at any level -  especially in comparison to the way homosexuality has throughout our history. Heterosexuality at no time has been seen as a ‘sin’, or distasteful in any manner. Calling something ‘straight’ wouldn’t have any weight to it.

In order to fix the homophobia that is still present in this society, we need to take the negative weight out of the word ‘gay.’ Which means people need to stop using it as an insult. Homophobia will never stop otherwise.