The misuse of the word ‘gay’ – a polemic from Lily

The word ‘gay’ is used in a derogatory way, which alienates a group of people.  It is used wrongly as people intend it to be disparaging and offensive but its true meanings-happy and homosexual- get lost in the process.  This then leads to the notion of being homosexual having negative connotations.  Although this seems to be the most common view and a view which makes sense both morally and logically perhaps one can look at the use of the word ‘gay’ as a progression and evolutionary step in language.  The meaning of words, especially adjectives have been prone to change over time, coming full circle in some cases.  Some examples of this are words such as ‘wicked’ or ‘bad’.  In certain classes and parts of society these words are used to convey something in a bad way, whilst they can be used as a positive expression also.  In the same way if one accepts that the word ‘gay’ has been turned into an adjective that no longer has any connection to homosexuality, surely it should not cause homosexuality to be subconsciously considered as a negative attribute.

However the common answer to such a suggestion is that due to the negative feelings towards homosexuality in our recent past and negative feelings that are still present even today and inevitably will be around in the near future, it is impossible to distance the word gay from homosexuality as the two remain synonymous and in addition, any negative use of the word ‘gay’ will result in the prolonged feeling of negativity towards homosexuality as a sexual orientation.  In response to this understandable viewpoint one can refer to the example of the word ‘dark’ or ‘black’ and its use in the modern day.  The word ‘dark’, which inevitably stems from racist views towards people of colour, is now accepted as a term of no relation and can be used freely to describe expressions of malice or evil.  Despite the fact that racism is still an issue today, ‘dark’ is not questioned or frowned upon if used as a negative adjective.  Therefore, by the same logic, as soon as gay loses its meaning of homosexuality just as it previously lost its meaning of happiness, then perhaps it will be accepted as a perfectly reasonable way to express negative feelings.  As a society today we are in the transitional phase of the words meaning and so, slowly but in my view surely, and that is said with no undertones of homophobia simply with the evolution of our language in mind, the word ‘gay’ will become accepted as a word used to express distaste.

One thought on “The misuse of the word ‘gay’ – a polemic from Lily

  1. Wow i never knew that! This is a very descriptive article. I never knew any of these things!
    I knew one or two of these things but now i know everything! Thank you! great article!

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