“Gay” Has Got To Go

The insulting slang term, that is, not the people.  I’m talking about when someone says, “That’s so gay!” meaning that something is bad.  I knew that would get you hooked, though!

Seriously, is there anything in our society now that’s really uglier towards gay people than this?  To make their identity synonymous with “bad?” 

The closest thing out there to this is the widespread use of the N-word (against which I’ve railed before), but even that is usually used as an inside-term by some black people, not meant to cause hurt.  Equating “gay” with “bad,” however, can only be the most degrading kind of slur. 

This is especially important for those of us who, as Christians, hold that marriage must be only between a man and a woman, while asserting our love and brotherhood with all people, including those gay people who might disagree with us.  When conversations go there, though, the response we often get is, “Yeah, right.  Of course you love us.  That’s why you call us names.” 

Can we blame them?  If we’re using their identity as an insult, of course our declarations of respect will ring hollow.  There is definitely something wrong with our civility–and our discipleship–if we call something we don’t like “gay.”

7 comments on ““Gay” Has Got To Go

  1. This is something I was always on students about during my years of teaching. For the most part, my correction was lost on them; too many of them give zero thought to the actual meanings of the words that leave their mouths.

  2. Peter, sad but true. Often when a student says, “This test is gay!” I’ll reply with: “Yes, this test is sexually attracted to other tests of the same gender, but that’s kind of personal, so let’s get back to work.”

  3. What if one is going under the assumption that there’s something wrong with the test, abberant, abnormal, incorrect. Not functioning correctly?

  4. Psycho, there would be far more precise terms to communicate such feelings. I guess the word choice depends on one’s goal: communicate opinions without demeaning others unnecessarily, or defend a connotation as technically accurate. Unless you were just being facetious.

  5. Unless you have a definition of gay that does mean abberant, abnormal, incorrect, and not functioning correctly. People are allowed to have such opinions, that is, until Emperor Obama decides otherwise. “That test is so whack!”

    To be broken does not make someone evil. But saying there’s nothing wrong with being broken is a bad thing. Let’s take alcoholism. Intelligent doctors and psychiatrists alike all note the addictive power of alcohol. Those who are alcoholics, are sick, something’s not functioning properly, they’re broken. Admitting that they’re broken is the first step in being healed. People can go around legislating that there’s nothing “wrong” with being an alcoholic, but everyone who’s been in it’s grips, and has been delivered, recognizes that they were sick and needed healing.

    So too with same-sex attraction. It’s not the design, it’s not the normal, and will not lead to the greatest happiness of the individual. That doesn’t mean the individual is horrible, but neither does it mean that they’re not sick and don’t need healing. There may be some statistical quantity of people with SSA, but there’s also a statistical quantity of adulterers, murderers, child-abusers. Just because they exist statisitically doesn’t mean they should be normalized.

  6. Yes, whether or not someone “likes” homosexuality or gay marriage, your definitions are technically correct. Nobody’s talking about legislation or normalizing. This is about charity and civility.

    By your logic, our hypothetical, abnormal, aberrant test could be described thusly: “That test is so dwarfish!” or “That test is so red-headed!” or “That test is so orphaned!” We don’t say these things because there’s no cultural impetus to stigmatize these conditions.

    And that’s my point–we can debate the merits for and against gay marriage and even homosexual behavior itself more effectively–and more like Christ would have us do–if our language were more interested in kindness than condemnation. We are called to love others, not to stigmatize them.

    My question from my original post remains: if we’re going to casually belittle others in our conversations, why should they believe our claims to love them? If we care about communicating our beliefs and defending them effectively, shouldn’t we do so with language that is far more likely to be accepted at face value?

  7. Then, would it be possible to teach a principle of not putting anyone down rather than only one specific group?

    Mentally handicapped people get upset when someone says,
    “That test was retarded.”
    Self-identifying gays get upset when someone says,
    “That test was gay.”
    Physically handicapped people get upset when someone says,
    “That test was so lame.”

    Leading the crusade against denigrating gays places gays in a special class. Instead, you could crusade against any denigration. Why make it special against gays? What good can come from that other than normalizing homosexuality?

    You want kids to learn how to think positively, fine. You want them to not put any group down, fine. But let’s not keep singling out one group for protection and leave the rest.

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