Well that’s gay!
Friends of my children have been putting those particular words together for years now. It has always driven me to distraction. My typical response runs along the lines of “how was that a joyous event?” or “They do appear to be enjoying themselves” I’ve almost never been able to let that one pass. What they mean to say is “that went queerly” or “that makes me feel weird”, but their undereducated little brains cannot retrieve the proper words to express themselves clearly.
Gay≠Queer, Gay≠Bad, Gay≠Stupid
Gay is not queer, queer is not gay. Queer; as any decent dictionary (not Wikipedia btw. Wiki is consumed with slang usage, the nature of a popularly edited tome) will tell you, means strange or odd, or when used as a verb means something akin to spoiling. It was thrown as an insult at homosexuals and transgendered people by backwards thinking troglodytes who were made to feel strange or odd by a man wearing a dress or acting feminine. If those groups wish to label themselves as queer now (much the way christians adopted the insulting term for followers of christ as their name) that would be their business.
In much the same fashion, gay does not mean homosexual, even though most dictionaries now list that as its primary meaning. Gay means happily excited or lighthearted and carefree. Case in point; when the Flintstones theme song encourages you to have a gay-old time they are not suggesting you become homosexual;
They want you to enjoy yourself lightheartedly; a perfectly cromulent way to define an episode of The Flintstones. So when friends of my children (or gaming troglodytes on the internet) exclaim “well that’s gay” in response to something that frustrates their primitive brains, I can get a bit snippy. Your latent homosexuality (homophobia) causing you to to be set queer towards homosexuals does not mean you get to call your reaction “gay”. Gay is something you enjoy, not something that pisses you off or scares you.
In that sense (a sense of joyous engagement) homosexuals who want to label themselves with the word gay are welcome to it. But can I have queer back, please? I mean, I like the word. It easily defines the feeling you get when walking through a graveyard at night. When someone is watching you and you can’t figure out who it is. It’s a good word, just not an insult to be hurled at people who are clearly enjoying themselves.
As my daughter observed on Facebook; yes, I have been reported on World of Warcraft for suggesting that someone insulting the english language by transposing the words gay and queer should pull their heads out of their asses and understand word meanings. Ironically their complaint was that I was insulting homosexuals by using the word queer.
What people choose to label themselves with is not a concern of mine; has never been something I take seriously or give meaning to. People call themselves all kinds of things in the course of their lives, almost never do they actually adopt the entirety of what the word really means (Objectivist and Libertarian spring immediately to mind) or actually even have a clue what other people adopting the label really believe.
The rant my daughter was on about on Facebook (the one that inspired this piece) concerned the word retarded. As someone who was labeled slow for most of his childhood, it’s another subject I can get snippy about. Having a learning disability, being retarded in development (retard means to slow; it is an engineering term) is one thing; being called a retard is no different than being called stupid, uneducated, or dumb (although dumb has many other insulting meanings as well) it is insulting to be so labeled, and people should be challenged when they offer base insults to people they disagree with. It is ad hominem, and beside the point of argument to be insulting to your opponents.
However, when you call a console retarded, I really don’t see the point of being offended personally.