Unless the person saying "_____ is gay" means that thing is either extraordinarily happy or is actually queer (like "that is a gay bar" about a bar that caters to a mostly homosexual crowd), this is one of the most common ways to sound both ignorant and horribly bigoted in so few words.

My younger brother has a tendency to do this. Such-and-such car is gay. His friend was acting stupid, therefore he was acting gay. Everything on the damn planet that he doesn't approve of is gay.

Every single time he uses this term, he comes across as a bigoted, ignorant asshole with no social graces.

Gay does not mean useless, stupid, boring, or any other negative adjective you can think of ... it means happy and, in American English slang, it is commonly used to represent a homosexual/non-heterosexual person. Period.

This may sound nit-picky, and god forbid I would force my gay philosophy on you, but there is some truth to the idea that rhetoric has power. Every time a person hears "gay" used as a derogatory adjective for an object or person in an out-of-context way, it desensitizes them to gay bashing, to hatred.

I don't think that's something we need to be any more desensitized to.

The use of "gay" as a pejorative is not merely a matter of carelessness in most cases. Although the action has not been thought through in many (perhaps most) cases, the word, since its current primary meaning is that of "homosexual," has a periphrastic connotation of homosexuality.

Thus, even if the word is being used in its sense of "oddly different," it breeds a very strong unconscious association between the meaning of "bad" and "homosexual."

I can attest to this happening among young people myself, as I am a straight but not narrow high schooler who recently came to school with my nails painted. What I had done was summarily called "gay" in its senses of both "homosexual" and "bad," where both meanings were clearly intended.

Perhaps "gay" is the only pejorative left to our children -- in my experience, I note that our youth describes things as "gay" more often than anyone else. Political correctness has stripped us of all words that might possibly offend anyone, even minutely. I note that no one used this word in this way back when I was in sixth grade. We had a lot more choices back then.

Kids are efficient. Their vocabularies aren't as large, nor their base of experience, as adults. They need to get their point across inmediatamente, as is the nature of kids. They know better than we that one word often is far more clear than ten.

When I hear or read a word, I consider the context. I rarely find the word gay being used to offend homosexuals when used as a negative adjective. I just don't feel the hate (that could be there if the term "faggot" were being used) when hearing or reading some kid describing something as "gay", because the delivery is so offhand; there's no intentional offense being given. And since I often happen to like the things being described (especially when the term's being used by younger computer gamers), I marvel at how well our youth has plugged in to gay sensibilites.

However, if I find the word in context offends me as a gay person ... I'll say something to the person making the utterance. I calmly state I'm gay, and leave it at that. The other person will then either expose their own fear of homosexuals/ity, or they'll realize they've given offense with cause aforethought. Usually some form of intelligent discussion ensues. This is one of the benefits of being a homosexual; since we're an invisible minority, we can pop up in the most unexpected places.

Language evolves, you'd do well to evolve with it.

I find the use of ignorant and bigoted rather interesting in the context above considering that one of the synonyms given for gay was queer. The assumption that queer == homosexual is prejudiced itself.

Since we are playing word games, one of the definitions of queer is (from Merriam-Webster) "differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal," Given that gay means queer in your world, I can conveniently attach the definition of queer above and in doing so make the term x is gay acceptable. Ironically, my definition more closely matches what your brother's statements actually meant.

You've equated gay to homosexual in a context that clearly does NOT mean homosexual. You think that anyone using gay to indicate anything other than happy or queer is demonstrating lack of social grace. Sadly, in the long run, you are the one being bigoted. And sadly, you are the one now using gay out of context. Gay has many more definitions than homosexual and happy. Perhapse in the beginning saying "This is gay" was meant as a disparaging statement. I do not contest that, and it's likely my generation who is to blame for that. But this simply is no longer the case and you'll have to accept the definiton that gay has in the context that the new generations use it in.

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