You Are SO Gay
This column is so gay.
So is too much homework on a Friday night. And stepping in dog poo. And bad haircuts, computer viruses, late buses, broken flip-flops and pretty much anything else that just sucks. Ironically, a word that traditionally means “happy” and “gleeful” now refers to the opposite; thanks to those we esteem to be the champions of heteronormativity.
I noticed this several years ago in high school when a teacher assigned a challenging project. All it took was one student with an esteemed divine right to dub the assignment the “g word.” It wasn’t long until all loathed school presentations, papers and exams transformed into outcast homosexuals. Even as I sit today in my graduate level media and diversity class, I will overhear the occasional, “Oh my God, I read this really gay article the other day…” I assure you, she did not mean it was limp-wristed and wearing ass-less chaps.
I’m not sure when “gay” took on an additional connotation from its traditional definitions but it seriously reinforces the negativity of anti-gay hegemony. Urban Dictionary describes this lexical phenomenon as a new means to “describe something stupid or unfortunate—originating from homophobia—quite preferable among many teenage males to buff up their ‘masculinity.’”
But all this slang does is force us into a community of youth who, consciously or not, enters adulthood believing the word “gay” flaunts alongside a negative stigma. It reinforces the idea that homosexuality is the opposite of what our culture expects and accepts. We “suspect” our bi-curious friends of crossing over to some sort of dark side.
Even gays buy into it. Young men use the same term they use to label themselves to describe a bad sports game or concert. And they don’t even realize what they’re doing. Some even see a big difference between one definition of the word and another. But let’s not kid ourselves, it is in fact the same loaded fucking word.
Sadly, this harmful connotation will be hard to stomp out. Once fashionable words like “mad” or “sweet” catch on in the world of America’s youth they are difficult to replace.
The only solution is to turn the system on its head. Make summer vacations and exciting internships “gay.” Call a bad test score homophobic and the nasty burnt crust on your pizza a narrow-minded douche. It’s time to stop the cycle of gay negativity with our gay generation.
Meghan Russell is a regular web contributor to Pride Fever