The Implication of Insults

April 19, 2012
By Crossingmyfingers SILVER, Mounds View, Minnesota
Crossingmyfingers SILVER, Mounds View, Minnesota
9 articles 6 photos 11 comments

Language is ever-changing, but the evolution of the word "gay" has become more harmful than beneficial. "Gay" has gone from "a state of happiness" to "homosexual, sinful, and stupid." I have a vicious problem with people– my classmates, my acquaintances, my friends– who use the word "gay" as a synonym for "stupid" or label people "gay" as an insult. Humans can be stunningly cruel without even realizing the consequences of their actions. Every person that I know who has ever uttered the word "gay" in that manner does not actually have a problem with gay people. To be honest, I used to say "That's so gay," too. The phrase was and is colloquial.

Then I was called gay. The funny thing is that I do not remember how I found out about the rumor. In the end, the source of the gossip does not matter. Floating through the air, the three-letter word landed on my shoulder like a light feather, making me look down at it and wonder, "When did you get there?" All during my primary education, I had one best friend. Maybe we were closer than most girls at the time or maybe we were considered too off beat, but our closeness caused some of the more snobbish classmates to think that our companionship meant we must be gay.

I never found out if people actually believed the rumor or if they just muttered it among themselves as capricious judgments. Regardless, the words were said. I was not ostracized because of the label: no fists were thrown; no hair was pulled. To put everything quite plainly, nothing happened because of it. I do not have any issues with the gay community, and I never will. The problem was that I hated being mislabeled. I wanted people to perceive me as myself. Even more than that, I hated that my averse reaction to being called a lesbian made me feel like a homophobe, which I am not. For awhile, that small dose of bullying changed the way I thought about myself. It made me a little less free and a little more wary of other people's opinions.

A word has two definitions: its connotation and its denotation. By using expressions like "You're so gay," the general impression is that being gay is wrong, stupid, and lame. While I fervently disagree with anyone who says that being gay is not right, their opinion is their own. However, having different opinions does not give people a valid reason to throw away the word's denoted definition and replace it with derogatory connotations. What makes this crime limitlessly consequential is that now kids and adults use the word "gay" incorrectly without even thinking. They may have no qualm with the gay lifestyle, but they ignorantly describe things as "gay" because our culture has taught them to. The world already has enough bullies; do not be the one to add to their masses with a few careless words.

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