Let’s get uncharacteristically serious for a second, here…
It was really hot last week. I mean hot – like 95 degrees with humidity and no air conditioning-hot. Usually when that happens, I have to leave the front door open to prevent the entire family from dying of dehydration; this time it was a necessity for most of the day and night. On the third day, a group of punk ass kids were walking by outside and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation, which was riddled with the term “that’s GAY.” This annoyed me, because I’m almost certain that they were not referring to things that were actually gay. So I thought it would be good if we established for everyone what it really means to be gay, once and for all.
(This might seem a bit simplistic for our usual discussions, but it is clear that this conversation needs to be spelled out as simply as possible.) There are a few possible definitions of the term “gay.”
#1 Gay: happy, a state of overjoy. This is the more archaic way of referring to someone that is happy. I remember when I was about six I kept asking my mom what it meant to be “gay” and she said “happy” so for a few days I walked around saying “I am feeling very gay today!” Most people giggled, but the older folks were glad I was so happy. There is nothing wrong with saying you feel gay if you mean you are in a great mood.
#2 Gay: homosexual, or identifying with a group of people who prefer the sexual orientation of the same sex as their own. In the “gay community,” there are many different factions: lesbians, bisexuals, homosexual males, transexuals, etc., etc. Sometimes when you say “gay” in the “gay community” you are referring to the man-et-man faction; other times you will hear lesbians and bisexuals saying they too are gay. There is nothing wrong with saying you are gay if you mean you prefer the sexual orientation of the same sex as your own.
There are a number of things that the term “gay” does not refer to:
The term “gay” does not mean something is bad or stupid or unfortunate. This is a direct negation of the first definition, which was “happy, a state of overjoy.” Would you be happy and in a state of overjoy if you were in the presence of something bad or stupid or unfortunate? I think not.
The term “gay” does not mean something is morally wrong. No matter what your moral standard, “gay” does not mean something that is morally wrong. If you mean overjoyed, there is certainly nothing wrong with that feeling. Further, there is nothing wrong with being “gay,” as in homosexual, from a moral perspective. Let me elaborate: if you use religion as your moral standard, you cannot say there is anything morally wrong with being gay – unless you are so literal as to your interpretation of the Bible that you abstain from the entire list of things that are considered wrong. This is including (but not limited to) driving on Sundays and eating shellfish on any days. Do you drive to church? Then you are not a literalist and you cannot apply your loose Biblical standards so fickly. Every person that I explain this to goes on, then, to say that being gay, as in homosexual, is morally wrong because it is unnatural for a man to have intercourse with another man. To that, I ask: why? Why is it unnatural? Is it natural for women to give hummers to their boyfriends? Is it natural for men to watch shark porn? A personal preference in the bedroom is no more unnatural than preferring to add salt instead of sugar to your apple pie.
And while we’re at it, there is no such thing as “gay marriage.” There is marriage, there is gay (happy), and there is gay (homosexual) – and I’m very sure that there are gay (homosexual) people that are married and gay (happy). But there is no more a thing as “gay marriage” as there is “straight marriage.” There is marriage, which is a spiritual, as well as legal and financial, union between two people. Not a single person or law has a right to mandate who those two people can be – whether they are of the same sex or not.
Generally, when people try to use the term “gay” in a pejorative way, they do so because they think that underhandedly establishes a precedent for saying that gay people are bad. All this does is make them sound ignorant, though. How stupid do those punk ass kids walking outside sound when they say something is “gay” when we have established that “gay” either means happy or homosexual, and that there is nothing wrong with either one of those things? “Dude, that shirt is so gay.” Why thank you! I thought it was happy-looking, I’m glad to hear you are overjoyed at the sight of it! “Mrs. Steiner is so gay!” I’m sure Mr. Steiner is not a woman, but if he were – what is your point? To the punk ass kids walking by, and anyone else that believes “gay” means anything other than what we have established, shut the hell up. All you are doing is making yourself sound even stupider and ignorant than you already are. One day this whole “gay thing” will go down in history books as another blunder on the part of ignorant America, like segregation and racism against African Americans was. Do you want to be lumped in with those ignorant hillbillies that were too stupid to read a dictionary?
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