Wednesday, 21 October 2009

let's get this straight

In the wake of Jan Moir's badly-researched, popularly (and at times, inadequately) lambasted article about Stephen Gately's death, Tweeters went apeshit. There was a flurry of personal attacks. The PCC was contacted. Celebrity Tweeters waded in to the argument, even, somewhat controversially, Jonathan Ross. Also, tags were created. One, which I found as irrevocably offensive as the article in question, was '#thedailymailisgay'. This grated me. Jan Moir's homophobia, as detailed by an article that has now received almost 22,000 complaints, was, at the very least, articulate. And it was brought into question by every single publication going. People are now talking about gay hatred, and how horrible it is. And how....and how...'gay' it is. Confused much?

The BBC gave Chris Moyles a little ticking off for describing a ring-tone as 'gay' a while back. But, of course, 'gay' is still used by many as a pejorative. I have friends who regularly use it this way, and they are otherwise not homophobic, as far as I know. 'My phone's not working. Gay.'

As much as some of my closest friends use it as such, 'gay' is only chosen as a pejorative by someone who is too lazy to use their vocabulary to its deserved capacity. By teaming 'gay' with the meaning 'shit', there is inevitable crossover that 'gay' to mean 'homosexual' means 'shit' as well. Confused? Again? Here's the etymology of this poor slang: 'Shit' is the stuff that comes out of our pooper, stuff that no-one wants, stuff that is immeasurably useless to us (eco-warriors, fuck off. Shit is shit). By transposing this, 'gay' to mean 'shit' gives us: people who come out of our pooper [LOL], people who no-one wants, people who are immeasurably useless to us.

But surely no-one thinks any of that?! My cousin's friend is gay, and we get on really well! And I think Danyl Johnson is so brilliant! And I got so pissed off at that fat bitch Jan Moir for that horrible article about Stephen Gately!

Well, the sad case is that some people do think gay people are shit. Homophobes exist in Britain, and I'm not just talking about yobs tackling a civil servant and kicking him to death for being 'gay'. I'm not just talking about the cretin who stabbed a man on his doorstop for being 'gay'. I'm not just talking about the hundreds of people across this country who, year upon year, verbally abuse, beat, rape or murder people for being 'gay'. I'm talking about intelligent, non-violent people who do nothing to tarnish the misconceptions, stereotypes and insults directed at gays, because they can't be bothered to use an appropriate word when pissed off, disappointed or let down. Jan Moir did not say anything that a lot of people weren't thinking, but she validated many narrow-minded opinions. In the same way, 'gay' to mean 'shit' validates many opinions that 'homosexual' means 'shit'

As long as there is under-representation, hatred and persecution of people who identify as 'gay', using 'gay' as a pejorative is not going to fly with me. Accept this as a friendly warning. I'm not out to whip the backs of your legs, Tatchell style, or to start fundraisers for Stonewall. Alas, I'm too busy looking after my own selfish needs to do that. But next time you say 'Oh, that club is so gay', please do expect me to ask how much Kylie they'll be playing.

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