It’s Only a Word
  • Posted:
  • January 10, 2012

So, a few things I read online recently have really been bothering me. And, of course, when I get bothered, you know me. I rant. So here’s my newest rant. It’s about the power of words. Mostly about the power of one word.

Can we as on online community of people all just universally agree not to use the word “gay” to equate “stupidity”? As in “OMG!! I don’t like this thing. It’s so gay!” As in “Listen to the gay ass plot point I read in this book or saw in this movie.” As in “I am a child sounding off who doesn’t understand that things I say have certain negative connotations that could possibly hurt people.” Really? Can we just, as a society, agree not to use that word this way? In that context, as if to subtly imply that the entire LGBT community is stupid and, therefore, their rights that they are fighting for so desperately are also stupid.

Really people? Really? Do I even have to say this? Do you even realize that spouting this kind of attitude is ignorant at best and bigoted at worst? Do you even realize how much of an idiot you sound like when you say that? Do you hear what you say?

I keep seeing it online. I keep hearing it in public. I keep grinding my teeth in relative silence against the strangers, though with anyone I know personally I have been pointing out the obvious – DON’T SAY THE WORD GAY TO DIMINISH ANYTHING. IT MAKES YOU SOUND HOMOPHOBIC. If you are homophobic, than it’s probably alright, because that means that you are a bigot and there is nothing I can say to help you. If you are not a bigot then stop doing it. Program it out of your language. Hear yourself saying it when you do and STOP saying it. It can be done. It’s really bloody easy.

I believe strongly, ardently, in equal rights for the gay community. I believe that by continuing to say things like this as a society we are demeaning their attempts to be taken seriously. We do not do this with other minority groups. We don’t belittle and diminish them every time we let a little dig like this escape our mouths. No one would let anyone get away with such pejorative terminology about people of ethnic backgrounds or creeds. So why does it happen CONSTANTLY towards members of the gay community? Because it’s a powerful tool. Certain people in our government who are anti-gay rights love to hear this type of language. It validates their hate causes and inflates their bloated sense of self-importance about these issues which have nothing to do with them. It’s an easy way to continually spread hate mongering and fear, which keeps everyone in line and systemically helps to prevent people from voting for gay rights.

And, for the record US Government, denying anyone of the rights that should be allocated to EVERYONE regardless is legalized bigotry. Just saying.

It’s a poor attitude to adopt, people, and it needs to stop.

Now I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not spout off about my political beliefs here because this is not the place for it. This is a book blog and I am just a reviewer. However, I have seen the word gay being used to equate stupid in book reviews and that infuriates me. First off, how old are you when you use something so hurtful so flippantly? Five? Seven, maybe? You certainly sound like it, which kills your credibility. Secondly, YOU SOUND LIKE A BIGOT and if you want to NOT BE TAKEN AS A BIGOT than you have to STOP ACTING LIKE A BIGOT!!! Really. Just stop. We are in the business of writing words and reviewing words and if you think something is not up to snuff you can come up with a myriad of descriptive words to describe its negativity. That’s what a bloody thesaurus is for. Go look up the word stupid right now. There are several dozen other words you could be using in place of that one for your reviews and GAY IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

It’s not that hard. Unless you’re a bigot.

Furthermore, can we also lose “retarded” and “gypped” while we are at it? As in “Wow, that’s so retarded!” and “I just got gypped out of some money”. Both are negative terminology. Both are bigoted. This article can address the one better than I can articulate. And saying the word gypped is racist, as it implies that anyone of gypsy origin is a con artist. Do you get it? Does this make any sense?

Now, of course I am not calling all of you readers bigots. I wouldn’t dare. Frankly, you probably would not be reading me if you were. However, the next time you hear someone say these things I hope you think back on this post. It’s offensive to constantly hear things like this. It’s beyond insulting. When I think of all of my gay friends, and I have many, I think of millions of other words to describe them. Like loving, supportive, friendly and kind. Like creative and engaging and funny and charismatic and brother and best friend and lover… etc, etc. Do I need to go on, or have I made my point?

And, for fucks sake, don’t use the excuse of “It’s okay; I have lots of gay friends. I’m entitled.” No, you are not. If you have gay friends, than you should know better. End of story.

*End Rant*

– BP

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Rachel Triska

2012-01-10 18:49:36 Reply

I agree 100%. I have spent the last 2 years as a nanny to a severely disabled girl who is the sweetest, funniest and most engaging 12-year-old that I have ever met! I must admit that I never noticed it before and even sometimes used it myself….. but ever since then when I hear the word retarded being used like that it really gets on my wick. I believe that a lot of people honestly do not realise what they are doing; but they should.


2012-01-11 14:04:04 Reply

That’s the point, Rachel. People don’t realize what they say to a large extent. They don’t realize how hurtful it it. I hear it and I just want to correct the person, and sometimes do… if I am feeling feisty. In my experience starngers don’t like to be told that they are wrong. However, I hear retarded every day used that way and gay used the other way and it just makes me crazy. This is why I wrote this, to point it out. And, hopefully, to be able to auto link people to it whenever I see it. It’s just awful.

Moirae(thefates) book reviews

2012-01-19 08:22:56 Reply

I’ve also seen and heard people use the term “Jewing down” and that was really fries my cookies. I never knew where the term “gypped” came from. I hate the term retarded, or even mentally retarded, it just sounds harsh. I always correct people and say “Mentally handicapped” or “Special” it’s just nicer.
I don’t even like the term “gay” since it originally meant “Happy”.
In the words of my best friend “Some peoples children.”


2012-05-06 21:20:57 Reply

The above comment perfectly highlights the type of flippant attitude I was trying to describe in the post. Thank you for conveying the exact negative attitude that my blog post did not.