Words and Definitions: GAY – I Really Don’t Like This Word
When I came to the realization that I was gay, I remember thinking what does this mean? Is this what I really am? I didn’t all of a sudden feel any different. I didn’t feel like my body or mind changed or that I went through some sort of metamorphosis.
Why is it that the words gay and homosexual are interchangeable and being used to describe the same thing? I didn’t understand. As I grew into my twenties, I increasingly begin to distance myself from the word “gay”. Now in my thirties, even though I use the word in conversation I don’t view myself as a gay man. To be quite frank…I really don’t like this word.
I remember years ago getting online and searching for the word “homosexual”. Many of the search results were medical, psychological, religious or clinical in nature. When I searched for the word “gay” what was returned were pages of porn, chat sites, pride pages, blogs, HIV / AIDS info, activism, etc. There seemed to be much more that was related to or that included the word “gay”.
I must say I struggled to write this post because some men that I have talked to stated that I am making a big deal out of nothing. Stating “It’s just a word.”
When Obama won the election and became the President of the United States, would it have been okay for Time magazine cover title to state…
“OUR FIRST COLORED PRESIDENT”?
Homosexual, queer, homo, fag, gay, sissy…if you identity with one of these words, you should be able to identify with and answer to them all because they there are just words right?
Well words are powerful! They carry weight and can call up emotions, passion, imagery and convictions. Wars have been waged due to words that have provoked actions.
GAY is not just some mere word. It is a word that is used to describe an entire group of people regardless if the people the term is associated with like the word or not.
The word is used to separate a “regular” man from a “gay” man even though they are both males. As if gay is a separate distinct species of male human beings.
When I think about the word gay, I think of a gay lifestyle and movement. I think of gay clubs or bars. I think of gay parades with men showing pride by dressing in outrageous drag, being practically naked in underwear, speedos, boy shorts, leather chaps or in bandage gear, etc. Dancing and gyrating to techno music on floats while waving gay flags filled with purples, pinks and other pastel colors.
By the way is the “pride” in the pride parades showing pride for the gayness, the sexuality or the gay sex? Is one prerequisite for fighting for equal rights and showing pride is that you have to wear eyeliner or skimpy underpants?
One of the things that still continues to have me confused and perplexed is how is it that the majority of gay men speak the same way? Regardless of how faint or pronounced, where in the hell does the lispy gay twang that is added to the way they speak come from…really? (To me it is a learned gay behavior, but I will get into that in a later). Think about this; when you hear a stand-up comedian imitate and mimic a gay person, what does it sound like?
A very important thing that needs to be acknowledged is that the world at large does not associate the word gay or homosexuality with or having anything to do with masculinity or manliness even though we know we exist and have always existed throughout history.
What I find peculiar is that the majority of gay men I know do not associate or participate in the gay lifestyle or any of its movements. They have never marched in a gay pride parade and may go to a gay club or a bar a handful of times throughout the year. They rarely if ever relate to any of the effeminate gay male characters in movies, television or what is seen online; so why do they label themselves with this word…gay? Is it just because it is easy to say and rolls off the tongue in one syllable?
1. Excited with merriment; manifesting sportiveness or delight; inspiring delight; livery; merry.
2. Brilliant in colors; splendid; fine; richly dressed.
3. Loose; dissipated; lewd.
Synonyms – Merry; gleeful; blithe; airy; lively; sprightly, sportive; light-hearted; frolicsome; jolly; jovial; joyous; joyful; glad; showy; splendid; vivacious.
Current Webster Dictionary definition includes:
4a: homosexual <gay men>
4b: of, relating to, or used by homosexuals <the gay rights movement> <a gay bar>
2. of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues: a gay organization.
In addition to its original and continuing senses of “happy, merry, lively” and “bright or showy,” GAY has had various senses dealing with sexual conduct since the 17th century. A gay woman was a prostitute, a gay man a womanizer, a gay house a brothel. This sexual world included homosexuals too, and GAY as an adjective meaning “homosexual” may go back to the late 1930s but was not used to refer to homosexuals until the 20th century. After World War II, as social attitudes toward sexuality began to change, GAY was applied openly by homosexuals to themselves, first as an adjective and later as a noun. Today, the noun often designates only a male homosexual: gays and lesbians. The word has ceased to be slang and is not used disparagingly. HOMOSEXUAL as a noun is sometimes used only in reference to a male.
When it comes to who I am as a human being and as a man…I am not gay.
More to come very soon on this conversation. Believe me, I am just getting started!
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