| FORUM | ARCHIVE |                    | TOTAL QUIZ RESULT |


  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Gay
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login


Welcome stranger, click here to read about some of the great benefits of registering for a free account with us and joining us in our global online community.


Gay

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master


Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Location: Bush Capital
Status: Offline
Points: 7823
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Gay
    Posted: 19 May 2013 at 12:53
Perhaps no word is more loaded with meaning in the English language than the word gay. First written down by Chaucer to mean someone who is joyful and happy in effeminate way, it has had extra meanings dumped on top of it in the last 150 years to mean everything from a male homosexual, to, happy, stupid, effeminate, a woman's name, or inappropriate. In some circles it's usage is unbiqitous and mild, in other's it is a swear word and an insult, or an identity and description. All while retaining the original meaning.
There are groups who'd have it banned, and groups oblivious to it's contraversy.

How do you fall on the word? Do you consider it a swear word or abusive term? Is it your name? Do you use it to teach children good behaviour like somesort of a bogeyman? Are you gay? Or merely homosexual? Can you be homosexual without being gay?
Back to Top
Sponsored Links


Back to Top
Harburs View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Chieftain

Joined: 10 Feb 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3144
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2013 at 08:08
From my point of view. It has a negative charge to it; it means something wrong, not ordinary and distasteful.
"Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thought, Good Word, and Good Deed" Zoroaster.
Back to Top
Parnell View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar

Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Location: Barcelona
Status: Offline
Points: 3227
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2013 at 10:26
I see it as a lighthearted expression of disdain - ie, 'these potatoes are gay', or 'your tee shirt is quite gay'. Not homophobic or anything, just a word that has entered public consciousness and has become divorced from its original meaning. A bit like faggot, which used to be a term to describe logs of firewood, not it is a term of abuse for homosexuals (A word I would never use by the way. One of the few, alongside the 'N' word)
http://xkcd.com/15/



Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. ~George Bernard Shaw
Back to Top
lirelou View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Location: Tampa, FL
Status: Offline
Points: 1346
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2013 at 13:58
I used to use 'faggot' as a term for derision for anyone I did not like. Kim Jong-Il, for instance. However, since my retirement I may have matured a bit (we're slow to do so in the combat arms) and no longer use the word. I do use the 'N' word on occasion, usually in literary terms. It's easer that saying "Joseph Conrad's The N-word of the Narcissus" or "Mr. N word Jim in Huckleberry Finn."

The supreme irony is that I now hear people I would have referred to as 'coloreds' once upon a time describe themselves as 'men, woman, people of color', which seems to be an awfully convoluted way of saying colored men, women, people, etc. Except now anyone not White is "of color", which to me is taking a page right out of Apartheid South Africa (though the 'Bantu' were a different class from 'Coloureds' there).

Yes, all humans deserve respect. Now if we could just all agree on the terminology, or lack of necessity thereof.

Edited by lirelou - 20 May 2013 at 13:59
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2013 at 21:08
The word itself will differ radically in meaning depending on where it is being said and the meaning the person saying the word chooses to communicate.

My understanding of how the word has evolved is that a word had to be found to label a group of people whom previously has usually been referenced using the worst slurs and condemnations, but who now needed a more appropriate demonym since social mores had evolved.

Gay was chosen. Perhaps in Chaucer's time it had an effeminate slant to it, but by the time it was being adopted it did not. It simply meant carefree and happy. If it had an effeminate air to it, I doubt it would have been employed as part of the theme song in the Flintstone's introduction.

I do not believe that gay = effeminate. To label someone effeminate, I would use the words 'effeminate' or more casually 'camp'. Gay simply means homosexual. I prefer the word gay over homosexual for the same reason I prefer the term white over caucasoid - because it is shorter, more casual and doesn't sound like some clinical medical condition.

Gay is used as a derisive slur sometimes, and I find this is especially the case with adolescents. Teens are frequently cruel, keen to attack non-conformity, highly ignorant of sexual relations, and live in a world where casual homophobia is still pretty common and tolerated - so it is only natural they commandeer the word gay to use as a personal attack. My own younger sister and brother have used it when referring to something they do not like, and when doing so I remind them that they should not use that word that way. They apologise and say they will try not to in future, and I know they simply do it unconsciously and without thought or malice. But since when is bringing up children ever totally without challenges.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2013 at 21:44
Usually reliable:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=gay&searchmode=none

Personally I first heard 'gay' meaning a homsexual male in 1969 in San Francisco when the marchers in the Moratorium March Vietnam protest included a contingent with the banner 'Gays against the War'.

I always thought it was a stupid word to choose. Still do.


Edited by gcle2003 - 20 May 2013 at 21:47
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master


Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Location: Bush Capital
Status: Offline
Points: 7823
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2013 at 22:51
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

Personally I first heard 'gay' meaning a homsexual male in 1969 in San Francisco when the marchers in the Moratorium March Vietnam protest included a contingent with the banner 'Gays against the War'.

Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

My understanding of how the word has evolved is that a word had to be found to label a group of people whom previously has usually been referenced using the worst slurs and condemnations, but who now needed a more appropriate demonym since social mores had evolved.

Gay was chosen. Perhaps in Chaucer's time it had an effeminate slant to it, but by the time it was being adopted it did not. It simply meant carefree and happy. If it had an effeminate air to it, I doubt it would have been employed as part of the theme song in the Flintstone's introduction.

Quite the contray Constantine. Gay started being used to refer to homosexuality in the 1880s - 1890s timeperiod, when the word meant carefree and happy but in a bohemian and immoral way. Gay was used as a slur and condemnation of what in modern parlance be referred to as the "homosexual lifestyle". It was not a more appropriate demonym.
Like many slurs, this was adopted by those it was directed at as a description and identity, so the word migrated from being a negative word directed at homosexuals into meaning homosexuality. So when your younger brother and sister use the word derisively, they aren't commandeering the word, and it could be argued it isn't because of homophobia, rather they are using (an) original meaning that has survived.

By the 1950s the bohemian aspect of the word gay had subsided, it certainly isn't in the "gay old time" of the Flintstones. I don't think the more innocent meaning of the word gay was new then either, it too has a long history (gcle's link suggests both meanings date from before the 15th century)

I didn't mention the high-school usage in my first post because I thought it may be parochially Australian and perhaps a little difficult to explain without sounding chauvinistic, but you are right that the word is used amoungst teenagers (particlarly boys) to attack non-conformity. Although that's not to say that necessarily bad. At my school the word was used as a boogeyman to promote traditional (Australian) masculine values - toughness, bravery, humour, egalitarianism, anti-materialism and honesty. To deride something as 'gay' (or soft or camp) means that it does not meet those values and is not appropriate behaviour for the straight male. This is not necessarily homophobic because it's only behaviour expected of the 'in' group, straight males, and not for girls, homosexuals, or anyone else with a decent excuse.

Quote To label someone effeminate, I would use the words 'effeminate' or more casually 'camp'.

I have always thought the words gay and camp were completely synonymous. I understood camp was just an older word for homosexual, used by my parents generation.

Edited by Omar al Hashim - 21 May 2013 at 22:51
Back to Top
Windemere View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Location: U.S.A.
Status: Offline
Points: 321
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Windemere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2013 at 23:16


Edited by Windemere - 21 May 2013 at 23:46
Dis Aliter Visum
"Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."
Back to Top
Windemere View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Location: U.S.A.
Status: Offline
Points: 321
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Windemere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2013 at 23:41
'My Old Kentucky Home' (the official state song of Kentucky, written in the 1850s by Stephen Foster) contains the phrase "...Tis summer, the darkies are gay...". At that time, neither the word 'darkies' nor 'gay' had any pejorative overtones.  Abolitionists approved of the song, and considered it to be sympathetic towards black people, and representative of traditional Dixieland Southern culture. 'Darkies' was a colloquial, friendly way of referring to black people / negroes, and 'gay' simply meant happy. However, times change. In the 1980s, apparently by act of the Kentucky legislature, the word 'darkies' was changed to 'people', because of the negative overtones of 'darky'. When the song is sung unofficially, though, I think that the original version is mostly used. The word 'gay' remains in the song, with its original meaning.  'My Old Kentucky Home' is sung each year at the Kentucky Derby. I wonder what conception of the song modern teen-agers have.

'Gay' seems now to be universally used as a favorable meaning for 'homosexual'.


Edited by Windemere - 21 May 2013 at 23:53
Dis Aliter Visum
"Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."
Back to Top
lirelou View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Location: Tampa, FL
Status: Offline
Points: 1346
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2013 at 01:22
Omar: Like the old Christmas carolers sang: "Don we now our gay apparel, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la." I'll bet that predates the 1890s. Likewise 'Gay Paree (Paris)' I.e., happy, festive, gay.

Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2013 at 11:12
Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

Quite the contray Constantine. Gay started being used to refer to homosexuality in the 1880s - 1890s timeperiod, when the word meant carefree and happy but in a bohemian and immoral way. Gay was used as a slur and condemnation of what in modern parlance be referred to as the "homosexual lifestyle". It was not a more appropriate demonym.
Like many slurs, this was adopted by those it was directed at as a description and identity, so the word migrated from being a negative word directed at homosexuals into meaning homosexuality. So when your younger brother and sister use the word derisively, they aren't commandeering the word, and it could be argued it isn't because of homophobia, rather they are using (an) original meaning that has survived.

 
Yes, I have read the wikipedia article on the word also. But no, I don't agree that the word was universally recognised as a slur or an allegation of immorality in all places at the same time. In fact, I don't think it originally had a derogatory slant to it in most places that it was used to begin with. My example and lirelou's show that much.
 
And if it did have a derogatory edge to it, why would members of the homosexual community adopt the word to refer to themselves at a point in time when they were campaigning for increased acceptance and respectability within society?
 
I'm pretty sure my siblings are oblivious to obscure etymology and just use the word because it refers to a marginal sexual preference they don't really understand yet.
 
Quote By the 1950s the bohemian aspect of the word gay had subsided, it certainly isn't in the "gay old time" of the Flintstones. I don't think the more innocent meaning of the word gay was new then either, it too has a long history (gcle's link suggests both meanings date from before the 15th century)

 
I would argue that the bohemian meaning was far more widespread in how people understood the word gay. And that slant is what made it appealing both to homosexuals and to those who were tolerant of homosexuals in a world of shifting social mores. A similar example is how the French expressed their view of it, le beau vice - the beautiful vice. Essentially it plays to the social stereotype of the homosexual which existed in the minds of the people of the age, as men who were unusually preoccupied with artistic fancies and jovial pursuits.
 
Both terms serve the purpose of ignoring sexual acts and turning one's mind to the humanist pursuits of the people in question. In that way it humanises them, instead of reminding the public that the people in question ought to be killed as per the orders of the invisible man in the clouds.
 
Quote I didn't mention the high-school usage in my first post because I thought it may be parochially Australian and perhaps a little difficult to explain without sounding chauvinistic, but you are right that the word is used amoungst teenagers (particlarly boys) to attack non-conformity. Although that's not to say that necessarily bad. At my school the word was used as a boogeyman to promote traditional (Australian) masculine values - toughness, bravery, humour, egalitarianism, anti-materialism and honesty. To deride something as 'gay' (or soft or camp) means that it does not meet those values and is not appropriate behaviour for the straight male. This is not necessarily homophobic because it's only behaviour expected of the 'in' group, straight males, and not for girls, homosexuals, or anyone else with a decent excuse.
 
The kid who studies lots is gay. The kid who doesn't drink is gay. The kid who doesn't smoke is gay. So that means that, Omar, you're gay!
 
So you see, the word can be easily commandeered as a derisive term for just about any purpose, most especially bullying kids who aren't homosexual. Teenage boys are less concerned with implementing a utopian Aussie society and more concerned with playing sport, getting with girls, getting into the grog and acquiring a few petty material objects as part of their entry into adulthood (e.g. a car, surfboard etc).
 
And don't be fooled into thinking that homophobia does not come naturally to some females. There is a particular type of woman who thinks that her greatest asset is using her sexual wiles to get males to do things for her, and perhaps she is correct. So when she encounters a male upon whom she is unable to make the smallest impression, it's a bit of a slap in the face for her. The blandly uninterested homosexual for her is an affront to her greatest assets and by his very uninterest in females he commits a form of misogyny far worse than treating women like conquests or hitting his wife. When homosexuals were pilloried in England during the 19th century (look it up), the members of the public who were most vicious in attacking the helpless men were usually women.
 
As for usage of the word for derisive purposes not being such a bad thing, how would you like it if people used your religious or ethnic background as a byword for something society finds morally repugnant?
 
Quote I have always thought the words gay and camp were completely synonymous. I understood camp was just an older word for homosexual, used by my parents generation.
 
They aren't synonymous. You can be gay without being camp. Most gay guys aren't camp, they're just regular people who don't want to sleep with members of the opposite sex.
 
Camp ones are loud and colourful and needlessly over the top and even though they make up probably 5-10% of the population they are the ones that end up on tv when the media wants to display a gay person. Probably because the rest of us are so ordinary and boring.
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2013 at 01:52
Before the 'sixties' a 'gay' woman was a prostitute. So was a 'gay' man. (in neither case necessarily professional). Apart from the carefree, jovial meaning, 'gay' did have a moral connotation, but in anything pre-mid-20th century in writing it is better translated as 'camp'.

toujours gai, archie, toujours gai.

http:///www.well.com/user/ari/archy/the.song.of.mehitabel.html

Mehitabel was not homosexual, though equally confusingly she did claim to be a queen.





Edited by gcle2003 - 23 May 2013 at 06:02
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2013 at 06:20
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


I have always thought the words gay and camp were completely synonymous. I understood camp was just an older word for homosexual, used by my parents generation.


'Camp' refers to exaggerated, assumed homosexual behaviour. Someone may have been 'camping it up' even if not themselves homosexual. Julian and Sandy presented the mid-century stereotype:
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
Harburs View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Chieftain

Joined: 10 Feb 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3144
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2013 at 13:24
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:


 
They aren't synonymous. You can be gay without being camp. Most gay guys aren't camp, they're just regular people who don't want to sleep with members of the opposite sex.
 
Camp ones are loud and colourful and needlessly over the top and even though they make up probably 5-10% of the population they are the ones that end up on tv when the media wants to display a gay person. Probably because the rest of us are so ordinary and boring.
So, by your definition camps are the flashy gays!? Am I right?

I have personally worked with some gays and lesbians and most of them were pretty nice people (well-behaved and kind) except one who was very flashy and used to ask some of the coworkers or new workers for the sex.

"Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thought, Good Word, and Good Deed" Zoroaster.
Back to Top
Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master


Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Location: Bush Capital
Status: Offline
Points: 7823
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2013 at 21:55
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Omar: Like the old Christmas carolers sang: "Don we now our gay apparel, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la." I'll bet that predates the 1890s. Likewise 'Gay Paree (Paris)' I.e., happy, festive, gay.

As far as I can tell, both the perogative and happy meaning of the word gay have very old roots. Which in itself is curious, how a word can simultaneously maintain an innocent and rude meaning for so many years.
Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

Yes, I have read the wikipedia article on the word also. But no, I don't agree that the word was universally recognised as a slur or an allegation of immorality in all places at the same time. In fact, I don't think it originally had a derogatory slant to it in most places that it was used to begin with. My example and lirelou's show that much.

And if it did have a derogatory edge to it, why would members of the homosexual community adopt the word to refer to themselves at a point in time when they were campaigning for increased acceptance and respectability within society?

I had not read the Wiki article (until just now).
I agree that it was not universally recognised in all places at the same time, but that doesn't mean it didn't have two meanings, and that doesn't mean one meaning is more right than the other. That's more or less what I'm saying in the thread.
It also doesn't mean that homosexuals became known as gay because of the innocent meaning, but it may help to explain why it was keenly adopted in the 1960s, when the innocent meaning was far more dominant. As I understand it, gay was one of a set of perogative terms used for homosexuality and general sexual freedom (carefree and happy sexuality?), and I'm quite willing to believe that this term was adopted while others were abandoned because it was the only one that wasn't always perogative.
Quote I would argue that the bohemian meaning was far more widespread in how people understood the word gay. And that slant is what made it appealing both to homosexuals and to those who were tolerant of homosexuals in a world of shifting social mores. A similar example is how the French expressed their view of it, le beau vice - the beautiful vice. Essentially it plays to the social stereotype of the homosexual which existed in the minds of the people of the age, as men who were unusually preoccupied with artistic fancies and jovial pursuits.

I don't understand, this contradicts your previous paragraph.
The bohemian meaning is the perogative meaning. It is precisely what I am referring to above.
It's also precisely the meaning that's used as slur in Australian High Schools. If a modern person said "That's gay", it could either mean "That's stupid" or "That's arty farty".
Quote The kid who studies lots is gay. The kid who doesn't drink is gay. The kid who doesn't smoke is gay. So that means that, Omar, you're gay!
 
So you see, the word can be easily commandeered as a derisive term for just about any purpose, most especially bullying kids who aren't homosexual. Teenage boys are less concerned with implementing a utopian Aussie society and more concerned with playing sport, getting with girls, getting into the grog and acquiring a few petty material objects as part of their entry into adulthood (e.g. a car, surfboard etc).
 
...
 
As for usage of the word for derisive purposes not being such a bad thing, how would you like it if people used your religious or ethnic background as a byword for something society finds morally repugnant?

Bullying kids that aren't homosexual is what I'd say is the primary use of the word gay in highschool. I suppose I really mean that not all bullying is bad, too much obviously is, but too little is too. Discouraging bohemian behaviour I think is a good think for the majority of boys, and the word gay is the word in modern parlance that means bohemian or camp.

I think there are at least four meanings being simulatenously used:
(1) Bohemian, unmasculine
(2) A soft insult, like dumb or stupid
(3) Homosexual
(4) Happy and carefree.

I think people who primarily identify the word with the new meaning of homosexual trying to get those who primarily identify the word as the old meaning of bohemian or new meaning of stupid to stop using it is either going to be a waste of time, or increase the potency of the word until it does become a swearword of sorts.
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

'Camp' refers to exaggerated, assumed homosexual behaviour. Someone may have been 'camping it up' even if not themselves homosexual. Julian and Sandy presented the mid-century stereotype:

Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

They aren't synonymous. You can be gay without being camp. Most gay guys aren't camp, they're just regular people who don't want to sleep with members of the opposite sex.
 
Camp ones are loud and colourful and needlessly over the top and even though they make up probably 5-10% of the population they are the ones that end up on tv when the media wants to display a gay person. Probably because the rest of us are so ordinary and boring.

I agree with the meaning of those sentences but I would've used the word gay where you used camp. I would say:
"You can be homosexual without being gay. Most homosexual guys aren't gay, they're just regular people who don't want to sleep with members of the opposite sex."

That is what I meant in the first post when I said "Are you gay? Or merely homosexual? Can you be homosexual without being gay?".

That's also what I mean when I say the usage of the word gay is not necessarily homophobic. Because not all 'gays' are homosexual and not all homosexuals are 'gay'.

I actually had barely heard and never used the word camp before about a year ago. I remember one occassion 4 years ago when I heard it in conversation. Every other time someone has tried to describe that context they've said gay. That's why I view the words as synonymous. Camp, I suppose, could be the more extreme part of the spectrum covered by the Bohemian meaning of the word gay, but that's as far as I'd go in saying they aren't synonymous in the usage of the word gay I am most familiar with.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 23 May 2013 at 22:00
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2013 at 01:12
The difference between 'gay' on the one hand and 'queer', 'queen', 'left-handed', 'limp-wristed' and other slang pejorative terms used to refer to (male) homosexuals, is that 'gay' was deliberately chosen and fostered in the 1960s by the homosexual community itself, to emphasise that homosexuality was normal rather than a genetic or cutural oddity, and to give it some of the attractiveness as a life-style normally denied it by writers and commentators. 

(Consider Elisha Cook Jrs role in The Maltese Falcon, and the similar characters you find dotted around in Dashiel Hammett or Raymond Chandler, or the characters Cifton Webb player e.d. in Laura or The Razor's Edge  = sad creatures all of them.)
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2013 at 20:27
Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

I had not read the Wiki article (until just now).
I agree that it was not universally recognised in all places at the same time, but that doesn't mean it didn't have two meanings, and that doesn't mean one meaning is more right than the other. That's more or less what I'm saying in the thread.
It also doesn't mean that homosexuals became known as gay because of the innocent meaning, but it may help to explain why it was keenly adopted in the 1960s, when the innocent meaning was far more dominant. As I understand it, gay was one of a set of perogative terms used for homosexuality and general sexual freedom (carefree and happy sexuality?), and I'm quite willing to believe that this term was adopted while others were abandoned because it was the only one that wasn't always perogative.


Why wouldn't homosexual intellectuals simply create a new word that is untainted by its use in a minority of the world by association with vice? Or better yet, salvage a respectable demonym from pre-Christian Europe to apply to the homosexual community? It doesn't make sense to me that a bunch of them got together in a committee and said, "ok so we can call ourselves sodomites, queers, queens, catamites, abominations, or gay. What's the least bad one?"

From the media, literature and culture of the period of the 20th century when gay was adopted as the demonym for homosexuals, I get the impression that the vast majority of people did not employ the term with negative connotations (my elders may feel free to correct me here). It is used in songs which are of a conventionally moral nature, it is given as a name to children, it was used to describe a 19th century decade filled with optimism and hope, and it was employed in a Christmas carol and the theme song for a childrens' cartoon.

My take on it is that gay was occasionally used to refer to homosexuals in a lascivious and immoral way by those who knew street slang, but that society at large recognised gay as a term with positive connotations linked to being happy, pert, showy and optimistic. It was a word that those who knew street slang would recognise and associate with the less happy homosexual cases which abundantly existed at the time, but also a word which was also recognised by wider society as possessing many of the positive adjectives associated with homosexuals. So for proponents of gay rights it was simply the logical word to use. It was short and casual, it had the power of already being established within the public consciousness, it had an overall quite positive connotation as recognised by society at large, and left room to include identification of the marginalised homosexuals in society who were already recognised by the occasional association of the word gay with male prostitutes.

Could they have come up with a better word? Probably. Being a rather serious and methodical person, it feels somewhat unnatural to refer to myself as gay. But I believe that from the explanation provided above that those were likely the reasons they embraced the word.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:


I don't understand, this contradicts your previous paragraph.
The bohemian meaning is the perogative meaning. It is precisely what I am referring to above.
It's also precisely the meaning that's used as slur in Australian High Schools. If a modern person said "That's gay", it could either mean "That's stupid" or "That's arty farty".


No, it doesn't. When I referred to it having a derogatory edge to it, I was referring to lasciviousness and wantoness occasionally associated with the word gay, not being bohemian (which in itself does not have a derogatory connotation). Bohemian in itself is not derogatory, certainly not in the context in which we are speaking (which is the adoption of the word gay as a demonym for homosexuals in the mid 20th century).

What Australians adolescents today consider derogatory is immaterial to why the word gay was taken up as a demonym for homosexuals before my father was born.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

Bullying kids that aren't homosexual is what I'd say is the primary use of the word gay in highschool. I suppose I really mean that not all bullying is bad, too much obviously is, but too little is too. Discouraging bohemian behaviour I think is a good think for the majority of boys, and the word gay is the word in modern parlance that means bohemian or camp.


I agree. I'm tired of diversity. It's time everyone became Anglican, adopts purely Australian English, drinks local beers, follows the footy, speaks with a bogan accent and beats up non-conformists on Australia Day.

Semi-jokes aside, the fact is that there will never be a large enough portion of boys who want to lead a bohemian lifestyle to threaten the social-political-economic system of this country. Economic, media and social pressures in adulthood already exist to ensure the required number of people conform so that our nation state is able to function within its designed parameters.

Quote
I think there are at least four meanings being simulatenously used:
(1) Bohemian, unmasculine
(2) A soft insult, like dumb or stupid
(3) Homosexual
(4) Happy and carefree.


Firstly, there is nothing inherently unmasculine about bohemianism. Being bohemian merely means following an unconventional lifestyle with an emphasis on artistic and literary pursuits. Can one not do this and be masculine?
As an insult used by adolescents it does occur.
Homosexual is straightforward and I agree with it totally.
Happy and carefree is also a valid employment of the term.

Quote I think people who primarily identify the word with the new meaning of homosexual trying to get those who primarily identify the word as the old meaning of bohemian or new meaning of stupid to stop using it is either going to be a waste of time, or increase the potency of the word until it does become a swearword of sorts.


And yet you still don't answer my question of how you would feel if the community at large employed the demonym of your ethnic or religious background as a byword for stupidity or moral folly.

Homosexuality isn't addressed in sexual education classes, and by its ommission it can only be viewed as an aberration by ignorant young minds who are in any case predominantly heterosexual. In reality about a third of the population will reach orgasm in a homosexual encounter, and 6-8% of the population will be almost entirely exclusively homosexual throughout their lifetime.

What this means is that immature minds who commandeer the word gay as an insult need to be educated on the facts of homosexuality within society and its natural occurrance and permanence as a part of the human condition. Just as they must occasionally be educated not to employ the demonym Muslim as a byword for 'terrorist', 'traitor', or 'fanatic'.


Edited by Constantine XI - 25 May 2013 at 22:04
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2013 at 20:51
Originally posted by Harburs Harburs wrote:

So, by your definition camps are the flashy gays!? Am I right?

I have personally worked with some gays and lesbians and most of them were pretty nice people (well-behaved and kind) except one who was very flashy and used to ask some of the coworkers or new workers for the sex.


I think flashy is a good term. Promiscuous and ostentatious are also good words. Camp people are attention seekers, employ exaggerated mannerisms, tend to be dramatic and are usually highly egocentric. They are also often quite histrionic. Overall they make up a tiny portion of the homosexual population, but are awarded disproportionate media coverage.

Terrorists make life harder for regular Muslims. Westboro Baptist Church makes life harder for regular Christians. Silly histrionic camp gays make life harder for ordinary homosexuals. In each case the extreme fringe of a community causes problems for a majority. In our defense, I suppose at least camp people don't bomb others or picket funerals.
Back to Top
Parnell View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar

Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Location: Barcelona
Status: Offline
Points: 3227
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2013 at 03:28
I don't really see how camp people are all that bad? A little annoying sometimes maybe. If the Westboro baptist church are the dark side of Christians, and terrorists the dark side of Islam, I think a little Graham Norton every now and then isn't exactly doing the homosexual community a lot of harm.
http://xkcd.com/15/



Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. ~George Bernard Shaw
Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 15238
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2013 at 12:17
In Spanish, and particularly in Chile, there are lots of slang to call homosexuals:

Duck's tale: (because the movement of the tail that duck do when walking, which is similar to sexy women walking... and homosexuals, too)
Holed: like a donuts
Forward-Backwards: gay sexual act movements

etc.

Our society was always tolerant to gays, given they kept theirs condition in private. In our culture, always gay people had been considered sick people, who need a cure. There was a sort of pact between "normal" people and gays that say: "you could be gay, but stay in the closet! and don't make a scandal!"

Today, the english term "gay" is used to increase pride for that "abnormal" condition. Still there is a lot of rejection here to this behavoir, although our society is not extreme intolerant at all.


Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2013 at 17:36
Quote
I don't really see how camp people are all that bad? A little annoying sometimes maybe. If the Westboro baptist church are the dark side of Christians, and terrorists the dark side of Islam, I think a little Graham Norton every now and then isn't exactly doing the homosexual community a lot of harm.


Some of the less well behaved ones make it harder for the rest to find acceptance. Though that is more the fault of individuals who believe a media sponsored stereotype rather than getting to know people in real life.

I also drew the comparison to show that, as you correctly point out, the dark side of the gay community is markedly less dangerous to society than many other groups' extreme fringes.
Back to Top
Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master


Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Location: Bush Capital
Status: Offline
Points: 7823
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2013 at 13:05
Sorry for the exceptionally late reply Constantine, real life has delayed me from internet arguments.

Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

Firstly, there is nothing inherently unmasculine about bohemianism. Being bohemian merely means following an unconventional lifestyle with an emphasis on artistic and literary pursuits. Can one not do this and be masculine?
As an insult used by adolescents it does occur.
Homosexual is straightforward and I agree with it totally.
Happy and carefree is also a valid employment of the term.

I think primarily, I have always associated Gay with bohemian, and I have always considered both to be insulting. Probably biased by the fact that I am rather a practical and scientific person.
But you are correct that other/most people would not consider that to be insulting.
Quote And yet you still don't answer my question of how you would feel if the community at large employed the demonym of your ethnic or religious background as a byword for stupidity or moral folly.

This has happened to me and I do understand why it isn't good. I have always seen this as a reason not to call homosexual people gay though, rather than not call bohemian activities gay. I agree with the need for disambiguation but my primary association with the word is different I feel it should go in the other direction.

I completely agree that what you'd call silly camp people (but I'd called Gay people) make life harder for the majority of homosexuals. I'd even include the Madi Gras in that category, because it reinforces that sterotype.
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2013 at 22:36
Quote Sorry for the exceptionally late reply Constantine, real life has delayed me from internet arguments.


Hey that's cool. I consider these 'discussions' rather than arguments Wink

Quote I think primarily, I have always associated Gay with bohemian, and I have always considered both to be insulting. Probably biased by the fact that I am rather a practical and scientific person.
But you are correct that other/most people would not consider that to be insulting.


It's interesting but just as a personal observation I find more and more gays identifying less with Bohemian lifestyles the more society becomes tolerant and non hostile to that sexuality.

Quote This has happened to me and I do understand why it isn't good. I have always seen this as a reason not to call homosexual people gay though, rather than not call bohemian activities gay. I agree with the need for disambiguation but my primary association with the word is different I feel it should go in the other direction.


That's interesting. Homosexuals (male homosexuals anyway) would not object to being called gay unless the term is couched in a hostile tone or projected with hostile body language. It's just a casual everyday word. The equivalent would be calling a heterosexual person 'straight'. Nothing offensive about it.

The exception is when someone says it purposely as an insult or to refer to something with pejorative intent. Just like if I yelled out 'bloody women drivers!'. Women is not an offensive word, but in the way I have used it I have loaded it with a negative stereotype of the group - which in turn makes its use, but not the word itself, offensive.

Quote I completely agree that what you'd call silly camp people (but I'd called Gay people) make life harder for the majority of homosexuals. I'd even include the Madi Gras in that category, because it reinforces that sterotype.


And you'd find plenty of gays who agree with you. Well, on the issue of public nudity and obscenity - not on the issue of the massive parties, extravagant outfits and more general revelry. Most gays who go to MG go there to go to parties (which are absolutely amazing).

At Mardi Gras there will always be the obscene camp group who arrive thinking no boundaries exist, while the rest of us partygoers simply want to have a good time in more regular fashion. Just like there will always be drunks who spoil it for those wanting a quiet beer at the local. Or religious terrorists who spoil it for those just wanting to observe their religion. In each case the appropriate response remains for society to pinpoint and address the causes of that behaviour, rather than stereotype an entire group and then sanction them.

I predict that as time goes by the Parade will be toned down in terms of obscene display. Society has made huge steps forward in changing legislation and social values to remove violence and unfair treatment, and that trajectory looks set for that to continue. Gays in everyday life are becoming more mainstream in just about every way. Aside from a few die hard activist types, most gays today don't see the point in making their sexuality a huge component of their identity. Just like in everyday life, it makes less and less sense to act out against society when society doesn't give a hoot about whatever it is that marks you as different.


Edited by Constantine XI - 10 Jul 2013 at 22:41
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.188 seconds.