Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Well Dwelt

A few of months ago, on that forum I used to frequent, a guy wrote a really long rant about how frustrated he was because of crap that was happening on another message boards he liked.

What had happened was that he got tired of people there using the word "gay" to mean "bad." He told them that they thought it was wrong and they should stop because, and I'm paraphrasing here, being gay isn't wrong or bad. The 'Nets being what it is, the people started to call him gay. He got upset and told them he was not homosexual or bisexual, but 100% straight. Of course, the people kept on calling him gay. Thus, the rant.

What I've been dwelling on, which others may not care about at all, is the fact that the ranter got upset about being called gay when he said that being gay isn't wrong or bad.

Am I the only one who doesn't understand his point of view?

He's human, probably, so I get that he's like everyone else and is a hypocrite and full of contradictions, but it bothers me that after trying to convince  people to not use "gay" in a derogatory way, he gets offend by it being used to describe him.

Knowing that it disturbs me I've been trying to figure out why.

Mostly, I think it's the hypocritical nature of the whole thing, but it's also because I've sort of been in that situation.

I know, with a certainty, that there are people who think I'm gay.

I don't talk about any sort of love life, past or present or future.
I have a high voice.
And I'm very willing to discuss my affection for musicals.

Seems totally gay to me.

The times I've been "accused" of being gay, in person since I don't remember it happening online, I just said, "Okay." and moved on with my life.

I knew that I was supposed to get offended (and that if I didn't I'd just "confirm" the "suspicions"), but I never saw a reason to get offended. Homosexuality is a state of being, it's not bad or good, it just is. Why should I let it bother me any more than being called a "hantmek" would?

Maybe growing up fat helps me to let insults roll off of my back. Maybe that guy from the forum didn't grow up with "insults" to his face or behind his back or constantly imagined like I did.

Still, his reaction to being called gay after saying there was nothing wrong with "gay" bothers me.


geewits said...

Good point. We use "gay" all the time to mean "ridiculous" not "bad." And we use it jokingly. I am certainly a pro gay rights person so I am not using it to offend gay people. And I don't use it in public. The word I use that probably offends most people is "retarded." I have had many special needs people in my life and I never called any of those people retarded. I don't even consider them to be retarded. I usually use the word to describe myself, my actions or a situation. People are very sensitive. If someone called me an alcoholic, I wouldn't mind, but I'd be absolutely offended if someone called me a drunk. And really, they are just words we've created and given our own meaning to if you think about it.

ticknart said...

I agree, but I'd like to add that it's usually the listener (or the reader) who gives and takes meaning from words like "gay" and "retarded" (which is a word that I use a lot, too). Not to say that they aren't used in ways meant to be hurtful.

Words are just so damned important. They're important in their intended use. They're important in the way they're interpreted. And they're important in how they're reacted, too.

If a person wants a word like "gay" to lose the bad connotations, isn't better to treat the word as if those connotations don't exist?

ticknart said...

You know, I don't even know how clear I was in my post or even that comment up there.

I feel like I should be upset at the original people who used "gay" to mean "bad," but I'm not. I really don't care about it. I suppose I could get all worked up about their so called "passive-aggressive gay bashing," but what would that do for them and people like them? They don't care and probably never will. The people who do care about how the word's used stop reacting in a defensive way when it's aimed at them to take its power away.

Christ, I don't even know if I'm making any sense at all.