I've just been for a walk with my dog. It was your typical trip into town, with an over-tired one year old Labradoodle, in that my primary thought whilst walking was "bugger, why didn't I give him time for a nap before we came out?!" I wasn't planning on blogging once I got home. But then, I wasn't planning on overhearing blatant homophobia, either...
Whilst strolling alongside the river, I chanced upon a group of teenage lads. They were sitting around in the grass, chatting amongst themselves and to be honest, I thought nothing more of them, until one of them announced that he'd have to leave soon, as he was getting a haircut. The loudest of the group then shot to his feet and yelled: "YOU FUCKING FAGGOT! ARE YOU GAY?! THAT IS SO FUCKING GAY!" Everyone joined in and I was almost at the other end of the park, before the shrieks of "you're gay!" died away.
To be frank, my first thought on the situation was: "Why is having your hair cut, gay?!" But my second, more pressing concern was: "Why is "gay" being used as an insult?"
It's not a new insult. When I was at school, "bender" was the term bandied about in jest, when the boys in my class wanted to insult one another, but it does seem to have become even more prevalent since. Why? And why the Hell is it even remotely acceptable to use that word in such a fashion? Okay, with right-thinking people it isn't acceptable in the slightest, but it's all too common and I'm sick to my back teeth of it.
My abusive ex is a good case in point. He frequently used the word "gay" in a derogatory sense, in spite of knowing that my sister is gay and that I find that use of the word offensive. He'd simply say the word, no need for anything else - his tone would provide the rest.
Me: I really want to go and see that show at the theatre if it comes down here.
Me: I had to call the RAC for help today; I felt a bit stupid, but I don't know how to change a tyre on my own.
Me: I don't like hearing that word used as an insult; I find it offensive.
The thing is, using the word "gay" as an insult says so much more about the person saying it, than it ever could about the recipient. You may as well respond to something by saying: "I have nothing original or useful to say, but I disagree and want to make you feel stupid and, being utterly devoid of intelligence myself, I'm going to pick on a minority group that's somehow acceptable to offend, what with my being a massive, insecure homophobe." Except that response would require too many brain cells for your average idiot.
It wouldn't be thought of as remotely okay to start responding to something stupid or annoying by using a term for any other minority group, so why is it alright to use "gay?"
In my eyes, the only people who can get away with using the word "gay" as an insult are gay people, should they choose to do so.
I didn't hear what the teenage lad I walked past said in response to his friends, once they all started picking on him for the heinous crime of getting a trim. Sadly, I'd imagine he probably leapt to his own defense, insisting on how straight he actually is, as though being thought of as homosexual, even in jest, was the worst thing in the world. And that just upsets me even more.
It's time we all grew up and found some more adjectives. Don't like something? Call it "stupid," or just plain "shit" if you want. Don't show yourself to be prejudiced and lacking intelligence by labelling an entire group of people's lives as an insult. People don't choose to be gay. But you can choose not to be a moron.