That’s So Gay: The Hyper-Sensitivity of The Phrase

I was at a birthday party with my closest friends. Tori was turning 21 and was throwing a house party that will turn into a bar hopping party at the stroke of midnight. Tori was more my friend’s friend, but her and I had met often before and were on joking terms with each other, like me calling her Tore-Whore.

My group of friends consisted of Tinker, Ginger, Mulan and a few others. We didn’t mean to be shove-offish but Tori was sort of ‘popular’ during her high school and college years, and she had some bitchy looking friends that went to her party. We stayed near the booze and food, whilst in the other room there were groups of girls who either look like sorority-wannabes or high-maintenance twat-showing sluts. My group spent the time at the house mocking the other groups’ duck face selfies.

After everyone arrived, Tori took the time to drink some more shots, laugh at more stupid jokes and blow the candles off her skanky cake one of her roommates made her. Then, it was finally time to go to the campus bars.

I was one of the few guys there, but honestly, I didn’t mind because I was with my closest friends and I was down for a good time! We headed to the bars as one large group surrounding Tori. As we were crossing the street, I was able to hear Tori drunkenly yell to one of her friends

QUIT BEING GAY

I didn’t know at the time, but some of the sorority-wannabes had turned back to look at me, giving muffled gasps and “ohmigod”s. Apparently, Tori had told some of them that I was gay, using it as an excuse to why we were so playful with each other. They thought that I would take offence of the derogatory usage of “gay,” which Tori actually uses quite often. The bar hopping was actually really fun and successful, having lost track of Tori and her friends after the first one.

According to BBC Newsbeat, 49% of Britons between 18 and 29 years old do not find the saying “that’s gay” as offensive. However, 75% of the sample of 3000 found that “faggot” was very offensive, with 55% admitting that they had told someone not to use the term again. Other terms fell under those statistics, including “queen,” “fairy,” and “dyke.”

Maybe it’s because I grew up with a thick skin (example seen on my previous post here), but I don’t really find offence easily from things like this. Honestly, I didn’t hear the phrase that often and when I did, it was by a gay guy saying “you’re so gay,” meaning actually being a fag rather than just being “stupid.” Even in high school, I didn’t hear people say it in my classes or even in the hallways.

When I’ve heard it said in the derogatory way it’s supposed to sound, it’s usually in a joking method. If I hear it on a sketch on SNL, or on an episode of Family Guy, or in a movie (like in Get Hard, as I’ve talked about in a previous post) or if one of my friends is saying it, I hear it as a statement to get a laugh rather than it meaning to be taken in as savage malicious hatred. Hearing it being said to me in these circumstances is in the same category as any other jokes.

Being a Catholic Asian gay man, I can be the brunt of many jokes. I hear jokes about Catholic priests, or Asian drivers, or small dick’ed Asians, or prison sex/rape jokes. You might think that it’s because I’m just naive or a self-hating individual, but quite honestly, I don’t care if people are joking around because I’m not that sensitive. However, there’s a seriously thin line between joking and seriously meaning verbal harm, and saying things like “faggot” to a stranger as to someone you actually know.

I do appreciate those who created campaigns in the fight against using the term “that’s gay,” but it’s really an old saying that perhaps still get used today but has been accepted as not that offensive. In BBC Newsbeat’s article, it says that they hope the community doesn’t offend itself, like gay guys calling lesbians dykes, but that part has long been passed. It’s like trying to stop gay guys from offending each other with names like queer, queen, bitch, fairy, femme, masc, power bottom and other names — it just been done so long, even Elton John uses them.

But honestly, I think that the gay community needs to stop being so sensitive. Like my nickname for my acquaintance Tori (Tore-Whore), I joke around with her and she jokes back at me. It’s a banter that we use to keep our friendship lively. With Perseus and I, we can’t go through a night without calling each other faggots, bitch, cunt, bastard, slut, whore, twat, asshole and any other name you can think of only because it’s 1) pretty funny and 2) it’s how we show love. It’s not sad, it’s just how we show it — just like bringing a bourbon bottle to a funeral. People show their emotions in different ways and if you claim to be so opened-minded, then you can open your mind to that simple fact.

I’m actually really happy that I have the friends I do because they understand that I’m not easily offended — that I don’t let people get under my skin and if they did, I don’t quite show it off easily. People get under my skin for other reasons than what they say, like throwing my phone around, or being smelly, or thinking you’re hot stuff when you’re really FUGLY. I don’t get mad at words, I get more mad about actions or maybe even about how people say those words, whether meaning to harm or to accompany a laugh. Either way, I try to keep a thick skin and let some words just trickle down my back.

Being sensitive really gets everyone nowhere. Half of modern-day comedy would not be present if everyone was so sensitive, to Step BrothersBaby MamaEastbound and DownBlue Mountain StateFriendsHow I Met Your MotherYounger or anything else. If you name any show or film that can possibly be named as a comedy within the last (say) quarter-century, then you can find that it will offend someone. Roseanne offends those in poverty, as well giving homosexuals a poor image, makes fun of Disneyland employees and even potentially offends Illinois and Chicago citizens. Even Sabrina the Teenage Witch could be seen as offensive because it didn’t have any diversity in their core cast, that Wiccans aren’t really like her, and that there were all the men in the cast were emasculated in some way (Salem=cat, Harvey=stupid, Kraft=Libbie’s pet).

I understand that some things you have to fight for, and I don’t blame those who fight for whatever they truly believe in, but some of it’s just hating others for the sake of hating. I think that when people say “that’s gay” nowadays, it comes with the same backslash as the RFRA “boycott homosexuals” restaurants would encounter. The gays would feel super-offended and cause an uproar (cue Wanda Sykes), or straight people who wants to start something would say something (cue Hillary Duff). The saying is so beat down that it’s in the decade when Away Messages actually worked for ignoring people on AIM, when collecting beanie babies were “in,” and when having a palm pilot was super rad.

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No matter what, if we hear someone saying it and are genuinely offended, we could simply ask them not to say it again. We don’t need to start World War 3 inside a Starbucks, or at the car park waiting for the children you nanny to come out — it’s not worth it and if it’s someone you absolutely don’t know and probably will never see again, just let it go. Some people aren’t worth it. I personally wouldn’t be offended even if George W. Bush said it, but that’s just me.

Even when given hate, I just give love. But that’s just me.

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