Tuesday, 18 March 2008

So gay...

The BBC website today reports on How 'gay' became children's insult of choice. There's a bit of a debate going on about how long it's been bandied around as an alternative to "crap" or "sad" or "rubbish", which is the context it's mostly used in when I've experienced it. For example, homework is gay, having to get books out is gay, and no chips at dinner time is gay.

When I first heard it being used I used to haul the child out of the classroom and lecture them on homophobia until they put the two ideas together in a connection they had never made before. I thought I was being radical and defying Clause 28 - a law (now repealed) which every teacher seemed to be scared of and nobody really had a clue what it actually meant anyway. But it didn't take long for me to realise that "gay" was not being used as a comment on anybody's sexuality, but just as synonym for "crap". The characters on "South Park" were always using it in that way and I figured that this was how is was being disseminated. Besides, if the kids I taught meant homosexual, they had a load of other words to choose from, "pillow-biter" being a particular favourite.

Back to the BBC article, and one of the issues is that students or teachers who are actually gay might be insulted by this constant use. It's a fair point, but it doesn't seem to have affected the one openly gay pupil I teach. In fact, when somebody in the class tells me that their homework is "gay", I often feel like pointing at Richie and saying, "No, Richie is gay, the homework is just crap." But I don't of course...

3 comments:

Martin said...

"No, Richie is gay, the homework is just crap." But I don't of course..."

Brilliant - That's really made me smile.....!

flats said...

Yes mate it made me smile as well, but its the terrific truth, teachers and mates sometimes do this kimd of things... cheers

Miss B. Have said...

This particular topic has interested me too, and I agree, it has become overly hyped, it's just a new word that will go out of fashion as quickly as it came in, to be replaced with something equally ridiculous.

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