Always gay, never a person

Liam Havard shares his thoughts on the negative connotation of the word ‘gay’ and the increasing popularity of the ‘gay best friend’

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - October 1, 2007

Although prejudice against the LGBT+ community is dissolving, homophobia still exists today – even in the subtlest of forms.  There are several factors out there today that do this, such as how the word “gay” now has negative connotations associated with it and how there is increasing pressure to be that “gay best friend”.  Are these forms of homophobia or are they just a bit petty? “This is so gay!”, “I know this is gay, but…” “You absolute gay boy!”, sound familiar?

Does “gay” today mean homosexual? Does it refer to something that is rubbish, useless or even soppy?  Is there another level of meaning to this word? More and more people today are using the term “gay” to describe things negatively.

The issue here is that it may be interpreted as a form of homophobia.  One must ask if this new meaning is trying to degrade the LGBT+ community by saying that they are rubbish or useless.  Many argue that there is a connection, and it’s clearly visible why.  By referring to something that is undesirable to you as “gay”, you are arguably enforcing an association that homosexuality is undesirable.  Whether one wishes to create this blatant connection or not, it is there.  However, with words constantly evolving, maybe there is no real reason to get your knickers in a twist.  It is used by so many people today that surely not everyone using this word is trying to offend every gay man and woman out there.  Maybe this word did evolve from a form of homophobia, but today, it seems like a light-hearted term to describe people’s dislikes.  Having said that, it is reasonable to ask: Of all words, why “gay”?

Maybe the way “gay” is being used is offending some of the LGBT+ community and segregating them, but there are other factors contributing to this.  For the average gay person, they just want to be seen as Joe, but nowadays it is easier said than done. Consider the typical gay man: you imagine him as having good fashion sense, being wildly camp and being a little bit catty, yet this is hardly the case.  The media has constructed this image and it seems every girl out there is falling for it, hence their ‘destiny’ to find their “gay best friend”.  This “gay best friend” all these girls want generalises every gay man out there by saying that they are all the same.  It says that gay men are defined by their sexuality, which is completely ridiculous!  Why is there this need for a gay best friend, because more often than not, they are like every other Tom, Dick & Harry: pretty darn average.

Every day, floods of gay men are being introduced by others as the “gay best friend”.  This raises the question of why can they not be introduced as just the “best friend”.  The fact that they cannot be introduced like everyone else is a bit sad.  It creates a sense that gay people are on a different level to the straight community and that they are a category and not a person.

Some anonymous sources have spoken out recently about the pre-assumptions of being gay:

“I am not defined by my homosexuality.  When girls find out I’m gay and they’re like “oh my god, I love you already”, it does offend me, because they haven’t even met me!”

“I don’t introduce my friends as being my straight or bisexual friend, so why am I introduced as the gay friend?”

Obviously, there is some frustration over all of this in the LGBT+ community and it is causing some upset, but maybe there is a silver lining to all of this ‘we’re in demand’.

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