We’re All Gay Now!

The recent spate of bullying of gay and possibly gay children—to the point of multiple suicides—called my attention to the use of the word “gay.” It’s still quite frequently heard as a synonym for “uncool.” I think this needs to be dismantled ASAP, not only for the physical and mental health of our children and young adults (Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei? I am embarrassed to live in the same country as you. Or frankly, to be in the same species.) I was pleased to read in a local school newspaper about a campaign to stop the use of the word “gay” as an insult. Because it, and “fag” are as common as the the smell of sour milk in the schools of America. You can’t go around calling people “nigger” or “chink” or “cunt” just for laughs but “gay”—c’mon, where’s your sense of humor? I remember playing some kind of full-contact game in my backyard called “Smear the Queer” as a kid, which always ended in multiple injuries. Apparently, the youth of America are still Smearing the Queer, but with epically tragic results.

Why on earth is “gay” still such a popular insult? I know, I know—enforcing gender norms, punishing “outsiders,” mob mentality, nervousness about one’s own sexuality—but let’s face it: being gay isn’t just OK. Or tolerable. It’s excellent. Admirable. Marvelous. “Gay,” if it is used to mean anything other than “homosexual” or “gleeful” should connote a sense of delightful (and sexy) coolness. What is cooler than being gay? Retire the word “awesome” from your vocabulary immediately, and replace it with “gay.” Sigh longingly and wish you were gay, if you are not already, because being gay is so gay. By the way, you might not think you are gay, but I bet, under the right circumstances… yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

As Kurt Cobain put it, “What else can I say? Everyone is gay.”

Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.