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BS: Gay Terminology

GUEST,james 05 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM
katlaughing 05 Oct 07 - 04:07 PM
artbrooks 05 Oct 07 - 04:11 PM
wysiwyg 05 Oct 07 - 04:47 PM
Amos 05 Oct 07 - 05:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Oct 07 - 06:49 PM
Sorcha 05 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM
wysiwyg 05 Oct 07 - 10:26 PM
Azizi 06 Oct 07 - 12:29 AM
katlaughing 06 Oct 07 - 12:35 AM
Azizi 06 Oct 07 - 01:55 AM
katlaughing 06 Oct 07 - 02:14 AM
Azizi 06 Oct 07 - 02:33 AM
GUEST,james 06 Oct 07 - 10:58 AM
katlaughing 06 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM
Azizi 06 Oct 07 - 12:54 PM
Anne Lister 06 Oct 07 - 01:24 PM
Anne Lister 06 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Oct 07 - 01:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 07 - 02:37 PM
Marion 06 Oct 07 - 02:47 PM
Greg B 06 Oct 07 - 02:50 PM
Big Phil 06 Oct 07 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 06 Oct 07 - 04:13 PM
Bee 06 Oct 07 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 06 Oct 07 - 06:21 PM
Mickey191 06 Oct 07 - 06:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 07 - 07:18 PM
Mickey191 06 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM
Jeri 06 Oct 07 - 10:28 PM
Mickey191 07 Oct 07 - 12:31 AM
Jeri 07 Oct 07 - 09:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Oct 07 - 10:06 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM
Cobble 07 Oct 07 - 08:20 PM
M.Ted 07 Oct 07 - 09:51 PM
akenaton 08 Oct 07 - 02:52 AM
Ruth Archer 08 Oct 07 - 03:41 AM
Azizi 08 Oct 07 - 07:43 AM
Grab 08 Oct 07 - 08:07 AM
Ruth Archer 08 Oct 07 - 08:34 AM
Azizi 08 Oct 07 - 09:39 AM
Azizi 08 Oct 07 - 09:41 AM
Mickey191 08 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM
Azizi 08 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM
Greg B 08 Oct 07 - 01:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Oct 07 - 01:20 PM
Greg B 08 Oct 07 - 01:28 PM
Azizi 08 Oct 07 - 01:45 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Oct 07 - 02:35 PM
Ruth Archer 08 Oct 07 - 03:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Oct 07 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Jim 09 Oct 07 - 11:31 AM
Ruth Archer 09 Oct 07 - 12:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Oct 07 - 12:47 PM
PoppaGator 09 Oct 07 - 02:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Oct 07 - 04:01 PM
Ruth Archer 09 Oct 07 - 04:07 PM
GUEST 09 Oct 07 - 04:38 PM
Azizi 09 Oct 07 - 05:32 PM
Azizi 09 Oct 07 - 05:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Oct 07 - 06:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Oct 07 - 02:14 PM
Little Hawk 10 Oct 07 - 04:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 07 - 06:55 PM
akenaton 11 Oct 07 - 02:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 07 - 05:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 07 - 05:51 AM
Little Hawk 11 Oct 07 - 11:38 AM
M.Ted 11 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Humpty Dumpty 11 Oct 07 - 02:04 PM
Little Hawk 11 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM
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Subject: BS/gay terminology
From: GUEST,james
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM

I've just read about a counselling service for "Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Youth". I've seen this terminology many times and it strikes me as redundant. Does not the word "gay" include "lesbian", or does gay refer only to males?


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Subject: RE: BS/gay terminology
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:07 PM

Generally it is preferable to use "lesbian" women having been subjugated for so long, in so many way. "Gay" is used, often, to denote all homosexuals, but it is much better, imo, to use more specifics. Lots of times I used "lesbigay" which is an easy way to say "lesbian, bisexual, gay."


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: artbrooks
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:11 PM

Webster says homosexual, especially a homosexual man. To the best of my knowledge, "gay" is most often used in reference to the male gender but in some contexts, such as the term "gay liberation" it can refer to individuals of either gender.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:47 PM

Homosexual men have sort of claimed that "gay" sobriquet while homosexual women have tended to claim "lesbian."

In keeping with most liberation movements, the "right" term is usually a shifting political reality in the eye of the subject.

So-- it's not about what the words themselves mean in concrete terms, it's about what people choose as their own (and group) identifiers.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Amos
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:59 PM

Some lesbians don't like "gay" because they don't want to be labeled with a term that implies "a failed male".

But, as usual, Susan is perfectly right.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 06:49 PM

Gargoyle is correct about the term "Queery Theory." In academic circles it is quite acceptable to talk about courses in Queer Lit, etc. And there are enough highly-placed gay and lesbian academics who have supported this term for a long time that it isn't considered ambiguous or derogatory.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Sorcha
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM

SRS, gargoyle? What do you know that we don't know?

I tend to agree with Susan on this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 10:26 PM

Garg must have posted and had his post deleted after SRS commented on it.

I agree with Susan, as well.

Also though, in terms of the original question, I would imagine that it also has to do with the fact that although there are SOME issues similar between the people in the various "categories" listed above, there are issues unique to each. The counseling service may just want to offer 3 specific outreaches letting folks know what kinds of things they are prepared to address. In that case, it would not be that they offer generic services across the non-hetereo spectrum (words are coming less easily now), but rather specific counseling stragegies or insights a particular person may feel they need the counselor (ANYONE!) to understand.

Especially transgendered people, which I believe is currently a bit of a catch-all term mistakenly used to indicate several different things, but which is also very separate in most transgendered folks' experience from homosexuality. As I understand it, a transgendered person needs to figure out who they are first, not who they are attrached to beyond that; it's not about attraction as much as identity, even separate from sexuality. ("First let me experience that I simply am a human being in a body that feels like mine.") Pre-sexuality, if you will; necessary to resolve before what they will identify as normal-for-them sexuality-- they have to land on that planet before they can explore it.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 12:29 AM

There happens to be a diary on Daily Kos about the subject of gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people. That diary is http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/10/5/195448/344

I am a Lesbian by rserven
Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 05:01:09 PM PDT

Here's an excerpt from that article:

"The notions of homosexuality and heterosexuality get blurred a lot when considering transsexuals. I have personally always been oriented towards woman...maybe gynephilic is a better word (as opposed to androphilic). That didn't change when I transitioned, nor do I ever expect it to.

About 50% of male to female transsexuals are lesbian and 50% are straight...if one wants to include bisexual as a category, it's maybe one third of each.

I'm not sure what the percentages are for FtMs, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are the same. One does not go through transition because of one's sexual orientation, but for oneself. It's not about who we go to bed with but who we go to bed as.

I think transfolk fall in the category as "queer." :) One doesn't get much queerer than this, although some of my friends would flame me for saying it.

Personally I consider myself a lesbian, not just because of my orientation towards women but also because I feel a sense of belonging in the lesbian community that I have never felt in any other community. I realize that my background will always make me different, but nowhere have I ever found acceptance as much as I have among these women."

-snip-

The writer of this diary said that she has been flamed for that last sentence by the transgender community and called an "Aunt Jemima" and an "oreo" [both terms are adapted from African American vernacular. In this context, I suppose those terms refer to a transgendered female who is thought to act in Uncle Tomish ways toward lesbians.
http://www.answers.com/topic/uncle-tom gives this definition of Uncle Tom:
"Uncle Tom (tŏm)
n. Offensive.
A Black person who is regarded as being humiliatingly subservient or deferential to white people.

[After Uncle Tom, a character in Uncle Tom's Cabin, a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe.]
-snip-

"Oreo" refers to the cookie that is chocolate on both sides with white creme in the middle.

As I am heterosexual who doesn't know that I know any transgendered individuals, and because I know very little about the "political" dynamics of homosexual groups {though I certainly know some homosexual individuals}, I have no way of knowing if the sentence that the writer says was flamed is actually a subservient or deferential remark.

But considering what is or is not subservient or deferential remarks & conduct and when and why that is so probably takes us away from the central points of the writer's diary.

**
   
I would like to note that at this time, there are 229 comments to that Daily Kos diary. There are sure to be more comments later on.

As point of information, that progressive Democrat polical blog has 78,964 readers. All of those readers aren't members and only members can post on that blog. For instance, I lurk on Daily Kos and am not/nor have I ever been a member of that community.

One online community-Mudcat-is enough for me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 12:35 AM

It probably would have been better if the writer had not said "these" women. That sets her apart from them; a favourite tactic of the far right. They love talking about "those (insert pejorative here) people."

I personally wouldn't have flamed her for it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 01:55 AM

I got the sense that when that blogger wrote "these women", she meant women in the lesbian community {as opposed to other women}.

In the context of her article, I don't think the word "these" was meant to set her apart from the lesbian women in her group.

But, imo, this is a minor point that I won't be revisiting.

And btw, katlaughing, I'd be surprised if you flamed any person. I certainly don't believe in flaming. For those who aren't familiar with this Internet term, flaming means to send an electronic message that is rude and offensive to someone who you don't agree with or don't like for whatever reason/s. Flamed messages are usually piled on {meaning the same message or similarly rude and often crude messages are repeatedly sent to the targeted person}.

So even if I disagreed with that author {and I don't know that I do}, I definitely wouldn't have flamed her.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 02:14 AM

Thanks, Azizi.

A note: most members of Mudcat are quite familiar with your references including "Uncle Tom," "flaming," "oreo," etc. Sometimes it would be good to give us credit for knowing something?!:-)

As for "these" women. I am not sure if it makes any difference what she meant; most progressive folks I know see it as a pejorative comment, as noted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 02:33 AM

This is off topic, but since you mentioned it...

Katlaughing, it's probable that persons other than Mudcat members read these discussions.

If members or guests from the USA and elsewhere are already familiar with the terms whose definitions I provide-from African American culture and from elsewhere- more power to them.

If some individuals now or later aren't familiar with those terms, then I believe that I have not wasted bandwidth in providing those definitions.

I certainly have learned some new terms as a result of reading various Mudcat threads. I hope that my including definitions is not interpreted that I am putting down Mudcat's readership.

That would be the wrong interpretation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: GUEST,james
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 10:58 AM

Thanks, Azizi,
Though I'd sorta guessed at the meaning of the term "flaming", I was not familiar with it.

The word "queer" seems to have fallen into the same catagory as the "N" word. If used by someone who is gay, it doesn't seem quite as offensive as if used by a heterosexual. I still cringe at the "N" word however, even when used by black rap artists or comedians like Richard Prior.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM

True, Azizi, but links, without so much copy and paste, is better, in my opinion. Plus,if folks can find Mudcat, I am sure they can google any terms and find sufficient explanation. MY opinion, only, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 12:54 PM

The word "queer" seems to have fallen into the same catagory as the "N" word. If used by someone who is gay, it doesn't seem quite as offensive as if used by a heterosexual

Guest James, I have too little personal experience to know if this is so. But like you, I personally feel that the "n" word is offensive regardless who says or writes it.

It seems to me that the word "f*g" or "f*ggot" might rate higher in "cringability" than the word "queer". Maybe "f*ggot" is as offensive a word to gay and lesbians as "n****r" is to many Black people. I don't know that "f*ggot" really is largely considered to be offensive by that individuals in that population or by that population in general. However, I can imagine that being called a "f*g" might make a homosexual person wince.

I'm heterosexual, and {but} that word makes me wince in empathy for how a homosexual person might feel when they hear it or read it.

Of course, I learned on Mudcat that in Great Britain a "f*ggot" means a cigarette. But in the USA, it's a pejorative referent and I hate how I think it probably make some folks feel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Anne Lister
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 01:24 PM

A faggot here in Wales is a kind of large meatball or rissole, or it's a piece of firewood. A cigarette, on the other hand, might be a fag. We've learnt that in the US these terms have a sexual meaning, however. As my husband is rather fond of the food item named above, this could of course lead to misunderstandings, but he's unlikely to use either term as a derogatory remark about someone's sexual preferences!

Anne


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Anne Lister
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM

Meant to say that I added that comment because if anyone from the US was over here and spotted "faggots and peas" on a menu I wouldn't want them thinking they would get cigarettes, and if you wanted a packet of cigarettes and asked for faggots you'd get a very odd look from the vendor.

Anne


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 01:28 PM

james, your reading isn't correct on the use of the word "queer;" in this usage it is in no way thought of as "the Q word." But it is usually linked with other terms to imply the subject area, i.e., Queer Theory. It actually implies a level of scholarly sophistication to know to use this term.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 02:37 PM

No, it's "fag" that means cigarette - "faggot" means something else entirely, to eat or burn, as Tabster pointed out.

Mind we're moving to a situation where American fags and faggots are far more socially accepted than the British variety.

I gather than in the UK anyway the term "gay" has taken on a new meaning among young people as standing in for "sad - not unhappy sad - but loser sad". Which would rather imply that in time it will get abandoned as a term referring to sexual orientation, and some other word weill;get drafted in to serve.

Maybe gay meaning carefree will come back again in time if that happens. I miss it, and it's a good rhyming word too. I can understand why it got adopted, but I sometimes wish they'd picked a different word.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Marion
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 02:47 PM

In my circles (Canadian, quite sexually diverse, and not particularly scholarly) it's quite normal to use the word queer as a broad term for sexual minorities. It is still sometimes used pejoratively by outsiders, but it's being "reclaimed" by insiders, not unlike other words like nigger or bitch.

Ditto for dyke and fag, and (to a lesser extent) faggot - queer women call themselves dykes all the time, and I've often heard gay men say fag or faggot. But at the same time, these words continue to be used hatefully, and it's not usually difficult to tell which way the speaker means it.

I like the word queer because it's a short snappy way to express the idea "everyone who isn't straight". I guess the politically correct term is LGBT, but I keep seeing that acronym extended to point of being unwieldy (ie., adding Q for queer or questioning, A for asexual, TS for two-spirited). If I were writing an essay, I'd probably say "sexual minorities."

Marion


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Greg B
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 02:50 PM

If you want to see worry on a Yank's face, tell him
to "pop 'round for some faggots and peas and perhaps
a spotted dick afterwards."

I've been trying to persuade one of the kids that she
should, upon getting nearer to entering the work-force,
work on removing the expression "that's so gay" as a
derogation from her vocabulary. Lest it slip out in the
workplace, with career-limiting consequences.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Big Phil
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 03:19 PM

This is what you get from a PC society, do not use this word, do not use that word, why, what damage can words do to a well adjusted individual.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 04:13 PM

I agree with Phil, whats wrong with homosexual or lesbian.

Is Homosexual perhaps too explicit to suit the agenda.
Like McGrath I rather liked the old "gay"...now I feel my right to use the word in its original context has been infringed..Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Bee
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 05:15 PM

Katlaughing, while I see your point regarding explanations, I also see Azizi's - and links, unfortunately, often have short lifespans, as you will find if you search Mudcat's archives as much as I do. I am frequently disappointed on reading an interesting partial statement, only to find the link to the 'real' information has long gone the way of a redirect site trying to make me buy something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 06:21 PM

QUEER NATION
QUEER AS FOLK
QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Ever since Mr Wild.....and before, obviously, the Brits in their island nation appear a little "poofy."


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Mickey191
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 06:24 PM

Just on the phone with my dearest cousin, Richard, who is gay. Asked him what female homosexuals like to be called. He replied:   "Mr. of course!"

There used to be a poster here named Countess Richard. I thought for a long time he'd joined Mudcat & was funnin' us. What ever happen to Countess Richard?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 07:18 PM

Thats about as on target as it would be to assert that all gay men would prefer to be called Miss.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Mickey191
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM

Whether it was "On Target" or not, it was funny. Some things do not need to be disected.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 10:28 PM

Countess Richard got her name from a Child ballad, Young Hunting. She changed it to Diane Easby because (I believe) quite a few people didn't understand it. I don't think the name makes her a gay guy any more than a Mrs Frank or Ms Christopher would be.

As to 'funny' - if you're laughing with people and they know it, it's ok. If they don't know it, you're screwed. Probably not literally.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Mickey191
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 12:31 AM

Hi Jeri, I did not men to imply that Countess Richard was gay. I knew nothing of her. I thought of my cuz- because that is something he might dream up as a lark.As he flings his boa over his shoulder and says "Hello I'm Countess Richard." He's rather flamboyant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 09:37 AM

Ah, like Dame Edna.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 10:06 AM

When I was a country and western singer, I used to have a residency in a gay bar in Barnsley. This was about 25 years ago. I wonder if its still there. The landlord was raving mad, kept shouting, I can't stand puffs! Which was a bit strange in the circumstances.

Still that's Yorkshire folk for you.

There were always loads of these fabulous looking women dressed like David Bowie when he had henna-ed hair period.

I never did get the significance of the bunches of keys.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM

"When I was a country and western singer, I used to have a residency in a gay bar in Barnsley."

I think that'd be a brilliant opening line for a short story. Or a lonmg one for that matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Cobble
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 08:20 PM

GAY means happy, learn the English language they are homosexual and that is it. No word in the dictionary exact that means that.

Cobble.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 09:51 PM

I did think "Countess Richard" was a drag queen for a long time. It seemed to explain a lot. As to "Cobble", I won't near that. And for you, WLD, if, after twenty five years, you haven't figured out the keys thing, it is probably best you don't know.

People should be called what they want to be called. It is most important to remember that sexual orientation isn't all, or even most, of what makes a human being.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:52 AM

"People should be called what they want to be called. It is most important to remember that sexual orientation isn't all, or even most, of what makes a human being."

Who decided that homosexuals should become "gay"?
Do all homosexuals like or agree with the term
Homosexual or "gay", describes the sexual orientation of a person and nothing else.


It's a very old marketing ploy .....change the name of a product to make it more consumer friendly.
Do you really think that people, no matter their sexual orientation,political views,Nationality etc should be able to call themselves what they like.

Should we start thinking up some nice family friendly names for all form of sexual orientation.....the mind boggles....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 03:41 AM

Calling something "gay" to mean naff was in playground usage when I was a kid inbn the 70s - it didn't lead to the term being abandoned by the gay community then.

Queer has been totally reappropriated by the gay community - it's not nearly so ambiguous as the N word, which can still be highly pejorative.

I remember going on a gay pride march in NY with friends in the late 80s (there was a lot of queer-bashing going on in the city at the time), and over the course of the day the chant "We're here, we're queer, get over it" eventually morphed into "We're here, we're queer and we're FABULOUS!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 07:43 AM

Do you really think that people, no matter their sexual orientation,political views,Nationality etc should be able to call themselves what they like.

Short answer: "Yes".

Longer answer: Yes, particular when, if, & because "calling themselves what they like" is a means of re-affirming themselves or better redefining themselves as a group and as individuals within that group in the face of long standing [or "short standing" for that matter ;o)] negative group references that have been given to them or that they had previously accepted for themselves.

**

Ruth Archer, I love your last post, especially the last paragraph.
But here's a question for you, what did you mean when you wrote:
"Calling something "gay" to mean naff was in playground usage when I was a kid [in] the 70s - it didn't lead to the term being abandoned by the gay community then."

Perhaps I should be clearer-what does "naff" mean? And where was it used [do you mean plagrounds in the USA or in England?] Also, how was it used? I'm curious if you mean that "gay"="naff" was used in a taunting, name calling way or was it used in a specific playground taunt?

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Grab
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 08:07 AM

what damage can words do to a well adjusted individual

Damage? Probably not. Offend? Oh yes.

The Oscar Wilde quote comes to mind: "A gentleman never offends unintentionally". So if you want to have any social or professional contact with people, better know in advance what would offend them, either to avoid insulting them or to deliberately insult them. If you insult someone unintentionally, you've just screwed up - especially if they happen to be your customer or your boss.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 08:34 AM

Azizi:

it was in the playgrounds of good ol' Atlantic City, NJ. Naff means dorky, a bit crap. So for instance, I wore bright red Converse lowtops to gym in the 6th grade, and all the boys immediately dismissed them as "gay", as black Converse high-tops were clearly the fashionable choice. If someone said something a bit stupid, you might say, "Oh, you're so gay."

I couldn't believe it when I heard my daughter using the word in exactly the same way a few years ago - she being English, and this being over 20 years since I last heard it. I'm assuming it's been picked up from some American film or TV show, but it's certainly become an indelible part of UK teenspeak. Though recently she decided it was homophobic and stopped using it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 09:39 AM

Thanks, Ruth for that response. Good ol' Atlantic City, indeed. It was great to learn that we both are from that town {which loves to think of itself as a big city}!

With regard to "naff", I'm curious what the racial/ethnic origin of the children using that term in Atlantic City and for that matter, in the UK {as it seems that slang terms aren't always shared across racial/ethnic populations.

Fwiw, I looked up the term "naff" in which is for the most part a Black American dictionary on contemporary slang. It appears from your recollections that this website may have gotten the origin of that term wrong. On urbandictionary.com, definitions are submitted by website visitors, and scored as to what other visitors' consider is the best answer. All of the 13 definitions given for this word didn't mention the origin of this word, but of the 5 or so which did, the UK named and not the USA. Here's the number one response to date {which includes my editing of one word just because I'm real old school and puritanical} :


1. naff 152 up, 17 down

British slang, today meaning uncool, tacky, unfashionable, worthless... or as a softer expletive, in places where one might use "f*ck" as in "naff off", "naff all", "naffing about".

Origins of the word are disputed, but it appears to have come from Polari (gay slang), used to dismissively refer to heterosexual people. It was introduced as a less offensive expletive verb ("naff off") in the '70s UK television show, Porridge. "Naff off!" was famously used by Princess Anne in 1982.

Naff the naffing naffers

**

And btw, does anyone here know about Polari? With regard to the statement that naff "appears to come from Polari {gay slang}, would anyone provide information whether Polari is an American thing or an {a?} UK thing {and} or is Polari gay slang that is relatively worldwide?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 09:41 AM

Here's the hyperlink for naff on urbandictionary.com :

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Naff


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Mickey191
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM

MY two cents worth: I've always thought "Queer" was real put down & never used it. I do prefer the gay word--some how it seems more friendly then hostile.

Cousin Richard sent me some snaps from the gay contingent of Queens County, NY St. Patrick's Day parade. Several banners said: "Irish Queers" or "Queers for St. Patrick." In my naiveté, that surprised me. I would still feel uncomfortable using it though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM

Ruth, did you mean that you recalled using the word "gay" in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and your daughter used "gay" in England and you didn't use the word "naff" in Atlantic City way back or your daughter doesn't use the word "naff" now. And if so, I read your post wrong and the word "naff" really is of UK origin and that word sometimes means "gay" and sometimes "gay" means "homosexual" and sometimes "gay" means "happy".

I'm so confused.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Greg B
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 01:10 PM

When I first saw that there was to be an HBO series "Queer as Folk"
I had hope of something set in Lancashire. You know, as in "Thurs
n'owt queer as folk."

I still resent the appropriation of a good and useful expression.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 01:20 PM

Well, Azizi, that's how words go - "wicked" or "bad" meaning "good", for example.

The pity about "gay" in its more traditional sense is that there isn't really another word that quite conveys the same sense - "carefree" is only part of it. And when we lose a word like that we sometimes seem to lose the ability to be aware of the quality that it expressed, and it's a quality we badly need.

I'd like to feel that in time it'll get back to the old meaning - but language doesn't tend to work like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Greg B
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 01:28 PM

That's fat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 01:45 PM

Well, actually Greg the hip-hop spelling is "phat".

:o)


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:35 PM

In some album notes I referred to J Edgar Hoover as a homosexual cross dresser.

A gay friend said to me, I don't like the term homosexual - its not a nice term.

I said, well - he wasn't a nice man really.....

You see, context is everything.

I didn't say I'd been thinking about the keys thing for 25 years. I've had other things on my mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 03:38 PM

naff is a rather old fashioned English expression meaning dorky or geeky or unfashionable. I never use it in Atlantic City. But we did say that things were "gay" to mean stupid or unfashionable.

I was surprised to hear my daughter using the word "gay" in exactly the same way as i did when I was growing up in America, because it is a whole generation later and she is growing up 3000 miles from where I did.

As a completely seperate issue, Polari is a UK thing. It was a slang gay people used to identify and communicate with one another when being gay was still illegal in the UK, and it became part of the culture. Some of the words are supposed to have come from Romany, and some are simply back to front, like "riah" for hair.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 07:11 PM

stupid or unfashionable - the assumption being that those are the same thing. A singularly daft way of thinking that is always in fashion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 11:31 AM

Words are constantly being appropriated. "Reality" never used to mean "placing people in artificial situations and manipulating their actions", but thanks to TV, that's what people think when they hear that word now.
The symbol "@" used to mean "at $x a piece". Thanks to computers, it now means something else.

Remember when we refered to a swashbuckling pirate as a "gay blade"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 12:35 PM

"stupid or unfashionable - the assumption being that those are the same thing."

Assumption by whom? I said "or" advisedly - gay was a wonderfully catch-all word. Food could be gay, clothes could be gay, a remark could be gay, your parents could be gay for telling you you couldn't go out till you'd finished your homework, a TV programme or a song could be gay for being stupid, or unfashionable, or both...

Actually, the most recent British equivalent is "crap".


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 12:47 PM

@ still means the same - "at"

I wasn't accusing you of the fallacy of unfashionable=stupid, Ruth. It's an assumption that has evidently been made by the fashionistas of every age, in clothes, speech, music... One of the special things about folk music is that to some extent, though very inconsistently, we resist it.
...........................

"Crap" doesn't really have quite the same meaning as that use of "gay" - it means something is worthless rubbish, but it doesn't have the same in-group sneer to it. It's common to different generations, and has been for generations. Hardly "the most recent".


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 02:09 PM

My kids (now 24-30) have long used the word "gay" to mean ~ what? "unfashionable OR stupid" defines it pretty well, but maybe "lame" is the closest synonym. I think they use this expression less frequently and less freely nowadays than they did in their high school years, if for no other reason than that some of their friends have come out as gay, and they are much more careful not to be offensive now that they realize that people they actually know and like might be offended.

In this context, the word really does not mean "homosexual," although use of the expression certainly signals a tacit implication that there is something less-than-worthy about an unconventional sexual orientation.

A somewhat similar usage from an earlier generation is use of the word "fruit" as an adjective meaning petty/mean/cowardly, as a tattletale. "Aw, man, that's fruit!". I know that this expression became pretty common in New Orleans in the 50s/60s, and some folks who grew up in that time and place still say it once in a while (albeit only in an ironic manner, at this late date). I'm not sure how widely this expression may have been used elsewhere in the English speaking world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 04:01 PM

Fortunately we can still talk about apples and pears and bananas as "fruit" without that meaning seen as no longer current. (Currants too for that matter.)

I think there are enough examples of gay being used in its carefree/happy etc sense in our literary and song heritage for it still to survive and even revive. After all "gay" in it sexual orientation sense got the positive connotations that made it useful because of those associations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 04:07 PM

' "Crap" doesn't really have quite the same meaning as that use of "gay" - it means something is worthless rubbish, but it doesn't have the same in-group sneer to it. It's common to different generations, and has been for generations. Hardly "the most recent".'

Ever since the late 80s/early 90s alternative comedy of Rob Newman, David Baddiel and the Mary Whitehouse Experience (very much my generation), "crap" has been a completely catch-all term.

Looking at the examples in my last post, "crap" in this context would be interchangeable with "gay" in each one.

If my daughter's peer group is anything to go by, "gay" has lost its in-group sneeriness. It just means things that are, well, crap.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 04:38 PM

Interesting lines from Hamish Hendersons wonderful song "Freedom come all ye"
"A' thae rogues that gang gallus, fresh and gay
Tak' the road tae seek ither loanin's
Their ill ploys tae sport and play"
Susanne has collected the notes of Thomas Crawford on this song
"For example, 'gallus, fresh and gay', adjectives appropriate to debonair lovers of life, are applied to 'oor rottans' - the parasitic practitioners of a false dolce vita nourished by the sufferings and degradation of common folk."

I like "gay" as "a debonair lover of life"...the old meaning.
Henderson used it to describe "practitioners of a false dolce vita".
Perhaps there is a little sense in the modern usage :0)

I also remember "gallus" as cheeky, confident, sure of ones self to the point of arrogance.   Back in 70s Scotland, gallus was adopted by young people as meaning anything which was good or fashionable.
Being a folkie, this annoyed me at the time, but I've come to realise that it is the sound of the word which has the meaning to the youth.
Traditional meaning does not seem to matter one jot.

Of course, as i've said earlier this usage is completely different from the usage of "gay" in place of homosexual which was a cynical piece of re-branding to further an agenda....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:32 PM

Fwiw, I've never heard or read "gay" or "fruit" used by African Americans the way those words are described by Ruth Archer and Poppagator..

Some equivalent colloquial words that we do use {and have used in the past} are "lame"; "weak", "tired", "sorry", and "jive" {including "lame ass", "weak ass", "sorry ass", "tired ass" and "jive ass"}.

Examples: "I don't like that lame ass record. It's real weak.

and

"Did you hear that jive ass speech that sorry excuse for ____{name a political position] made last night? Who does he thinks gonna vote for his lame ass self?

****
Hmmm.

Check out all of those asses.

You could say that our asses get a lot of work.

;o}


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:42 PM

Sorry. I'm still learning how to do that italic font thingy. I didn't mean for the portion of my last post after the asterisks to be in italics.

Off subject:

Not that this has anything directly to do with the subject of this thread...but since I'm here, fwiw, the opposite of "lame", "tired", "weak", "jive", "sorry", etc is "hot", "the bomb", "off the hook", "off the chain", and new phrases that I'm not hip to.

"Cool", "hip", "out of sight", "dynamite", "smokin" {as in "That song is really smokin"} and a host of other superlatives have been retired by most African Americans. But some or all of them may still be in current use among other Americans.

**
Btw, note the connections between "hot", "smokin", "dynamite" and "the bomb"...

There's a method to this madness...


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 06:59 PM

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 02:14 PM

A casualty of the times:
The Gay 90s Tavern in Denver was a neighborhood bar for over 50 years in the south end of the city, and was very much a blue collar hangout. Finally, for reasons including drive-by harassment of patrons and a gradual but significant shift in the nature of the clientele, the bar changed its name to Lumber Jack's, and became ironically, at last, a gay bar.

Yes, the term gay is becoming more and more prevalent, in particular among those under 25, to mean weak, lame, silly, pretentious. I bought a cell-phone case, a reasonable one I thought, made of black stretchy material with a clear face plate. A business associate said "your cell case is kind of gay", but refused to elaborate on what made it that way. I also mentioned putting up some track lighting in my den, but the drummer in my band said "I don't know. Track lighting is kind of gay." What is interesting to me, is I believe young people today are less prejudiced against homosexuals than my generation was, and yet the term "gay" as a negative adjective is far more prevalent than terms we used like queer, faggy, etc. Does it reveal a prevalent underlying hate or resentment? Interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:00 PM

As far as I'm concerned, "gay" used to be a great word once, a long time ago, until it got coopted in the modern era to mean "homosexual"...but that's the way it goes with language. I suspect that "gay" is going through the latter phase now of becoming gradually less fashionable, just as previous terms did, such as "Afro-American" or "Negro" or "colored"...all replaced by "Black".

There will come a time, I'm sure, when "Black" and "gay" are both replaced in acceptability by some other more fashionable words in the popular vernacular. Wait and see. ;-)

By the way, I finally saw "Brokeback Mountain" last night. Excellent movie. Very good acting by all concerned. I can't relate at all to two men being sexually attracted to one another...it just doesn't connect for me...but I could certainly relate to their powerful emotional connection, so as a love story it was a good one. Very tragic! Larry McMurtry was in on that project, and he simply loves depicting the crushing finality of little private human tragedies, specially if they are set in the American West.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 06:55 PM

There will come a time... Maybe there'll come a time when the people these words identify won't have to deal with prejudice and antagonism, and whatever words used will just be neutral and casual, and won't get loaded with the hostility that means they have to be replaced periodically.

Anyway, if "gay" gets retired in its sex orientation role, because young oiks are using it as a put down word in other contexts, I hope we can start reclaiming it for its older meaning, because the language is badly missing it. And I have a feeling the loss of the word is making it hard to recognise and value the quality it stood for - "fair and wise and good and gay".


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:39 AM

Just about sums you up McGrath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:11 AM

'And I have a feeling the loss of the word is making it hard to recognise and value the quality it stood for - "fair and wise and good and gay". '

can't say I've lost any sleep over it. words are there to serve us and mean what we want.

I honestly have never thought - oh I wish I could call that bloke gay, but I wouldn't want people to think I was calling him a woofter.

When my sister was in a choir she used to sing a song that went - Its grand to be gay on St Nicholas Day - but meaning wise , I thought it was a step in the right direction. I mean would anyone normal want to be caught dead singing that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:51 AM

What I had in mind was the kind of thing George Orwell explored in 1984 as NewSpeak - if we haven't got a word for some abstract concept or quality it's hard even to think about it. That's one reason we borrow words from other languages to fill in gaps in our own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:38 AM

Yeah, and the flip side of that is that people, once they have a word for something, think that they KNOW exactly what it is. The truth is, they usually do not know what it is, they just know another word.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM

If what you say is true, LH, then none of us know the meaning of any of the words we are using here, which means that all of this discussion is meaningless!! Oh, wait, I knew that....


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: GUEST,Humpty Dumpty
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:04 PM

'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean


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Subject: RE: BS: Gay Terminology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM

Well, I'll say this... ;-) You don't KNOW something by knowing a lot of words about it. You only KNOW it by experiencing it directly. The words are just symbols with which you attempt to communicate with other people about it later, and they're the best symbols we've got for that purpose, but they're still only symbols.


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