The Word Gay
On The Subject of the word “GAY” As time changes so does everything else in the world, including words and their meanings. One particular term has strayed far away from its meaning and symbolizes something completely different now. The term gay has changed so much over time that few people now know its true meaning. The meaning gay has changed tremendously over time. In the past, the term gay was not used as frequently and as freely as it is used today. The term originated from the Old French and dates back to the 1600s, “Deriving ultimately from Germanic source” (Wikipedia).
The word means “Joyful, carefree, bright and showy” (Wikipedia). Gay also means to be “Addicted to social pleasure and dissipations,” as a noun “of a person: homosexual” (OED). The word gay has a sexual connotation and the people usually referenced with it are carefree. In the 20th century the term gay was used for heterosexuals. When people used the term, towards heterosexuals they were usually describing sexually active people that disregarded the immorality of their actions in relationships.
The heterosexuals may have multiple girlfriends or boyfriends or be affected by nymphomania. As time grew on from the early 1900s and into the late 1960s, homosexuality, was frowned upon greatly and the term gay was used to describe it since the terms “such as queer, were felt to be derogatory” (Wikipedia). People would use terms related to happy along with the word gay to signify a person being homosexual. In the 21st century, the term has grown to describe all sorts of things ranging from people to things not even closely related to the definition at all.
In 1924, the earliest known gay rights organization was developed and from this point on change in the United States for the term gay began to grow. The term gay today has gained more respect than it has in the past it is no longer a derogatory term and is used in favor of the homosexual community. People use the term in many different context these days. Even in the lightest conversations the word gay can be thrown into any type of situation. In this generation people use the term gay without really thinking of the true meaning.
The term has been used to define events that have been personified as boring or unentertaining to a person, such as saying “That party last night was really gay. ” Gay has also been used to describe a situation a person doesn’t like because the outcome for the, comes out unsatisfactory to their liking. For example, “The shirt was suppose to be on sale, but when I got there it was regular priced, that was so gay because I didn’t have enough money to buy it. The word gay is also used in the right context on occasions when people think that the actions of others of the same sex are doing something that seems to be of homosexual nature. As time progresses the restrictions and secrecy that have been put on the homosexual community have broadened. There are thousands of events today thrown by the gay community, for people to come out openly and express their characteristics without shame. In 1892, “Wisconsin [became] the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” (The American Gay Rights Movement).
Every year there are events held to show gay pride and to motivate people to accept this way of living and what the term truly means. There are events ranging from film festivals to banquets and fundraisers. One of the major events that happen all over the country are gay parades that people of all sexual orientations participate in to show support of the change that America is going through and the acceptance of homosexual relationships. “The Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade,” which is watched throughout the countries, shoes a group of people who support homosexuals and have a gay pride float (FunMaps).
This outgoing act shows how America is starting to broaden its horizons towards the term gay as an adjective and as a noun. In the year 2000, “Vermont [became] the first state in the country to legally recognize civil unions between gay or lesbian couples” (The American Gay Rights Movement). As we move along in time gay rights are steadily growing and are being respected by more and more people. Even though there are still some people who are still some people who are very much against homosexuality, the way of living still continues.
Although there are some events that turn out positively, some do have a negative outcome. There are many events that are meant to be fun and entertaining that turn out bad. Many people against gay marriage, or gay adoption, and even homosexual relationships often put on strikes during gay pride events. These strikes and shows of activism have lead to potentially dangerous actions. There are people who speak out against gay relationships and their opinions on what they could be doing to our society. The head of a conservative lobbyist group in California warned the listeners of his daily radio show that America’s children will delivered “straight into the arms of the homosexual activist community” (Pinknews). Opinions like this are often spoken out by conservatives who truly think that the homosexual nature is wrong. There are some other groups who think this way of living is wrong and use the term gay with negative connotation. Even though homosexuals are still gaining rights some people still segregate them and treat them worse than people who live a heterosexual lifestyle.
Despite these acts and opinions of people, gay activism still continues and gay people are now gaining more rights. In some schools some teachers are teaching children to respect the homosexual lifestyle even if they don’t agree with it and telling children to use the word in the right context when they can. There are many words today that have meant one thing in an earlier part of time, but as time progresses the youth of our world have changed its meaning.
Not only has the word “gay” changed dramatically over time, but so have the context and representation of the word. The growth and the acceptance of the gay lifestyle is moving very quickly and the term is now starting to be used less frequently because America is starting to understand what the word truly means. If people today knew what some of the words they use and some of the actions they participate in truly meant, they would refrain from its use, like they are beginning to do with the term gay.