Friday, 6 July 2007

Oh that's soooo gay....

Newly appointed minister for schools Kevin Brennan had declared war on play ground bickering...

The word "gay" has multiple meanings and kids often use it in the context of something being rubbish or unfashionable as opposed to homosexual. Even when the word's thrown about in relation to sexuality it's rarely said with much malice or conviction (that sort of sentiment is expressed in other, more distasteful, phrases).

This widespread habit used to get right up my nose. Why say "gay" in particular, I'd fume...Just because some kid's got a naff brand sport bag or uncool shoes doesn't make them "gay"...Why can't kids use the English language in the right context? My anger has now been replaced by apathy as more and more adults use the word in regards to something that is unfair or undesirable (and they, more than children, are aware of the implications of labelling somebody as gay).

I agree with Mr Brennan's drive to stop kids using this word in such a casual way but not because I think they are using it with any derogatory forethought but because it's a lazy, inappropriate use of the English language (that has the potential to foster homophobia).

He himself says: "This is too often seen as harmless banter instead of the offensive insult that it really represents".

Homosexual people are quite happy with the term gay being used to describe their sexual orientation (in fact, like black people reclaiming the word "nigger" gay people have made a good show of mastering once derogatory terms to express their pride and self confidence) - it's usually heterosexuals who see the term as an offensive insult, as an affront to their normalcy.

On another controversial note, a doctor is is currently on trial by the General Medical Council after administering lethal drug doses to two dying babies.

In 2005 Dr Michael Munro injected two premature infants with pancuronium and morphine. In each case the children were in their final stages of life after their parents had agreed to withdraw care. In effect Dr Munro performed ethanasia, hastening their deaths in order to shorten their acute suffering.

Neither couple protested at Dr Munro's conduct however it does not help the doctor's profile that he chose not to report his actions in the children's medical records.

Summarising the defendant's argument Andrew Long told the GMC: "Dr Munro admits his conduct was outside accepted professional practice, but Dr Munro does not accept it was inappropriate, contrary to guidelines or below the standard expected of a medical practitioner."

Hang the Hippocratic oath - if there was nothing I could do to save my terminal newborn child I would rather it died in a quick deep sleep instead of gasping for air. What would you do?


Jenny! said...

I am a supporter of euthanasia and feel that suffering (when there is nothing left) is just torture for everyone involved...let them go peacefully!

James said...

I can see your point about the gay phrase and it does appear to have been adopted for other meanings. Lazy use of the English language can be annoying.

My only point would be at which point a line is drawn about what becomes PC to say or not. I noticed on some early evening TV last week the use of the phrase 'so gay' being used in a humorous context. Quite why this is so different to using racial or other minority groups I'm not sure. Personally I can't quite decide where the line should be drawn. I wouldn't like to lose the humour of comparing someone to a stereotypical perception (i.e. your so working class), but at the same time some phrases are unacceptable. Hmmm a toughie. Any thoughts?

Em said...

Like I say, I don't think people should be treated as nasty homophobes just because they use the phrase...but they do need to be re-educated...Most people use the phrase without actually thinking about what being gay is...Gay people get frustrated with this usage (rightly so) but they don't feel persecuted...PC hype...