When I was a kid and you wanted to put someone down....you would tell them they were so " gay". It was a universal term to refer to someone or something that was dumb or ignorant. I was raised in the 1970's.
It seems crazy to me that just 40 years ago, we still thought being GAY was a disease or a mental illness and the term was used to put people down. I suppose if I were being optimistic I would tell you that I think we have come along way, and we have made progress.
But just last week, I was on vacation and I saw graffiti written out across a mountain in Colorado proclaiming someone to be "gay" used in this same 1970 derogatory term. So if you will forgive me just this once if I choose to be a little pessimistic about how far or how NOT so far we have come.
Gay: when you look up the word with Wikipedia they tell you their article is the discussion of the word "gay" in the English language and how it has evolved and they ask you to look up "Homosexuality" when using gay as a sexual orientation term. SO I will take the liberty to make GAY = HOMOSEXUALITY for the purpose of this blog.
GAY/homosexual which by Wikipedia : is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex.
As you know in the research of this blog series, I have dug into the history of LGBT to research the terms of the acronyms as they have evolved over the years. Gay was originally used to describe a person that was "happy" , "carefree" and or "bright and showy". But sometime around the 17th century, it became a negative term for sexual deviants and inappropriate behaviors. Sometime probably in the 1950's or 60's- the Homosexual community took the term back to be a self proclamation of sexual preference and give it pride in doing so.
However, during the 1960's 70's the major LGBT movement divided up the term gay refer to homosexual men, while homosexual women used the term Lesbian. "Gay" clubs were often intended for men or drag queens only, unless otherwise stated that Lesbians were also welcome.
Today, of course, when someone says they are "gay" - it typically means they are homosexual... but it can also engulf the other letters or refer to the general community of LGBT.
In my opinion, "G" for gay would most likely, still be the letter in the LGBTQIA acronym claimed by men when representing the male population of LGBT. After all there is no other letter for them. Please keep in mind the evolution of this letter is still alive and there may be more than ONE reference depending on who is using the term.
When I first started this series I wanted it to be an educational read for many people that think there are just too many letters with those damn gay people! It was designed to be a simple and informative read for the gay or straight person not fully knowing what every letter stood for and to give the most honest definition I could find in order to help clarify to the masses.
But getting to the end of the series has truly brought my attention, as I hope it has to others, to the fact that the LGBTQIA (+ there are more letters) acronym is really about history...and about acceptance. It has made me aware that we as human beings need to put labels on things/people for simplicity. For our minds to try and comprehend. The labels however, are not always correct or thorough enough to fully understand a person. And labels are most certainly, not a way to presume you know a person.
I hope this series if NOTHING else has made just one person think about these labels and look past them. To consider getting to know a person despite the label and most importantly, to love in spite of it all.
Carry On and Live Equal!