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Q: Two Questions on Gay Topics ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Two Questions on Gay Topics
Category: Relationships and Society > Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual
Asked by: johnster-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 22 Jul 2003 06:42 PDT
Expires: 21 Aug 2003 06:42 PDT
Question ID: 233696
Question 1: I would like the complete list of newspapers in the US
that publish same sex unions. The Dallas Morning News became the 205th
and said that 10 other papers in Texas do so. The New Orleans
Times-Picuyane just announced they'll do the same, 206? The list
should be categorized by their size or by the date they did so. I
think the NY Times was the first.

Second question: Where did the phrase "You're or that's so gay"
originate? My nieces have used it and according to their parents it
means the person or the thing is stupid or dumb. I asked a young
friend of mine and he said the expression is used commonly in schools
and colleges and he thinks it means more strange or wierd than stupid
or dumb. He claims it's not derogatory to Gays. He said that he
believes it is a substitute for the word queer which anachronistically
means strange. He said it is similar to "dope" which means cool
,"that's dope", not the drugs.

What can you find out?
Subject: Re: Two Questions on Gay Topics
Answered By: journalist-ga on 22 Jul 2003 07:32 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Greetings Johnster:

The list of newspapers currently publishing announcements of same sex
unions is viewable at the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation) web site where it is stated there are now 207 newspapers
(list updated July 7, 2003) participating.  To view the list, please
visit - the
compilation of the list by GLAAD is part of its "Announcing Equality

You may also view links to "MEDIA RELEASES, OP-EDS & CALLS TO ACTION"
concerning the creation and maintenance of the list at

GLAAD's main web site is located at  You may
also be interested in the article "Reporting Same-Sex Unions" by Bob
Steele at


Concerning the use of "You're so gay" or "That's gay" and perceived

Some Millard Teens Seek Gay-Bias Rules 
Omaha World-Herald, March 20, 2000
World Herald Square, Omaha, NE, 68102
"The words "faggot," "queer" and "gay" are tossed about by many teens
as casually as "stupid," "dumb" and "lame," say a group of Millard
School District students who want officials to specifically prohibit
such language at school."

LINGUIST List 13.498
Sat Feb 23 2002
Sum: New Uses of "gay"
[There are several messages below citing the use of the word during
different years.  I'm posting samples that show a date of some sort
and I would encourage you to read the entire group of messages at this

"In my research in 98-99, I worked with Iraqi Kurds and Arabs who were
refugees to the US...The children often used "gay" as a major insult,
meaning anything, context derived...none knew any definition of the
word, except that they didn't like it.  I believe it is quite a common
Dr. Laura D. Greathouse
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Fullerton"

"Now that you have mentioned it, I remember that my daughter and her
English-speaking schoolmates in Egypt used the word "gay" to express
their unfavorable opinion of something...I do not recall when I first
noticed this, but she was in school in Egypt from 1993 through 1998. 
Sometime in that period she was using the term.
David Wilmsen
Director, Arabic and Translation Studies
The American University in Cairo"

"I first heard 'gay' as a general pejorative from a Caltech student in
mid or late '88...It was on par with 'lame' as a general term of
abuse...So by late '88, 'gay' had become entrenched enough for there
to have been at least one potential rival to be coined and to spread
throughout Caltech.  Tim Beasley"

"I recall that the use of "gay" to mean "stupid" was nearly universal
among the children at my elementary school when I was in 4th grade,
around 20 years ago (1982-1983).  Alexander MacBride, UCLA"

"My name is Katherine Martinez. I read your query on Linguist list
with much interest. This use of the word gay to mean "stupid" is not a
new one. I am 41 years old and when I was a kid here in Los Angeles we
always said "gay " to mean stupid. I never thought about any
connection to the use of the word as an insult when I was growing up,
it was just a slang word all kids used in this way, back in the 70s."


The messages above seem to indicate that the use of the term was
prevalent as far back as the 1970s.

In the late 1970s and to mid 1980s, I was living in Manhattan and I do
not recall hearing the word then (nor before that) used to mean
anything except homosexual.  I do recall the use of the term "queer"
to be related to gay and lesbian individuals during my elementary
through high school years in the mid-south. I also knew the word
"queer" meant "odd" in a non-gay context just as I knew that "gay"
meant "happy" - while in college during the late 1970s (Florida), I do
not recall the word "gay" being used to denote anything except a

Thank you for the opportunity to answer this very interesting question
and I hope I've been able to enlighten your perspective on these

Best regards,


newspapers that publish same sex unions
list newspapers "same sex unions"
"that's gay" meaning origin
"you're so gay" meaning origin

Request for Answer Clarification by johnster-ga on 22 Jul 2003 09:01 PDT
Second question:

I read all of the messages you posted but would you conclude that the
terms "gay" are not derogatory towards gays or is it some sort of a
"backlash" to the gay rights movement. Although it doesn't seem to be
organized, does their use of gay mean they're opposed to gays or gay
rights in some sort of fashion? Or does it mean nothing and it's just
another variation on "Gay"
like happy used to be?

Please respond

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 22 Jul 2003 11:57 PDT
Greetings again, Johnster:

From what I read and how I interpreted the use of the term at the
linguistics board, I conclude that it's *not* a term used by kids for
the intentional berating of homosexuals.  It seems akin to the same
thing as "What a dick" meaning "What a stupid person" (though people
named Richard might feel differently...)

In my opinion, I do not believe the term "gay" should be used to
denote something "dumb," "lame," or "stupid."  Call it dumb, lame or
stupid instead.  To me, that's the same as saying "I really jewed him
down on the price" when speaking of negotiating a price or "I just
jerry-rigged it" when speaking of applying a quick fix to something. 
The former disses the Jewish people and the latter disses the German
people.  The English language is peppered with phrases that are
derogatory to many ethnic peoples.

Unfortunately, many people do believe gays are dumb, stupid, weird,
etc. Those people probably do not care if their friends or their
children associate "gay" with those qualities.  While "That's so gay"
is purported to be "just a slang phrase" I believe it is disrespectful

Any more clarification, please request it.  :)

Best regards,
johnster-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00

Subject: Re: Two Questions on Gay Topics
From: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Jul 2003 13:05 PDT
For those who wish to avoid possible censure in today's PC climate, it
should be kept in mind that calling something or someone "lame" with a
pejorative intent can be taken as a slur on those who have
disabilities involving walking or standing.

Folks can be awfully touchy sometimes. I have learned not to use the
word "niggardly" in public because of the hateful looks that this
innocuous word often engenders.
Subject: Re: Two Questions on Gay Topics
From: journalist-ga on 22 Jul 2003 14:15 PDT
Johnster, thank you for your rating and your added generosity!  I'm
glad I was able to assist in answering your query.

Best regards,

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