(Closed) What do you do when a friend or coworker refers to something as “gay”?

posted 12 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
32 posts

I hate, hate, hate both of those words.  Hate them.  I can’t believe that people use them as an insult, it really bothers me.  I usually say something like "I’m sorry, but I don’t view being [gay, retarded] as an insult, and I don’t like it used as such."  I don’t embarrass people in front of others – because, honestly, i think most people who use these words don’t mean harm, they just haven’t thought it through – but I try to say something, either in the moment or afterwards when we’re alone, because it really bothers me and I think people need to know that they are wrong. 

Post # 4
1356 posts
Bumble bee

Since my boss is gay, it doesn’t seem to be an issue in our office! If someone does say it, he usually makes a joke about it or one of the rest of us do. It usually puts people in their place once they realize they have said something offensive!

Friends on the other hand…I don’t tend to say anything. I don’t know why. But I do get on my fiance when he says such things. Can’t stand it.

Post # 5
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I hate it when this happens! I’ve only been in this situation with the word gay, twice. The first time I didn’t say anything and regretted it. The second time, I said to the person who made the comment, "You don’t think that’s offensive?" I was hoping to give them something to think about but not sure if it worked or not.

Post # 6
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

My daughter is autistic and hearing impaired, so people will often use the word "retarded" as slang around me, and then say, "oh my god! I’m so sorry!"

So, um, would it be okay to say that if I weren’t around? Because my kid isn’t retarded. But, some of her classmates are, and they’re awesome kids.

If somebody uses retarded, or gay, or any kind of derogatory slur around me, once I’ll let it go. But if it gets to be excessive, I’ll say something. Depending on who it is, I handle it differently. If it’s relative, I just tell them to shut up. I have a friend who continuosly uses a racial slur that I hate, and I just tell her no one says stuff like that anymore. At work, I just walk away, bc I don’t want to be in that conversation anyway.

Post # 7
14181 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Oh i hate it too, but mostly I realize that people are going to say it, and most of time they don’t necessarily mean it in a hateful manner. These people aren’t gay-haters, it’s just like the catch phrase of the time. Sometimes I slip and I catch myself. It’s such a normal phrase here, and I definitely never mean anything derogatory about it (i’m super pro gay rights!) and I’m training myself to express myself differently. I try to say "lame" or "ridiculous" instead of the standard "gay" and "retarded". I also say dumb things like "oh that’s monkey poop" which is always funny =]

That being said, it is NOT an issue at all in my office! Very wrong to say that kind of stuff in a professional setting.  Somebody would probably be reported to HR for being politically incorrect.

my dad uses racial slurs all the time and I do shoot him a look and tell him how inappropriate that is or crude or whatever. Then he goes off on crap and I realize I cannot change his generation. But I laugh at the irony of him marrying a korean woman. wtf? DH and I just go "well, not around OUR kids" and know we won’t be that ignorant as to speak like that in public. You can’t really correct someone who’s 57 ya know?

Post # 8
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Example: "That movie was so gay!"

Me: "What, it likes to have sex with other movies of the same gender?"

Calling things "retarded" makes me really angry, too. 

Post # 9
299 posts
Helper bee

Since I have issues with political correctness being WAY too prolific these days, in constraining, right-reducing ways, I think people are entitled to use words however they wish and I won’t criticize them for it- especially when controversial words are used in non-harmful, innocent ways. You know very well that the person doesn’t mean anything bad by it, it’s simply a turn of phrase that is habit for a lot of people. My sister is bi-sexual, and it doesn’t bother her or I when someone uses the word "gay." I don’t think I’m "goth" and it has negative connontations of darkness and misery to me, but I don’t care when people call me that, I KNOW what they mean, I don’t assume that they think I’m a miserable, dark person 😛 I’m SO tired of political correctness, it takes freedom from people, and it is 99% of the time one-sided and specific. Takes the fun out of the world- such oversensitivity when people really mean no harm. Just another viewpoint! 

Post # 11
299 posts
Helper bee

This is such a slippery slope issue. I think it’s equally bad to attack people for choosing their speech poorly- what else can they criticize? You never know! People have a right to freedom of speech, as bad and as inappropriate as some words and phrases are, they have a right to it. And people aren’t stupid- they know that saying something is "gay" can be offensive, but if they don’t mean it that way and the people around them realize they don’t mean it that way, then it isn’t a concern to them. Additionally, the word has more than one meaning! My grandmother has called one of my dresses "gay," because it was bright yellow 😛 I refuse to condemn a person because of their choice of adjectives and verbs, unless they start throwing out obvious nasty intentionally hateful racial slurs, that’s a whole other ballgame!

Post # 12
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2021 - Coyaba Resort, Montego Bay

If it is someone that I know (friend, co-worked), I tell them how I feel about it – in a very polite, educational way.  It makes me crazy.

Post # 14
5398 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@HumarockBride:  Yeah, I haven’t seen one on TV for a few weeks now, but they’ve been on.  Wonder if it’s only in some states?

Post # 15
3331 posts
Sugar bee

This is actually one of my pet peeves as well.  Like you, Bee, I’ve tried all different responses, but I never really know what works best.  I guess most of my friends/famiy know that I HATE the use of these words, so they don’t use them.  At work, I have a couple of gay/lesbian coworkers, so no one uses these terms around the office.

Post # 16
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I’m with Arineya on this one.  While I think both gay and retarded are a stupid word to use, I don’t think people necessarily relate something being ‘gay’ to something being ‘bad because it’s homosexual’.  And when someone says something is ‘retarded’ they aren’t relating it to being ‘developmentally slow’.  That said, it can also be an accurate descrpition.  For example, if someone were to call me a Jap, I could indeed say ‘that is retarded’.  It is.  Socially retarded.  I guess my point is convoluded, but this is it; everyone is offended by something.  And my ex roomate was gay, and he said things were ‘gay’ all the time.  Like Tom Cruise, right?    And people get offended for OTHER people.  If someone calls me oriental, that’s not ‘politically correct’ and yet, I’m not offended by it in the least.  But there are plenty of othe people who will be offended FOR me. 

But, when my nephew calls things ‘gay’ I always say ‘Oh, you think that was homosexual?’.  It pisses him off. 

Post # 17
2470 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m somewhat inclined to agree with arineya. Sometimes it slips and I don’t think its out of malice or intentional disrespect.

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