GAY: light-hearted and carefree.
“Nan had a gay disposition and a very pretty face”
Synonyms: cheerful, cheery, merry, jolly, light-hearted, mirthful, jovial, glad, happy, bright, in good spirits, in high spirits, joyful, elated, exuberant, animated, lively, sprightly, vivacious, buoyant, bouncy, bubbly, perky, effervescent, playful, frolicsome.
It’s an interesting ‘dated’ description of the word gay (see above). Now, of course, when someone calls you gay across the street to cause offence they are not saying “you’re too happy” or “too merry“. It’s meant to be a slur and negative dig at your lifestyle, your looks or anything else they deem to be abusable. The unfortunate thing about this is that neither definition should be used to cause hurt but one can and one can also be misinterpreted too. I realised this when I was younger.
I remember quite clearly when I was about 7 or 8 my nana was platting my hair in the living room and she said ‘are you gay today?‘… Well that was it, I felt a huge rush of redness filling my cheeks, I got very hot and bothered and nearly died for fear of not knowing how to reply. Unbeknown to my nana she actually meant was I happy on that day! She was not asking me who I fancied or if I wanted to kiss a girl she was merely seeing if I was okay today. For me it was an entirely different questions and for the first time that I can remember I was stuck for words. I remember my nana laughing a bit so now I think in her own way maybe she was trying to ‘Out’ me but my god was I not ready. I didn’t even think I was gay back then, I wasn’t anything, but the fact that now when I look back on it and I can remember that fear I felt I must have be aware of something.
Back to my answer… I sort of froze and mumbled some sort of ‘no, what? no’ kind of thing and mum shouted in from the kitchen ‘are you happy?’. My saviour! Yes, yes I was happy. All fine and then my body temperature regulated, heart rate lowered and my pale face returned. Phew. So that was my first recollection of a gay conversation, there were many to follow.
I think as a young LGBTQ person this ‘frozen’ feeling is one that you will all probably feel, more than once. But try and remember that being who you are is not wrong or something to be ashamed of. The original definition for Gay; ‘Jolly’, ‘Happy’ ‘Merry’ and ‘Gay’ will be a correct definition of you once you are happy with yourself. Then it won’t matter if someone with a low tolerance level shouts across the street at you “You big Gay!!”… you can reply “YES and Happy too!“
By The Outing xx #HappyOut