Those people jump on the same tired old bandwagon, claiming that the word means gay as in dumb/silly/dorky/uncool, not gay as in homosexual. Gawd, why don’t people grow a sense of humor?
And the answer is this: kids are still dying, because they’re gay. Sadistic bastards in New York think it’s funny to kidnap a man, hold him hostage, and sodomize him with household cleaning supplies, because he’s gay. Catholic schools expel kids, because their mothers are lesbian. People are still not allowed (pending the final outcome of currently-argued court decisions) to serve openly in the military, because they’re gay. I can’t get married in Kansas, because I’m a lesbian. Kids are still tormented because other kids think they act “gay,” even if everyone knows they’re as straight as a T-square.
It’s all a form of violent social policing that is only reinforced every time someone says, “Electric cars are gay.” Words matter. No one outside a Klan hood would ever think of using the N-word in that way. People with their heads outside their colons know not to complain about a meeting being “retarded.” We all know that words have meanings, and using words has consequences.
Today, when kids who are tormented by racists for being Asian, Latino, or African-American go home in anger, shock, or tears, their parents understand and can provide some help to the kids in dealing with the problem.
So many people think that we are claiming victim status when we decry the casual use of the word “gay” as a random epithet. But gay kids don’t usually have any support at all. They’re left hanging in the breeze, and so many of them go home to parents they can’t talk to, who don’t understand what it’s like to grow up different in that particular way, or worse, who state openly that gay people go to hell. For kids who are gay, having to hear who and what they are constantly used as a putdown is exhausting and soul-extinguishing.
These kids are at the mercy of the outside world, but home is not a refuge for them either. No wonder they attempt suicide at such a high rate. How can we expect them to understand that the whole world is not like high school?