Saturday, November 05, 2005

"A Gay"

Yesterday, I taught one of my classes that gay is an adjective and not a noun. On one hand, I feel rather funny about this because they mainly use it to insult each other, and this makes me feel sort of hypocritical and weird. At the same time, I guess perhaps living here has made me less sensitive about it.

Furthermore, it seems like people don't really know what being gay is. For example, Tony in my favorite class once tried to kiss Andy Wu. However, the other kids don't shun him because of this. William just said gravely, "Tony is gay." and for once I was inclined to agree. I told Tony, "Don't kiss Andy." and he said, "Why?" and I just said, "Because he doesn't want you to." If Andy was ok with it, I wouldn't have said anything. Another time, he came up behind William and just started touching his head. William just moved his head rather than saying anything. This from the kids where according to them, all of them are gay.

Not that they don't say fucked up stuff. For example, they asked how old the much feared and hated head secretary was, and when I said she was probably about 40, they asked if she was married and I said no. They were all profoundly shocked and then one of them said, "Teacher, can we say that because she is mean because she doesn't have a husband." I guess the only thing I felt I could say was "I think she would be just as mean if she had a husband."


Taiwanonymous said...

Here's part of the usage note from the American Heritage Dicitonary:

Like the other names of social groups derived from adjectives (for example, Black), gay may be regarded as offensive when used as a noun to refer to particular individuals, as in There were two gays on the panel; here phrasing such as gay members should be used instead. But there is no objection to the use of the noun in the plural to refer collectively either to gay men or to gay men and lesbians, so long as it is clear whether men alone or both men and women are being discussed. See Usage Note at homosexual.

lovelesscynic said...

Oh brave new world that has such definitions in it!

ASJ said...

I've noticed that boys in my classes are much more touchy all around than American boys. They do things like curl up next to each other and hold each other around the waist. Things American boys would be shuned for.