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#448808 - 09/30/13 05:26 PM To anyone who is gay, a question about terminology
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1928
Loc: durham, north england
Hi.

this is something I meant to ask earlier, but it's only recently occurred to me. It's completely none sa related which is why I'm asking here, ---- indeed the only real reason I'm asking on this board is that this is the one place where a lot of chaps have been completely honest about their s/xual preferences so I can! ask.

At the anual Aims music school I go to a few weeks ago, I met a fellow who I have known since I started three years ago. Since in several classes I've been in he's the only other person singing tenor he's someone I've worked with a fair amount, indeed as far as it is possible to be friends with someone you only meet twice a year I'd considder him one. I noticed there was something very different about him this year, particularly with how confident his performance was, and when I remarked on this he said he'd for the first time in his life found a romantic relationship that had changed things, (and since he's about 50' that slightly surprised me).

He then rather sweetly admited with a mixture of pride and reluctance that his other half's name was Peter, and yess "sweetly" is the word.

I then asked how they'd met and what peter did, at hwhich he told me. I said I was extremely pleased for him and he admited he felt difficult telling people since he was worried how people would react to him being, ---- and I supplied the word "gay" and assured him I really wasn't bothered.

He said he never thought of himself that way, and he disliked the term.

For me, "gay" just means someone who is attracted only to people of the same gender, and "straight" would be the opposite. The two words as I understand them have no more context or meaning that describing someone as tall or short, as having straight or curley hair, but clearly for my friend this wasn't the case.

Yet, various people I know are quite happy describing themselves as "gay" indeed once at the same music school when I met a dutch chap in the computer room who remarked he was writing to his husband when I needed to use the network port he explained quite casually "oh I'm gay"

I suppose for me it's just always been a very basic, completely none imotive distinction to say that such and such a person is gay, indeed right from when I was thirteen my dad introduced me to "auntie carol" who was a friend from his work who was gay, (quite a sad story since my dad was one of very few friends of hers who didn't care once she admitedd as much).

I therefore naturally use the word just as a purely discriptive term. Yes, I am quite aware how much prejudice there is attached to it, and how calling someone "gay" can be a blatant insult in some quarters, but to me this has always seemed just the same as saying that such and such a person is "jewish" it might be an insult if a nazi called someone jewish, but for me to do it just means a description of a person's faith or ancestry.

Yet obviously, I don't want a person to feel insulted by mistake, particularly when they are like my friend, ---- well a friend.

So, what term do people prefer?

I don't mean this in a stupid, political correctness sense, (heck, I! am bloody disabled! not differently abled or handicapable or some other crap), but just for a genuine question, since I'd always assumed myself that "gay" was okay as a term, and it was words like "queer" or "bent" etc which were insulting, but not being in that position of course I can't actually say.b

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#448848 - 10/01/13 12:33 AM Re: To anyone who is gay, a question about terminology [Re: dark empathy]
kcinohio Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 293
Loc: Ohio
Dark, some gay men can have hang ups about their sexuality and terms used. If you are being sincere and respectful in a conversation, most people would either graciously accept your term or supply you with one they prefer. I don't mind the word gay, but if I did, I feel I'd better have a reasonable alternative to offer.

I have a similar kind of thing going on with my religious beliefs. I'm not crazy about being called "pagan." I prefer polytheist. But, most of the time, "pagan" isn't meant in a way that's pejorative during casual conversation, so I seldom feel the need to say anything about it.

In context, your story reads as if the guy may have a hangup (and who doesn't?) and the conversation may have gone beyond his comfort zone. Wouldn't see it as anything to change your word usage on it.

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#448861 - 10/01/13 05:24 AM Re: To anyone who is gay, a question about terminology [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1928
Loc: durham, north england
Hi kcinohio


I do very much suspect your right that my friend wasn't exactly comfortable with applying such terms as Gay to himself and that this has been a long standing hangup, indeed I suspect he only mentioned his partner's name to me because, ---- well people talk to me.

I did wonder though if perhaps I'd got the wrong end of the stick regarding terminology, since I know it can very much depend upon a person's own perceptions of specific terms, and that "gay" comes with a lot of cultural baggage however basically utilitarian I meant it. Indeed, I did straight out say that I only meant "gay" in a purely descriptive sense, but my friend still didn't seem happy with the word or supply me with an alternative hence my question.

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