Is “Gay” a Derogatory Term?

Is “Gay” a Derogatory Term?

It’s refreshing to hear a young str8 person take a pro-stance on gay rights like the opinion editor of American Heritage’s high school newspaper did recently, but what kind of took me by surprise was her opening sentence: “The word ‘gay’ is commonly used as a derogatory term in today’s society.”


I’ve always viewed “gay” as a pretty neutral, attitude-free word to describe those of us who prefer our own gender sexually. Now, words like faggot (though we call one another that all the time) , queer, fairy, bugger, dyke, and pervert to name a few are all emotionally charged terms, But I never took “gay” to be one. It certain beats those cold clinical terms, “homosexual” or “lesbian” which sound like we all belong on some psychiatrist’s couch.

After all, what other terms are out there?


So, what do YOU think? Do you consider “gay” some kind of slur? If so, why, and what would you suggest we and the rest of the world call us?

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