12/06/06 

Heres a fun line that Chris Moyles could run as a phone-in quiz on his show today – what makes a ringtone gay? Is it a) when it's a Kylie track? b) when it's bursting out of a diamante encrusted pink telephone carried by Dale Winton? or c) when it's anything a bit, you know, rubbish? 

That's the first paragraph of an article by Tim Lusher in the Guardian regarding a Radio One DJ's use of the word "gay" on his breakfast show.

The presenter apparently used it to refer derogatorily to a mobile phone ringtone.

In the 20th century the word, once an adjectival term meaning animated, blithe, carefree, cheerful, debonaire, glad, gleeful, rollicking, sportive, waggish, and so on, became a noun meaning homosexual.

Well it's changed its linguistic skin again; it's now a youth-speak adjective denoting "lame" or "stupid" or "second rate" or "feeble" or "anything negative a teenager can't find a better word for fast enough".

As might be expected the gay community isn't best pleased.

Ben Summerskill of Gay Rights group Stonewall is concerned that kids being called gay in the playground could suffer emotionally: "If gay is a term of abuse when you are 9 how does that impact when you decide at 13 or 14 you are gay?"

What does it matter what sexual orientation an insulted kid develops? Derogatory labeling isn't nice whether you're gay or straight or otherwise.

That old axiom about sticks and stones, however, still holds it's original meaning, and it still makes sense to me.

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