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8 June, 2006

‘Gay’ means ‘rubbish’

According to BBC, the word ‘gay’ in addition to being used to mean ‘homosexual’ or ‘carefree’, was often now used to mean ‘lame’ or ‘rubbish’. (Source: Times Online) Actually, I've heard this usage, e.g. it’s gay, and I might have used it in such way myself.

And what does the word ‘gay’ mean in ”have a gay old good time”? To my knowledge, it means ‘nothing’, just an unnecessary word to add some fun for the sentence.

Source: Gay means rubbish, says BBC (Times Online, 6 June 2006)

Gay means rubbish, says BBC By Adam Sherwin, Media Correspondent

The word “gay” now means “rubbish” in modern playground-speak and need not be offensive to homosexuals, the BBC Board of Governors has ruled.
A listener complained after Chris Moyles dismissed a ringtone by saying on his Radio 1 breakfast show: “I don’t want that one, it’s gay.”

The complainant argued that the use of the word gay in this context was homophobic. The governors said, however, that Moyles was simply keeping up with developments in English usage.

The programme complaints committee noted: “The word ‘gay’, in addition to being used to mean ‘homosexual’ or ‘carefree’, was often now used to mean ‘lame’ or ‘rubbish’. This is a widespread current usage of the word amongst young people.”

The committee, which consists of five BBC governors, including the former Royal Ballet dancer Deborah Bull, was “familiar with hearing this word in this context”.

Given Moyles’s target audience of young listeners “it was to be expected that he would use expressions and words which the listeners used themselves”.

The governors believed that, in describing a ringtone as gay, the DJ was conveying that he thought it was “rubbish” rather than “homosexual”. Moyles was not being homophobic, they said.

The panel acknowledged, however, that this use of the word “gay” in a derogatory sense could cause offence to some listeners and counselled caution on its use. Radio 1 was, however, correct to cancel future interviews with the American rap star Jayceon Taylor — known as The Game — after he called gay men “faggots” during a live interview. The presenter Jo Whiley showed “courage and presence of mind” by making an instant full apology, the panel ruled.

The governors also cleared The Catherine Tate Show over a complaint that an effeminate character in the sketch show was offensive. The humour derives from Derek Faye’s outraged reaction at the widespread assumption that he is gay. The complainant took offence that the viewers were invited to laugh at the character’s obvious gayness.

The committee said that the series was dominated by extreme, ridiculous characters who were “not meant to be taken literally or too seriously”. The BBC Two audience would not have found the sketches offensive.

However, BBC commentators should have apologised promptly to viewers after an outburst of swearing from Tim Henman during a Wimbledon match at teatime against the Russian Dmitry Tursunov.

The committee noted that, of four possible instances of offensive language during the match, two were impossible to decipher and may not have been swear words; one was a clear use of the “f” word, and the other a use of the word “arse”.

Given Henman’s previous good character, the committee agreed that there had been no reason to suppose beforehand that the British tennis player would have used any offensive language during a live broadcast.

A complainant had accused the BBC of a “serious disregard for broadcasting rules and regulations”, but the corporation’s committee said that viewers would not want pre-watershed sport to be subject to a time delay, despite the occasional risk of foul language.


Believed to derive from Old French “gai”, the Latin “gaius” or a Germanic source. Originally meant “carefree”, “happy” or “bright and showy”
From late 17th century acquired sexual connotation of “uninhibited by moral constraints”
Gertrude Stein’s Miss Furr & Miss Skeene (1922) cited as first published reference to ambiguous sexuality
Noel Coward pens tribute to dandies of the “gay Nineties” wearing green carnations in 1929 musical Bitter Sweet
Used to describe foppish dress code, unattached men or bachelors until adopted by homosexuals themselves in 1960s
Originally used as an adjective (“he is gay”), the word is adopted as singular noun (“I am the only gay in the village”)
Children and students use gay as shorthand for “rubbish” during 1990s
Bloggers substitute “gay” for “boring” or “dull”, reversing original meaning.

Posted by Antony on 8 June 2006 9:44 AM | newstalk

more June 2006 blogs. (or 2006 blogs)
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The word was claimed by homosexuals during the mid 20th century to identify themselves to others of simular interest. The young people are taking the word back and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Homosexuals are welcome to use another word if they wish.
Posted by Widwoo on 5 November 2006 4:32 AM.
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