I remember when the word gay meant gay, as in happy, sunny, joie de vivre, bubbly. But language is a living entity. Words grow up. They fold into a chrysalis and emerge as something new. Gay has undergone this curious metamorphosis to mean men who prefer men.
How did this happen? Why was this word chosen? Why not silk, or green, or a made-up one; say, lars?
“That man standing in the lobby is lars.”
“They have a loving, lars relationship and want to adopt a child.”
Works for me. I would like to have “gay” back so I can use it in a sentence when I write about joy.
I wonder if the same thing could happen with the word, “joy?” Shall we change the harsh sounding “lesbian” to “joy”? That buzzy “z” sound in lesbian grates on my ears and puts my teeth on edge. It is hard and final, so unlike the women I know who share themselves in those relationships. To be fair, perhaps we should let women have joy since the men have gay and the whole world could be a happier place.
“The women down the street are joys, you know. They have two cute little long haired dachshunds and walk them past our house every morning with their little plastic poop bags dangling from their wrists. They live next door to the gay couple that throws such great parties, the ones where straights and gays and joys are all welcomed.”
I hate to lose “joy” but think it’s only fair. Besides, we can always slip a replacement out from another word bank, browse the world’s language cache for a suitable substitute; say, “froh” from German (we can toss out any of those annoying umlauts to suit our purposes) or we can even borrow from the French now that their fries are back in town. You never know. All things are possible.
Have a joyful, gay, froh day!