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Gay Writes, Part II

April 09, 1988

Ken Jackson's letter finally brings out into the open a subject that has galled me for a long time: No, not homosexuality, but the appropriation by homosexuals of the once perfectly valid adjective gay as their group label of identification (Saturday Letters, April 1).

The dictionary definition of gay is, "Showing or characterized by exuberance or mirthful excitement; merry." How can a large segment of society, composed of so many varied personalities, consider itself to be uniformly "gay"? This is as fallacious as the old saw that all blacks were "happy darkies," full of rhythm and laughter.

For Jackson and others to so tenaciously embrace the term gay as descriptive of their life style only suggests that they see themselves as somehow more carefree, sensitive, clever and enlightened than the rest of us poor drones who can't appreciate the better things in life.

I submit to Jackson that we're all brothers and sisters. Why do we have to factionalize ourselves and instruct the rest of the world as to what they should call us? Why set ourselves apart with labels and lines of demarcation? Whom are we really trying to convince?

Yet, if some still feel that they must, then let them use some of their self-touted, free-spirited creativity to invent their own, brand-new nickname instead of bastardizing an existing word so that it now, when properly used, frequently elicits the wrong reaction.

CHUCK MENVILLE

Malibu

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