“同性恋”是怎么变成“同性恋”的?

2017/10/17 作者:未知 来源: 互联网 点击查看评论



当我上高中的时候,我的civics老师抱怨同性恋者“偷走”了这个词。

我不知道他在说什么,但他不是一个人。听一些异性恋者的,就像他们认为所有的同性恋者聚集在一起,用一个字代替“同性恋”,当“同性恋”获得最多的选票时,我们都疯狂地笑了,我们如何偷异性恋的词。

事实上,语言并非如此。

同性恋”是在13世纪从法语进入英语的,意思是“快乐”。根据韦氏词典的说法,到17世纪,这个词已经被用赋予了另种意义,即性含义:“放荡”,或性不道德。

这一含义导致了像“同志刃”这样的表达,正如牛津英语词典所指出的那样:“一个帅气的、活泼的人;耙。18世纪的剧作家Nicholas Rowe(他成为了英国的桂冠诗人,所以他是他的时代的主流),他在他的一部戏剧中扮演了一个“同性恋者”的角色,因为他是一个女人。在1904年的电影中,男同性恋鞋店员讲述了一个非常不快乐的异性恋的鞋店职员——他是“同性恋”,因为他吻了他刚刚认识的一个女客户。到了19世纪,“同性恋之家”成了妓院的俚语。
这是一种异性恋的感觉——不是同性恋——可能是“同性恋”的意思。

韦氏词典的理论是,“同性恋者”这个词的意思是“同性恋者”,这个词指的是一个年轻的男性流浪汉,他和一个年长的男性流浪汉一起工作,并且可能和他有过性关系。他们引用了1935年的“黑社会和监狱俚语手册”,其中包括了“间歇泉”这个词,这个词被定义为“同性恋男孩”。

但是,在20世纪早期,同性恋作为“异性恋”的“异性恋”,通过另一种奇怪的亚文化来表达“同性恋”是可能的。

“同性恋”一词在1950年代早期就出现了,这也就意味着同性恋者可能已经在一些同性恋人群中成为了俚语。它出现在为同性恋者的书籍中,偶尔也会出现在1950年和1960年代为异性恋读者写的书中,但“快乐”的定义却占据了主导地位,而“同性恋”的含义仍然是俚语。

直到Stonewall,同性恋解放阵线的诞生,以及在20世纪60年代和70年代的同性恋者的可见性,“同性恋”的含义才被广泛地了解。与此同时,这个词的“快乐”的定义也不再使用了。


关于为什么“快乐”的定义在与“同性恋”的定义同时出现的同时停止使用,并没有明确的解释。没有理由人们不能用“同性恋”来表示“快乐”,因为几个世纪以来,它有多重含义。

即使是对人的身份——如黑人、白人和异性恋——的其他词汇也有多重含义。
“同性恋”这个词的另一个常见含义是“坏”,它来自于1970年代晚期的“同性恋”。如果有人说某物是“同性恋”,那就没有歧义了。因此,即使是“同性恋”这个词,今天也完全有能力承载不止一个意思。


2010年的这个故事提供了一些见解。澳大利亚的一所学校改变了孩子们的歌曲“Kookaburra坐在旧的桉树上”。“最后一行是“你的生活必须是同性恋”,学校厌倦了那些在这条线上咯咯笑的孩子(但是也拒绝与孩子们谈论为什么在“同性恋”这个词是多么的可怕),改为“乐趣你的生活必须是”。”


虽然“同性恋”这个词可以有多种含义,但即使在今天,这些意义也不可能是正面的,因为异性恋者认为同性恋是可耻的。


就像很多其他的事情一样,不是同性恋者,同性恋或者LGBTQ文化,而是同性恋恐惧症。但我不希望像高中老师这样的人对自己的态度承担责任。

 

When I was in high school, my civics teacher complained that homosexuals “stole” the word gay.

I have no idea why he was talking about that, but he’s not alone. To listen to some straight people, it’s like they think that all the gays got together one day and voted on a word to replace “homosexual.” When “gay” got the most votes, we all laughed maniacally about how we were stealing straight people’s awesome word.

In reality, language doesn’t work that way.

“Gay” came into English from French in the 13th century and meant “merry.” By the 17th century, according to Merriam-Webster, the word had taken on a second, sexual meaning: “rakish,” or sexually immoral.

This meaning led to expressions like “gay blade,” which is, as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, “a dashing or lively man; a rake.” 18th century playwright Nicholas Rowe (who became Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, so he was thoroughly mainstream for his time) referred to a character in one of his plays as a “gay Lothario” because he was a womanizer. The short 1904 film The Gay Shoe Clerk is about a very heterosexual shoe clerk who isn’t particularly merry – he’s “gay” because he kisses a female client he just met. By the 19th century, a “gay house” was a slang term for a brothel.

It’s from this very heterosexual sense of the term – not gay-as-in-merry – that it probably came to mean “homosexual.”

Merriam-Webster‘s theory is that gay-as-in-rakish led to the slang term “gaycat,” which referred to a young male hobo who worked with an older male hobo and may have had a sexual relationship with him. They cite a 1935 “handbook of underworld and prison slang” that includes an entry on the word “geycat,” defined as “a homosexual boy.”

But it’s possible that gay-as-in-rakish, with it’s antonym “straight,” came to mean “homosexual” through another queer subculture in the early 20th century.

Some of the first written uses of the word gay to unambiguously mean “homosexual” appear in the early 1950’s, which means that it was probably already slang among some gay people earlier than that. It appeared in books for gay people and occasionally in books written for straight audiences in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but the “merry” definition dominated while the “homosexual” meaning remained slang.

It wasn’t until Stonewall, the birth of the Gay Liberation Front, and increased gay visibility in the late 1960’s and 1970’s that the “homosexual” meaning became widely known. At the same time, the “happy” definition of the term fell out of usage.

There is no definitive explanation of why the “happy” definition stopped being used at around the same time as the “homosexual” definition became prominent. There’s really no reason people couldn’t use “gay” to mean “happy” today when, for centuries, it had multiple meanings. Even other words for people’s identities – like black, white, and straight – have multiple meanings.

The other common meaning of the word gay is “bad,” which comes from the “homosexual” meaning in the late 1970’s. If someone says that something is “so gay,” there’s no ambiguity. So even the word “gay” is perfectly capable of carrying more than one meaning today.

This story from 2010 provides some insight. A school in Australia changed a line in the children’s song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.” The last line is “Gay your life must be,” and the school, tired of the kids bursting out in giggles at that line (but also refusing to just talk to the kids about why giggling at the word “gay” is all sorts of terrible), changed the line to “Fun your life must be.”

While the word “gay” can have multiple meanings, even today, none of those meanings can be positive because straight people think that being gay is shameful.

Like so many other things, it’s not gay people or homosexuality or LGBTQ culture that’s to blame, it’s homophobia. But I don’t expect people like my high school civics teacher to take responsibility for their attitudes.

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