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UK: "Gay" is most popular insult in schools

Wed 19 Mar 2008 In: International News View at Wayback

A new survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in the UK has found that 83% of teachers have heard the word 'gay' regularly used as an insult between students at school. This makes 'gay' by far the most popular insult, used much more than its nearest rivals, 'bitch' (59%) and 'slag' (45%), reports the BBC. They are used by children of all ages, from nursery school upwards. But the worst offenders are secondary school pupils, says the teaching union. "Every generation grows up with a whole lexicon of homosexual insults, in my day it was 'poofter' or 'bender'," says slang lexicographer Tony Thorne. "They were used much more because they were considered more offensive than 'gay', which is more neutral. "It's only in the last four years that I've documented it being used so much by young people. It's what we call a 'vogue' word, which is a fashionable word." One reason for this increase in use could be because "gay" has partly lost its sexual connotations among young people, he says. While still pejorative, for the majority of youngsters it has replaced words such as "lame". "I have interviewed scores of school kids about this and they are always emphatic that it has nothing at all to do with hostility to homosexuals," says Mr Thorne, compiler of the Dictionary of Contemporary Slang. "It is nearly always used in contexts where sexual orientation and sexuality are completely irrelevant." This BBC story continues on the link below.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 19th March 2008 - 11:06am

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