The Sexist

Anti-Gay Activists Putting “Gay” In Scare Quotes Now


J. Matt Barber, board member of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, has no problem with being gay. Being "gay," on the other hand, is a serious cause for concern.

In a media alert released yesterday, Barber warned Christians about the impending threat of homosexual terrorism. As he described the activists at the heart of the anti-Christian movement, Barber repeatedly couched the term "gay" in scare quotes. Why go "gay"?

Parents of Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is in the business of downplaying the immutability of sexual orientation—their whole shtick is that gays can turn themselves straight, and so placing "gay" in quotes helps to devalue the identity as real.

But Barber says that's not the effect he was going for. "Gay used to mean happy, carefree—the original definition of gay," explains Barber. "Now, homosexuals are trying to put a more positive face on their lifestyle. In an interesting and clever twist of semantics, homosexuals have co-opted the term. Gay is supposed to be something happy, something good."

One section of the AP Stylebook seems to back up Barber's usage. According to the Stylebook, it is acceptable to place real, actual words—like gay—in quotation marks in order to signify that the words are being "used in an ironical sense." According to Barber, being "gay" is ironic indeed, as the homosexual lifestyle is far from gay. "Based on CDC statistics, there’s nothing gay about being 'gay,'" Barber says.

  • mary

    barber is a tool

  • Mike

    The defeat of marriage equality in ME has emboldened the"Christian" far right- they're determined to attack the gay community on every level.We and our supporters must be vigilant and make sure their lies are exposed.

  • Reid

    If he's going to use ironic quotes around the word gay, from now on I'm going to use them around "Christian". As in, these "Christians" are a bunch of bigots that use a selective reading of their religion's source documents to support their insecure fear of the normalization of people different than them.

  • Robguy

    The scare quotes are nothing new, I think it's been decades.

  • daniel

    I is any wonder that most people surveyed over this side of the world class the US and Iran together as dangerous theocracies, most likely to destabalise world politics? America has many differing people but there is a clear message it puts out internationaly.