Trying to regulate how people speak is a problematic endeavor. People sometimes try to assert that Information Wants To Be Free, when that isn't actually true, because information can't want things. It's a false corollary of something that is true, though - namely, that Communication Cannot Be Contained. A true corollary of this notion would be that People Will Say Things You Don't Like, And May Even Hate, a shard of schoolyard wisdom I previously thought well distributed.Gabe, in deliciously uncharacteristic form, has his own riff right below where he gives undue analysis to what was, in all likelihood, a rather thoughtless comment from someone he doesn't even remember.
I gotta say, I'm with 'em. (Full Disclosure: I was against 'em before, and with the ThinkB4YouSpeak folks, but I've since changed my mind.) I think that people who think "gay" is an insult are stupid, but you can't really fight stupid with stupider. "Gay" will continue to be an insult as long as those assholes think it is, for the same reason that "special" is now (and "retard" before it, and "moron" & "idiot" before that). It's a very simple thing, really: the insult word is something that the speaker does not wish to be. "Chug that beer or you're gay" has the same argumentative weight as "Chug that beer or you have cancer." It's every bit as insensitive and ignorant, no matter the specific manifestation.
So how do we win? Well, leaving aside for the moment that you can't actually "win culture" or "win language" (OK, maybe you can... I certainly lose at language when under certain chemical influences...), I like Dan Savage's "leotarded" approach. I like it because it's fun, it's stupid, and it shows just how stupid the whole thing is. You want me to stop saying "leotarded?" Fine, stop saying "retarded" and I'll think about it. Neener-neener, nanny-fuckin'-boo-boo. And when you've blown the last raspberry, then you'll know you've won.
Just kidding. The insult, it turns out, only has the power you let it have (like, say, any other insult). Things may or may not change in your lifetime, and you'd save yourself a lot of grief & angst if you'd just get over it. Yeah, I know, they're wrong and it sucks and you just wanna do something about it. Well, by all means, do something about it! But if you're not also preparing yourself for the inevitable backlash and the possibility of failure by inoculating yourself against such barbs, well, then you might go a little nuts. And cry in public when someone calls you "gay," then cry more when they call you "gay for crying."
Besides, if we couldn't use "gay" frivolously, then skeletons couldn't be gay for deals! And that would be a true tragedy. For Serious.