Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Word "Gay" Is Not Politically Correct Says An Australian Principle

The popular Australian children's song "Kookaburra" aka. "Kookaburra sits in the Old Gum Tree" has been a topic of recent controversy in a Melbourne school, because the word "gay" appears at the end of the first stanza.

According to the Herald Sun...
Principal Garry Martin said yesterday he taught the lyrics to grade one pupils using an old tape of the famous song.
"It uses gay and I just suggested to kids, 'Nowadays that can mean different things, so let's just sing a fun old time'," he said.
"It was my decision to replace it. I guess that was hypersensitive of me."
Mr Martin said some children used "gay" to bully others without knowing the meaning of the expression.
 "Political correctness is to the fore in schools - what's appropriate and what isn't - and sometimes we rightly or wrongly err on the side of caution," he said.
Crusader Hillis, from gay and lesbian advocacy group the Also Foundation, said the ban was absurd."Political correctness is to the fore in schools - what's appropriate and what isn't - and sometimes we rightly or wrongly err on the side of caution," he said.
"Kids in schoolgrounds say 'That's so gay' and that's all fine. That's just the way that language is," he said.
Mr Hillis said banning words because they had multiple meanings was wrong.
"I don't think that's a very good message for kids to have, particularly when they've been working really hard to bring in respect and diversity into schools," he said.
"They're drawing attention to it and being a bit stupid."
Norman Laurie, managing director of the song's owner Larrikin Music, said the reasoning for changing the lyric was spurious.
"It's about as smart as banning Noddy books in libraries," he said.

This story brings up a good point. What is the influence of words and their meanings? When does the word "gay" become negative. If someone says "thats so gay" is that a slam against LGBT people, or can the word be thought of in a different context. Was the Principle right to do what he did, or did he overreact? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

And just for kicks I included a video of some youngsters singing the song...


  1. We performed this song in a program when I was in 3rd grade grammar school. I played the little sand paper scratchy sound blocks!

    It always made me giggle to myself when we got the the stanza, "Gay your life must be!", and then Erek (my first crush) would turn around and smile at me. He played the triangle very nicely! Turns out we were both gay...but it took us a few years to figure that one out.

    Weird how memory works, huh? Had not thought of that time of my life in years!

    If we get rid of "Gay" in this song...then we have to eliminate "Bush" as well...since that made the "other" boys giggle and blush too.

    The whole P.C. nonsense is getting out of hand. It is time for some of us younger "insensitive jerks" to start acclimating society back to the truth again. I do NOT have to like everyone and they do NOT have to like me. I can respect them, IF they respect me...but we do NOT have to get along.

    Just my $0.02 :)

  2. The expression "That's so gay" IS a slam against LGBT people. Always. I couldn't believe he said "that's all fine" for kids to say it. Here (Canada) there are organizations that are working to educate kids on that term and what it actually means. What's its saying is that a person or situation is so awful or lame that we're going to equate it to something equally awful or lame: being gay. And that's why it's derogatory.

    In the song, I don't think you need to sensor a word because it has multiple meanings. Kids can figure out what is actually being said/meant. Plus it's used as a positive trait.


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