Gay isn’t a bad word, assuming you’re using it to describe a man who is attracted (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) to other men, (depending on label preference) a woman who is attracted to women, or anyone else who self-identifies as gay. In that case, feel comfortable using the word gay. But that’s the extent of it.
A car can’t be gay.
The word gay has become so synonymous with bad that people often feel uncomfortable using it correctly. I’ve experience well-intentioned people stumbling over the word gay to describe someone who is actually gay, saying things like, “he’s ga–uh… homosexual.” In this case, gay is the right word to use. Homosexual is a medical term, and not one that creates comfort within the gay community. It’s a problem when people struggle to use the correct word to describe something, because it’s become so slanted by people charging it with hate and ignorance.
What’s worse: the way many of us use the word “gay” has become damaging to LGBTQ people and straight people alike. It’s an insult to call someone straight “gay”, and the fact that that’s an insult is incredibly harmful to people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The video of Jonah above is a great example of this.
New rule: if you’re talking about a dude who likes dudes (or, again, depending on preference, a gal who likes gals), use the word “gay”; if you’re not, don’t. It’s that simple. Good? Good.