A Boston-area high school student is very angry that the dictionary in her Apple Macbook Pro laptop has not suppressed the knowledge that the word “gay” can be used to mean “foolish” or “stupid.”
She is so angry that she has written a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, telling him how angry she is.
Sudbury, Mass. sophomore Becca Gorman discovered the definition when she was writing an essay on gay rights for a history class, reports local Fox affiliate WFXT.
According to a screenshot Gorman took, the first definition her Apple Macbook gave her was “relating to or used by homosexuals.” The second one was “lighthearted and carefree.” The third one — labeled as informal — was “foolish; stupid.”
Gorman, 15, was aghast that a dictionary would actually show a definition in which the word “gay” can be used in the English language in a defamatory way.
“I think my initial reaction was just disbelief,” Gorman told WFXT.
Gorman also noted that she has two mothers who are lesbians.
“We haven’t really pushed our kids to take on our values but to really develop their own sense of what they think is important,” one of those mothers, Michelle Bowdler, told the Fox affiliate.
Gorman, a big fan of Apple products, took her cause directly to Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc. (who, WFXT notes, is gay).
“While researching I went to the dictionary application on my MacBook Pro that you and your company promote, or created, and looked up the definition of ‘gay’. [sic] I was horrified, offended, and astounded at the results,” Gorman wrote.
Gorman then revealed the screenshot of the definitions.
“I assume that you are a pro-gay company, and would never intend for any one of your products to be as offensive as this definition was. Even with your addition of the word informal, this definition normalizes the terrible derogatory twist that many people put on the word ‘gay’. [sic] I looked up other derogatory terms and all of them had ‘derogatory’ in the definition, as expected.”
Gorman then analogizes the derogatory use of the word “gay” with the derogatory use of the word “retarded.”
“The use of ‘gay’ as a negative adjective is not okay and needs to stop; [sic] insulting or making people feel uncomfortable everyday [sic].”
Gorman demanded that Apple change its dictionary, and also sought an apology “to the gay community, a good amount [sic] of your customers.”
The incensed student said she got a very rapid response from someone at Apple.
“They said that Apple streams its dictionary from four separate sources so they’d have to figure out how to get it removed, but they were also really surprised,” Gorman told WFXT.
It’s not clear if Apple has censored or scrubbed the offending meaning of “gay” yet.
Gorman, who swears she is committed to seeing her dictionary-repressing crusade through to the bitter end, said she would accept an addition to the definition that offends her, noting that the meaning is pejorative.