Three of my best friends are gay, but I have never felt the need to discuss with an eight year old what "gay" meant. They are my friends, just like any of my straight friends are my friends, so it isn't exactly like I have said "oh this is my friend and they are gay" and explained it. I was a little unprepared for this conversation to say the least.
I asked her to repeat the question so I could get my thoughts straight and then answered her as honestly as I could.
"La, gay is when a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman."
"So are me and my best friend gay? Cause I love her, cause she is my best friend."
"It isn't like best friends loving each other, it's like how boyfriends and girlfriends love each other. It isn't a word to use as an insult. You can say something is silly or stupid, but gay isn't a word you should say as an insult."
"Oh, alright then. Well, this boy in my class said it."
"Well, you don't need to say it, and next time tell your teacher, OK?"
The subject was then dropped. I, however, was seething inside.
Having been around my friends when this insult has been hurled, muttered, or whispered at them- well, lets just say when I hear it now my blood boils.
It is NOT OK to call something or someone "gay" if is stupid, lame, silly, uncool, or not to your liking. It is not cute for a kid to say something is "gay", it's disgraceful.
Parenting is hard, parenting on your back foot trying to find the right words because someone else has backed you into a corner is harder. Stand up for what you believe in, don't bull shit your kids and keep it real with them. That being said, don't give them too much information, just enough for them to make correct decisions. Also, let's give them a bigger vocabulary to use so they can find some better insults.