“Actually, gingervitus is the medical term.”

This story requires the obligatory link to “Ginger Kids“, the greatest episode of South Park:

A shaken family told how they have been hounded out of three homes — for having ginger hair.

Kevin and Barbara Chapman and their four children have been targeted by thugs for three terrifying years.

The youngsters have been verbally abused and beaten up, while vandals have regularly smashed the family’s windows and sprayed hate-filled graffiti on the walls of their council homes.

Only this week, the slogan “Gingers are gay” was daubed across one wall.

I find it hard to believe something like this could happen, so my crap detector is going off. It just seems too ridiculous. But small-minded people will find anything to taunt someone different. That’s not going away.

Wondering whether there’s a disconnect to the typical sort of nonsense directed at redheads in America and a taunt that includes “gingers are gay”, I researched the ramifications of the British slang for ginger. I found this dictionary:

  1. Homosexual. Rhyming slang, from Ginger beer – ‘queer’.
  2. A ginger or red haired person. Pronounced with hard g’s as in goggles.
  3. Carbonated drink, such as cola. [Scottish use]

Who knew? And I didn’t realize that it’s pronounced with a hard “g”. Overall a banged-up mental process to arrive at such a derogatory term, but still fascinating.

For an example, consider this story from December in the UK:

The BBC has upheld a complaint against Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear presenter, after he described a car as a “bit gay”.

He provoked the ire of the gay community when he asked a member of the show’s audience if he would buy a two-seater Daihatsu Copen, retailing at £13,495. The man said, “No, it’s a bit gay”, to which Clarkson added: “A bit gay, yes, very ginger beer.”

Story link via Fark. “Ginger beer” link via Citizen Crain, where you’ll find good commentary on the free speech implications of this example. Daihatsu Copen here. A better image here.