Richard Madeley has been criticised by Ofcom and apologised for using the word ‘dyke’ on the Richard and Judy show recently. Apparantly, Richard thought the word was now in common usage and no longer considered offensive or homophobic. I have to say I agree, but then I am reminded, again and again, of what a sheltered life I live here in London. Get out of the city, away from media liberalism, and I’m sure that words such as dyke are still used in anger and with malice.
I used to find the word offensive, and still wouldn’t often use it to describe myself, but in my eyes it’s a word that has got past the exclusive use of the group it describes. That is, for a while, only dykes could use the word dyke, if you get my meaning. Then gay men could, then friends. Richard obviously put himself in the friend category, which is cool with me.