Here's the lyric...
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry merry king of the bush is he
Gay your life must be.
So now a primary school in Australia has decided that their kids should sing that final line as "Fun your life must be."
Garry Martin of Le Page Primary School in Melbourne decided to replace the song's last line "gay your life must be" with "fun your life must be" to end the laughter that erupted in the classroom when the children sang the word "gay."
..."Seventy years ago when the song was written 'gay' meant you are happy. Nowadays we know it's got all sorts of different meanings," Martin told Reuters.
I know the school's getting a lot of flack about this being too politically correct, or maybe just not politically correct enough, but what I wish had happened is that they'd talked with the kids about the word "gay."
Yes, "gay" can mean fun.
It can also mean a boy who falls in love with another boy. Or a girl who falls in love with another girl.
And sadly, "gay" has also become slang for "icky" or "bad" as in, "that's so gay."
If the song had been using the word "gay" in a negative way, I don't think I would have been upset about a change in lyrics to stop slamming down a minority.
Think of the racist songs that we no longer sing today (Yeah, Disney never did re-release "Song of the South," did they?)
But in this case, the use of the word "gay" has a good connotation. "Gay" can mean fun - and why are we protecting children from knowing THAT?
I'm glad to know that they're having second thoughts:
Due to the controversy, Martin said it might be better to revert to the original word "gay."
"I possibly should have stuck with the original and explained that in a tender, caring way," he said.
Because if the kids are snickering and laughing at the use of the word "gay" - that's a great opportunity to talk to them about how we gay people are just that - people.
And sometimes, our Gay lives are fun, too. Just like that Kookaburra.
Here's a video of a children's choir singing the song with the word "Gay" intact:
How do YOU think kids should sing the song?
Here's a link to the full news article.
The song was written by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair.