Over the past week, an imported ice cream product called Golden Gaytime went viral in Malaysia due to its name. With the phrases “4 Delicious Chances To Have A Gay Time” and “It’s hard to have a Gaytime on your own!” plastered on the packaging to promote its content, some Malaysians were quick to react with anger towards the ice cream which retails for RM49.30 at a few local grocers.
According to Sinar Harian, The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) has demanded an explanation over the name Golden Gaytime from the popular ice-cream manufacturer, Walls.
Chief-activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said that the company should be more sensitive towards certain words used for the products as it may cause misunderstandings between racial groups and added that other words could be used to describe the joy of ice cream.
“In this multiracial society, special attention is needed before using certain words or carrying out actions for marketing purposes. If there is no reasonable explanation, appropriate measures must be taken because this involves the purity of Islam,” he added.
Some netizens were also quick to weigh into the matter and accused the company of being supportive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
So what’s the real story behind Golden Gaytime?
Well, the ice cream actually has an innocent origin story… At the time of naming the ice cream, which was in the 1950s, the term gay was actually used to describe joy and happiness. It wasn’t used to label one’s sexuality yet.
Now here’s the irony…
This isn’t the first time Golden Gaytime has caused controversy though. Back in March this year, over 1150 Australians signed a petition urging Walls (known as Streets in Australia) to rebrand the name used since 1959, as it was deemed as “outdated” and “offensive” to the LGBT community.
According to News.com.au, the petition was created by an Australian man known as Brian Mc because he felt that it was time for the product to be rebranded since using the term gay to describe being happy is deemed outdated “especially when Streets is releasing new products and cross promotions in 2021.”
However, according to a survey done by News.com.au, more than 45,000 voters said the name is “harmless and not offensive.”
The controversial ice cream first hit markets in Australia in the late 1950s and was slowly introduced to other countries in the following years, finally making its way to Malaysia in December 2020.
Speaking to NCA Newswire, a spokesperson said, “The origin of the ‘Gaytime’ name was and remains related to having a joyous or happy time and is meant to capture the pleasure that comes with enjoying an ice cream.”
The spokesperson added that “The ‘Gaytime’ name is not and never has intended to cause offence and this petition is the first that we have been made aware of.”
So what does this all mean for Malaysian ice cream lovers? Will you still get a chance to taste that Golden Gaytime before someone’s misplaced anger gets it removed from the market?
As you can see “gay” has two meanings now according to the dictionary:
Since the term gay is rarely used to describe joy these days, it’s understandable that it has made many – including some from the Muslim community in Malaysia and some from the LGBT community in Australia, question the company’s motives to push the product, and in Malaysia’s case, especially in a country where English isn’t our native language.
However, shouldn’t we all do a little research/Googling before jumping on the cancel culture bandwagon?
Do you think Golden Gaytime should be renamed in Malaysia now that you know the origin of the name? Let us know in the comments!