Youth That’s SO Gay!

That’s So Gay!

When checking Facebook the other day, a status on my newsfeed popped up by an acquaintance, an owner of a rapidly growing clothing company and a well-respected model, “I love Autotune, I don’t care HOW gay that sounds.” When I read this, not only did it made my blood boil but I couldn’t help but feel personally offended.

There’s a lot that can be said about ‘choosing to be offended’, at the end of the day, if someone uses gay or fag or whatever derogatory insult to express irritation and anger, like, ‘You’re a faggot!!’, then let’s be honest – that is meant to be offensive. It is said in antagonism and anger, in a way that is meant to provoke a response. They’re not offering it up as an ambiguous statement open to interpretation.

As I get older, I hear this defamatory language more often and, in my opinion, it seems to have increased in peoples’ vocabulary.

When did saying “that’s so gay” for anything that is stupid, dumb and effeminate or lame become a socially acceptable term?

In a society where youth are committing suicide over struggles with their gender and sexuality, why do we brush off using the term interchangeably for other appropriately used terminology?!

“That’s so gay” is an expression of homophobia and it’s used so often, it doesn’t even seem offensive anymore. Much like, “That’s retarded,” which has sadly become an everyday-term for similar synonyms.

How would you feel if someone used your sexuality or gender identity to describe something detestable – even if it made no sense at all?

“That is SO heterosexual” after failing a test or “that’s so straight” when your boss fires you? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?

or what about

“This pepper shaker is so 16 year old boy with a cheesy moustache,” said Wanda Sykes in this ThinkBeforeYouSpeak ad.

According to GLSEN, who runs the Think B4You Speak campaign, posted in a February press release for Super Bowl XLVI:

“According to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate survey, three-quarters of LGBT students hear slurs such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school and 9 in 10 report hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard type of biased remarks at school. Research shows that these slurs are often unintentional and simply a part of the teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt forms of harassment.”

“That’s so gay” is extremely offensive and has a very negative connotation. This degrading slang is hurtful. When someone tells me “it’s not offensive” or “that’s not what it meant”, they are attempting to silence my voice by saying that I’m being “too sensitive” in protesting the biased language that can lead to increased suicide, assault, harassment and even murder in our community. So our daily language that we use, it’s not just about ‘hurt feelings”, it’s actually about a behavior that sets in motion a chain of events with potentially deadly consequences.

Even it’s not directed at me, just hearing it triggers something inside. It is a reminder that still in 2012, LGBT are still without basic rights, it reminds me of the teasing and mocking I endured coming out, it reminds me of the very threat of violence that a lot of us live with. I don’t choose to take offense. I am reminded that my sexuality is offensive to some. People fear the unknown and until we can educate each OTHER right from wrong, we continue to travel the same vicious circle.

I challenge you to speak up the next time you hear someone say it. I know how hard it is to tell someone how a comment directly affects me because I’m putting myself first.

A helpful resource: Think B4You Speak
A video to put it into perspective:

8 replies to this post
  1. Fantastic! Valid points! Great video especially the last one! Great writing! Kept me interested from start to finish 😉 love the awareness!

  2. I had a coworker that used to say that half a dozen times a day.  My girlfriends are gay, several of my friends are gay, and it seriously offended me to hear this coworker use “gay” in such a derogatory manner.  When I confronted her about it, she blew it off, saying that it wasn’t meant that way, and that she’s not homophobic at all.  

    Nothing changed, though we did seem to suddenly have a refresher course on discrimination in the workplace within a week of my calling the coworker out on it….

  3. I really enjoy this website. A lot of really thought provoking articles. This one is AWESOME!!! It says everything that needs to be said. I think that if enough people see this article and really read it, it will change the way people think, act and speak. Well done Claire!

  4. Before Gay was known as a term meaning homosexual or lesbian it actually meant to be “happy”, and back then, queer meant something bad, wrong or unacceptable. I’m happy to see the entire community taking back the word through ads. In fact, I’m gay with joy. Just like the community took back the word queer. 

  5. Honestly I think that alot of bad and tasteless things get said everyday and most of us really don’t think about where these sayings actually originate from because they are so “popular” in our vocabulary now. I never really thought about saying thats gay may upset anyone in all honesty. But yes I guess that would be offensive if I were to think of it in those terms. I think people just need to be made aware that really all saying have some sort of “true” meaning to them and you better know what that means before you go around saying it unless your ready to deal with the consequence of it.

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