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Because Stupid Isn't Good Enough

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The word gay has two meanings. One, though hardly ever used, means happy or bright. The other means a homosexual. As of late, 'gay' has taken on another meaning; one that I have yet to see in Webster’s Dictionary. It means stupid, but most of the time, it's a synonym for anything bad. Any derogatory name can be equal to gay. This is unacceptable.

I hear this on the mouths of my peers multiple times a day. Yesterday, I heard a conversation about a pop quiz. One boy asked how the quiz went. The other boy replied with, “That was mad gay.” What puzzled me was that these boys were within earshot of a teacher. These boys just kept strolling down the hallway and talking as if nothing offensive was said. These boys were not even chastised by the teacher. They were just allowed to go on speaking that way.

That is not the only time I have heard 'gay' or a synonym of it misused. In class, a girl got angry because her phone wasn't working that day. When a friend of hers asked her what was wrong, she said "This phone is so homo."

Gay used out of context is now used as a part of regular language. Many people use it for something as unimportant as a shirt that looks unattractive or to just joke around with friends. Most people don't realize that what they're saying is offensive. It's just a part of their everyday vocabulary. They don't see that whenever they use 'gay' instead of another adjective, they're most likely hurting the feelings of someone who is gay.

I am not the only one who notices this. Hilary Duff has worked with GLSEN(the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)to create a campaign about 'gay' being used improperly. This corresponds with GLSEN's 2007 National Climate Survey, where 73.6% of LGTB(lesbian, gay, transgendered, or bisexual) students heard derogatory remarks such as 'f*****' or 'd***' used frequently at school and 86.2% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed.

Utilized as a negative connotation, 'gay' should be a big issue for the safety of students. Shouldn't students feel safe at schools, a place where they’re around their peers for seven hours each day? Why is this slur ignored and accepted in our society? Is the safety of LGTB students going to be ignored also?

This unwillingness to acknowledge the usage of a derogatory form of "gay" shows our society's unconscious homophobia. Peers cannot even give each other complements without them being misconstrued as a gay remark. Constantly, I see picture comments on facebook and MySpace that start and end with "no homo." What is this, if not homophobia? Gays have become the scapegoat of society. They are used as the butt of what’s supposed to be a funny joke. “You’re so gay.” Ha-ha.

There is nothing funny about what we do to these people.

Out of context, 'gay' is like the N-word used to describe a black person. We say that this is ignorant and offensive. We get angry and awkward whenever this word is used. Isn't "gay" just the same? Are we not being ignorant and offensive whenever we use it just to describe something bad?

We can no longer pretend that gay people aren’t in existence, nor can we act like they don’t have any rights. Just because gay people are not of a specific color, does not mean that they aren’t being oppressed by our society.





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NJBjr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 9:10 pm
Thank you so much for writing this. It's because of discrimination like this that I find it so hard to be myself.
 
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