In defense of "that's so gay" This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 16, 2010
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The controversial expression “that’s so gay” is uttered by many tolerant high school students. It is an innocent idiom and should be the least of society’s concerns. Unfortunately, gay rights activists attack the phrase like it’s hate speech.

Certain activists see the word “gay” in the phrase literally and associate it with homosexuality. However, among our generation, the everyday understanding of the phrase has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality.

For example, when students say a homework assignment is “so gay”, they are saying that it is pointless. After all, can homework really have sexuality?

What students mean is that the assignment is “so pointless.” When they say the phrase, they do not equate “pointless” with “homosexuality” because they are commenting on a useless chore, not a sexual orientation.

I have uttered the expression many times. But it is ludicrous to say that I would mean anything other than the fact that an assignment was futile busywork.

Nonetheless, I have heard hateful speech at school. Whether justified by the Old Testament or an ignorant upbringing, there is hate speech to worry about. Those that hate based on ignorance and fear should be shamed.

However, those who use innocent slang should be left alone.

In our society, we focus on addressing harmful actions. That is why the police are supposed to focus on preventing drunk driving, not jay walking.

Likewise, students who say “that’s so gay” do not violate other students’ right, according to my high school's Agenda, “to be in an environment free of discrimination.” The phrase also does not create “a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment based on … sexual orientation” because the phrase does not describe people.

The Agenda rightfully focuses on actions harmful to students. The phrase does not discriminate because it is free of homophobic meaning. While certain gay rights advocates see an ignorant, hateful expression, I see teenage slang unrelated to homosexuality.

But to those who are offended by my words, I regret my inarticulate speech habits. I hope you will forgive my own and others’ politically incorrect speech: we are not your enemies.

But attacking students’ harmless slang? That’s so pointless.

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hissingwillows said...
Oct. 10, 2016 at 8:37 pm
Yeah, no. It may be easy to think "it's just slang, it's no big deal" if you're straight, but as a gay person, hearing my sexuality thrown around as a joke is frustrating, especially when straight people dismiss my anger as an "overreaction". If you claim to be an ally, listen to us when we say something harms us. It isn't up to you to decide what is and isn't harmful to LGBT people.
Silence. said...
May 12, 2016 at 9:15 pm
I can at least see where the controversy originates from. The problem arises whenever the word "gay" is unduly used as an insult.
tannerschell said...
Nov. 3, 2015 at 11:41 am
twas a amazing article I am not that offended by that term that much as a bi individual
ProfessionalJaywalker This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm
I can only speak for myself. As a gay and transgender individual, I'm really not bothered by the expression "that's so gay." Every time I've heard someone say it, they didn't really mean it negatively. I got a lot bigger problems then trying to figure out if some comment someone made was meant to offend me. I've faced a lot worse.
purplediamonds said...
May 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm
I see your point, but when you call something gay with a negative connotation, you are associating something bad with being gay.
AshleySD replied...
May 19, 2015 at 2:11 pm
That's different than what this person is talking about.
Haylatte said...
May 3, 2015 at 6:08 pm
You have a point, but the phrase in itself should just not be used. Many will automatically think calling something "gay" in place of "pointless" is equating gay people to the word pointless because it does, in a sense. How else did that phrase start being used?
abby said...
Apr. 3, 2015 at 10:22 am
It's easy to say you don't mind when you are not heterosexual and your identity is not constantly attacked. the LGBTQ population suffers from discrimination like violence and hate crimes every day. People are actually attacked and sexually harassed because of their identity, and you can not even stop abusing terms for their identity because you claim it's pointless. If people are genuinely offended when you say, "that's gay" and use their orientation as a derogatory term for any stupid thing you... (more »)
AshleySD replied...
May 19, 2015 at 2:11 pm
Are you gay?
ProfessionalJaywalker This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 3, 2015 at 9:02 pm
Right, LGBTQIA+ individuals like myself suffer from actual discrimination every day. In my book, saying "that's so gay" doesn't really register. But I can't speak for my entire movement.
PastelJustice said...
Mar. 17, 2015 at 2:38 pm
This article is astounding, and borderline homophobic. It is not up to the rights of a (presumably) straight person as you to declare whether the gay community has the right to feel offended from the phrase, "That's so gay." This is not a case of the English language "evolving". The derogatory usage of a slur is not making said slur into slang. Slang and slurs are not synonymous. When you are using the word "gay" to mean pointless or unnecessary ("This test is so gay!") you are equating someone'... (more »)
PTsaxplayer said...
Mar. 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm
I like many of the comments here must agree to a certain extent. First off before I go any further allow me to commemorate you on your writing skills it is very apparent that you are a very talented writer that truly puts emotion in your work. This is where I believe your article falls short; Yes in our generation the term "That's so gay," generally is an innocent statement that has come to mean something pointless. However this being said where is the line drawn on other statements that are c... (more »)
AshleySD replied...
May 19, 2015 at 2:54 pm
BreezyS said...
Oct. 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm
I agree to some extent, but this is where the problem lies. Most people opposing gay marriage, or homosexuality have their oppositions stemming from naivety, mostly in how others feel. While they aren't as bad, people who use "thats so gay" as 'innocent slang' are speaking without regard as to how others feel. What does "thats so gay" mean anyway? Most people use it to refer to something negative, like the example you used as homework. So, even if they dont mean i... (more »)
Yasmin E. said...
Oct. 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm
this is so true, when ever that phrase is used in school ten people turn around and give you a death stare like you just said GAY PEOPLE DESERVE DEATH, when actually its just a miss used phrase that to be honest should be the least of our concerns in-as messed up of an enviroment as-high school.
JesusandHisLawyers said...
Aug. 17, 2014 at 4:27 am
stop straight people 2K14
JesusandHisLawyers said...
Aug. 17, 2014 at 4:25 am
Straight peple don't to decide what words they can reclaim to mean different things. That's not how it works. Just like straight people are not allowed to reclaim queer or fag(got) or dyke or any other phrase that has come to mean derogatory things. The fact of the matter is, the phrase "that's so gay" essentially equates gay to mean stupid, bad, boring, ugly, etc. etc. etc. So yeah, don't use it.
mirandaxgail replied...
Sept. 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm
I'm straight but I respect this comment so much
AnnaOfMirkwood This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm
I'm not straight and I respect this. 
SallySunshine replied...
Feb. 7, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Straight people can do anything they want. You don't get to decide what people can do, especially based on their sexuality.
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