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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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This article has 39 comments. Post your own now!

abby said...
Apr. 3 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 »)
 
PastelJustice said...
Mar. 17 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 »)
 
PTsaxplayerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 11 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 »)
 
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.
 
JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 17, 2014 at 4:27 am
stop straight people 2K14
 
JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. 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
 
AnnaOfMirkwoodThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. 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 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.
 
JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 9 at 9:01 pm
You can do whatever you want, but if you're straight, your opinion on LGBTA issues doesn't mean jack.
 
SELI-chan replied...
Feb. 19 at 2:21 am
I love how also people want to comment their sexual/romantic orientation on this. "I'm straight, but..." I guess I'll continue the chain, then. I'm pan, and yeah, I like this comment. 'Queer' has been reclaimed, for a good reason. Saying LBGTIAPPD (sorry if I left anything out) every time gets tiring, and 'queer' is a good, non-biased term for people who aren't cis-het. Unfortunately, not everyone uses it which sucks because the people who don't categorize themselves in the LGT (bisexual erasur... (more »)
 
SELI-chan replied...
Feb. 19 at 2:34 am
I find it funny how people find it necessary to mention their sexual/romantic orientation. Continuing the chain, I'm pan and I totally agree. Adding on, I think that people should use 'queer' more as an umbrella term, rather than LGBT, because that promotes asexual and aromantic, genderfluid, agender, pansexual/romantic, polysexual/romantic, demisexual/romantic, intersex people, erasure (and I know I'm forgetting more). 'Queer' is great because you no longer have to say LGBTAPDI+ every single ti... (more »)
 
JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 19 at 9:32 pm
idk if you want my two cents on the word queer but here we go anyway: I'm a lesbian and I hate the word queer. I hate it when people call me queer and I hate it when people refer to the community as the "queer community" because you can reclaim a slur all you want but that doesn't change the fact that it's a slur and you really SHOULD NOT be using it in reference to people other than yourself. But I couldn't care less if someone uses it to refer to themselves. *shrug* straight people really ju... (more »)
 
SallySunshine replied...
Feb. 22 at 3:07 pm
@JesusandHisLawyers Everyone's opinion matters. If you want to ignore some peoples' opinions, then you are free to do so, but you will only gain ignorance.
 
JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 22 at 6:22 pm
@SallySunshine, straight people's opinions on issues that they don't understand and don't effect them are completely irrelevant, in the same way that men's opinions on feminism, or white people's opinions are racism are completely irrelevant. Have all the opinions you want, but don't expect anybody in the community to give a sh_t. (@SELI-chan, hmu on tumblr, same username, if you'd like to have a discussion on my views on queer and other similar issues, I'd love to hear your take and have a dial... (more »)
 
Haylatte replied...
today at 6:11 pm
*SOME straight people. Not every straight person is this way. Please don't generalize people, it'll make you just as bad as those you oppose.
 
LouderthanBombsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 9, 2014 at 6:12 pm
Hearing this would also probably discourage people who are closeted to come out, because they are unsure of these people's intentions.
 
slowenowen said...
Jun. 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm
This might not be intentionally malcious, but, at the very least, it is inadvertently ignorant. You're saying that it's okay to use the word "gay" as anything you please, and that it isn't offensive, but in reality, that isn't at all true. First off, you aren't a part of the LGBTQ+ community. You have no right to assert what is offensive and what isn't to us. Yes, you do have a right to express your opinion, but I'm going to step out and say that it's wr... (more »)
 
Darth Jim Scott said...
May 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm
If we are going to be literal here.  Historically the word  "gay" simply means happy, joyous or positive.   It's only later on that homosexual persons adopted it as a code word to identify themselves to others of their preference in a society that was negatively predisposed to their behavior.   Thus to make it a negative is more akin to making the word "bad" a positive.  "Yo that suit is bad my brohter!" Translation "Gee you loo... (more »)
 
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