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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 21 comments. Post your own!

LouderthanBombs This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today 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.
 
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slowenowen said...
Jun. 12 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 »)
 
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Darth Jim Scott said...
May 17 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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Cyber said...
Mar. 3 at 5:16 pm:
It's fantastic that you have lgbt+ friends, but that doesn't give you the right to tell us what to be offended by. This article isn't malicious, but it IS a bit ignorant. You are not a member of this community; you cannot know what is or isn't offensive.
 
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screen name said...
Feb. 22 at 10:17 am:
So, your name is Jack, right? What if people decided to start using Jack as a synonym for anything they consider inferior? "Dude, you're wearing pink?? That's so Jack."     "Dude, my homework was stupid last night. It was so ****ing Jack."     They would have decided that you were inferior, and therefore your name would make a great negative adjective. "That's so gay" IS hate speech. Also, you are a straight guy.... (more »)
 
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CharleyLattaThis 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...
Feb. 10 at 7:35 pm:
Being gay myself, I find it offensive when someone says "That's so gay".
 
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MantizahThis 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...
Dec. 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm:
You nailed that one right on the head. Good job:)
 
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kksbrnnThis 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...
Nov. 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm:
I understand where you're coming from, but assuming that you are straight, I cannot see how you would be in a position to assert opinions about what is offensive to the LGBT community. The reason people use gay in that context is because they associate homosexuality with a lower class of people--so when people say "This homework is so gay," they're basically insulting the homework by using a word that they think is insulting. The fact that being gay is seen as a bad thing is ju... (more »)
 
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FreeRain11 said...
Jul. 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm:
Gay activists attack "that's so gay" like it is hate speech because IT IS HATE SPEECH.  If you replace "pointless" with a word that describes a group of people, you are suggesting that the two words are synonyms, which is incorrect and HATEFUL.  If I said "this homework is so black" instead of saying "this homework is so stupid", people would call me a racist, and they would be right.  Therefore, I don't use the word "black"... (more »)
 
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RiverSong said...
Nov. 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm:
Using a word that many people associate with their identity and self-worth as a slang word that can mean "dumb, boring, pointless, or stupid" demeans people's identities and does not create any sort of "accepting environment". Also, as a straight person you are in no position to be deciding what should or should not offend a gay person.
 
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RiverSong said...
Nov. 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm:
Okay. So in this tolerant, accepting environment that you're talking about, lots and lots of people constantly use the word "gay" to mean "pointless, dumb, boring, stupid" etc. Imagine for a moment that you were a teenager for whom the word "gay" is an intrinsic part of your identity and self-worth. Regardless of the intent of the speaker, using this word (that people use to define a very important part of themselves) as a so-called "innocent slan... (more »)
 
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deanna98 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm:
I agree with this. No one disputes "fat momma" jokes, even though those directly insult mothers. This is different. If it was not intended to harm, then people should not take offense.
 
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Amelia_KThis 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...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 2:21 am:

I'm sorry, but as an openly les.bian teen and the founder of my school's GSA, I have to comment and tell you where your arguement is flawed.

 

While it's great that you don't mean harm by the phrase, "That's so g.ay", it's hurtful because the word "g.ay" is used to mean "bad", implying that being g.ay is bad, which it isn't. It's used in situations like if you don't like someone's hat, you say, "That's hat is so g.ay," using g.ay to replace bad.

 

So let ... (more »)

 
Amelia_KThis 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...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 2:24 am :

Weird tech problems. Sorry the post repeated itself.

Also, "Tet" should be "test".

 
johnjohn123 replied...
Mar. 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm :
i very much agree with you...
 
DesertFox94 replied...
Mar. 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm :
1st Amendment > Individual feelings
 
wishingtheskywasbluer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm :
interesting article, but i totally agree with you Amelia_K
 
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TakeMeAway said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm:
the phrase "thats so good" may not be meant as a sexuality thing but at times it can hurt very badly
 
Jack.H replied...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm :
While the phrase may hurt peoples' feelings, it shouldn't. Our generation's definition for the phrase does not have any homophobic intentions
 
johnjohn123 replied...
Mar. 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm :
yes it does. it has HUGE ammounts of homophobic intensions.  when people use that phrase when their mad about somthing. which means bad... you see my point?
 
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