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"That's so gay"

In 2002, Rebekah Price, a young girl from Santa Rosa, California, was being teased and made fun of about her religion and how she was raised as a Mormon. She was asked just about the rudest question: Do you have 10 mothers? She simply replied with a "that's so gay" comment. Just uttering those three simple words roughly landed her into the principal's office, and also caused her insanely protective parents to file a tedious lawsuit. The phrase “that’s so gay” is so offensive and insulting to some, yet it is used by the youth all over the country. Why is that? The word "gay" can mean several things. It could be bright, happy, showy, or more common: homosexual. When someone uses "gay,” chances are, he or she is using it in a very negative or disrespectful manner. The true meanings of it is either completely forgotten, or just “not important.” Nowadays, people certainly do not use the word “gay” to explain the feeling of being happy, wonderful, or in a good mood. There is no way that homosexuality is negative, so how did this phrase even come on the scene?

Whenever I say "that's so gay," I never actually imagine or envision homosexuals in my mind. Never have I compared things to them. Without question, I have absolutely nothing against gay people, and yet I have been saying this phrase in many daily conversations for as long as I can remember. My intention is not to mock or insult people with these words, it is just plainly a response to something that I do not approve of or appreciate. I am not the only person to do this. Many people say it regularly, as if it is just a usual thing. It is like a substitute word for dumb, stupid, ridiculous, etc.. One instance where this can be seen is if a bitter, unreasonable teacher gave out a difficult assignment that many students thought was really absurd and a waste of valuable time. Students in high school are always going to be like busy bees; they are always buzzing about, doing their own thing. They do not have the time to sit down at their desk and spend a large amount of time on homework and projects that is not useful to their learning. When consulting with friends later, we would all say, "I know, that worksheet was so gay!" We are definitely not calling our homework homosexual. And we are not calling it carefree, bright, or happy either. There is no technical definition that “gay” means stupid, and yet when someone uses it, everyone can already assume what he or she means. It’s as if its some unwritten law that we all know.

If this issue was looked at from another person’s point of view, for example a gay person, it can be seen why it aggravates them and angers them. Using the word "gay" in place of negative words like dumb and stupid makes it sound like being gay is a horrible, dreadful thing, when it is not. It is a personal and catankerous subject, since today's culture and society is already having a difficult time accepting gays for who they are and what their interests are in. They are battling for the ability to marry their loves in any state and for many other rights that heterosexual marriages have. They do not need phrases like "that's so gay" to kick them down any more further. It is a derogatory term that belittles them, a dehumanizing word. Gay people are the same as any other person in the world. They are human. They share ninety-six percent of DNA with us. People need to learn how to respect differences in beliefs amongst them, and that includes gay people. To refrain from saying “that’s so gay,” especially in front of homosexuals, would be considered polite. Today’s people, especially the younger generation, definitely needs to learn how to take into consideration how those three short words can easily affect others.

Saying "that's so gay" can set off assumptions. People could automatically think that gay people behave in an improper or unsuitable way. If somebody did not understand what the word “gay” meant, and they listened to someone state "that's so gay" in a response to something stupid, they would take and analyze context clues and end up assuming that saying something is gay must mean that it is wrong or different from the norm. Of course, it is not either of those. They are really taking in the wrong use of the word, and yet most of today’s youth still uses the phrase. It seems to have come out of nowhere in particular. Maybe it actually did result from somebody who was against homosexuals, and they decided to use the word “gay” to compare it to them. As I stated before, people think it is synonymous with harsh words like stupid, dumb, or ridiculous. It is as if our society has adapted to a third meaning for the word "gay” without really asking someone. To us, it does not only mean homosexual, and it does not only mean bright, carefree, and happy. We have all included our own third meaning: something that we do not approve of, and perhaps think is incorrect.

So Rebekah Price, the girl whose parents sued over getting in trouble for saying "that's so gay," came to court to see if the judge ruled in favor of her. The school did not violate laws or single her out, so therefore Judge Elaine Rushing ruled against Rebekah. It is very ironic. She was being picked on, poked at, and made fun of for being Mormon, and yet she still got into trouble for saying those three words. It is totally unfair that she got penalized for saying "that's so gay,” and yet there was no punishment for those students making fun of her religion. I guess society thinks some things are more important or personal, which could explain why the fact that she said “that’s so gay” was apparently so terribly wrong. There is already so much attention directed towards gays and their fight for the same equal rights as straight people, so her being made fun of for being Mormon was completely overlooked. It is understandable how "that's so gay" may offend some, but then again, the reasons why today's youth uses it are also unexplainable. The meaning of it to us is not the true meaning that is written in black ink on a dictionary’s page. It could be considered our very own adopted meaning that makes no sense whatsoever to the actual definition.





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