Watch Your Words-- That's So Gay

January 22, 2013
“You wouldn’t believe what I just got for Christmas,” a sixteen-year-old boy says to a friend, rolling his eyes.
The friend smirks. Knowing he is about to get a good laugh out of the gift, he asks, “What?”

“A new Nintendo DS. God, when did they make those? 2007? I didn’t even know you could still buy them... It sucks.”
“Who uses those anymore?” the friend replies, laughing. “That’s so gay.”
Merriam-Webster defines “gay” as “happily excited.” For many years, this definition stood alone, complimenting and describing the most beautiful things in life until people began associating it another definition, homosexuality, with the word. The relatively new definition bears no real negative connotations.
“That’s so gay,” on the other hand, does.
“That’s so gay” fills high school halls on a daily basis, derogatorily singling out homosexuals and really equating to, “that’s so stupid.” I find this expression distasteful and offensive. I find it crude, barbaric, and ignorant. I also find it absolutely amusing because the negative use of this phrase does not make the slightest bit of sense.
Acknowledging the English dictionary, the phrase literally means, “That’s so homosexual”. Let’s think about this a moment: “That’s so a person attracted to members of the same sex.” With this in mind, let’s direct our attention back to the scenario with the two teenagers:
“It sucks.”
“Dude, that’s so a person attracted to members of the same sex.”
Really gets his point across, doesn’t it?

If you're going to make such an ignorant comment, couldn’t you at least come up with something that makes sense? With this kind of talk, every dictionary in America might as well spontaneously combust. After all, reading and understanding words clearly lacks the position of top priority to most Americans. Really, though, society’s f***ed-up intelligence and values account for so much hysterical laughter in my life.
The final sentence in the scenario makes about as much sense as saying, “What a stay-at-home-father situation,” “I find that almost as stupid as a blind person,” or, “You’re acting like a single mother.” Each of these retorts merely describes some sort of human being who may be out of the ordinary. According to society, a different person equals a stupid person. In actuality, none of these expressions imply stupidity and absolutely do not equate when used with a negative connotation.

As students, we well know what we should and should not say. Even so, teachers often address phrases such as this and absolutely no changes occur in students as a result after the class. A message to the youth of America: you’re not shitheads. You understand what’s good and bad. You understand the okay and not-so-okay things to say. Desiring popularity and acceptance occurs naturally in most people, but does the use of this phrase or any like it really provide that acceptance? Christ.

“That’s so gay” points towards more than ignorance and stupidity. When taken offensively, the thoughtless expression could actually infer the speaker may be dealing with a large, controversial issue: that of homophobia. An extremely common fear in our country, homophobia deals with extreme fear of and discomfort with homosexuality. Despite the popularity of this fear, homophobic people do not always make their feelings publicly known due to catastrophic instances in the past (IE Matthew Shepard, a young, gay man murdered in Laramie, Wyoming 1998). For instance, a Catholic person should never cruelly express his or her own views openly to a homosexual. Likewise, I cannot even fathom the wrongness behind telling a Catholic he might as well be Aaron McKinney, Shepard’s killer, for his or her views on homosexuality.

Though nearly everyone possesses these discriminatory feelings about some thing or another deep down, publicly expressing these feelings only causes unnecessary pain. Talking down to a person who may be different than you may occur directly, by honest approach, or indirectly, in the form of saying, “that’s so gay.” It never ceases to be frowned upon, however.

Seriously, we’re not three-years-old, you guys. Stupidity of this sort really just irks me. Sorry for the dictionary on your bookshelf and its toxic-to- read pages. I mean, come on, would it really kill you to say, “That’s so stupid?” At least 'stupid' actually means stupid.

Regardless of what each individual person may think of being gay, homosexuality should never be used in a rude and barbaric way as a synonym for stupid, unfair, or idiotic. Overall, this shows a person’s ignorance in the form of not truly understanding the meaning of the word “gay,” implies homophobia, and truly goes against the simple desire for respect shared by all Americans.

Personally, I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, asexual,
transgender, transvestite, Jewish, Christian, atheist, African, Caucasian, Asian, or a sack
of potatoes—I care about who you are as a person. Let’s face it, people; all human beings have different f***ing mindsets. Someone may believe different things than you do, and someone may feel different things than you do, but that does not make either one of you incorrect. The true inaccuracy in this situation occurs when one of you uses those differences against the other in a way that may hurt them or others with their beliefs or
feelings. So the question is, why do we do this?
Granted, the use of the phrase likely will not go away. As society becomes more
comfortable with profanity and the everyday derogatory use of terms, this kind of talk
becomes more permanent and regular. But would it really be so bad to remind people
what they’re saying every once in a while? A simple, “I don’t know if I’d say that, but
I find it stupid,” could really come in handy.

Avoiding this phrase wouldn’t have hurt the point of the friend in the scenario.

Using a semi-uncommon characteristic to describe something shitty really doesn’t change
the intended meaning of a thought in any way—it just appears to lower the intellectual level of the speaker.
A message to the youth of America: Think about your words. Understand your
words. Watch your words.

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SunshineKarmaGirl said...
Feb. 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm
Hi, I just wanted to say that this is so inspiring and true and i loved reading it. :) if you have the time to read You Know My Name Not My Story i would appriciate it so much. Thanks!
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