Homophobia Is So “Gay”
Kids often can be overheard saying “that’s so gay.” It seems like so many people treat this as something new to be corrected. How can that be? I remember that phrase growing up. It’s not new, and while I may have yet to hit 40, I’m closer than I care to admit.
At a school I attended the popular phrase somehow morphed into “gee” and went largely unnoticed as a made up word…That’s the odd thing when you look back, right? You only have that childhood perspective and actually have to turn things over a few times to see what they may-or-may-not have been…Fast forward about 25 years and thanks to a pseudo-reunion on Facebook, the-collective-we now know there was more than one gay person in my class.
As an adult I now know that sometimes calling someone out can be all it takes for the person using it to understand that it isn’t simply a harmless expression. I didn’t do it then.
Though there were some kids there that made it bearable, I generally hated going to school (for more reasons that that of course) and was always happy to go back home to my neighborhood where I felt I had real friends….It’s funny, I remember finding out years later that two of the boys in the neighborhood had a fight to determine whose girlfriend I was and I find it hilarious to this day. Tony is and was gay. I knew then and I know it now, but perhaps I was the only one. We often spent time playing fairies together and listening to Donna Summer while he showed me his pics of Marilyn Monroe. I miss my Tony.
So really, what do you do? You say things like this:
- You know, saying that is insulting to gay people.
- Try humor… I’m sure you didn’t mean that (fill in the blank) is attracted to the same gender.
- How would you feel if I used a characteristic of yours, like your color or religion as an insult? I’m sure I can trot out a few slurs too.
- I know a lot of people say that, but I find it offensive. Can you make an effort not to use that phrase?
Some people will respond positively and some will be embarrassed and say something totally stupid like, “I just meant happy, geez!” You can look them squarely in the eye and say “Come on, we both know that you weren’t calling the (fill in the blank) happy. I’m sure you can think of a better phrase.”
People only say this stuff when they feel it is ok to do so. The way I see it, they have 3 choices. They can:
- Realize “the error of their ways”
- Realize people are not cool with it…and it’s really hard to tell. (wink)
- Or simply just not care
You can make a difference and maybe change some bad behavior. While, “that’s so gay” may be a mild phrase that folks sometimes don’t hesitate to utter, you can make them think. There’s power in that and really, there’s just no place for homophobic slurs.
Image courtesy http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com/.
Lillian Studevant is a working professional and mother of three. She is passionate about animals and rescues dogs in addition to two of her own. Follow more of her family's adventures on her Personal Blog.
“The power they have over these kids is disgusting… they didn’t want to upset certain parents in the community.”December 6, 2016
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