This article originally published in Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School's Newsletter W-O Say So.
That’s So Wrong, by Caity Rogers
Picture yourself walking down the halls.
You feel uncomfortable in your surroundings when every five steps you hear people insulting you without thought.
For some students, direct insults may be a regular experience, but for you it’s different. Because you hear other students casually describing some problem or situation using language that just happens to be slapping you in the face every time.
That’s So Gay!
Most people who use the expression “That’s so gay,” don’t even realize what they are implying. A common excuse is that the speaker didn’t intend to be homophobic. They simply meant to say something was “stupid”. But that is exactly the reason the phrase shouldn’t be used at all. When you say, “That’s so gay” and mean “That’s so stupid”, the undeniable message is that you think gay people are stupid or that being gay is stupid.
When you use the phrase, “That’s so gay,” you might as well replace gay with the ‘n’ word. Try saying that phrase to yourself… sounds pretty bad right? Well, it’s the same way with “That’s so gay”.
What makes it more acceptable to say “That’s so gay,” rather than “That’s so black,” or “That’s so Jewish”? No one would even think of saying something stupid was “black” or “Jewish”. And if they did, people would be all over them saying it was inappropriate, and insulting. Saying something like that might even earn you a suspension.
You may think there is a world of difference between these examples because saying something is “gay” isn’t really that offensive. But you would be wrong. By saying “That’s so gay”, you offend every single gay person around you. You might defend yourself and say that you don’t mean gays are stupid when using “That’s so gay”. But, hey, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. Change your language.
If gay is the only word you know to describe something you don’t like or disagree with, then you need to improve your vocabulary. To be honest, people probably get the idea that you mean stupid when you say “That’s so gay” but they will probably listen better if you expand your word choice to show a better grasp of the English language.