LGBT activists say: 'That's so gay' is so very passe
"He's such a Queer!" "That's so gay." These are sayings that have become too familiar within our contemporary dialect. More people are using and hearing negative language about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in a derogatory way or to simply imply something is disagreeable.
With all of the LGBT pejoratives being said too casually, people should understand the potential consequences of the words chosen.
These belittling words, while not intended to offend others, are offensive to someone that indentifies with the LGBT community. When offensive words such as "queer," "gay," "fag," "dyke," and "fruit" are used as a dysphemism for "lame," it tends to become a habit that is often hard to drop.
A Santa Monica College student who wished to remain anonymous found this name-calling benign. "I don't think it is that big of a deal," she said. "I have gay friends and I always say, 'That's so gay' or jokingly call them queers. If it's meant as a joke, then there should be no harm."
Today, these derogatory terms are more likely used with high school students than adults, even though adults are just as guilty of it. In high school, when young people are developing their identity, students are using terms like "fag" and "dyke" to identify each other when the other does something un-cool.
According to "Think Before You Speak," a website dedicated to raising awareness about such derogatory terms, nine out of ten LGBT students report being harassed at school in the last year. Over one-third of LGBT students have been physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
These offensive terms for homosexuals have long been used as insults. However, the definitions of these terms have become confusing recently with the constant attempt to popularize such terms like "queer," "fruit" and "fag."
Gay rights advocates are trying to teach others that it is hurtful to use the word "gay" as an all-purpose term for something unlikable. With Public Service Announcements and the "Think before you speak" campaign, advocates are doing everything within their power to change the attitudes of people that use those terms negatively.
According the Associated Press, Berkeley High was the site of such a campaign too. A school club passed out buttons to the student body that read, "That's so gay" which was crossed out to get their fellow classmates to stop using the phrase.
Even though gay activists and openly gay celebrities, such as comedienne Wanda Sykes, are doing what they can to stop the general public from using the slang "That's so gay" it is almost as though people are ignoring the plea.
Nancy Iglesias, an openly gay SMC student, expressed that even though she is homosexual she has become so accustomed to hearing others use these terms jokingly that it no longer offends her.
"I know it's not a personal attack, but it is bothersome that it is so engrained in our culture these days," she said.
Since people are using homophobic terms as dysphemisms, it can hinder a person who is fighting an inner battle with their sexuality. A lot of people have a preconceived notion that you have an option to be gay. They often do not know the struggle it is to come to terms with one's sexuality.
Create a more tolerable environment by dropping terminology like "That's so gay," and cease to belittle others by calling them "queer" or "fruits." People should graduate from a primitive lexicon and educate themselves to use language that does not offend and has no negativity attached to it.