twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Kids Today: "That's SO Gay"

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Calling someone "gay" is the insult of choice for British school age kids, according to a new study.

sogay.jpg

A U.K. study says 83% of teachers say they've heard students use 'gay' as a put-down more than any other word. Not just reserved for people, some kids use 'gay' as a negative reaction to everything--as in "That movie was totally gay." And it's not just kids.

One Mom we know also admits to using "gay" as a way of describing something as "uncool." Some argue the term is "just a word"-- others think using "gay" as a negative description is condoning homophobia.

Is referring to someone (or something) as 'gay' off-limits in your home?


next: Coupon • Logic
14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 20, 2008, 3:24 PM

whether it is meant as a slur or not, it needs to stop. I grew up in a place where racial and sexual insults were thrown around like no big deal. But that’s no excuse to carry on the ignorance. There are plenty of words that can be used… OR we could just teach them to be kind, compassionate people. There’s a thought.

SugarPlumFairy March 20, 2008, 3:51 PM

I don’t like that adjective either. It’s very negative.

Anonymous March 20, 2008, 4:02 PM

It’s hateful. Slurs about sexual orientation is just as hurtful as racism. It’s sad that some people don’t seem to get that.

sweet girl March 20, 2008, 4:35 PM

Before the word gay was routinely used to describe sexual preference, it was routinely used as a word for happy. Vernacular is ever-changing, and I admit, I’ve just accepted the meaning to now include “uncool”…I know it’s bad on my part, but I do know homosexual people who have sort of adopted it (like the N-word has been embraced as a term of endearment for some African-American people).

I think people have become desensitized to it, and it’s probably high time that we “re-sensitize”…Plus, young kids who are using it most likely have no idea who Matthew Sheppard is, and no clue as to how powerful a word it really is.

Dr. Rob March 20, 2008, 4:40 PM

I don’t think kids intend the use of the word “gay” as a slur. But especially for closeted gay kids, it can be harmful to hear constant reinforcement that homosexuality is implicitly negative. When I’ve spoken to high-school age kids, they make it clear that they don’t intend to be rude… it’s just part of their vernacular. But what if the kids instead went around saying “that’s so Jewish,” “that’s so female,” or “that’s so [insert your culture here].” Would it be acceptable then?

Dr. Rob March 20, 2008, 4:41 PM

I don’t think kids intend the use of the word “gay” as a slur. But especially for closeted gay kids, it can be harmful to hear constant reinforcement that homosexuality is implicitly negative. When I’ve spoken to high-school age kids, they make it clear that they don’t intend to be rude… it’s just part of their vernacular. But what if the kids instead went around saying “that’s so Jewish,” “that’s so female,” or “that’s so [insert your culture here].” Would it be acceptable then?

GHD March 20, 2008, 4:55 PM

We have an equally difficult time purging ourselves of the word, “retarded”. We know it’s wrong so we try to come up with other words, but it’s so ingrained that it just slips out…

Anonymous March 20, 2008, 5:08 PM

It sad that people can’t come up with an insult with more interesting connotations. I mean think about “you suck” you can imagine all sorts of funny things with that one. Or “weaksauce” that one tickles the imagination as well. Let’s be real “gay” falls flat in the interest department as far as insults go. In addition, regardless of whether or not the kid saying “that’s gay” has particularly strong homophobic tendencies, let’s be real they’re using a slur that indicates bad=homosexual. And I am sure that as much as it might not be a slam against homosexuals in some people’s minds, it most definitely started as one.

By the way, Louise don’t breed. We don’t need more people who’s only argument for using a slur is “people are pathetic.”

tnt1963 March 21, 2008, 6:47 PM

There are some really good comments here that provoke thought…

I personally, sometimes think we can take words too far & over react. However, that being said, I don’t agree that we should promote our kids saying things like “that’s so gay” in a negative way.

I agree that we can teach them more intelligent ways to express ourselves. I know I’m constantly working on it! ;-)

Lynne March 25, 2008, 11:32 AM

My daughter and her friends said it when they were in high school. Doesn’t bother me at all.

Anonymous March 25, 2008, 7:01 PM

I used to use the word “gay” as a synonym for “lame”. I don’t have any negative feelings towards homosexuals and used the word without thinking of the negative connotation I was associating it with. Until one day I used the word in a conversation with a homosexual coworker. I meant nothing bad by it, but the incident totally put it in perspective. I have since made a conscious effort to remove the word “gay” from my vocabulary.

Saddened March 27, 2008, 4:11 PM

I grew up in a strongly anti-gay household. My college years brought a huge awakening, both to the way I viewed my peers, and to the way I viewed their lifestyles. When I became a resident assistant to 30+ freshmen girls, I found myself in more of a leadership position than I had ever dreamed I would. This was my role for two years. In order to keep peace on my floor, I had a few rules: Respect your neighbors, keep the floor clean, and don’t use “gay” or “retarded” as derogatory slang words.

“You never know who you’re talking to,” was my mantra. “The person you think is going to find your statement funny may have a little brother with Down’s Syndrome. Or maybe that person is trying to figure out how to tell you they’re gay. How is your ‘funny’ slang going to help them trust you?”

Oddly enough, the second year I did have a resident come out to me… and then shortly after I left the residence halls I fell in love with a woman myself. We have been together for nearly four years, and it still hurts when people say “That’s so gay.” My colleagues only say it once around me—after that, they’re so embarrassed they drop it from their vocabulary entirely-not because I yell at them, but because they respect me and are ashamed.

I understand that for most people it’s as ingrained as inserting “like” between every three words. That’s still not an excuse. We are ultimately in control of what comes out of our mouths.

As a preschool teacher, I have had to eradicate swearing completely from my vocabulary. I may sound stupid spelling words out or saying “Pumpernickel Rye!” in public, but I can guarantee those parents of small children I’m around appreciate it. If we can all drop these hateful words from our language, the children of tomorrow will never begin to use them.

mama_chita March 27, 2008, 4:23 PM

It really bothers me when people (especially adults) use the words “gay” and “retarded” as insults or ‘adjectives.’ Even if those words are not intended to be a slur, I still don’t like it. I recently read a story about a young woman whose brother is autistic, and she said she yells at people when they casually use the word ‘retarded’ to insult someone. So yes, people DO get offended. It’s better to not insult people at all, but if you have to insult someone, at least use a word that’s more accurately descriptive. If the person is being ‘lame’ or ‘boring’, we have words for that. :)

kandyce December 9, 2008, 10:16 PM

i think your all so gay

see i have always looked at gay as meaning happy, if you guys are thinking wrongly about the word that’s ya’lls problem. You see there are many different meanings to a lot of words.


Leave a reply:



(not displayed)

     




Avoid clicking "Post" more than once
Back to top >>
advertisement