Monday, August 23, 2010

"That's so gay"

It's coming up a lot recently. "That's so gay" used as a way of saying something is stupid, weird, or just not normal.

I heard from a colleague who wanted someone to talk to about a situation that came up at a workplace event where partners were invited. My colleague is part of a same sex couple that attended the event and during the evening people at the event kept making the statement "That's so gay".

Now, there are times when saying "That's so gay" is entirely accurate and appropriate, for example when a gay man is describing hand making curtains with silk fabric and trim. This wasn't that kind of situation. This was Gay used as a synonym for weird.

One of the couple calmly made the point that using the phrase "That's so gay" in that way was insulting and homophobic. This led to a round of straight people looking bewildered and using the "We don't mean it in a bad way" defense. It was clear from what my colleague related that all the other attendees at the event didn't think there was a problem.

What a pack of gits.

I'd expect this kind of behavior from children, but not from adults. Well, not from sober adults, at any rate.

After our conversation I did some research on the usage of "That’s so gay” and a few things are abundantly clear:

* It is never okay to say “That’s so gay” to mean anything negative (strange, weird, unpopular, distasteful, etc.)
* Using “That’s so gay” in this way doesn’t necessarily make someone a homophobe, but the comment is definitely homophobic. It is always derogatory towards LGBT people and it contributes to a hostile work and learning environment.
* “That’s so gay” is a lightening rod in schools and universities and many have a zero tolerance policy towards its use.

From one of the Teachers resources I found…

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