My college daughter has a button on her backpack:
Makes her momma proud! Because this phrase, “that’s so gay,” is another phrase to challenge. Only this time, rather than affecting one’s personal well-being and self-esteem, these words represent an attack on approximately 4% of the population. In current usage, this phrase does not imply that something is happy and carefree. By linking with the accepted usage of “gay” meaning homosexual, “that’s so gay” has been adopted as a derisive term, meaning stupid. In the minds of many, gay and straight, this use is an objectionable slur on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. Hence the button on my daughter’s backpack.
Let’s call for a little clarity in communication. If something is stupid, call it that. Better yet, find another word. Thesaurus.com found 76, including brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, doltish, dopey, dull, dumb, dummy, foolish, futile, gullible, half-baked, half-witted, idiotic, ill-advised, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, laughable, loser, ludicrous, meaningless, mindless, moronic, naive, nonsensical, obtuse, out to lunch, pointless, puerile, rash, senseless, shortsighted, simple, simpleminded, slow, sluggish, stolid, stupefied, thick, thick-headed, trivial, unintelligent, unthinking, witless. So many words with unkind roots! Maybe we could strive to object to stupidity in some other way. A simple “I don’t like that” or “that bothers me” might be an alternative.
Some might argue that words are just words–but much of this blog, and my life’s work, is dedicated to showing the power of words. And questioning phrases such as this, refusing to use them, is one way to challenge the thread of hate that is a cultural undercurrent towards LGBTQ individuals.
Want to challenge hate even more directly? One of my dedicated readers, Debra Boopsingh, has shared a proud moment that I want to pass on. Debra, and the Vision Forum at her church, have arranged for the NO H8 compaign to come to Dallas. If you’re unfamiliar with the campaign, it is an effort to promote and raise awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination. Check it out here, and join with us in spreading the word about this powerful campaign for human rights. Mark you calendars and sign up now.