Recently Vince Vaughn was criticized for describing electric cars as gay in the trailer for his new movie.
This brought up the big debate about the phrase, "That's so gay" and how offensive it really is. What do you think? Do you cringe when you hear someone say that phrase? Do you speak up? Do you laugh? Do you say it, too?
I hear a lot of people who use the phrase defend it in the same way that people who use the phrase "that's so retarded" do. They say that they don't have anything against gay people or people who are mentally challenged. They're just sayings. Everyone knows what they mean.
But what do they mean?
Well then, why can't they just say that instead?
Here's what I think. Saying that because you don't mean to offend someone when you say something people find offensive doesn't cancel out its offensiveness. I mean, obvs. But people use that excuse all the time.
The Web site ThinkB4YouSeak.com has been campaigning against the phrase for a while now. I think it should stop, too. But we have a long way to go.
On Suite101.com, Regina Sewell reports:
According to Kevin Jennings, the founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, “That’s so gay!” is one of the most frequently heard insults among second-graders, second only to “That’s so stupid!”
Seriously? Second graders. That is so depressing.
Listen. Bullying starts early and it's serious. Words are powerful. Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas are boys who recently committed suicide after being bullied and accused of being gay. Tomorrow, there's an event to bring awareness to this crisis. You can learn more at Lee Wind's blog.
I want to leave you with a powerful video I saw recently. It shows Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns talk about what it was like to grow up gay in a community that didn't accept him. Joel survived. But there are so many kids out there barely hanging on. I'm not sure telling them "It gets better" someday is enough. We need to make it better NOW. I hope you'll share your ideas for how we can do that in the comments.
Thanks for listening,